What books/online materials would you recommend regarding these areas?

Books
Anonymous A asked on Jun 01, 2020

I'd like to seek advice on book/online material recommendations on a few core areas that I would like to develop for a future career in consulting. My consulting knowledge base is built by doing case practising, but I want to gain more practical knowledge. I am trying to find some good materials to enable me to have a view on how consultants work and think, and also help me to develop key skill sets:

1. Hypothesis thinking: any book (except "The BCG Way") that provides real-world examples on how to develop and verify hypothesis? I developed an understanding of hypothesis thinking during case interviews, but I want to know how this concept really works in the consulting industry.

2. Problem-solving skill: I know this might sound very general, but are there any materials that would be helpful to develop the problem-solving skills that consultant need? For instance, a book that provides examples/practice questions/answer of solving business issues in different industries?

3. Storyboarding: any books focusing on "storyboarding skills"?

4. Practical consulting cases with recommendations: are there any books that shares real examples (or even pitch decks) on how a strategy consulting firm helped corporates to solve a specific issue?

Thanks for your sharing!

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on Jun 06, 2020
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on Jun 06, 2020
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Hi,

1. Hypothesis thinking is not that widely used in real projects. You get the hypotheses either during the scope negotiation before the project or during diagnostics.

Real hypothesis thinking is widely used in product management, and much less in consulting. The best book to understand the basics of hypothesis thinking is "From zero to one" by Peter Thiel. To drill deeper - there are tons of Product management books on Amazon. "Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology" is a good one

2. Several ways to build industry knowledge:

  1. Practice more cases with the other candidates. Try to start with the most common industries - Retail, Consumer Goods, Airlines, Banking

  2. Study the annual reports of the public companies in each industry. They have a good overview of the company and the industry.

  3. Get the industry information from relevant books, magazines, etc.

  4. Study MBA cases. They have a good industry overview. You can purchase HBS cases here: https://hbr.org/store/case-studies

For each industry, you should understand:

  • Revenue streams

  • Cost structure

  • Average margins

  • Key Performance Indicators

  • Industry trends

3. "Pyramid Principle" by Barabara Minto is the right one

4. There are lots of decks available online (Slideshare, PDF search). Even if most of them look like generic knowledge nugget - there is always a real client issue behind it.

Best

Was this answer helpful? 9

Hi there,

Sharing some thoughts below on your questions.

(1) Sometimes the hypothesis is not explicit spelled out in real work, but we surely have a structure in mind as per what are the areas that the team would look into. It is quite similar to how you solve a case. If there is any difference - the prioritisation might happen earlier, as experts and/or partners could have already have the experiences and learning from other cases, and they know where to focus. So, if you are good with hypothesis thinking in case, you should be okay. No need to particularly find additional readings.

(2) Problem solving: You can use GMAT materials to practice problem solving.

(3) Storyboarding: Read articles on HBR, NYT, The Economist etc.

(4) Case with recommendation: Look for the case examples on MBB website. They do provide show briefs and/or credentials about how they solve problem for clients under different industry or functions.

Best,

Emily

Was this answer helpful? 8

Hello!

Good post!

On top of the insights already shared in the post, and regarding your point 3 "storytelling", the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34)

It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes, since we still have some left from the launch!

Hope you find it useful!

Best,

Clara

Was this answer helpful? 6
  • Read the Economist AND the Financial Times daily
  • SpencerTom is an awesome resource with articles on all kinds of relevant topcis (casing, problem solving, real-world lessons, etc) https://www.spencertom.com/category/management-consulting/
  • Read BCG Insights and McKinsey Insights
  • Anything by Malcolm Gladwell (consultant-style thinking/communication)

(edited)

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Dear A,

I support Vlad's book proposal. From my side I would also mention McKinsey Way and I want to pay your attention one more time on "Pyramid Principle" book.

Also, for candidates like you, who have already secured the offer with a leading consulting firm, I have designed my program "Get ready for the first 100 days " as well as long-term career planning. This program touches all the important aspects: the mindset, the skills, knowledge, networking and ,managing yourself as well, your bosses and clients - everything that is important in your successful career.

In fact, I'm sharing my knowledge of 6 years career experience in consulting, where I was able to land on the fast track promotion and to be promoted from consultant to a project manager just within 3 years, which is extremely fast.

Happy to share these insights with you, feel free to reach out directly to me.

Good luck,

André

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Vlad gave the best answer

Vlad

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