More and more people are interested in becoming a consultant in the subject/field he or she is fully knowledgeable about. Consulting is known for its attractive salary and intellectual challenges. For a junior management consultant, it’s unavoidable to work overtime to adjust to the fast-paced environment and get used to the consulting jobs.
However, if you know how to use a little bit of programming knowledge to deal with the data, you will greatly increase your work efficiency. You have to understand how technology will affect your business and take full advantage of it. As a junior management consultant, your quick response will help your team focus more on who your users are, what they want, and how to meet their demands quickly.
The skills below will enable you to increase your efficiency at work and have more time to improve your personal skills.
Be an Excel Expert
Excel is by far the simplest and most convenient way to deal with large data sets. Not only four different types of calculation operators, but various statistical analysis, matrix operations and linear programming are very useful and worth the time to get them skillful. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are as good as an Excel expert by using a number of keyboard shortcuts and the VLOOKUP formula. Functions such as matrix multiplication, vector multiplication and Offset / Cells / Row / Range functions, at the very least, need to be very skillful for most financial models.
Microsoft Excel can deal with tons of big data and is very powerful and important in your daily work. Practice makes perfect. Learn more and keep practicing.
Online resources to bring your Excel skills to another higher level. For example, Excel is Fun in YouTube
I strongly recommend you to master two functions.
1. Array function
Array functions often work with data related and address related functions such as
Index function, Indirect function and Address function. These functions could be an alternative to various SQL statements to some extent.
2. VBA Programming
VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) is hosted in Microsoft Office tools such as Excel, PowerPoint or Word and could be used to synchronize information among Office tools that are compatible with VBA. Using VBA can better execute some tasks that Excel cannot complete with available functions.
VBA can be carried out without programming effort. VBA works by running the macros.You can use the macro recorder to record a macro in Excel VBA, or write some macro script to create a macro. You can learn Excel VBA tips and tricks from online resources.
Despite the fact that you can do a lot of things without programming, you need to learn and write your own VBA macros in the VBA programming language if you want to be an Excel VBA guru.
Be a PowerPoint Expert
PowerPoint presentations are one of the best ways to pitch ideas/proposals to your partners or clients. Similarly, there are lots of learning tutorials, tips, and free PowerPoint templates on the internet for you to improve your presentation skills. It’s worth mentioning that you can use macros in PowerPoint to automate a tedious task or do other things. For example, you can replace all the fonts and font sizes in your presentation at one time by using the macro you recorded in PowerPoint and changing the parameter in the script. You can also write a VBA program to export Excel spreadsheets into PowerPoint to sync the data. Thus when you need to update the content of the PowerPoint, you just need to update your Excel spreadsheets.
Web Scraping Capabilities
We benefit from large amounts of data available online. Keeping up to date with all the trends and changes in your industry/field is more challenging and important in today’s environment whatsoever. For example, a hedge fund analyst will need to collect brokers’ information on several real estate websites by copying and pasting into Excel and adding up the dollars traded for every transaction. He or she needs to do the job weekly to check the incremental transaction volumes of every broker for judgment analysis. With a web crawler, it’s easy to grab such information automatically from these real estate websites and turn it into structured data for further analysis, rather than manually collect the data.
If it’s hard to write your own web crawler using programming languages but you love to learn, fear not, there are lots of automated web scraping tools such as Octoparse, import.io or webharvy available online for you. Most of them will offer a builder and many advanced features for you to create your own web crawler. No coding required. Just follow the tutorials provided and try out yourself will make you get used to these wonderful tools.
You will learn what HTML is, what a dynamic web page is, what the structure of a website is, what the API is used for, and some tools that can be used to get the exact content of the web page. Once you know how to use these web scraping tools, you will realize the huge potential of the web data and have managed to get your hands on the data you want. Some of these web scraping tools are free, some of them have trial versions and premium plans. Evaluate these tools and select some of them to suit your needs.
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By the way, once you have your structured data ready, you need to get your message across in a vivid way.
Visualization is by far the best way to catch attention to key messages, and discover amazing findings that would not be apparent from statistical tables or reports. And similarly, there are many data visualization tools to help you dig into your data and get the value from your data.
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- Organize interview notes
- Have a good healthy body
- Have a great sleep
Once you master Excel, VBA and web crawling skills, you will definitely improve the work efficiency and have excellent job performance, thus will help your team to deliver your professional advice for your clients. Your manager may think highly of you and you will be able to handle more responsibility. You will learn more from your older colleagues and think more about your job as a consultant. You may have more chances to get a job promotion or higher paying, to work with smart coworkers, to travel around the world, to meet more talented leaders, and even to start your own consulting business.