Consultancy is a growing field offering opportunities to work in a variety of industries and settings, from strategy and operations to more specialised consulting areas such as HR, finance or IT.
As a consultant you will help organisations to solve issues, create value, make improvements and identify opportunities to maximise growth and business performance. Examples of management consultancy projects include clarifying an organisation's strategic direction, streamlining manufacturing processes to save money, or identifying ways to reduce staff turnover.
Knowledge and skills developed in business, management, economics, and finance degrees can be well suited to consulting,
graduate positions are normally open to students from any degree discipline. It is a popular option for LSE graduates.
The potential for a good salary, bonuses, international travel and varied, project-based work are key selling points for careers in consultancy, but it can be a demanding, high pressure sector with long hours and lots of travel.
Where can you work?
To target the right firms, it’s important to take some time to investigate the different types of consultancy work available. For example, management consulting is often used as a catch-all term to encompass a wide range of types of consulting, and consultancy firms are often classified as strategic or operational consultancies, but these areas often overlap. There are many more specialised consultancy areas as well.
- Large consultancies – usuallyoffer end-to-end solutions to their clients. The three largest strategy consulting firms are McKinsey, the Boston Consulting Group, and Bain and Company. Other international generalist consulting firms include Accenture, Oliver Wyman, Strategy&, AT Kearney, OC&C, and Roland Berger. The big four professional service firms (EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG) all have a management consulting branch as well.
- Mid-sized boutiques or niche firms – offer specialist expertise and services. They may focus on a specific function, e.g. HR, finance, environment, healthcare, marketing etc, or a particular industry or client type, e.g. corporate companies, public sector and government, charities, educational institutions etc.
- In-house consulting divisions – often found in large corporate companies such as AmericanExpress, Cisco, IBM, Google, Samsung, Airbus, and Citibank.
What’s changing in the sector?
As a result of globalisation, new technology, evolving business trends and changes in regulation/legislation, demand for consultancy services is rising. Clients increasingly expect consultants to be available around the clock, providing multi-disciplinary teams who can offer solutions to complex and novel problems. This means that individual consultants are specialising earlier in their careers, often only two or three years after starting in a firm.
Growing areas include digital-strategy consulting and risk management.
Job vacancies and sector information
CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities.
CaseCoach - click on CaseCoach for practice videos on case interviews
Financial Times - a list of the most highly rated consulting firms across sectors
Target Jobs and Prospects for graduate level job vacancies in consulting.
Top Consultant – jobs board and information website for consultants.
Management Consulted – sector information, insights, and advice for applications and case studies.
Vault Guide about consulting – LSE Careers exclusive resource, with extensive information about the sector on an international level. Scroll down to Vault: Career Insider and click on the link to log in.
Professional bodies in the UK
Management Consultancies Association (MCA) – representative body for management consultancy firms in the UK.
Institute of Consulting – consultancy professional body.
European Federation of Management Consultancies Associations – European level federation of 15 national associations.
Inhouse Consulting Network is a network of in-house consulting units of 24 leading German companies, with about 1700 internal consultants.
LSE graduate profiles
LSE graduate profiles in consulting