Larger consultancy firms offer graduate schemes, as well as summer internships for penultimate year students.
Don’t neglect the small firms, you may gain more responsibility faster. Look for niche consultancies and consider sending targeted, speculative applications to consultancies that interest you – you can find lists of consultancies via professional bodies (see Resources).
If you’re looking to gain experience
Consultancy firms value any experience that involves teamwork, working with clients, business or finance knowledge and organisational skills. This could come from part-time work, volunteering or extra-curricular activities.
Business experience will allow you to demonstrate your commercial awareness, knowledge of a specific sector and of the internal structure of an organisation.
To stand out, you could attend insight days or weeks during your first year, or in your second year look for a summer internship – note that their closing dates are around February.
If you’re early on in your career
Applying early is key for graduate schemes, as many have closing dates in November and December.
Graduates can have a degree in any discipline, although a degree which is numerical or analytical can be an advantage. A degree in business, management, economics, mathematics or statistics can be an asset for entry into some firms, and a 2:1 is often the minimum requirement.
When applying, make a handful of top-quality applications rather than wasting valuable study time applying everywhere.
If you have more experience
With an MBA, a PhD, or several years of professional experience, you may be able to enter directly as an associate.
If you’re changing career
Some consultants enter the profession later, after having acquired skills and expertise in one or more industry and/or functional areas.
You may consider becoming self-employed or joining a niche consultancy.
Not sure what to do next?
We’re here to talk over your career plans with you. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, so don’t feel you have to have it all worked out. You can book a one-to-one appointment with a careers consultant on CareerHub.