Strategy Resources Page

The tools you need to get started.

Welcome to The Strategy Journal resources page. This is a curated list of the things that I think work best in preparing you to understand, apply and excel at the development and execution of business strategy. I am personally responsible for approving every piece of content across our websites, so I have either read, watched or listened to everything that came out under my watch. I am going to recommend things that have been helpful to our clients and the partners use themselves, or have recommended for our clients.

I want to make an important disclosure.

Some of the links below go to our subscription-based content. Our best content sits behind a paywall so at times when I have to refer to our best content, I will link to them. Where possible, I have linked to our free content although it will not be as in-depth as the subscription-based content. 

Some of the links below are affiliate links. That means if you click on them and eventually make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission does not cost you anything. I am only recommending books I use, believe will help you and have helped our clients. I am not recommending any books or items simply to earn a small affiliate commission. My recommendation is that you should only purchase something from this page if you believe it will help you.


A strategy is not a set of tools.

Strategy is a philosophy to think about the needs of a client

#1

Bill Matassoni’s Memoir, Ex-McKinsey Senior Partner

Bill Matassoni’s Memoir of a Marketer is a truly unique book. Never before as a McKinsey partner published his memoir publicly. This book is a rare opportunity – a true exclusive – to see what shapes the thought process of a partner and learn about marketing.

More importantly, every BCG, Bain, Deloitte partner/consultant should read this book. So should every single person who wants to solve mankind’s toughest problems.

The memoir essentially lays McKinsey’s competitive advantage and how it can be neutralized. Bill and his wife Pamela are good friends and I would recommend this book. Below is the limited edition 3D version of the book that I designed for Bill. It is on loan to several exhibits and museums for display.

Photo of Bill Matassoni's Limited Edition Memoir
Bill Matassoni’s Limited Edition Memoir.

#2

Kevin P. Coyne’s Exclusive Interview, ex-McKinsey Partner & Worldwide Strategy Practice Co-Leader

This interview with Kevin P. Coyne, ex-McKinsey Partner & Worldwide Strategy Practice Co-Leader, perfectly explains the importance of values in strategy. I have worked closely with Kevin in the last few years producing several training programs and believe this video gets to the heart of what makes an organization great: it’s values.

#3

Marvin Bower’s Biography

There is no better book than McKinsey’s Marvin Bower to explain the philosophy of strategy and the way in which management consultants develop a strategy. What we do is very different from the way a researcher of strategy would develop a strategy. I highly recommend this book and have read it several times. Bill was a mentee of Marvin so reading both books will allow you to see things from both sides.

#4

The Mind of The Strategist

Bill speaks highly of Kenichi Ohmae in his memoir. He is one of a few people Bill calls “brilliant.” The Mind of The Strategist remains of a few books we recommend to understand how to think critically. Now you can read Bill’s memoir, a book about Bill’s mentor, and a book by one of Bill’s close colleagues at McKinsey.

#5

Irresistible Empire

Bill and Michael mention this book often as the one book that perfectly explains marketing from a strategy perspective. I would take this further and say this book explains business models from a macro-perspective and explains the principle of capitalism very well. It is a dense read but Irresistible Empire  is worth looking into since it drives so much of the thinking in The Bill Matassoni Show.

#6

From Third World to First: The Singapore Story – 1965-2000

From Third World to First is a book that has been mentioned in our podcasts far too many times to count. We are not recommending this book because we want you to learn about Singapore or how countries compete. This book helps you understand how to think strategically when you personally are coming from a poor/weak position in life. So think about the analogies to yourself when reading this book.


Sample our strategy content.

Get a sense of the different way we teach strategy from our complimentary content

If you like what you see/hear/read here, and knowing that our subscription-only content is superior, then I am confident you will enjoy everything we produce.

Our podcast channels are ranked #1 for strategy, consulting and case interviews.

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If you do not have an Apple device all our free podcasts can be found on Acast.com.

