Management Consultancy

Management Consultancy

Management Consultancy offers a range of diverse opportunities for graduates. For entry in to this occupation a strong academic background is required. Although management consultancy is open to graduates from any degree discipline, a degree which is either numerical or analytical in content could be an advantage for some firms. A degree in the following subjects may increase your chances:

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering or Science

More than the subject, the standard requirement employers will be looking for is a 2:1 at degree level. UCAS, or equivalent, points achieved at ‘A’ level are also important – employers will be looking for 320 – 340 UCAS points, this equates to ABB – AAB, some may even ask for 360 UCAS points.

Types of employer

As a management consultant you could work in one of many different consultancy firms:

  • Generalist Based in a large consulting firm that offers a wide range of services, from strategy consulting and human resources.
  • Manufacturing and Business Services Usually involves a review of the layout of a production department, production control arrangements, productivity and incentive schemes, or quality control problems.
  • Marketing Market research and business forecasting, sales force training and the organisation of retail and wholesale outlets.
  • Human Resources Consultants in this area offer specialist advice ranging from personnel policy, manpower planning, job enrichment, job evaluation and industrial relations.
  • Information Technology Firms specialising in IT will offer advice ranging from defining information needs, the provision of software, systems analysis and design, computer feasibility studies, implementing computer applications and making computer hardware evaluations.
  • Environmental Management This includes urban and regional development planning, international economic research, cost benefit and social analysis studies and physical, economic, ecological and sociological studies for the encouragement of quality of lifestyle.
  • Financial This specialist advice offered by financial consultants ranges from the installation of budgetary control systems, profit planning or capital and revenue budgeting, office reorganisation and administrative arrangements.
  • Niche Firms Much of the growth in the Environment, natural resources consulting area, has been a result of consultants leaving the larger firms and setting up their own consultancy practices in a particular sector.

The industry sectors in which management consultants may operate are:

  • Financial Services, including banking and insurance
  • Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
  • Manufacturing, including aerospace and automotive engineering
  • Media and Telecommunications
  • Natural Resources, including utilities, gas and renewable energy providers
  • IT Consultancy, E-Business and E-Commerce
  • Public Sector Bodies, Charities and Not-For-Profit organisations
  • Marketing
  • Retail, Consumer Goods, Transport, Hospitality and Leisure

Consulting role progression

Most graduates start out as an analyst or associate – after two years you could reach associate level – some firms will fast track MBA and postgraduate candidates straight on to associate level. The next stage is senior associate. After that you are looking to secure either a principal or director position. This of course will depend on the structure of the organisation you apply to. So research in to this is vital.

Work experience

Work experience is very important to employers. On every application form, in addition to the minimum academic entry requirements, every employer will ask you about your work experience. Questions about your achievements and skills will require you to focus on your work based competencies and transferable key skills. All employers will want to see evidence of this.

Naturally, relevant work experience would be an advantage as it will help you gain inside knowledge of careers and organisations, build contacts in industry, and also give you the opportunity to gain practical experience to enrich understanding of your studies.

Many organisations offer students the opportunity to undertake a period of work experience. Some also offer internships. It is therefore strongly advised that you take advantage of these opportunities. As such early application is necessary ie by Christmas 2015 for placement in Spring/Summer 2016 (see useful websites for contact details). Remember, those organisations that do offer internships, will be used by the employer as a means of pre-selection/recruitment.

Work-based competencies can also be developed whilst at University. You can do this by taking on positions of responsibility, such as membership of clubs and societies, organising fundraising or other charitable or social events. This can be done either in a voluntary or paid capacity. Remember with management consultancy employers are going to want to see evidence of a high level of numeracy, analytical skills, presentation skills, communication and interpersonal skills, physical and mental stamina, self-confidence and integrity with the ability to inspire clients’ trust as well as a good level of IT skills.

Do remember, that whatever your work experience outside university, even the most mundane sounding job titles belie the level of fast learning you have had to do and the level of responsibility you have taken on. If you have worked in a bar, restaurant, call centre or supermarket for example all these offer you the opportunity to evidence transferable work-based skills.

Local links and events

Many varying organisations visit the University to make presentations and attend recruitment events throughout the year. All events and recruitment fairs are posted on the Careers & Employability website which can be found at cardiff.ac.uk/careers

Of particular interest to those wishing to enter management consultancy, the ‘Business, Finance & Banking Careers Fair’ in October is an excellent opportunity to meet employers, as will the ‘Autumn Careers Information & Recruitment Event’  (check Careers & Employability website for details).

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