I often get asked what aspiring management consultants should do after receiving an MBA admit before they matriculate into their programs. While I generally recommend that you take a break and unwind before the academic and recruiting madness begins, those who are really interested can add a few tasks to their to-do list. First on that list:
Learn how to solve case interviews
If you are interested in management consulting, you likely know that the case interview is the gateway to a consulting job. There is no getting around it. A lot of your interview prep during the MBA is going to focus on practicing cases with your classmates and members of the Consulting Club.
For those unfamiliar with case interviews, the time prior to matriculation may be a good time to invest in learning the fundamentals of solving cases. This is useful, not only for consulting jobs, but also for other corporate strategy roles that you may pursue during your MBA.
In this listicle, I’m going to share resources (books and courses) you can study to:
- Understand the basics of Case Interview, including Case Math
- Learn the advanced approach to structuring and solving Case Interviews effectively
- Learn the skills you’d need to work in consulting and excel as a consultant (including communication skills)
Hopefully, this list can serve as a launch pad so that when the MBA program begins, you can focus on networking with consulting companies and working on your fit interview skills.
Note 1: This list does not focus on improving your resume, sharpening your networking skills, or on acing the fit interviews. I’ll cover more of that in another article.
Note 2: It also doesn’t cover a very important aspect of reading various business journals to become familiar with the latest business practices and strategies – I’d suggest you do this everyday, going forward. However, if you are looking at learning the business foundations, I’ve listed a few resources in the Business Foundations article that can help make you familiar with what to expect in your first term as an MBA student.
Management Consulting Prep List
Case Interview Preparation: Books
Case In Point
This is the standard book you’ll be asked to buy in nearly every business school. I’d suggest buying this book and reading all the foundational theory of Case Interview Prep. However, I wouldn’t rely on this for all your case prep needs.
Crack the Case System — MUST STUDY
In my opinion, this is one of the best case prep resources brought to you by MBA Case. I find the frameworks and the approach to solving cases to be more insightful than any other book I’ve referenced. This book is a must-have.
Vedic Mathematics Made Easy
If maths was your weak point during GMAT prep, it may be useful to brush up on some speed math. I tend to refer to Vedic Maths books to build skills to do quick calculations. Once you’ve build this foundation, you can focus on Case Prep specific math drills (which I’ve covered later in this list).
Case Interview Preparation (including Case Math): Courses
Management Consulted Case Interview and Math Drills
I found a couple of free resources that can help with the case preparation frameworks as well as free math drills to familiarize you with the kind of fast math you can expect to do during a case.
Victor Cheng – Look Over My Shoulder Program
Victor Cheng of the caseinterview.com fame is probably the OG of all case interview prep. You’ll find many undergrads and MBA students refer to his material as well as purchase the Look Over My Shoulder (LOMS) program to see example of how to solve cases well.
I used LOMS extensively when I was preparing (ca. 2012). Victor has updated his LOMS material considerably since then, including adding Math drills, so I’m not fully familiar with how good the program is now. I’d imagine it could only be better than what it was – which was great to begin with. While it was useful and a worthwhile investment, I would still mark it as optional compared to the course below.
MBA Case – Crack the Case Crash Course — MUST STUDY
This is presented by MBA Case – the same folks that introduced the Crack the Case System book I’ve recommended above. I think this is a must study resource to get you fully familiar with solving cases. I had tremendous success with this program, and would strongly suggest you to get a subscription.
It is well worth the investment.
MBA Case Fast Math — MUST STUDY
Fast Math used to be an independent program that is now fully integrated into MBA Case as their accompanying program. I really enjoyed the math drills in the course, and it mimics some of the questions you may expect to find in a case interview. If you are nervous about doing mental math (which you will have to do often in almost every case interview), definitely subscribe to this course.
Management Consulting Skills: Books & Courses
The Pyramid Principle — MUST STUDY
This is a must read book for any aspiring consultant (or really any professional, in my opinion). Barbara Minto, a former McKinsey executive, has detailed out a communication guide that is considered the gold standard for structuring and communicating any consulting presentation. If you internalize the lessons here, it’ll translate to how you verbally present the key findings during your case interview as well.
Management Consulting Essential Training — MUST STUDY
Through this course on Udemy, you will learn the basics of what a management consultant does. This program is taught by industry professionals who have real-world experience to bring to the table. If you have never worked in the consulting industry and are curious whether the work excites you, it may be worth checking out.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this course:
Management Consulting Skills Mastery
This is an advanced program that builds upon the Essential Training program I’ve recommended above. Also available on Udemy, it is extremely highly rated and goes into the details of working on a consulting engagement, building simple financial statement analyses, and developing better communication skills that’s required for the consulting industry. Give this a try only after you’ve completed the case prep training.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this course:
Management Consulting Presentation Essentials — MUST STUDY
One of the highest rated courses on Udemy, I highly suggest this course as a companion to the Pyramid Principle book. Like it or not, a vast majority of your days as an Analyst or Associate at a consulting firm will be spent working on presentation decks. In this course, you will learn how the best consulting firms build their presentations and synthesize findings onto a storyboard.
I hope you find the resources I’ve curated useful. I’m sure it’ll help you crack the consulting case interviews just as they helped me. If you have any questions, contact me and I’ll help you out.
If you looking to get a leg-up on the fundamentals of business / management that you’ll learn as a Year 1 MBA student, then read the Business Foundation Courses list.
PS: If you decide to purchase resources from my site, I may earn some income through affiliate partnerships. And this comes at no added cost to you.