Consulting graduate jobs: what you need to know
As a former financial consultant I know how confusing consulting graduate jobs can appear to students, the word consulting seems to be used for all types of different roles. What actually do they do?! The reality is, the role of a consultant will vary from company to company and it is likely you will only really learn what it involves when you start working.
This article covers three different types of consulting graduate jobs, and 6 things you should know before applying.
There are many different types of consulting graduate jobs out there. So where to start? In general, there are three types of consulting jobs out there:
Types of consulting graduate jobs
1) Management consulting
Tends to involve dealing with day to day operations and establishing what could work more effectively and efficiency. It can be about reducing costs and problem solving.
2) Strategy consulting
As you guessed it’s about overall strategy, looking at the bigger picture and assessing the future of a company. The aim is to put organisation wide strategies in place to increase revenues. E.g. decision to expand overseas
3) Technology consulting
Put simply, this is using technology to grow a company and help to achieve long term goals. Technology and I.T. systems can be improved to reduce costs and increase revenues.
The Best Consulting Firms
The career website, Vault, assesses a number of consulting firms and ranks them according to the following criteria – best firm to work for, work/life balance, for benefits, for compensation. Questionnaires are given to employees and the rankings are based on the results.
Vault has been running the survey for 14 years, and every year McKinsey has come out on top. Last year in 2015, McKinsey came out on top once again. The top 4 consulting firms to work for: McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain and Deloitte Consulting.
There are of course many others, you can find a full list here.
Graduate consulting jobs: what they really involve
There’s a lot of confusion as to what consultants actually do. The answer is absolutely anything and everything depending on the company and job role.
You can be required to work on totally different parts of an organisation so there can be a lot of variety. Some say it is difficult then to specialise or gain expertise in one area, as you have a broad job spec. Consulting favours curious, problem solvers who enjoy working on a variety of projects.
If you’re wondering if a career in consulting is right for you then consider the following.
One of the defining characteristics of working as a consultant is that you gain exposure to many types of clients and work on many different projects. You could even be travelling abroad to meet clients. At first this can seem daunting, but just think how your CV will look after even a short time working as a consultant.
If you are not sure what you want to pursue in your future, then starting out as a consultant will give you a flavour for different types of roles and work styles.
Work can be challenging and complex with little training to prepare you, however you will certainly not be bored.
You are typically assigned to one project at a time, and there is always work going on internally as well so time management is very important. The hours can be long and when you are on a project, you can find yourself spending 10-11 hours a day with your team, sometimes even during weekends.
The final stages of a project can be intense, so be prepared to work hard.
3) Continuous learning
There is never a dull moment in consulting, just when you think you’ve mastered one area you will find yourself at the start of another challenging assignment. You will pick up both technical and soft skills, and become a well-rounded professional.
Rather than becoming an expert in one micro area, you will continue to learn and develop a wide range of skills throughout your career. As you will work with a variety of colleagues you will have a chance to learn from them.
4) Team work
In consulting, a large part of your work will involve working closely in a team. Being able to get the most from each other and working well together will ensure you do well in this career.
This industry attracts intelligent, diverse, and personable graduates. Employers look for flexible, confident graduates who are able to work in close-knit, high-performing teams.
5) Early responsibility
It is likely that you will hit the ground running as a graduate consultant. You will go straight into a project, so the role requires you to be quick thinking and comfortable taking the lead.
Work is often results based which can be highly satisfying, so great if you enjoy seeing things through from start to finish and making a difference.
6) Great salary
It is only right for all the hard work that you receive a generous salary and consultants are very well rewarded. Accenture and other large consultancy firms offer starting salaries of minimum £30,000 per year. On top of a salary there can be other perks such as gym memberships, season tickets, free lunches etc.
Graduate consulting jobs summary
Competition for consulting graduate jobs is intense. Companies often hire graduates from any degree discipline, as they are looking more for personality and drive. They will only consider the very best candidates so it is important that your job application is first-rate.
Leadership, communication and team work are the essential skills.
If you are an ambitious, hardworking graduate who is keen to regularly take on new challenges then a career in consulting is right for you. You also have to great at working in a team, taking on responsibility and seeing a project through from start to finish.