Tag Archive: Book


My curiosity about the world of management consulting led me to this book; The McKinsey Way. It was written by Ethan M. Rasiel, a former employee of McKinsey & Company, the most prestigious consulting firm in the world. I found this book to be quite valuable in that it helped me paint a picture of the world of management consulting and also provided me with helpful tips and advice for a career in management consulting.

The introductory chapter provides some background information on the prestige of the firm, both past and present. It is a firm that hires the “cream of each year’s crop of business school graduates” and has a very long list of highly accomplished alumni; a list that includes names like Tom Peters, a management guru, and Harvey Golub, president of American Express. What better way to learn about the management consulting industry than through the eyes of someone who has worked with the best of the best, through the eyes of a McKinsey-ite.

The book is broken down into five main parts. First, the author introduces you to the McKinsey way of thinking about business problems; how to build the solution, how to develop an approach, as well as how to apply concepts such as the 80/20 principle. The 80/20 principle really clicked with me since I was already familiar with it and I had applied it to many aspects of my life. The 80/20 principle states that 20% of the input is responsible for 80% of the output. For example, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.

Rasiel then takes you through the McKinsey way of working to solve business problems. This includes everything from selling a study and assembling a team to conducting interviews and methods of running a brainstorming session. When a solution to the problem has been formulated, usually after many, many hours of hard work, the next step is to sell the solution. This section covers making presentations, displaying data charts, managing internal communications, and dealing with client relationships.

The fourth section of the book provides advice on how to survive at McKinsey. I felt that it was very thoughtful of the author to include this section since this type of knowledge and advice is not easy to find. The management consultant lifestyle is not for everyone and the strain from this type of job can greatly impact many other aspects of your life. Rasiel provides advice on finding a mentor, surviving on the road, the importance of a good assistant, among other relevant matters that can only be enlightened with experience. Finally, the book concludes with a section on life after McKinsey. Most former McKinsey-ites go on to lead lives of high accomplishment and success. One of the most important things that McKinsey-ites take away with them is the network that they have developed.

Among the many valuable lessons contained within this book, one thing that I am sure every reader of this book will take away with them is the concept of MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive). It is a technique used by McKinsey consultants in building the solution to a business problem. To put it simply, it means to be complete and thorough while avoiding confusion and overlap. A personal example of how I used this concept, while actually reading the book at the time, would be how I applied it to a Project Charter I was creating for my Foundations of Project Management course. I used the concept of MECE,along with the McKinsey way of always grouping lists into categories of three, when writing the Requirements section of the Project Charter. These two methods helped me in creating an exhaustive list that had no overlap and was broken down into three distinct categories.

All in all, I found this book to be of great value and I would recommend this book to not only professionals interested in consulting, but to anyone who works within an organization as many of the ideas in here are transferable.

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Hey guys,

While I was back in Ottawa for the weekend I finally discovered the wonderful world of podcasts! I was originally searching for audiobooks to listen to on my bus ride back to Toronto since I grew tired of listening to the same songs I had on my iPhone.

What is a podcast?

“A podcast (or non-streamed webcast) is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication. The word replaced webcast in common use with the success of the iPod and its role in the rising popularity and innovation of web feeds.”

– Wikipedia

I wanted my commute to be a productive activity and listening to music really doesn’t fall into that category. Also, I don’t like reading on the bus, so I began browsing iTunes for audiobooks and I stumbled upon podcasts. I was familiar with them but never really gave them a try. I thought I’d download a few to see what they were about since they were offered for free anyways.

I launched iTunes on my iPhone and browsed the “Top Tens” section of the podcasts. They were further broken down into categories such as Education, Comedy, TV & Film, Health, Arts, Music, etc.

Some of the podcasts I downloaded:

  • Coffee Break Spanish
  • The Economist
  • Harvard Business Review IdeaCast
  • Six Pixels of Separation
  • Entrepreneur Podcast
  • Tiesto’s Club Life
  • A State of Trance
  • CBC Radio
  • Discovery Channel (video podcast)
  • The Joe Rogan Experience
  • TEDTalks

I didn’t get a chance to listen to all of them even though my commute was 6 hours long. Of the podcasts that I listened to, the ones that I found to be the most valuable and interesting were The Economist, HBR IdeaCast, and Coffee Break Spanish. There are a variety of podcasts out there to suit your own interests and I encourage everyone to take a look into them. Use your time efficiently and learn on the go! Make your time count!

