Job hunting tips

Your consulting application timeline: key dates for graduate jobs and internships

Discover when to apply for consulting graduate jobs, for internships, for open days and more – and how you can use your time before that to become the best interview candidate.

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In this article, we identify the window in which most consulting application deadlines fall and suggest actions you can take throughout the rest of the academic year to boost your employability – whether you are a fresher or a finalist. To make things simpler for you, however, we do this in two ways:

In a nutshell: when are consulting application deadlines?

Your FAQs answered.

When do applications for consulting graduate programmes open and close?

Many consulting graduate programmes open to receive applications in September and set deadlines either in October or mid-November. These employers typically include McKinsey, Bain & Co, Accenture and PwC. Other employers fall outside this window: for example, Kubrick often sets deadlines in January and OC&C Strategy Consultants typically sets deadlines in March. A few employers do not set a fixed deadline, but remember that even application dates described as ‘open’ will close once the firm has received all the applications it needs.

Search for consulting graduate jobs and browse deadlines .

When do you apply for consulting graduate jobs and when do you start?

You typically apply for consulting graduate programmes (which often offer job titles such as associate) in the final year of your undergraduate degree or during your masters. You usually start the following September (after you graduate).

When do consulting internship applications open and close?

These days, many consulting firms set deadlines for their summer internships and industrial placement years at the same time of year as their graduate jobs: October and November. However, other employers may keep their applications open until January and some keep their vacancies open or ‘roll’ them until they have filled positions. You’ll need to keep an eye on our internship search and individual employer websites.

Most summer internships are aimed at penultimate-year students – but a few large consulting employers offer internships for other years and graduates, too.

Search for consulting internships and placements .

When are the application deadlines for consulting open days and insight programmes?

Insight programmes are shorter periods of work experience intended to give students a brief introduction into consulting careers and working life at the employer. They may last up to a week, but many last one day (these are sometimes known as open days). Traditionally, these were aimed at first year students, but increasingly they are open to students from all years who are from a particular demographic group (eg students and graduates of black heritage).

Deadlines for these opportunities vary according to when they are held – usually they open a couple of months beforehand. So, for example, an insight programme for December usually opens in September or October and closes in October or November, while an insight programme for April may have a deadline of February and may not open until December or January. The best thing you can do is to keep an eye on targetjobs and the individual employer websites.

Search for consulting work experience and insight programmes on targetjobs .

Your consulting application timeline

Here's your term-by-term guide of what to do when.

In the autumn: September to November

  • Apply for the vacancies that you are eligible for. As noted above, many graduate jobs, internships and insight programmes close in October and November, although some opportunities will be available later in the year. Graduate jobs are open to final-year and masters students, internships are primarily aimed at penultimate-year students and insight programmes typically at first years or particular student demographics, but there are exceptions.
  • Make use of your careers service: sign up for careers fairs and consulting-specific employer events, book in to have your CV reviewed and attend any relevant employability sessions.
  • Make sure you’re on top of your academic work – without mitigating circumstances, the vast majority of consulting firms will insist on you having a 2.1 or above. Some of the Big 4 (PwC, EY, KPMG and Deloitte) have become more lenient, however – see our article on the Big 4’s entry requirements for more details.
  • Consider joining a university club or society to develop the transferable skills consulting recruiters want . If you are already a member of a society, try to get actively involved in the running of it. Gain more insights into how your extracurricular activities can get you hired .
  • Try to find out more about consulting via networking. Join LinkedIn and send a tailored connection request to someone doing the type of consulting job you want to see if they’d be willing to tell you more about it. You can find out how to create a perfect LinkedIn profile and how to use LinkedIn effectively in our articles. Alternatively, your careers service may have an alumni database of former students willing to talk to you or a mentoring programme.
  • Register on targetjobs to receive the latest vacancy alerts, to follow employers you are interested in, to access a personal feed of careers advice and events curated to your interests and more.

In the winter: December to February

  • Continue to apply for opportunities – as mentioned, this is often a key time to apply for insight programmes happening in the spring and a good number of internship applications are still open.
  • Continue to find ways to develop your skills, whether this is through part-time work in the Christmas break or through volunteering. Develop your commercial awareness by keeping up with the news and considering how events might affect the advice consultants would give clients. If you haven’t started networking already, do so now.
  • For penultimate-year and final-year students, this is usually peak time for interviews and assessment centres. Check out our specialist advice for impressing at consulting interviews , for cracking the case study interview and for succeeding at assessment days .

In the spring: March to May

  • If you’re in your penultimate year and didn’t get accepted onto the internship you wanted for the summer, plan alternatives as early in the spring as you can – for example, do you want to spend your summer volunteering abroad (subject to travel advice)? Are there any paid internship or employer-sponsored business projects happening at your university that you can get involved with (ask your faculty or careers adviser)?
  • If you are a first year who hasn't yet secured an insight day or a penultimate-year student who hasn't secured an internship, try to gain consulting work experience with smaller employers. Make speculative applications for work shadowing/informal work experience weeks ( here’s how to apply speculatively ). You should also ask your relatives/friends/lecturers /LinkedIn contacts if they know of any good work experience opportunities.
  • If you haven’t already, seek out ‘virtual internships’ (AKA online courses) run throughout the year by employers such as Accenture.
  • If you are in your final year and considering applying for a masters starting in September or October, now is the time to do so – you can typically apply right up until June or July, but it is advised you do so in around March/April.
  • If you are in your final year and considering a gap year, now is the time to start planning it (especially if you want to go abroad) – check out our gap year advice .
  • Job offers tend to be made around now. Take a look at our FAQs on job offer etiquette (including what you should do if you receive more than one job offer). If it’s not good news, our insights on dealing with rejection should help you gather yourself for your next steps.

In the summer: June to August

  • First and penultimate years, record the skills you pick up over the summer – whether through an internship, travelling, volunteering or in a part-time job. It’ll all help when filling out application forms.
  • Final years, if you haven’t managed to secure a job for the summer, keep your eyes open for any schemes that may reopen, or those that may not have closed. You can also send speculative applications to smaller consulting employers to see whether they have a vacancy that they are not advertising widely.

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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