Consultancy is a popular option for many students but do you know what it actually entails?
Consultancy is a field that offers opportunities to work in a variety of industries and settings, from strategy and operations to more specialised consulting areas such as technology, supply chain, finance or HR amongst others. Consultancy is open to student from all degree backgrounds.
What does a consultant do?
As a consultant you are employed to help organisations solve issues, to help create value and maximise profitability, to improve business processes and identify growth opportunities.
Examples of the projects a consultant could work on include introducing a new IT system to streamline business processes, improving supply chain processes to save money or increase sustainability, identifying ways to reduce staff turnover or helping an organisation to determine a new strategic direction.
What does the future look like for consultancy?
Who employs management consultants?
To consider the best employers for you, you will need to take some time to research the different types of consultancy that are available. Management consultancy is used as a catch-all phrase but you may be more suited to a specialised area such as human resources (HR) or supply chain.
Consultants tend to work in one of the following:
- Large consultancy firms – these offer full-service end to end solutions to their clients and include Accenture, Oliver Wyman, AT Kearney and McKinsey. The big four professional service firms (Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC) all have a management consulting division as well
- Mid-sized boutique or niche firms – these offer specialist services and expertise. They will often focus on a specific function such as finance, HR, marketing or sustainability, or focus on an industry sector or client type (for example, public sector, manufacturing or education sector)
- In-house consulting divisions – these are found in many large corporate organisations such as Google, IBM and Citibank
What roles are available within management consultancy?
The management consultancy profile on the Prospects website and TARGETJobs consultancy pages give more detailed information and an overview of the roles and responsibilities.
The typical graduate entry role is an analyst or business analyst working within a team on a variety of projects in order to develop professional skills.
Specialised consultancy areas include:
- Strategy consultant – gives strategic advice to companies on projects such as market entry, long-range planning and rationalisation of goods and services
- Economic consultant – applies techniques of economic analysis to help businesses, regulators and policy makers evaluate and implement strategic decisions
- Financial consultant – offers financial advice, including the installation of budgetary control systems, profile planning and capital and revenue budgeting
- Human resource consultant – offers specialist HR advice, for example in organisational restructuring, talent and reward strategies
- Healthcare consultant – advises public and private healthcare companies, pharmaceutical organisations, government and international organisations about their business plans, strategies and policies.
How do I get a job in management consultancy?
Consultancy roles are open to graduates from any degree background, although a degree which is numerical or analytical can be an advantage. A 2.1 is generally the minimum degree grade required for entry to a graduate scheme.
Entry routes and recruitment process
For larger consultancies, professional services firms and corporates entry is usually through a structured graduate training scheme, with application deadlines as early as October or November for opportunities starting the following summer or autumn. Applications also open early, for some employers this can be in July or August. Applications are usually accepted on a rolling basis, this means if you leave your application until the deadline there may be no vacancies left to fill. Early applications are advised
For smaller employers such as boutique consultancies, recruitment may take place as and when needed. Networking here is hugely valuable. Don’t discount working for a smaller consultancy, you may gain more responsibility faster in a range of interesting projects.
If you have visa restrictions, an early application is advised to allow organisations to go through the necessary administrative processes.
We organise a Management, Consulting and Finance Fair each autumn term and it is a great opportunity to speak to employers face-to-face from your first year onwards.
Find out about our recruitment fairs including the employers attending
Entry is likely to be a highly competitive process so relevant work experience will be beneficial. You can apply for Insight or Spring weeks during your first year and summer internships between penultimate and final year of your degree.
Business experience will help you to demonstrate your knowledge of an industry sector, some commercial awareness and how particular organisations are structured.
Consultancy firms will look for experiences that have involved working in a team, working in a client-facing environment, commercial awareness and organisational skills.
Get involved at Nottingham
As well as internships you can gain relevant experience through part-time work, volunteering, clubs and society participation and extracurricular activities such as:
Student-led organisation and Students' Union societies
Where do I look for vacancies?