What do you learn in Banking and Consulting?
What do you learn in Banking and Consulting?

What do you learn in Banking and Consulting?

From Spencer:

  1. McKinsey Approach to Problem Solving - there is a classic McKinsey white paper on how to use hypothesis based problem solving. We could go deep on this.
  2. The McKinsey Approach to Problem Solving.pdf1086.4KB
  3. How to structure anything - arguments, pyramid principle
    • As a consultant, you craft arguments using data and storying telling. Each document you create and deliver to a client is comprised of premises and conclusions. The premises are validated through the McKinsey Approach to Problem Solving, backed in data (analytics, expert interviews, benchmarks, and strung together to support a conclusion or a recommendation for the client. The main medium for communicating these recommendations are slide decks. These are key artifacts for consulting. The cynic would say that consultants drop a stack of slides on an executives desk and their work is done. The idealist sees the deck is evidence of the thinking and analysis that went into the recommendation.
    • In order to effectively craft the story, you have to be structured. In 1963, McKinsey & Company hired Barbara Minto from HBS, the first female MBA hire by the firm. She was only at McKinsey for 10 years, but she made a lasting impact business logic broadly by coining a term "MECE" (pronounced "ME-see") meaning "Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive." MECE is a structure to keep in mind when you organize information, craft arguments, or talk about key factors affecting an outcome. It is a method of organization based on logic. Let's define the terms and look at some examples:
      • Mutually Exclusive - Each item in a group is unique from all other items in the group
      • Collectively Exhaustive - All items in the group compose the entire universe of the phenomena you are investigating
    • For a simple version let's take world religions. Christianity, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, etc.
    • The list below is both mutually exclusive (Christianity, is not Islam, and given that Christianity is its own bucket, it can not logically fit in "all other") and collectively exhaustive (You could put any religion in the world into the Christianity, Islam, or all "other bucket").

    • What about the below? Which principle does this violate?
    • image

      This list violates Mutually Exclusive because Protestant is a sect of Christianity, and should therefore be in the Christian bucket.

    • What about the below example?
    • image

    • This violates collectively exhaustive. Where would you put Buddhism.
    • Pro Tip: When it comes to structuring information in business context, you want to make sure you are including all necessary buckets / premises, but you don't need to belabor all possible buckets for the point of being collectively exhaustive. You'll see in the business example below.
    • Here is a sample framework to consider when structuring your thinking.
    • image
    • Let's look at an example. You have been asked by NewCo to do an analysis to determine whether or not they should launch a new product.
    • You have done the McKinsey Approach to Problem Solving and come to the conclusion that NewCo should launch the new product.


  4. How to tell stories with slides - leads, supporting data, visualizations, how to craft that into a story
  5. Syndication with stakeholders- leading people along. Everything that happens before SteerCo’s.
  6. Helpful mindsets - “put a stake in the ground,” relationship between time and expectations, experience management, “obligation to dissent”
    1. Put a Stake in the ground - At one of my first trainings, the director of learning shared the importance of having an opinion — even if it is the wrong opinion.


Think about and ask people about what you learn in these careers. There's obviously a reason investment firms typically look for people with these backgrounds, so try and isolate the things that people you learn from those experiences.

Tips and Tricks


Banking & Consulting: Other Resources