What Are Analytical Skills?

What are analytical skills and why do you need them? Before you leave the page after reading the word “analytical”, give us a few minutes. We are not asking you to be the guy or gal that never surfaces from a spreadsheet. Far from it.

In their simplest form, you already use analytical skills every day. Whether it is to determine which route to commute to work or what size Starbucks coffee you want to order (not promoting Starbucks here, but we are huge coffee fans nonetheless).

What we are asking you to do is to understand what analytical skills truly are. You need to recognize that you need stellar ones to be successful as a consultant.

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What Are Analytical Skills?

The bottom line? Analytical skills are what you need to solve problems or help others understand how to solve their problems (always better when it’s not your problem, right?). They involve being able to review information logically and thoughtfully prior to drawing conclusions.

You may utilize these conclusions to solve problems yourself – consulting firms love to sell downstream work. Otherwise, they must be clearly and succinctly communicated to stakeholders as recommendations.

Consulting firms want to know you know how to think critically. They want to see you develop solutions to problems based on thorough research, critical thinking, and creativity.

No, we are not asking you to become a chronic overthinker. Instead, we are suggesting you develop the ability to solve problems through a process – one that requires analytical skills.

Analytical Skills List

Analytical skills are largely comprised of the following:

  1. Data Analysis

The ability to sort through relevant data, draw conclusions based on the information provided, and develop recommended solution(s).

  1. Communication

The ability to clearly and succinctly articulate information/solutions based on the data analysis.

  1. Critical Thinking

Thoughtful, rational, and purposeful thinking to reach a goal or solve a problem.

  1. Creativity

The ability to see patterns in data and formulate workable solutions to problems based on available information.

  1. Research

The systematic review of information, including identifying what is relevant and what is not, to ultimately help the formulation of solutions to problems.

How Can I Improve My Analytical Skills?

If analytical skills are not your strong suit, don’t worry, you can develop them.

There are a number of ways you can develop your analytical skills. Some ways even allow you to have fun at the same time (logic games anyone?).

However, we have only 1 top suggestion to help you fine tune those analytical skills fast:

Put yourself out of your comfort zone. The best way to develop skills is through trial by fire. If you are a student, approach a local business and ask if you can solve a market sizing problem for them over the course of 1 week, for free. You’ll strengthen your analytical skills more in that 1 week than in a whole semester’s worth of classes.

If you’re in the workforce, ask for heavier analytical workstreams or volunteer for special projects. If you don’t begin to change the way you work practically, no amount of reading or watching videos will help you.

What Are Analytical Skills Examples?

So, what are analytical skills examples? The following chart shows some examples of analytical skills in action:

Analytical SkillAnalytical Skill Example
Data AnalysisScenario Analysis, Financial Analysis, Predictive Analytics
CommunicationsSurveying, Reporting, Teamwork, Presentation, Written Communication
Critical ThinkingCalculating, Case Analysis, Process Management, Correlation
CreativityStrategic Planning, Brainstorming, Budgeting, Restructuring
ResearchData Collection, Investigation, Accuracy Review, Metrics

Analytical Skills in Action – We all Need to Use and Develop Them

The term “analytical” has become a buzzword in every job description and piece of resume advice you’ll read. We hope this breakdown of what actually constitutes analytical skills was helpful.

Your next step? Ensure you have developed these skills to prepare – either for the case interview or for life on the job.

Work with us on 1:1 case interview prep or check out our Excel for Consulting course where you will build simple models in response to real-world problems.

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Filed Under: business consulting, Consulting skills, new consultant