Your consulting application timeline 2021
What to do when over the next year, to ensure you have the best possible chance of getting a graduate job in consulting.
Make sure you’re on top of your academic work.
What to do in autumn
Apply for summer internships for 2021 (usually only for penultimate-year students). The vast majority of these deadlines are in January.
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 have become more lenient, however - check the employer hubs.
Consider joining a university club or society to develop transferable skills. Find out whether your university has an alumni database. If it does, use it to find someone doing the type of consulting job you want and send an email to see if they’d be willing to tell you more about it.
Register on this website to receive job alerts, get headhunted and save your favourite roles to your personal dashboard.
- Make your application for a job in 2021 now. Many graduate consulting schemes open to receive applications in September and close mid November. Watch out though – a few close in October. There are exceptions to the autumn window (some consulting employers are still offering vacancies) but remember – even application dates described as ‘open’ will close once the firm has received all the applications it needs. Don’t delay applying. Check out the advice in the employer hubs.
What to do in winter
- Now is usually the time to apply for short programmes (generally lasting two days to a week) such as insight days, McKinsey's Discover, PwC’s Talent Academy, Discover EY, etc…. all of which increase your chances of being considered for firms’ graduate schemes. Many are designed specifically for first-years and give you a great introduction to a consulting career.
- If you’re in your penultimate year and didn’t get accepted onto the internship you wanted for the summer, plan ahead by investigating alternative work experience, such as volunteering abroad. Make the most of any festive social events to ask family and friends about any suitable contacts they know of or ways to expand your CV.
- This is usually peak time for interviews and assessment centres. Consult the employer hubs to get tailored advice about how to handle yourself in case study interviews and at assessment centres. If you’re still making applications to firms with open deadlines, ensure you can access the job-hunting resources you need over the Christmas holiday.
What to do in spring
- If you’re lucky enough to get selected for any insight days or spring programmes, make the most of the experience and network. Now is your chance to ask questions and think about which firms would suit you.
- Sound out a friendly tutor to see if there are options for relevant paid work at your university over the summer if you haven’t managed to line up an internship. Research whether there are any modules you could take next year that would particularly please employers in your area of interest. If you can’t find this information on company websites, contact the graduate recruitment team directly to ask.
- You’re probably pretty busy studying for exams so job-hunting may be on the back burner right now, but, 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. Consider being more flexible when it comes to location – opportunities in London tend to go first.
What to do in summer
- Draw up a form or other system to 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.
- Make the most of your internship to give yourself the greatest possible chance of it turning into a full-time job offer. If you don’t have an internship, there are plenty of alternatives to boost your employability. You could, for example, contact small local companies to see if they could offer you a couple of days’ work shadowing or give you a tour of their facilities.
- Job secured for September? Congratulations – enjoy your summer!
- If not, check you can still access your university’s careers resources once you are no longer a student. Don’t give up – some graduate schemes may still be open (you can find our which ones in the employer hubs). If you’re planning to reapply to the same firm in September, read our advice to maximise your chances of success.