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Top tips from graduate consultants on how to get a job

We asked graduates working at Oliver Wyman, Alfa, Parthenon-EY and The Boston Consulting Group why they think their applications stood out, and for any advice they’d give to job-seeking graduates. Here’s what they said.

The more interesting and innovative you are, the more valuable you’re likely to be as a consultant.

What do you think made you stand out from the other candidates?

  • ‘Interesting experiences can make your CV stand out from the crowd. It is beneficial to be genuine and humble in your cover letter and interview. Remember, the interviewer is looking for somebody they would like to work with on a daily basis.’
  • ‘I had put in a lot of background research so I felt I knew the firm and the sector it operates in well. I also think that my background had given me good communication skills, the ability to think fast, an enthusiasm for problem solving and logical thinking, and a desire to learn about a whole new industry… all the kinds of skills my employer is looking for.’

What are the top skills you need to be a successful consultant?

  • ‘Communication, a thirst to learn and problem solving/logical thinking.’
  • 'A willingness to learn, given the variety of work that we do.'
  • Three skills: teamwork – consulting involves solving problems as a team and requires the ability to work with an array of personalities; attention to detail – your work will impact heavily on the final recommendation, so your team need to be able to trust that your output is error free; business acumen – this is important in understanding the client’s needs and contextualising the analysis which you are executing.'

What advice would you offer would-be consultants?

  • ‘Consulting is a people business – the more interesting and innovative you are, the more valuable you’re likely to be as a consultant.’
  • ‘Think outside the box as to what roles may suit your skills. I don’t think as a biochemistry undergrad or even as a PhD student I could have predicted the role I would have ended up in and yet it fits my strengths and what I want from a job perfectly.’
  • ‘If I had my time at university again, I would have allocated more of it to practising case studies. Work with classmates to replicate a real case interview and give each other feedback – this is the best way to improve and maximise your chances of nailing the case interview.’

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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.