Tips and advice for new starter at MBB

MBB
New answer on May 03, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 11, 2020

Hi,

I will be starting at BCG in a few months.First, thank you so much for this platform, I met great casep rep partners that ultimately helped me get the offer!

I was wondering if you guys had any tips and advice for new starters (I'm going in as experienced hire)

1) Before starting
-Any books your recommend to read
-Any skills to brush up on
-Networking with people in the office and asking for some coffee chat?
-...

2) After starting
-Any thing you wished you would have known when you first started?
-Not rushing into the first project... taking time to know the teams on each project before picking (if there is a choice..)

Thank you for your help!!

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Francesco
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replied on Jan 11, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

first of all, congratulations on your offer! If you want to prepare in advance before you start, I would recommend working on technical, communication and stress management skills.

  • On the technical side, Excel will be the most important technical thing to master at the beginning, in particular for VLOOKUPs and Pivot tables; you could also review PowerPoint, which you will also use quite a lot.
    • At BCG you will get learning courses to improve on them, but so far that you have already mastered the skills before joining (you can find several courses online for both), even better.
    • Tip for Excel: learn how to use as much as possible the keyword and relegate the touchpad to the minimum – this will skyrocket your productivity in the long term. Some computer programs such as KeyRocket provide tips to improve on this.
  • For what concerns communication, I would recommend the classic book on the topic: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
  • For stress management, I would recommend two books:
    • The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod – great tips to start in the right way your day
    • The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz – a great sum up of some of the best tips be positive, productive and achieve more

Below you can also find a list of things that could be useful to practice during your first weeks:

  1. Take notes when your manager tells you something – this will help you to remember details and will show you care about them to the team.
  2. Always double check. The first impression is very important in consulting: if you show you are reliable from the beginning, you create a reputation of a reliable person. Double checks should be done on expectations for your job, your excel analysis, your slides – basically everything.
  3. Define priorities before starting any set of tasks. The majority of the results usually come from a subset of activities – this is true also for your tasks in consulting. You have to identify which they are and prioritize them – the application of the so-called 80-20 rule or Pareto Principle.
  4. Socialize with your colleagues and start to build a network. Consulting is a people business and you should build a good network both within and outside the company. A good start is key to develop good relationships long-term
  5. Organize your private life activities. You want to organize your calendar to leave some space for personal activities (sport/ friends/ family). This is not easy but can be managed if you organize well, and long-term will be critical to keep a balance between work and private life. Also, it is better to align with your manager/teammates from the beginning on your core needs, so that there are no surprises later on.
  6. Ask for feedback every two-three weeks – this will show you are proactive and willing to learn.
  7. Ask for help when you don't know what to do – better to let know you are in trouble with meeting a deadline then missing the deadline.
  8. Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Vlad
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replied on Jan 11, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

As for the basic skills - Excel and Power Point. You need to learn the following:

Basics

  • Fast excel - throw away your mouse and put some tape on your touchpad. Do everything with your keyboard!
  • The main formulas (especially vlookup, column, etc)
  • Pivot tables
  • Nice formating
  • Modeling - you need at least to know how to structure your sheets (Inputs, outputs, sources, versions, etc)

Advanced skills include:

  • Financial modeling (making proforma statement)
  • Valuation of projects / companies

The best offline courses are Training the street.

The most important thing you need to understand is that consulting is a client business and client is always first. Here is my subjective view of what's needed to succeed on different levels of hierarchy. Pls take into account that it's the ideal state and getting these skills is a journey.

Analyst / associate level

  • Having a good DGL / career counselor, etc. (Each company has different names). This is a person who guides your development in the company, collects the feedbacks on you, and presents your case to a promotion committee. Make sure to have a person who is organized enough to collect the feedbacks in time, who is a nice person in general and who has enough authority in the company (i.e. Senior partner - the more power he has - the better)
  • Finding the first project. Choosing the project you work on smartly is critical. You should collect the feedbacks from your colleagues on each and everyone prior to accepting the project. People will be pretty opened to provide you that information
  • Choosing the project you work on smartly (i.e. collect the feedbacks on each and everyone prior to accepting the project)
  • Perfect technical skills (Excel, PPT, Problem Solving)
  • Good feedbacks on you from the client. Thus try to make friends with your clients (Both senior and non-senior role. Even a bad feedback from a blue collar can ruin your career)
  • Ability to manage your own standalone workstream with minimum supervision. TOP performers bring the end products that impress others
  • Being proactive - helping the team with daily routine, scheduling, etc. Participating in the office initiatives
  • Establishing relationships with your managers and partners. Ideally, you should have multiple senior partners to be excited about you and to support you)
  • Being lucky!

Manager level

A lot of the above, plus:

  • Having your client happy - this is the most important! If the client is happy - everything else will work
  • Managing multiple partners who have different opinions. Since partners have a busy schedule it becomes very tricky to synchronize them and to align the viewpoints
  • Good feedbacks from your team - having a happy team is important. Unfortunately, sometimes it's a trade-off between having your client and partner happy
  • Telling about your success on projects to others - I'm personally not a fan of this kind of selling, but I know many people who made a career using this skill

Principal level

A lot from the above, plus:

  • Having multiple clients happy
  • Having a long list of partners supporting you (More than 10)
  • Contributions to the development of the company (Knowledge, office ops, etc)
  • Selling the projects. If you manage to sell to existing clients or even bring the new clients - you are the champion.

Partner level

A lot of the above, plus:

  • Sales, sales, sales

Best,

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Samuel updated an answer on May 03, 2020

Congratulations! I know this might be late, considering you asked a couple of months back but I still think you will find it a great read.

Succeeding as a Management Consultant: Learn the skills used by the leading management consulting firms, such as McKinsey - by Kris Safarova

I have read the book and I enjoyed the fact that it was written with a story. If you have read “The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt”, you will love this book! By introducing management consulting techniques and concepts through the eyes of one person, drives the point home and explains the "whys" behind many practices you may have already seen or adopted.
Insightful and pleasant read for me. And I know I will read again in a couple of months time. To me, it is high up there as one "biblical" book for management consulting.

(edited)

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Clara
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replied on Jan 13, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Congrats!

I would totally focus on Excel, since PPTX is something you learn very fast as you go, and normally you will have the Think-Cell add-in (which makes everything a world easier and faster, and has a particular way to operate).

Regarding Excel, get as confident as you can, not only with use of formulas but also with modelling in general, speed -not using the mouse-, and even Visual Basics if you can.

Good luck!

Cheers,

Clara

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Luca
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replied on Jan 12, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

Congratulations for the offer!
You could just relax before starting your new experience, since you will learn everything during the first project.
If you want to prepare for something, I suggest to focus your effort on Excel and Power Point that are the tools that you will use most of the time.

Best,
Luca

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Antonello
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replied on Jan 11, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
firstly congratulations for the offer! I recommend reading The personal MBA, The 80/20 principle, The pyramid principle and McKinsey's Marvin Bower (even if it talks about McK it actually explain the key principles of consulting strategy). After you enter instead you will be 100% rush into the 1st project, therefore take your time before for all the other intentions :)

Best,
Antonello

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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