Recruitment timelines in consulting


Graduate schemes in the consulting sector

Many of the large consultancies have fixed recruitment timelines and it’s important to be aware of these cycles if you are applying in this sector. Consultancies recruitment cycle usually runs from September to mid- November for both graduate roles and summer internships.

In the large consultancies in the UK, graduate schemes are the most common way to start your career after your degree.

Here are some important facts to know about graduate scheme applications:

  • The recruitment for graduate schemes usually happens a year in advance.
  • Applications open early , for some employers this can be as early as July/August
  • Applications are usually accepted on a rolling basis meaning you can apply as soon as the application system opens and employers will view your application on a first come first served basis. This means if you wait for the deadline there may be limited or no vacancies left to fill.
  • Application deadlines vary from one employer to the other.
  • If you have visa restrictions, the earlier you apply the better, to enable the company to go through the administrative procedure.


Many of the consultancies have a set graduate recruitment pathway. If you have missed the application deadline date for a specific organisation all is not lost.

It’s important to try and build your experience through looking for alternatives such as smaller consultancies with more flexible recruitment patterns or look out for short programmes (generally lasting 2 days to a week) such as insight days all of which increase your chances of being considered for the graduate programmes. It’s also worth speaking with LSE alumni within the organisation to improve your knowledge of what they do so you are better prepared for the next recruitment round.


More flexibility in small consultancies and elsewhere in the world

Although graduate programmes are the main route to join the largest consultancies, the majority of opportunities are situated in the small consultancies. 

Many of the smaller consultancies offer direct entry roles and therefore recruit year round or when they have vacancies to fill. This can offer more flexibility to students, however if you have visa restrictions, the smaller organisations sometimes find it more difficult to sponsor, therefore you should check with the employer if they are willing to sponsor.

Outside of the UK, recruitment timelines vary according to the country. US and Asia deadlines are often slightly earlier than in the UK. We tend to find that recruitment deadlines are more flexible in Europe but it is important to check directly with the office you are looking to apply to.


Recruitment for internships

Internships are often the first step towards a graduate programme. Some consultancies expect the students to do these prior to applying for a graduate programme.

If you are a 2nd year student, it’s worth applying for a summer internship. This recruitment cycle is the same for summer internships as it is for graduate schemes. The applications often open at the same time, a year in advance and they also recruit on a rolling basis

And if you are a 1st year student, it’s also always worth asking the employer whether you’d be eligible to apply to an internship as a 1st year student.

And if you are a 1st year student, you should be looking out for insight days or taster placements such as the McKinsey Discover, BCG London Insight Programme and PwC’s Talent Academy.

Graduate schemes

Application deadlines


Assessment centres/interviews


Start time



Application deadlines


Start time


Short programmes/insight days

Application deadlines


Start time



The LSE Careers Consultancy Fair as well as the LSE Careers Internship Fair during Michaelmas Term are a good way to meet with employers and begin to research the organisations in person.

Here are some links to get additional information about applications in consulting. On some of these sites, you may find lists of application deadline dates.

Save the student also lists a large number of deadlines for various employers and roles:


Websites targeting graduate employment: