The following is a report I received from a student who has recently taken the AT Kearney Analytical Skills Test. Unlike the McKinsey Problem Solving Test (McKinsey PST), the ATK test is mainly a test of excel skills and speed.

Student Report:

I have taken the test and have summarized my experience for the benefit of all of your readers.

  1. The test is for the ‘Procurement and Analytics Solutions (PAS)’ practice globally
  1. It is not like the McKinsey PST
  1. It is spreadsheet based and tests (1) Excel functionality including pivot tables, VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP functions, (2) comprehension skills, demonstrated in the understanding of questions, (3) analytic skills, demonstrated in the use of data and (4) communication skills, demonstrated in the responses

The specific case I received was 1 hour. I was given an Excel workbook which has the data, questions and space for answers. The case was to analyze the client’s spend data.

The core data table (spend data) had ~2000 records along with 3-4 other smaller tables with reference data. There were 6 questions to answer and the questions get harder as you progress in terms of Excel skills required (e.g., text manipulation, dealing with ‘#NA’) and knowledge of business terminology.

My key takeaways about the AT Kearney Analytic Skill test were:

Become proficient with advanced Excel functionality There is significant time pressure unless you are extremely proficient with advanced Excel functionality

Learn the most recent version of Excel if possible. I was slowed down being used to a later version of Excel on Mac.

Don’t get caught up too much in the formatting (of tables and charts), ensure that you complete the analysis of the data and get the answers to all questions.

I think it may be a better strategy to crunch the data and get all the answers first before you start to pretty things up and document non-critical assumptions.

Good luck to anyone taking the test!