Top 10 Reasons to Specialize in a Career in Consultancy

Top 10 Reasons to Specialize in a Career in Consultancy main image

As an industry, consulting covers a wide range of careers across the spectrum, but what the roles have in common is a consultant’s ability to bring a fresh perspective to a business.

The consultants who really exceed expectations have a fire in their belly – a burning desire to work on challenging projects, provide obvious value to clients, and keep developing professionally.

Sounds exciting, right? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why you should specialize in consultancy. 

Be given responsibility early on

Consultants work directly for CEOs and their executive teams from early on in their career.

You’ll develop a lot of the soft skills needed to become a senior executive later on (e.g. convincing people who don’t agree with you, managing difficult stakeholders, presenting to large audiences with little time to prepare).

Many employees won’t have these opportunities in the first few years of their career, instead waiting for multiple promotions to have exposure to the CEO.

One major perk of working with senior executives is they focus on the company’s toughest problems, meaning your consultancy work could have a lot of impact on a company.

You will earn a lot of money

It’s no secret that consulting is one of the more lucrative fields you could go into. Entry-level consultants fresh out of university could make up to US$80,000 with a US$20,000 bonus, whereas MBA grads will see an even more substantial base salary – with figures growing to US$150,000 and a salary of US$40,000.

Salaries are much higher in consultancy than most other industries, a sum that only continues to grow once you start adding pensions and other benefits.

Continuous learning

Consultants are expected to bring leading and cutting-edge skills to each project they work on – and so continuous learning comes with the territory.

The only way to succeed in consulting is by adapting – those wishing to coast on through need not apply.

You will have great exit opportunities

Once you’ve got a couple of years of consultancy experience under your belt, you’ll discover just how lucrative the exit opportunities will be.

Many consultants with this experience don’t even need to look for jobs, but will in fact be headhunted via various channels for a plethora of opportunities.

A varied workload

As consultants will deal with a number of organizations during their career, it’s safe to say no day is quite like the other.

Moving between different organizations and learning how different companies operate is an invaluable knowledge resource. This variety of work teaches best practices that will take you from one organization to your next assignment with ease and confidence.

Networking opportunities are plentiful

Consulting firms provide a top-notch network after several years of work. Although huddling up with colleagues for 10-13 hours a day could feel harrowing at times, in reality you’ll grow incredibly close to your co-workers. Make great relationships with your colleagues, and they’ll be more than happy to introduce you to other opportunities when they arise.

Let’s not forget, established firms have dedicated alumni relations departments who provide useful resources and networking opportunities for consultants after leaving the firm.

Top-tier assignments which will keep you engaged

If an organization is faced with a particularly challenging assignment, the company will often draft in the assistance of consultants to supplement in-house staff.

If you find problem-solving interesting, consulting may just be the field for you.

Become a better communicator

You’ll naturally learn to be more comfortable communicating with other people in a professional capacity during challenging conversations.

A consultant’s role usually involves transforming a business, so you’ll need to get people on board with the project through clear and compassionate communication.

As communicating with clients and other stakeholders may account for as much as 90 percent of a consultant’s role, you’ll get lots of practice of this soft skill.

Skip the c-suite line

Many people have to work their entire lives to climb the corporate ladder and begin working on company-wide strategic problems.

Although you’re not the CEO (yet), consulting allows you to exercise your strategy muscle with exposure to that kind of thinking. Whether you choose to stay in consulting is your prerogative but having the chance to understand what stresses out senior leaders – and how you can help – means you’ll be well-prepared for a c-suite position in the future.

Quickly become an expert

The training and speed at which you learn in consulting is rarely matched in other industries. There are formal training programs of course, but a lot will be experiential learning on the job.

Projects are fast-paced and involve working in teams, so you’ll get to learn from experienced employees quickly and become an expert in a number of fields quickly.

But most importantly, consultants are expected to stay ahead of trends. You’ll be able to achieve this by researching large macro trends in your client’s industry, as well as utilizing your colleagues’ knowledge.

Popular consulting careers include:

Management Consulting

  • Strategy Consulting
  • Operations Consulting
  • Financial Advisory Consulting
  • Human Resources Consulting
  • Risk & Compliance Consulting

Corporate Consulting

  • IT Consulting
  • Business Consulting
  • Environmental Consulting
  • Software Consulting
  • Sales Consulting

Independent Consulting

  • Marketing Consulting
  • Financial Consulting
  • Image Consulting
  • Social Media Consulting
  • Career Coaching & Consulting
Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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