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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 interview, what will you answer when a recruiter asks, 'Why do you want to be a consultant?'
It's really exciting to work with people and design a solution with them that in many cases makes their jobs, and those of thousands of others, easier.

If you join the consulting sector, you’re likely to be earning in the region of £33k, 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

'Working in a big international firm means that exciting opportunities in the UK and abroad can come up at very short notice, and you often never know which client or project you'll be working on in a few months' time,' says Claudia Bates, a senior consultant 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 

'I'm still in my first year here, so I'm usually the most junior person on the team. Despite this, I have individual pieces of work for which I'm responsible,' says Olivia Cleary, an associate at The Boston Consulting Group.

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

‘The variety of work involved and the countless opportunities to learn new skills appealed to me,' says Macarena Blanco, a senior business analyst at Alfa.

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

4. Top-notch workmates

‘I really didn't expect the work environment to be quite as fun, vibrant and sociable as it is. I've made proper friends here, not just work colleagues,' says Chessy Whalen, a consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants.

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

'I was able to develop both my organisational and time management skills as well as learn a variety of ways to analyse and effectively communicate data on complex topics,' says Alex McAleavy, 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

'It's really exciting to work with people at the coal face to fully understand the frustrations they are facing, and then design a solution with them that in many cases makes their jobs, and those of thousands of others, easier' says Alex Gordon Lennox, a senior consultant at Newton Europe.

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.