It’s finally here! Last week, we quietly launched 3 Month Mastery – Keys to Becoming a Top-Rated Management Consultant —the only ebook that gives you actionable advice for your first 3 months on the job AND resources for preparing before you start.
This is our very first book published for Kindle, and it is now available on our site! Find it here for only $35!
Over the past 5 years, we have received hundreds of emails from soon-to-be management consultants and MC readers after they received offers from McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and other top firms. Here’s what they were asking:
“Is there anything I can start doing now to prepare?”
If this sounds familiar—we’re here to help!
YES, there is an entire book full of things you can do to start preparing—and we cover it all in 3 Month Mastery.
This is hands-down the most practical book you can read on getting ready for your career as a management consultant. Why? Because it’s based on real MBB experience, told with a bit of wit and humor, and it’s insanely practical. It will make the difference between your ability to guide your career where you want it to go, or your decision to go along with the rest of the herd.
When I started at Bain, I was an experienced hire—I’d been out of school for about two and a half years, but to say that I was truly an experienced professional in Bain terms was a stretch because for a year of that I had backpacked and volunteered around the world. Most of the work I had done prior to joining Bain was structured by me and for me in Africa, of all places. I had never worn anything business formal to work. Bain was on my horizon—and I needed more than just a new wardrobe. I needed a new mindset.
When I decided to pursue consulting and accepted an offer from Bain, I relished my last few days of freedom and did very little to prepare. Looking back now, I think I did what was at most an average job of setting myself up for success.
There were some key things that I did really well early on that were natural for me, and then there were some major opportunities that I missed to set myself up for success on the job.
If I could do it over again, I would do SO MANY things differently.
There are things I wish I would have known that would have set me up to be a top performer at the company from the start, primed for early promotion and coveted as a team member. Instead of having to work my butt off to get a top performance rating, I could have started out that way. That’s why I’m sharing this book with you. I want to help you build a strategy for your consulting career, starting today.
Here’s a sneak peek of the 6 Prep Steps I focus on in 3 Month Mastery. Each Prep Step comes with free online tutorials, actionable prep steps, and consulting-specific exercises.
Prep Step #1 – Microsoft Excel
Having killer modeling skills is the best way to differentiate yourself from other new consultants in the early days. Excel mastery is key to establishing your preparedness and setting yourself on an accelerated path as a new consultant.
I walk you through the 5 factors that make a great model in Excel and the key functionality you’ll need to know, including formulas and tools to be familiar with—like pivot tables and macros. You can use the free online resources to either cut your teeth or test your prowess in Excel. If you want more practice (a great idea, by the way), go right now and get Mergers & Inquisitions’ Advanced Excel Modeling course.
Prep Step #2 – Microsoft Access
Unlike Excel—where you’ll be expected to know and use the program 100% of the time—it’s less certain whether or not you’ll use Access on the job. Because you don’t know if it will be critical to your performance, it’s best to be prepared and have at minimum some familiarity with the database program.
In the book, I give examples of how I used Access at Bain and why having familiarity with it is so valuable to consultants in any field.
Prep Step #3 – Microsoft Powerpoint
Like Excel, PowerPoint is a must-know. Even some basic familiarity will save HOURS of time. We cover all the key skills you should know before your first day and give you exercises to practice your new-found knowledge.
I also take a deep dive into Powerpoint-for-consulting features including style, headers, flow, and structure as well as key formatting tools that will be life-savers when you put together your first presentation slides.
Prep Step #4 – Customer information
Here I give you an explanation of surveys and focus groups and how you’ll use them, including 3 things you’ll want to pay particular attention to with surveys. I also offer quick and easy practice exercises to try out SurveyMonkey and Wufoo so you can structure your own surveys, collect and analyze data, and get thinking about how you’d build a survey if you were responsible for collecting the data.
The free online resources include a great article from McKinsey on focus groups.
Prep Step #5 – Accounting
Don’t panic—I’m not talking about the type of accounting you tried to learn in school. As a consultant you’ll focus on strategic accounting—in other words, understanding the key principles of financial statements to extract management insights.
I give you the low-down on which company documents you’ll need to be familiar with and where to find them. I also include a super helpful exercise to give you a taste of what you’ll be expected to know and instructions for more practice.
Prep Step #6 – Market Research
Although the bulk of your research will come from support staff or companies who specialize in market research, you will do some on your own, especially as a junior or associate consultant. Whether you or someone else is doing the dirty work, it’s important to understand the logic behind your research.
I cover the 5 databases that will be most commonly available to you and key tips for leveraging them.
In addition to the 6 Prep Steps to become a top-notch consultant, I go into detail on the 11 key mistakes you don’t want to make as a new consultant—including sensitive topics like:
- what to expect from your supervisor from day 0-90
- how to interact with senior consultants in your first year
- becoming a key player in meetings as early as orientation
- how to handle being on the beach in your first 3 months
I also dedicate an entire section to logistics, giving you everything you need to be thinking about before your first day—like finding a consulting-friendly place to live, setting up your mode of transportation, registering for loyalty programs, building an appropriate wardrobe, and considerations for retirement and bank accounts.
Seriously, we cover it all—even the things you wouldn’t have thought you needed to do—like scheduling your hair appointments 6 months out, finding a dry cleaner, doing a dry run to the office the week before you start, and writing your Last Will & Testament.
If you’re starting as a management consultant this fall, 3 Month Mastery is an absolutely essential tool for you.