what excel skills do i need to start my consulting internship

New answer on Jun 08, 2020
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Val asked on Feb 13, 2018

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replied on Feb 13, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

To add to the above:

-Sensitivity tables (1 input, 2 input)

-Text manipulation functions (len,left,right, etc)

-Conditional functions (if, sumif, etc)

-Search functions (please use index/match instead of vlookup as it is more robust)

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 13, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Depending on whether it is an MBA / Grad internship. For an MBA internship you are expected to know both basics and advanced:


  • 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


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Anonymous replied on Jun 08, 2020

Dear A,

It would be helpful for you to learn the business-focused Excel features.

In business, about 80% of your work will come from 20% of the functionality of the Microsoft Excel.

The core skills of a competent business Excel user are something like:

  • Formatting & basic formulas
  • Mouse-free Excel navigation
  • Vlookups & conditional statements
  • Data analysis - filtering, sorting, and analyzing data
  • Data visualization - tables, charts, and dual axis charts
  • What-if-analysis
  • Pivot tables

If you can do these things, you’ll outperform 95% of people in the workplace.

To learn these concepts, you could:

  • Learn the concepts online for free
  • Take an online course

If you’re looking for something free, I’d recommend Googling & Youtube-ing those topics on my list. Tons of free material online. On Udemy you can also find some courses.

If you’re short on time, take a short business-focused online course.

I’d recommend the following business-focused course focused on mastering the 20% of functions that make up 80% of Excel work.



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Andrea gave the best answer


Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer
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