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What things do I need for starting my entry level consulting job?

Anonymous A asked on Mar 04, 2017 - 7 answers

Hey everyone! I hope this is not a too trivial a question, but what things do I need, like what should I buy for starting my entry level job as MBB consultant? How many suits? Suitcase? Laptop bag? What kind of calculator? Is there anything that came in handy for you when you started your job? I would really appreciate some help as I'm on a tight budget for now and don't want to waste money on unnecessary things.

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Andrea
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replied on Feb 04, 2018
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BCG will provide you with anything you need to do your jobwithin reason:

-laptop

-wifi hotspot

-multiple chargers

-3M privacy screen

-phone

-secured USB stick

-pen, paper,etc

-etc

what you might want to get yourself due to personal preferences:

-(if you use one) travel mouse

-(since you are an associate) second screen for when you travel so you can work on multiple screens

-USB power bank

In terms of clothing there was a post a few weeks back about it.

hope it helps,

Andrea

Anonymous replied on Feb 05, 2018

Hey anonymous,

First of all, congratulations on your offer!

Second, if I was you I would spend some money in getting a couple of really nice and good suits, shirts, ties and shoes (first impression is important so many times undervalued in consulting!!!), and wouldn’t really bother about getting any IT material - you will/can get pretty much everything you will neee to excel during your job (I don’t remember buying a single IT gadget in my last 5 years)

Best

Bruno

Francesco
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replied on Apr 13, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

for what concerns suits and luggage: you should be ok with 5 outfits (non necessarily 5 different suits – you could readapt some of them with different shirts/ties) and the hand luggage.

For how to prepare, you can divide preparation on technical, communication and goal setting/stress management skills.

  • On the technical side, Excel will be the most important technical thing to master at the beginning, in particular for what concerns VLOOKUP and Pivot tables; an additional useful review may concern PowerPoint, which you will also use pretty intensively. At BCG we got training courses we could use to improve on them, and I guess you will receive equivalent training in other firms but so far that you have already mastered the skills before joining (you can find several courses online for both for free), even better.
  • For what concerns communication, a classic on the topic is the book “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. Any sales experience you may have before joining would also be very helpful.
  • Finally, for goal setting/stress management I would recommend “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.

A couple of things that could help you during your first weeks are instead the following:

  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. Ask for feedback every two-three weeks – this will show you are proactive and willing to learn.
  3. Always double check. First impression is very important in consulting: if you show you are reliable from the beginning, you will create a reputation of a reliable person.
  4. 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.
  5. Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Vlad
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updated his answer on Apr 12, 2018
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Hi,

Sorry, will not give you an advice re suits or luggage - it's all personal and minor. Carry-on simplify your life though.

I would concentrate on getting the right financial modeling skills and presenting your analysis in Power Point.

1) Financial modeling - the best course I know is Training The Street. Take Financial Modeling, Valuation, Maybe LBO. Also, learn the basic statistics tools

2) Power Point - Google for MBB presentations and try to replicate them. Search for tips and tricks in books / internet in parallel. Plus read "Say it with charts" and "Pyramid Principle"

And finally - take a long vacation before starting your job;)

Good Luck!

(edited)

Srihari
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replied on Mar 04, 2017
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Good news for you - not much you need to spend money on before you start. Here's what you need

Dress code

This usually varies by sector/region. I will say that you don't need to be fancy, but you need to be neat, especially at the entry level - meaning, you don't need to spend a lot, but those clothes need to be ironed, for example. For example, in the Middle East you need to wear suits (for guys, women wear abayas so they don't need to worry about anything in this respect), in the US most of the time you wear a shirt and pants. I'd have 1 suit ready regardless, and enough semi-formal/business casual clothes to last you comfortably for a week and where you won't need to wear the same thing every week. If you are a guy, have a few ties. I don't know enough about women's attire if you are asking about that, but follow the same/equivalent principles. That's the minimum. Some clients vary (US hospitals, investment banks, some government entities, some regions) - but wait until you are assigned a client and then just buy what you need before you start.

Suitcase

Get a decent roller bag - a lot of consultants get a Tumi brand. I survived for 2 years on a Samsonite $60 bag which no one complained about. You only need a larger suitcase for international trips - again, wait for the assignment abroad before you go spending.

Laptop bag

My company provided one - send an email asking if this is the case for your company/office

Calculator/other equipment

None needed - all software will be on your laptop and provided.

What else comes in handy?

Being relaxed and ready to go!

For the most part, you should be able to survive at the beginning based on what you likely already have as an accomplished college graduate. If you are in a unique case you may have to pick up 1-2 extra suits or something, but wait until someone tells you something before you go spending.