If you sign up on the top right corner, I will email you sample videos from our subscription-only programs.


Visualizing a strategy study will change your view of strategy.

Seeing a visual map of an entire strategy study makes you realize strategy is more than analyses

Most of us know the overall framework to solve a market entry case. It’s that famous could-should-would approach we teach during the fundamentals of strategy aka case interviews. If you were leading a market entry strategy assignment it’s easy to assume having that framework is the key to delivering an insightful recommendation. There is much more.

Below you will find 3 links to online maps for 3 full studies. The value is the entire map itself and seeing how a complete study is structured. If you click on the links in the maps they will not work (though they will soon be updated). We have moved videos linked to each step on the map onto our new websites. The links to the videos on the new websites are also provided.

# 1

Strategy Map of a Typical McKinsey, BCG Study: Marketing Entry

See this online full free map below outlining a small portion of all the steps in an actual market entry strategy study.

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As you can see, the process is a lot more complicated. Our goal is to teach you how things really work on a well-run study. These study maps, and study training programs map out strategy studies in detail. The value is in allowing you to see the difference between knowing a framework and using that framework to complete the analyses and having your recommendations approved and implemented.

# 2

Strategy Map of a Typical McKinsey, BCG Study: Corp. Strat. & Transformation Study

The sample map from the corporate strategy and transformation training program is equally detailed and useful to analyze. You can also view the full online free map of this study.

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# 3

Strategy Map of a Typical McKinsey, BCG Study: It’s about M&A but mainly the core skills of consulting

I would recommend everyone to start with this strategy training program below where we are teaching you the basics of structuring a study. We call this first principles analyses. You can view the full online free map.

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If you like to see other interesting strategy tools we produce, please sign up on the top right corner for sample videos.

Do not worry about finding a training program about your sector. We teach foundational skills that can be applied across all sectors.


Good strategists use the right tools

Brilliant ideas can only arrive if you have the tools in place to create the right environment

I travel extensively and I like to work while I travel. I find the biggest problem is having access to all my documents as I switch between my phone, tablet, laptop and desktop. I find Google Drive for Business to be amazing tool.

If you sign up to the G-Suite Business Plan you receive unlimited storage. And here is the best part, you can access ALL those files from your laptop even if you have 10TB of files but your laptop only has space for 500MB. This is because Google Drive lets you review all the files but only downloads the files you need. This means I have access to all company files and do not need to worry about transferring documents to hard drives before I travel. This makes traveling easier, more productive and stress free. It’s one way we achieve so much here.

Here is a special offer just for you. If you click on the link above and use this special promotional code, you will get 20% off if you sign up for the Business Plan.

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If you just need the personal plan, then click on the link above and use this promotional code. You will also receive a 20% discount.

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Strategy thinking requires a good mainframe.

If your ideas on strategy are the software, it can only run as fast as the hardware on which it is installed

You need to invest in your body just as much as you invest in your mind. This needs to be done irrespective of your age. However, when you are younger, your youth can mask poor practices that lead to problems later. Beyond eating well, sleeping, rest and exercising, you should try certain supplements. This is what I use and they work for me.

These are the exact brands I use. Based on my research not all brands are effective.

Olive leaf extract : I take 2 capsules 4 time per day at the first sign of a cold or flu
Oregano oil : I take 4 drops in a half bottle of water at any sign of a cold or flu
Ginko bioba : I take 1-2 capsules per day a few times a week
B Complex : I take 2 capsules per day


Strategy is a language that must be learned.

Strategy thinking uses several common techniques that should be mastered before tackling advanced strategy

Learning strategy is like learning math. Please always start with the basic skills and slowly take on the more complex areas. I would not recommend introducing a 3-year-old to math with advanced calculus and spatial geometry.

Strategy should be the same. Start with the basic skills of strategy. Don’t make this harder than it should be. We teach the basic skills to clients preparing for case interviews. They just so happen to be the same skills. Except for the resume part. You can skip that.

I know you are probably thinking case interviews is such a waste of time You are not interviewing, have an MBA and 20 years experience. You are welcome to skip this part and jump to the strategy sections below, but in our experience, everyone benefits from going through this first.

Case Interview training programs, primarily The Consulting Offer (TCO), are the foundational programs. They teach core skills in communication, structuring, logical problem solving, calculations, estimations and decision making that will be very useful even to those not preparing for case interviews.

The strategy, operations and implementation training programs assume you possess a grasp of these foundational skills and all clients, even senior executives, find it useful to first go through at least the main parts of TCO before learning from the more complex study training programs.

Guide to using Case Interview training programs

The Consulting Offer comprises 5 seasons of case interview training material + additional training programs. In each season we admit real students and experienced hires and video record the entire learning session as ex-McKinsey, BCG et al partners attempt to place them in an elite strategy firm.

TCO alumni are successful by every objective measure. In every season we have placed participants in McKinsey, Bain or BCG and we have placed all participants in management consulting firms or internal business units when other good firms like Deloitte S&O are included. All MBB-placed TCO participants are still with the firms, and one is a principal (junior partner) having joined as a consultant. Only one participant has left McKinsey to join another firm where she is on a partnership track.

TCO I, Felix, McKinsey Offer

TCO I, Sanjeev, joins BCG

TCO I, Rafik

TCO I, Samantha

TCO II, Alice Qinhua Zhou joins McKinsey NYC, trained by Kevin P. Coyne

TCO II, Michael Klein

TCO III, Jennifer Nwankwo joins Bain Boston

TCO III, Zach Steinfeld

TCO IV, Assel joins McKinsey

EMBA / Experienced Hire Program

TCO Solution Videos

Insights from Coaching & TCO

Case Interviews Podcast (iTunes)

Given the depth of the videos, it is best to watch the content over approximately 12 – 18 months. The sessions should be watched in the following order:

EMBA / Experienced Hire Program ( I know it says experienced hires but start here)

TCO IV, Assel joins McKinsey

TCO I Felix: foundational and core problem-solving skills

TCO III Jen: breakeven analyses / cost-volume-profit curves / marginal cost curves

TCO II: McKinsey unstructured final round interviews with partners


Learning to learn strategy needs its own strategy

Everyone will have their own learning style but here are some thoughts having worked with numerous clients

EMBA / Experienced Hire Program + TCO IV Assel joins McKinsey provides a quick and compressed overview of the entire process and teaches all the key skills. Everyone should start here even if you are an undergraduate, MBA graduate, executive etc.

TCO I is the next foundational program. If you rush through it the other seasons will not make much sense.

Start with TCO I (Felix followed by Sanjeev), then TCO III (Jen followed by Zach) and finally TCO II.

TCO II assumes you have the skills from TCO I and TCO III to understand the more advanced content.

Do not move on to a subsequent session until all concepts and techniques are mastered in the previous session.

It is best not to watch numerous videos back-to-back. Watching 4 to 5 videos an hour is generally not recommended. Nor is trying to watch all of TCO in one month. We rigorously track and analyze member viewing data and have determined that binge-watching rarely works. We use data to make all decisions governing our programs and our advice is based on both our subscription members and having mentored over 1,000 candidates via 1-on-1 coaching.

Each video teaches new skills and requires time to understand. Make careful notes and revise them regularly to ensure key techniques/concepts are internalized. Carefully follow all advice, including advice on developing/improving business judgment, communication etc.

We do not teach frameworks. We teach you how to develop bespoke structures for any problem. This means you will never ever need to memorize a framework. Skipping towards frameworks in the videos is not the best way to learn and is discouraged. Moreover, you will miss the communication skills training within an episode.

Be wary of practicing when you do not understand the concepts taught. Practicing the wrong skills reinforces the wrong skills. First, learn the correct techniques and only then practice.


