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What will your first weeks of consulting training be like?

All consultancies will differ, but to help shed some light on your first few weeks in consulting, Derrick Betts, a vice president at Parthenon-EY, explains what their graduate consultants can expect.
The training includes a host of social activities.

The first month

Your first month is spent at our head office in Boston where you join the new associates from all our offices. During the first three weeks you will learn more about the firm, our clients and some of the interesting projects we are working on. In addition you will learn about ‘the consultancy toolkit’: what type of tools and analyses are available. New associates are encouraged to become familiar with what they are taught in training so they can apply this to future projects, but you are not expected to come away and be able to execute immediately everything you have been shown.

Working on a case

The last week of training is offsite. You will receive training from Harvard Business School professors (at a secret location!) and then have the opportunity to work on a simulated case example which you will be required to present to a group of partners on your return to Boston.


The training includes a host of social activities. Although the month will be hard work, you will also find that you have the opportunity to have fun with the rest of your colleagues when the day is finished.

Core consulting skills

You will learn how to create and put together PowerPoint presentations, which are used to present solutions to clients and answers to the questions clients ask. You will need to analyse data using a number of different tools, some of which could include financial modelling, econometric forecasting, consumer surveying, speaking with industry experts, ‘cold calling’ competitors, reading market reports, or collecting secondary research data from a number of industry databases.

Learning while working

You will only really master the ability to analyse and interpret data when on a live project. It usually takes time during a case to get up to speed with how to implement these tools. You will soon realise that the next time you are faced with the same task you will be able to do this independently.

The role of a mentor

On your first day you are assigned a mentor who is usually someone in the class above you. They will take you out for a number of ‘associate lunches’ during your time at the firm and are usually the person you end up going to if you need advice.

After the formal training

When you return to the London office there are usually a few days of orientation where you get a chance to meet the rest of the office, get set up at your desk with your laptop and Blackberry, learn how the office works as well being shown all the best places for lunch! There are usually a number of social activities which are organised during the first few weeks in London, which make it a little easier to get to know the team.

Getting to work

After your initial training you are usually put on a case within the first few weeks, depending on when projects are expected to begin. If you are not put on a project straight away then you will be staffed on pieces of client development which we usually use as ‘tasters’ to sell future projects to clients.