What to buy prior to starting

BCG McKinsey and Bain
New answer on Sep 28, 2022
8 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Sep 20, 2022

Hey everyone,

I accepted an offer in Norway for as a specialist at Mckinsey. I will be starting next month, I was wondering what kind of things will be provided (phones, laptops etc) and what kind of things we should buy prior to starting (Tablets, Suits etc)

Appreciate your time everyone!

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 20, 2022
#1 rated and most recommended McKinsey Coach | 97% success rate (tracked) | Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

HI there, 

Congrats! You're off to quite a journey!

You can expect to be literally provided with anything but your clothes and suitcase. 

The Firm will provide you with all the tech devices you need (phone, laptop, etc.), trainings and lots of other things depending on location (e.g., in most office you even receive a briefcase). 

In terms of clothing and suitcase, I would advise you to invest in a few very good quality items. So in case you don't have that already, buy a couple of high quality suits and have them tailored. They will last you a long time (perhaps beyond your time with McKinsey) and you will always leave a good impression. Same with the suitcase. Make sure that you get one with 4 wheels that move independently from each other, so it's easy to shift it around wherever you are. 

One other thing I found useful is to always have a sleeping mask in my briefcase so I could take some powernaps on flights regardless of time of day. 


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Content Creator
replied on Sep 20, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

How exciting! So you'll be provided with all the equipment that you need - I suggest investing in a good work wardrobe, a decent bag on four wheels for when you travel (so much better than two as you don't have to support its weight); a backpack with a sleeve hook at the back so that it can slot onto your bag; and a good credit card with lots of points available. 

Have fun!! 

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replied on Sep 20, 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching| Free 15 min intro call | Personalized approach


Congratulations on the offer! The key things to buy are:

  • Good briefcase / handbag / backpack
  • Good carryon suitcase
  • Business wardrobe (bearing in mind the dress code at your office)
  • Travel essentials (e.g., toiletries bag, document carrier)

As others have pointed out, a laptop, phone, and stationery will be provided.

After you start and get the hang of the job a little bit, you will likely see what other essentials you would like to have to make your work environment more pleasant. For instance, some people like to invest in fancy headphones, laptop cases, water bottle/coffee thermoses, etc. 

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 20, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

If you are interested in physical things

  • Business attire
  • A proper suitcase
  • Travel essentials

Everything else will be provided by the Firm. Do not buy a tablet as you would not be allowed to use it and can only work with Firm-secured tech equipment.

If you are interested in preparing for your new role, I'd suggest the following:

When I got the offer some years ago I did the same. I reached out to people I knew in McKinsey and people who interviewed me to ask: what can I do to make the start easier? how can I prepare?

The answer from everyone was: Relax! Enjoy your time before you start and don't think about it. You will figure it out on the job. I followed that advice and it made sense to me once I joined.

When you start at McKinsey there are 2 ways to learn:

  1. Formal training. The formal training sessions/ weeks/ days in the beginning, are nice, however, they are more for networking and meeting your peers. You learn some interesting concepts and get some useful tips from more experienced consultants BUT
  2. Constant and implicit learning on the job is where it's at. No matter if you are a newcomer or a veteran after 2 years, you will always find yourself on a steep learning curve. As soon as you barely mastered one skill or the skills needed for one level in the hierarchy, you will take care of things, which are expected from a more senior colleague. This cycle never ends. You are expected to learn on the job, learn from your colleagues, your mentors, sometimes even the client. So basically a newly promoted Engagement Manager has the same 'struggle' as a new-hire Business Analyst. They both need to work in a completely new environment and role.

Knowing that, if we now go back to square one in your McKinsey journey it makes perfect sense to enter the firm with a blank slate with a lot of curiosity and eagerness to soak it all up and quickly learn the ropes.

No book, no training, no coach can prepare you for your first day, your first week, your first engagement. Nothing matches the experience and the learning and this is a good thing (also the reason why ex-McKinsey are valued highly on the job market).

You will learn everything you need to master while doing it. You will be thrown in the cold water and need to swim. However, your colleagues will always be happy to help you and mentor you. And for the rest, you will figure everything out along the way. The key here is always to ask for tips, shortcuts, feedback, etc. Don't be quiet if you get stuck.

Also, for every technical problem (IT, Excel question, etc) McKinsey has a Global Helpdesk and the rule is to call them for every problem you can't solve within 5 minutes. They will fix your computer, guide you through Excel formulas, etc.

Lastly, if you have no domain knowledge about a certain industry or topic, read through the internal library of documentation (which is endless) and call some of the firm experts on the topic. Usually, they are happy to offer you a short call to get you up to speed.

Don't sweat the small stuff and enjoy the ride!



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replied on Sep 20, 2022
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

Good recommendations are already listed in previous responses.

In addition, I suggest to make sure you capture all of the travel perks if you do end up traveling for business. This means signing up for the loyalty programs of the different airlines and hotel chains so you collect points and rewards along the way. Get credit cards that have cashback features or other perks like point-multipliers, insurance packages, etc.

While this is not at the core of your consulting job and doesn't take priority over learning all of the basic consulting skills when you start, it's still fun to optimize your travel rewards. I often check the link below for inspiration and current promotions




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Content Creator
replied on Sep 20, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Congrats on the offer!

I agree with Francesco on the categories.

What to buy (in general):

  1. Work clothes (enough to rotate seamlessly and get into a good rhythm) 
  2. Suitcase / backpack
  3. Good travel gear (toiletries bag, etc.)
  4. Anything for ergonomic help
  5. Anything that might save time (meal delivery etc)

What not to buy (it's provided):

  1. Phone
  2. Laptop
  3. Pen/Paper/Notebook

I'm sure I'm missing things, but you will also learn in the first week or two what's helpful and what isn't. The key is to get into a rhythm and make sure you're saving as much time as you can on things that you can

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 20, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Congratulations on the offer!

Q: I was wondering what kind of things will be provided (phones, laptops etc) and what kind of things we should buy prior to starting (Tablets, Suits etc)

They should provide all the IT stuff. The main things you will need to buy are:

  • Outfits. I would try to have enough suits/shirts etc for 2 weeks
  • Personal belonging to travel (if needed). They should provide the computer bag, but probably no more than that

You can find below some tips for general preparation before starting:

▶ How to Prepare for a Consulting Job

All the best for your new job! 


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replied on Sep 28, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

You'll get all the electronics you need.

What you need is business attire for 2-3 weeks without being able to do any laundry, and everything you would need for travel (suitcase, etc.).

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