Strategy shouldn’t be a passive learning process.

Strategy should be fun. Always check you are understanding everything taught

When watching all the videos ask yourself the following questions:

Do I understand the underlying principle taught?

Could I explain the principle to a colleague?

Could I apply the principle to a different problem possibly outside my sector?

Do I recognize any patterns?

Could I complete this analysis in a real environment?

Could I lead a team to do this work?

How would I implement the insights?


Now we can understand the more complex strategy programs.

There are many different types of problems in strategy but start with understanding the basics

Assuming you understand the basics, or refreshed them as suggested above, we can move to the harder stuff.

Our study programs and other advanced consulting and business skills training programs teach consultants and executives the skills of McKinsey, BCG et al partners to solve real business problems.

Some programs teach you how to conduct actual studies in real situations while dealing with the messy and political nature of gaining acceptance for your recommendations from colleagues. Other programs focus on soft skills or career development, while others focus on building new businesses.

Great care is taken to design highly realistic and detailed training programs which recreate a business environment as closely as possible. Each major training program we curate takes between 1 to 2 years to plan and produce.

As you progress further through the latest studies you will notice the concepts are more complex. You will need the foundational skills from earlier programs to understand them. My advice is to start with A McKinsey et al. Engagement and How to Sell MultiMillion Dollar Engagements. These program are very detailed and guide you step-by-step through everything. In the latter program you will follow a partner as he builds a new practice at a major professional services firm.


Strategy training for everyone.

If you are trying to learn from 1st principles, we have everything you need

Our consulting and business skills training consists of the following programs. All programs teach the skills that McKinsey, BCG et al partners possess.

The Bill Matassoni Show 

Bill Matassoni’s Memoir

Competitive Strategy with Kevin P. Coyne

How to become a McKinsey Partner. 1st Time Revealed

DETAILED: Market Entry Strategy Study

DETAILED: A McKinsey et al. Engagement (M&A Tech)

DETAILED: Corp. Strat. & Transformation Study

DETAILED: How to Sell Multi-Million Dollar Engagements

Partnership. Memoir. Before 30 yrs

21 Day Program: How to Develop Big Insights

21 Day Program: How to Find Great Mentors

21 Day Program: How to Reboot a Stalled Career

Turnaround & Restructuring Study

The Start-Up aka Building a Luxury Brand

The Start-Up aka Building an Electric Car

Implementation of an Operations Strategy

(Re) Building a Consulting Practice

Big Data Study

IT & Digital Strategy Study

Business Case Analysis

First 90 Days in Consulting

Succeeding as a Management Consultant

McKinsey to PE (Private Equity)

USA vs CA/AU/UK Residency/Citizenship

Mission to Mars Strategy Study

To gain all the requisite skills of a partner you will need to focus on four areas:

Hard problem-solving skills

Communication skills

The philosophy/values of management consulting

Skills to implement all the above in your career

Implementing the skills is going to be the toughest part. It is one thing to learn about value chain analyses and it is quite another to figure out the following when you are working alone on-site at 11pm in the evening under a tight deadline:

When should a value chain analysis be used?

How do I adjust the analysis for my situation?

What data do I need?

How do I find the data?

What must I do if a colleague will not supply the data?

How do I convince peers to use the insights?

How do I accomplish all the steps above without alienating my co-workers?

Our training teaches the technical skills, as well as soft skills, and covers these seven steps.

You can start anywhere you wish, but, start with the basics.

How to Develop Big Insights is designed to be completed and the recommendations implemented in 21 days. If you are really not ready to dive into the big studies below, start here.

The Market Entry Strategy Training is numerically complex since it deals with the breakeven analysis on loans and branch networks. This study assumes you have already worked through A McKinsey et al. Engagement .

