Very New At MBB, Stressing Over Learning Curve - how long till you know your way around?

consulting job MBB
Recent activity on Apr 02, 2019
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 30, 2018

Very recently started at an entry level consultant position at MBB (only a couple of weeks). Prior to this I worked at a small financial firm at a relatively stress-free environment - especially in comparison with management consulting. So far it feels very overwhelming - I joined a project from the middle and everything is already moving very fast. Understandably they are trying to meet deadlines and trying to ensure I get some sort of exposure to the work - but I'm not being trusted with the real stuff, only a very minor part of some of the research. I am amazed at how while I try to dig my way through an enormous number research documents to bring together with 2 slides-worth of data (of which only one or two lines end up making it to the final PPT), the team creates a document of almost client-ready 20-30 page material. I try to get involved as much as i can with the team discussions but it seems like they are always 5 slides ahead of what i want to say. I know everything is tough in the beginnings (most especially MBB :) ), and i have been here only two weeks, but this feeling/fear of "HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE AMONG THESE SUPERSTARS" is eating me up :)

For all the fellow / ex - consultants out there - how long did it take for you guys to feel like you are learning the ropes? I know it's never comfortable since you jump from project to project and everything gets renewed every few months... but how long till you felt like you are getting the hang of it and you actually know what you are doing (in terms of how to do analysis, how to produce at least acceptable-quality ppt, how to know what to look for and where to look for it, how master the efficiency instead of boggling down on the details, etc. - you get the picture) ? Practice says in most cases it takes at least around 3 months to get used to any job, but with these kinds of high stakes at MBB, are you given enough chances within the first few months to grow out of your shell?

Looking for comfort :) Appreciate any insights on this.

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Best answer
replied on Dec 02, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Time is running fast. Just wait for a couple of months and you'll be fine. Try to relax on the weekends and work as much as possible during the week. Everyone has this problem in the beginning, you are not special.


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replied on Nov 30, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

Congratulations. I'm afraid I have bad news for you.... when you ask Partners, they always tell you "I thought things would slow down once I made partner, I could relax a little bit - but no, it's even worse! I have even more to learn, it never ends"

=> Part of what makes MBB special is the steep learning curve. You will always be pushed to get better, no matter how good you already are. Enjoy it, life seems comparatively boring in corporate America sometimes :)

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Clark Kent on Nov 30, 2018

Not comparatively... but... bl**dy boring!

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replied on Nov 30, 2018
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience


I want to say that all that your experiencing right now is extremely normal, especially given that you have joined in the middle of an engagement. You are new to consulting, the firm, the team and quite likely the industry and function too. That is a LOT to deal with! It is never easy to start off in the middle of a project no matter how good you are and the fact that you are helping out and making slides and analyzing information is a big deal. As you get quicker, and build knowledge and trust, you will be tasked with more to do. Once they realize that you can contribute well and can do good work, you will get more responsibilities. These things take time and especially your first project you have to focus more on doing small tasks really well and not worry about owning large workstreams.

As you can imagine, there is no fixed point at which things change but they most definitely do. For me it was after 2 months when my team was going through a transition and I was suddenly the most experienced person at the client site. I realized I actually knew a lot and even though I wasn't as involved as more senior peers of mine I had built strong client relationships with the people I worked with and they trusted my work. The first few months are tough, hang in there and soon enough you'll know what your strengths are and why you are a valued member of the team.

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Anonymous B replied on Dec 01, 2018

I know this may not be of comfort... but you can do 2 things.

1. Find a mentor. There's bound to be someone.

2. Work like hell. Even when you get back to the hotel.

Don't forget to get some exercise. This is important.

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Anonymous C replied on Apr 02, 2019

From my side, being a candidate, it took for me few months to at least establish the fundamentals & things start making sense. I recommend to keep up working, especially preplounge is a good resource, try to benefit as much as possible. Be focused, concise & practice...


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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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