Industry Spotlight: Consulting
What is consulting?
Consulting refers to management or strategy consulting, which is the practice of helping companies increase their efficiency and profits by addressing the major operational or strategic challenges they currently face.
Although a fairly broad term, consulting is dependent on the type of industry you are in.
To be specific, consulting refers to the business of giving expert advice to other professionals, typically in financial and business matters.
What kind of consulting jobs are out there, and what do these roles entail?
Again, consulting jobs are highly dependent on the type of consulting firm you work for and the companies you work with.
Structured career path: junior consultant → (eventually) senior consultant
Help in organizations’ gain of external advice and access to the consultants’ specialized expertise
The larger the firm, the more likely it is that you will be a generalist at the beginning; after working at the company for a few years, you eventually will specialize in a particular vertical, industry, or type of work
Vertical: a market in which vendors offer goods and services specific to an industry, trade, profession, or other group of customers with specialized needs
Consultants who operate at the highest level of the consultancy market
Focus on: corporate and organizational strategy, economic policy, government policy, functional strategy
Carry out work assigned by CEOs, directors, and senior managers
Quantitative/Analytical skills are necessary
Consultants who help clients improve the performance of their operations
Job varies from advisory services to hands-on implementation support for both primary and secondary functions
This is the largest branch of the advisory sector
Financial Advisory Consultant
Consultants who work on questions that address financial capabilities and analytical capabilities within a company
Profiles of consultants active in this segments can differ greatly (from M&A and corporate finance advisors to risk management, tax, restructuring, or real estate consultant)
Human Resources Consultant/Human Capital Consultant
Consultants who help clients with human capital questions within their organizations and with improving the performance of the HR department
Chief topics: organizational changes, change management, terms of employment, learning & development, talent management and retirement
One of the smallest segments of the consulting industry
Technology consultants help clients with the development and application of Information Technology (IT) of the company
Focus on transitions (projects) in the ICT-landscape → majority focus on implementation projects
Management analysts employed by the healthcare industry
Examine the efficiency, profits, and structure of the organization, then offer suggestions on methods of improvement
Preferred to have a master’s degree
Popular firm: PwC
The pros and cons of this career depend on your personal preferences, but here are some common components of consulting careers to consider:
Leadership of and collaboration with teams
Traveling 5 days per week (few careers are as travel-intensive as consulting)
Long hours (12 hour days are standard)
Working closely with a new team every few months
Must be adaptive
So how do I get hired?
How do I land a consulting internship or full-time, post-grad job?
Focus all your attention on academics
The higher the GPA, the more likely you will land a prestigious internship
Get involved with 2-3 organizations (recommended) on campus
Be positioned for leadership early on in your academic career
Firms search for future leaders
Show you have the drive and the aptitude to be a strong leader outside of the classroom
Pursue job opportunities during breaks, especially the summer
Through this, you will build skills pertinent to a consulting job
For a freshman, start reaching out to companies that interest you!
Try an externship
Externships: 1-2 week job shadows that will expose you to different jobs
Check out the OCS Winternship program
An externship will help you know if consulting is what you want to do!
Learn about different consulting companies (listed below) and agencies
Big 5: Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, Arthur Andersen, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
Other prestigious firms: McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company
Practice, practice, practice for your interview!
What does the recruiting timeline look like?
Application (based on date of designated firm)
Cover Letter & Resume
Consultant Resume Review → selection of applicants for first-round interviews
First Round Interview
Two types: behavioral/experience interview, full case study interview
Second/Third Round Interviews
Two full case study interviews
Occasionally includes a presentation or written component
What should I expect in interviews?
Case Study questions
Most important questions:
Why are you interested in being a consultant?
Interest and Knowledge for the Industry and Firm
Strengths and Weaknesses Consulting Questions
General Business and Current Events
I’m hooked! How can I learn more?
Street Of Walls for consulting questions and answers
Types of consultants for job descriptions
Different Consulting Firms for different firm descriptions
How to Crack Case Study Interviews for preparing for your interviews
Vault Career Guide to Consulting for a general guide to consulting