The Corporate Strategy & Transformation Study introduces more complicated external issues to a study. It is also a very large study which should be worked through after the Market Entry Study. However, if you want to learn corporate strategy, manage a turnaround or transformation or run internal strategy programs within a large company, start here. Anyone running strategy workshops for the board, CEO, executive committee, senior management etc., must begin with this study.

When using, the programs try to avoid the urge to simply find and use the templates and analytic techniques. If you find yourself skipping to these parts, then you are missing the important communication training we have for implementing the advice. How we get things done at clients is more important than what we get done.

Why we select an analysis to use is more important than the analysis selected. This is not about frameworks but critical thinking.


Understanding the mind of a strategist.

Strategy thinking is not linear and we want you to understand and appreciate how messy it can be

For each study training program above we are also developing additional detailed explanations by the partners. This is separate from the videos and study maps. The accompanying explanations, called Partner Guides, explain how the partner arrived at the logic used in the study. These guides are very useful and help you understand the business judgment to apply.

At the end of the day, you want to think like a partner versus simply having a bag of tools to use.

What is different in the Partner Guides?

The videos do not show you the messy and very iterative process that goes into the thinking before a partner commits things to slides. We typically spend a week thinking about the problem before committing anything to paper.

The videos do not show the sequence of thoughts that led to insight x. In the videos, you see the final product or at least one version of the preparation that goes into the final idea.

Seeing how we arrive at the very clean and pretty charts is important, but we show a little of that in the study training videos. We often say you need to be MECE. But, how do we go about coming up with these structures from nothing? What roadblocks do we face and how do we overcome them? How do we manage problems week by week and night by night?

To solve the problems above, we have come up with the Partner Guides.

On most study training programs, the partners record daily updates explaining how each analysis on each day was done, why it was done and all the problems faced and how they were overcome. These are real-time recordings and they explain the slow process of how we connect the dots.

The full study videos list the insight but do not explain all those tiny connections we make to get to them. This is material we do not include in the study power-points and videos. Let me explain this with a different analogy.

Think of a perfectly edited book. You read the final edits, and hopefully, love them, but you do not see the process used to produce those edits. These detailed explanations in the Partner Guides are like the process leading to the edits.

They explain how we think in far more granular detail. If you want to know how a partner builds ideas from nothing and manages countless problems, these recordings for the study capture them.

So, as you can see our studies are already very detailed, but there is another layer of thinking and insights that sit there.

For example, is big data racist?

That is something we think about in detail but it never comes out in the final Big Data Healthcare Study since it was ultimately not relevant. But it was relevant to our thought process and we capture that in the Partner Guides.

It was a series of discussions which delve into statistics and math to answer a pretty important question. This is one example of the many critical discussions that we explore in the Partner Guides version of the study yet do not cover in the actual program.

The study videos give you one view of a study and the partner guides offer another view of the very same study. Together, they offer a complete view.


I know, it can feel daunting with all the choices

Celebrate the number of choices and options you have to learn strategy

When I started out there was nowhere to learn to learn strategy. I personally cannot think of any website anywhere in the world today that teaches strategy in this step-by-step approach.

Developing a strategy that works and getting it implemented requires many skills that we teach above. I know, it seems that is all about the analysis, but it is much more than that. Think of these problems you will likely encounter, and we will teach you to handle.

What is the real problem I need/must/should solve?

What is the scope of the problem?

How do I solve the problem?

How do I find the data?

How do I collect the data?

How do I change my approach if the data is not available?

How do I present my findings in a convincing way?

There are many more little steps to getting things to work. My goal is to give you the skills and confidence to fully succeed. So don’t be intimidated by the bounty of choice. Embrace it. Follow the guides and you will master this.

You have to put in the work. You have to make the decision this is worth learning.

I believe you want to and I want to help you achieve that goal. Just follow the guide and if you do not know where to start the 21 Day programs are probably the easiest to start, finish and begin seeing some results.

Please opt-in to my members only strategy email list for advanced videos, sample chapters of our books and other related strategy material.