Careers Service Occupations

Management Consultancy

Management Consultancy

About

A career in management consultancy can offer you variety, with the chance to work with a range of clients on different projects.

It is likely that you will need to travel frequently to spend time on client sites.   

Salaries can be high. According to Prospects, recent graduates could earn between £25,000 and £30,000 and with a few years experience this could increase to £50,000.   

The Management Consultancies Association reports that in 2020 the UK consulting industry grew by 4.5%, following an increase in client work in both the private and public sector following COVID-19. The UK consulting sector is the second biggest in the world, exporting to more countries than ever before thanks to new digital ways of working.

Consultancy is a popular option for graduates, meaning that there is competition for opportunities. 

Careers advice

You can find advice from targetjobs: Management consulting, including What does a graduate consultant do? and The skills consulting recruiters are looking for in 2022.

Bright Network has a career path guide to consulting, including articles on the different types of consulting and leading graduate employers in the sector. 

Climb in Consulting is a series of podcasts which include advice from senior partners and consultants on how to get into consulting and how to get ahead in the industry. It also offers insights into a range of consultancy firms.

For information and advice on the growing field of innovation consulting, see Roles and Skills.

Industry news

Sources of news include Management Consultancies Association and Top-consultant.com. Consulting Magazine provides news on the industry in the US.

See also the Financial Time's Special Report on the UK's leading management consultants.

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates. 

They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Find professional bodies outside of the UK on GoinGlobal by selecting ‘Professional and Personal Networking’ on each of the individual country guides. 

Making contacts

Making contacts is essential for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications.

You could start with:

  • NCL Spark – our online mentoring platform, with graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
  • Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what our graduates did after graduation and contact them for advice
  • Graduate Mentor and The 1 Hour Project - both platforms aim to match students with industry professionals who can provide invaluable insights. Sign up to be connected for a one hour meeting.

Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. Find out more about how to use social media for your career and subscribe to our Management Consultancy Twitter list.

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insights and opportunities to make contacts. Regular events organised by the Careers Service include Employer & Sector Insights and Recruitment Events.

Many large employers and the professional bodies in this sector run events and other opportunities, for example:

  • PwC run a programme of events for undergraduates and graduates
  • Accenture list recruitment events on their web site  

For more events for this sector see Careers Service events or  External Events.

Related Sectors

You may also be interested in Accountancy and TaxActuarial, Insurance and Pensions, Administration, Banking and Finance, and Economics and Statistics.

See our other Explore Occupations pages for more options.

Roles and Skills

There are no specific degree subjects required for a career in consultancy, although some employers prefer a degree related to business, economics or finance. Most employers will recruit graduates with a minimum of a 2:1.

Many graduates enter management consultancy through a graduate training scheme. It is common to start your career as an 'analyst' before moving on to a consultancy role once you have gained some experience. 

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties and entry requirements.

Management consultant

Innovation consultant

Business development manager 

Skills employers look for

  • excellent interpersonal and communication (verbal and written) skills
  • strong analytical skills and the ability to solve complex problems
  • the ability to work in a team
  • negotiation skills and the ability to work collaboratively
  • leadership skills
  • commercial awareness

Gaining Experience

Getting into management consultancy is extremely competitive. Relevant work experience will help to show your motivation for working in this sector. It will also help you to develop the skills employers are looking for.

Applications for internships with larger consultancies generally open around August. Closing dates are as early as October and November. The majority of advertised internships are aimed at penultimate year students.

Smaller consultancies often don’t advertise opportunities. You may need to contact them with a speculative approach. You should do this early, as it can be competitive. See Finding companies below, to help you search for consultancies.

Some of the larger consultancies such as McKinsey, Accenture and EY offer insight days. These give you an insight into consulting and working for their organisation. These are often for first year students. Opportunities are usually advertised on their websites and on our Events pages.

You can also develop relevant skills in extra-curricular activities while at university by:  

These can help you develop your team working, communication and problem-solving skills. 

Internships

See Internships, Placements & Shadowing for more sources of internships and placements.

Individual consultancies will advertise internships on their own website. Use the resources in Finding companies below to identify consultancies.

Specialist recruitment agencies

Vacancies are advertised through recruitment agencies but many are for experienced applicants. Use the resources on our Recruitment Agencies page to search for specialist recruitment agencies. Contact them to see if they handle vacancies suitable for new graduates.

Finding companies

Find companies that interest you and get in touch directly – ideally with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

In the North East:

While a high proportion of consultancy roles are London-based, many of the larger firms have regional offices in cities such as Newcastle. KPMG, PwC, Accenture and Oliver Wyman all have offices in Newcastle.

You can also try the following business directories to search for consultancies in the North East:

In the UK/worldwide:

Finding Jobs

Competition is strong, particularly for entry-level positions. Vacancies aimed at graduates are often advertised as ‘analyst’ roles.

Employers will look for applicants with strong academic results – a 2.1 or above - work experience and relevant skills.

Closing dates are usually early, around November to January.  A smaller number of consultancies will recruit all year round. 

Bright Network have a guide on how to succeed in consulting applications, which includes typical interview questions and how to stand out to employers. 

Vacancy sites

See Graduate Jobs for more vacancy sources. 

To find opportunities outside the UK, see GoinGlobal and International Jobs.

Specialist recruitment agencies

Vacancies are advertised through specialist recruitment agencies, such as Mindbench, Ascent and Prism, which can also provide key industry knowledge.

Some agencies are aimed more at experienced applicants, rather than graduates. See Recruitment Agencies for more advice on how to register and find agencices.

Finding companies

Find consultancies that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

In the North East

While a high proportion of consultancy roles are London based, many of the larger firms have regional offices in cities such as Newcastle. KPMG, PwCAccenture and Oliver Wyman all have offices in Newcastle.

You can also try the following business directories to search for consultancies in the North East:

In the UK/worldwide: