If you’d prefer to get into management consulting straight from university, you’ll need to secure a graduate consulting job. While junior consultant roles come with a salary of around £25,000 up to £30,000, management consultants can earn up to £50,000, depending on experience, skills and industry. If you’re able to work your way up the career ladder, you could potentially earn over £120,000, with opportunities to profit share and enjoy bonus schemes too. (1)
While a graduate won’t be expected to have years of industry experience when applying for an entry level management position, there are some things that will help you get hired. In this article we’ve going to give you 5 steps to success to become a consultant.
Step 1: Choose Your Industry
When it comes to management consulting, there are positions within almost every industry. A management consultants’ role is to help companies solve problems, streamline their processes, maximize growth and optimize the overall performance of the business. Since most management consulting roles will require the same skill set, such as problem solving, critical thinking, data analysis and strong communication skills, you will need to consider the industry you want to work in. This will help to filter out the graduate consulting jobs you don’t want, from your top 5 opportunities. Here are just a handful of possible industries you could work in as a management consultant.
Business and sales consultant within the retail sector.
Accountant consultant focused on business finance and financial decisions.
Public relations consultant, working side by side with the marketing and social media teams to improve brand awareness.
Digital marketing consultant responsible for helping companies generate relevant traffic and leads to an e-commerce platform.
To figure out which industry you should move into, you need to identify your skills, interests and expertises. Which industry have you most enjoyed learning about while at university? Do you have a personal interest to get into consulting to pursue a passion? Is there a demand and current graduate positions available in your field of interest? Are management consultants currently in demand within this space?
Step 2: Step Up Your Management Consultant Resume
Once you’ve decided which industry you want to work in, it’s time to move onto graduate consulting job applications. You’ll need to make yourself stand out for all the right reasons, so go through your CV with a fine-tooth comb. Does it sound as though you understand the industry well enough to provide advice and guidance to a business? If not, you should consider ways to advance your skills and experience or bring the most important parts of your resume to light.
Let’s say you’re thinking about applying for a digital marketing consultant role. If you’ve just graduated from university with a marketing degree, that’s not enough for a management position! How can you show a future employer that you’ve taken the initiative to advance your skills and experience?
Well, one way to do this would be by exploring Google’s Digital Garage and Hubspot’s online courses. Get yourself certified through well-known and trusted providers and make sure you include your new awards on your resume. This tells future employers that you will go above and beyond to expand your industry knowledge and you have a passion for this field. A clean, clear and certified resume along with a personalized cover letter will give you the edge over your fellow applicants when applying for a graduate management consulting role.
Step 3: Choose the right Management Consulting Service
‘Without big data, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway’ - Geoffrey Moore (2)
Whether you’re thinking about setting yourself up as a self-employed management consultant or applying for a graduate job within a company, you’ll need to consider the services you’ll be offering.
What can you do?
What pieces of advice, data analysis, research and recommendations will you be able to carry out professionally and provide to clients?
How will you present information and findings to clients?
What software will you be using?
How much is the industry rate for each service?
Knowing your suite of services inside out will make sure you excel during an interview process and be seen as a consultant and not just an employee. As Geoffrey Moore explains, companies need data analysis, information and insight in order to make well informed business decisions. But, they might not know what you’re able to provide in order to guide them. So, you need to take an authoritative and empowered stance in order to build trust and make sure you’re listened to and your opinions are respected. Explain how you’ll uncover problems, provide solutions and use data to optimize their processes. Have a few examples in your back pocket of how their competitors are using management consultants to become industry leaders. But make sure not to go too far and come across as arrogant.
Step 4: Network Constantly
Just because you’re fresh out of university doesn’t mean you can’t start networking right away! In fact, Founder of Alice Heiman LLC told Forbes ‘Networking at industry events is a great way to have conversations with the right people, but pitching and selling aren’t networking.’ Heiman says it’s important to understand that networking and the art of conversation is key to securing new consulting clients. Consultants who want to attract high-paying clients need to make a game out of networking. (3) So, keep your eyes open for valuable networking opportunities, meet ups and talks within the industry you want to work in.
The more people you know, the more information you’ll have about the top players in the space and the current economic climate in which you’ll be working in. Being able to discuss the events you’ve recently been to during an interview process will help any interview conversation flow. This also helps you to be seen as an interesting and ambitious individual and a great asset to have on board.
If you don’t have the confidence to go to a networking event alone, consider virtual events and joining LinkedIn groups related to your field of interest too. Online communities are becoming an invaluable resource for headhunters and job hunting graduates.
Step 5: Fast Track Through A Masters
Most graduate consulting jobs will include a training program to help you build up your knowledge and skills within an industry and corporate environment. If you’d prefer to fast track your way to a more senior role, you should consider studying for a Master’s degree. Within 12 months, you could complete a Master’s degree and be academically more advanced than the standard graduate hoping to get into consulting. By finding a course that specialises in management consultant careers, you can get ahead of the competition and demand a higher paid job too.
Here’s a couple of options for a Master’s degree in the UK;
Cambridge University now offers a part-time Master’s degree which can be taken over two years and allows you to work and study. This will help you to become an expert within your industry and go for top management roles from the get go.
Achieve a worldwide recognised MBA in 12 months with St. John University in York. This is offered completely online allowing students across the country to apply and advance their career as a management consultant.
Take an MSc in Investment Management at The University of Reading and develop expertise in trading strategies, fund management, alternative investment, ethics in investment management and risk assessment.
Study a Public Health MSc at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and position yourself as a public health consultant to fast track your way to a management consultant role in a pharmaceutical company.
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