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Seven reasons to choose a graduate career in consulting

Seven reasons to choose a graduate career in consulting - aside from salary

At your interview for a graduate role in management consulting, what will you answer when a recruiter asks, 'Why do you want to be a consultant?'

Consulting could open up interesting options in other career areas further down the line.

If you join the consulting sector, you could be starting on a salary as high as £40,00, with great perks thrown in such as sponsored MBAs, paid time off for charity work and excellent maternity benefits. But when a recruiter asks you why you want to be a consultant you can’t answer, 'The salary, of course!' Make sure you can articulate what your (less tangible) reasons are for wanting to enter the profession. We’ve spoken to working graduate consultants from a range of firms and come up with seven great reasons for wanting to be a consultant:

1. Variety

'I had heard the usual spiel about consulting having a lot of variety but it didn't truly hit me until I stopped to reflect on the different projects I had done over the years and how much information I'd absorbed: from working for a wind turbine blade manufacturer, to an engine repair and overhaul company, a financial support services provider, a DIY chain, to a five  star hotel chain!', says Neranjana De Silva, senior project manager at Roland Berger.

One of the most appealing aspects of management consulting is the huge variety of projects you’ll work on, colleagues you’ll work with and clients you’ll meet. Many consultancies also offer international travel opportunities.

2. Early responsibility 

'We do socially impactful work and get early responsibility in both client-facing and internal matters,' says a graduate at Newton Europe.

You’ll be entrusted with responsibility and working with senior clients very soon into your career, which is exciting if you’re the type that thrives on challenge.

3. Continuous learning

'There's a lot to learn and this can seem daunting, but everyone here is extremely helpful, so the learning and training has been almost continuous on each team I've been on,' says Louise Meredith, a consultant at Alfa.

Consulting offers the chance to keep learning and developing throughout your career.

4. Top-notch workmates

'I was surprised [during my internship] by how friendly and collaborative the office was: there were frequent meetings with the whole team, which was a great way to understand where my work fitted into the larger context,' says Amy Karet, an associate at L.E.K. Consulting.

The consulting sector attracts top-quality graduates, so you’ll be working with diverse, intelligent, like-minded colleagues who enjoy combining creative, innovative thinking with a very practical approach to problem solving.

5. An impressive skills set

'My internship equipped me with the skills related to the associate toolkit, as well as skills involving conducting research and producing client input. It also equipped me with a greater understanding of how strategy consulting works and how consultants interact with clients,' says Timothy Lim, an associate at EY-Parthenon.

Thanks to the toolkit of business and management skills you’ll develop, consulting could open up interesting options in other career areas further down the line.

6. Achieving results

'There are interesting projects that get implemented relatively quickly, allowing you to see the outcome of your hard work,' says a graduate at Alfa.

If you work on a successful consulting project, there is immense satisfaction when you see that it has made a real difference and benefited a client.

7. All degrees sought

There is a strong numerical element to consulting, so it can be an advantage to have a degree in business, economics, science or technology, but it isn’t essential. Consulting firms welcome applicants with degrees in all subjects - read the profiles in the working lives section for examples. The consulting profession also offers exciting career prospects for those with a relevant postgraduate degree, MBA or industry experience.

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This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.