A few months ago, I considered starting my own blog, however, I did not start blogging until after I started reading Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel. I want to thank my good friend, a Public Relations student (http://babatundesblab.wordpress.com/), who recommended this book to me. Reading it was really the tipping point for the creation of this blog and also for the successful launch of it (500+ views within the first week, 1000+ views within the first 15 days). A large part of the success is because I created my blog with the intention of creating value, a message that is emphasized throughout this book.

bookThe tagline of the book really justifies the overall message of the book: Everyone is Connected. Connect your business to Everyone. It emphasizes the importance of online presence and online participation using medians such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google. One of my favourite lines in the book is “Your brand is not what you say it is…it’s what Google says it is” – Chris Anderson (editor-in-chief at Wired magazine and best-selling author of The Long Tail).

Written by a digital marketing expert, this book captures the essence of communication in the modern day. It integrates digital marketing, social media, personal branding, and entrepreneurship in a way that I find to be easy to understand and apply. The application value of this book cannot be overstated and I personally know this because I applied the concepts and ideas presented in this book in the early developmental phases of my blog. Everything from the creation of value, the importance of search engines, the use of SEO techniques, the value of targeting a niche, to the importance of trust online has influenced what type of content my blog contains and the way in which the content is written, shared, and marketed.

In my opinion, this is a must-read for anyone that wants to be knowledgeable about the present state of communication, social media, and the internet. It contains many valuable ideas and concepts with great application value.

My GMAT experience

Hey guys,

I thought I’d share my personal GMAT experience with everyone. This is not meant to serve as a study guide or to encourage anyone to follow my preparation strategy.

These days, writing the GMAT is a requirement for just about every top business school. It may seem strange, but I was glad that it was a requirement and was pretty excited to write it. I know that most people dislike standardized tests but I felt that this was a chance for me to challenge myself. I also liked the fact that everyone who wrote it was on a level playing field so that comparison among different applicant’s GMAT scores was a fair reflection of their performance. This was different than, for example, comparing GPA’s among different applicants. The GPA’s can vary from one university to the next and it may very well be the case that it is easier to get a higher GPA from one university than from another.

Anyways, I was pretty pumped to write the GMAT and wanted to get started right away. However, before I started studying seriously, I looked at the types of questions and gaged the difficulty of the exam to get a better feel for what I was in for. I had to make the decision of whether to study by myself or to sign up for one of those GMAT preparatory courses (i.e. Kaplan, Princeton, Oxford Seminars, etc.). I considered the pros of signing up for these courses. Some of the benefits included access to people who were very familiar with all aspects of the exam, reinforcement of study habits by having a study schedule and by being around others who were studying hard, and also meeting others who were writing the exam so that I could form a study group. I thought about it, but due to a few reasons, I decided that I wasn’t going to sign up. One of the big reasons was the cost of the courses. I felt that I could study by myself and achieve the results that I needed on my own.

The_Official_Guide_for_GMAT_Review_12th_EditionAfter deciding to study on my own, I set up a schedule for myself. I booked the exam for the next Monday, one week away. Now, this may seem like a really short period of time to study, and it probably is, but I do well under pressure. It really depends on the type of person you are and your comfort level with the exam format, the different types of questions, and your prior knowledge. To get a quick opinion on how long you should study for the GMAT, click here. Also, click here to view some data on the number of hours of preparation others have done in the past. So after booking the test I hurried off to the nearest Chapters and bought myself a good prep book with lots of practice questions. I bought The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition since it was written by the creators of GMAT and also because it included over 800 practice questions. More than enough for me!

After one week of intense studying, I was on my way to the GMAT exam centre. The exam is offered pretty much every weekday of the year and in many different locations. I wrote mine in Ottawa and had the flexibility to choose from 3-4 different time slots. I thought it was pretty cool that I didn’t have to plan my study schedule to the constraints of the exam offerings since the exam was offered throughout the year.

Another cool thing is that you get the results of the exam right away since it is a CAT (Computer-Adaptive Test) and it calculates your score on the spot. As soon as I finished my exam the score was reported on the computer screen and I was excited! I was stoked that I had achieved the score that I needed and was glad that one week of intense studying was enough. Before leaving the exam centre, I received a printed copy of my unofficial GMAT test results. The official GMAT results take some time to be emailed and also note that it takes a really long time for them to mail a paper copy of the official GMAT report. All in all, I had a positive GMAT experience and had completed a critical step towards my applications to MBA programs.