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What kind of technical skill is required for consulting graduate schemes vs what is taught?

graduate program technical skill training
Recent activity on Jul 12, 2018
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Anonymous asked on Jul 12, 2018

i.e. particularly interested whether consulting firms expect a thorough knowledge of the various frameworks, models etc. that are taught on PrepLounge or if they expect to teach you this in the graduate scheme.

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replied on Jul 12, 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Kay,

to be successful in consulting you need to learn and internalize a wide array of methodological skills that will allow you to perform "the job". That being said, don't fall for the misconception that these skills are covered by "frameworks"! There are certain fundamental lines of thinking that can help frame your approach towards client problems (e.g., the classical McKinsey Problem Solving approach), but this should not be confused with "frameworks" you find in case interview literature.

Here is a quite comprehensive list of skills that will come help to become a great strategy consultant:

  1. Market research. Whether you are analyzing ways of improving production or efficiency of marketing activities you will have to do some sort of market, competition or consumer research. Therefore, be aware of the methods and resources available.
  2. Excel. Excel will be your daily bread, your dearest friend to learn how to present the problem in Excel an how to use it to solve them. Have a look at some nice examples of such an analyses.
  3. Financial modeling - as a strategy consultant you will be doing a lot of project that show the value of the company. For this you will often have to create a financial model which analyzes value levers, sensitivities, etc.
  4. Learn to simplify complicated methods. Learning some fundamental economic principles would be a great idea. If you did not have it in your studies or you would like to revise: Fundamentals of Value Creation. Learn also day-to-day tools like bottom up approach, top-down approach, drawing issue trees, benchmarking, etc. that will make your life much easier
  5. Learn how to be 80/20. As a MBB consultant you have to work MUCH faster then the clients you are working for. You cannot achieve it through normal means so you have to be smart and selective. You have to master 80/20, identifying low hanging fruits, boosting your own productivity, removing bottlenecks etc.
  6. Verbal Communication - as MBB consultant you also have to learn to properly express yourself so that your voice is heard and valued.
  7. Written communication. Writing in a clear and coherent manner is key! Young consultants sometimes want to tell everything at the same time. They do not structure their thought properly and sometimes don't see the difference between important and not important. Therefore, learn to be clear and precise! Get acquainted with the "Pyramid Principle".
  8. Understand the drivers behind different business models. Every business model has 3–5 drivers that make it or break it. In Consulting you learn how to identify them and address them.

Cheers, Sidi

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McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
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