Is a job in consulting right for you? #1

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Do you want to learn how to get kick start your career in consulting? Whether you are a new graduate or looking to transition from your current career to consulting; you’ve come to the right place!

In this week’s blog we will explore:

#1 What consultants actually do? Things that don’t get covered in the job description


#2 What are the different kind of consulting firms? Trust me, there are many. I have worked at a few myself.


#3 What kind of skills are important to be successful in consulting?


#4 Why you should consider working in consulting?

#1 What consultants actually do?

You would be consulting; no sh*t sherlock!

Let me break it down, you would be providing advice to a client to help them resolve some of their most complex problems. Depending on what type of consulting you do; this could mean full implementation of an IT solution or a strategy on how they should run their new business unit.

But how would you know how to do that?

That’s the beauty, you would be provided excellent training to analyse data, business processes and storytelling. Also, with the experience of working with some of the brightest minds in the industry very early on in your career; you will quickly and efficiently learn how to break down complex problems into miniature components that can be easily digested and resolved.

It won’t all be sunshine and rainbows; there will be difficult projects and stakeholders, there will be long hours and you may even feel like you are always “on”. However, this will help you build resilience and knowledge in a very short time. And the perks will be beyond your imagination.

Before I turned 25, I was running my own engagements and travelling out to the Nordics from the UK, for client meetings every week. I couldn’t have imagined this scenario when I finished University mere two years earlier.

It won’t all be sunshine and rainbows; there will be difficult projects and stakeholders, there will be long hours....💭

#2 What are the different kind of Consulting firms?

Broadly speaking, there are three types of consulting firms:


  • MBB (Mckinsey, Bain & Company and Boston Consulting Group)
    • Provide strategic advice to the C-suite
    • Also, work in some implementation of strategies
  • Big 4 Consulting firms (KPMG, Deloitte, EY & PwC)
    • Provide financial audits for large companies
    • Help in tax-related matters
    • Help restructuring firms and mergers & acquisitions
    • Also, have a core strategy and consulting division, however, restricted client list due to conflict of interest between audit and consulting
  • IT Consulting firms (Accenture, Infosys, TCS)
    • Large scale technology implementation
    • Strategy & consulting services

There is of course no one size fits all; all these firms overlap with each other in different areas.

#3 What kind of skills are important to be successful in consulting?

This varies depending on which consulting firm you are working in, and of course in which role. However the common skills required will be as follows:


  • Team working – you will generally be working as part of a team; so it is important to work well in a team and recognise your & your team members’ strengths
  • Numerical skills – you will be analysing some numerical data to come up with conclusions; it is hence imperative to have good numerical skills
  • Analytical skills – as above, you will be analysing processes and outcomes and the ability to ask the right questions based on the analysis is really important
  • Strong communication – this is needed to ensure the requirements from the client are understood and your point of view of the situation is explained in a coherent and simplified manner
Here are a few more!

  • Curiosity – this may seem strange, but as consultants you will always be curious around why things are done the way they are. Your pet hate will be “this is how we have always done things!”
  • Perception management – you see in consulting, you will be perceived in one way or another by your clients, your seniors, your consulting practice. It is important to manage perception as it quickly becomes the reality.
  • Adaptable to different situations – you will not be working in a normal environment, you may be taking 3 hour train journey early morning to present some findings to a client. You need to feel agile enough, to not be distracted by the environment. In this situation working on the train, working at client site which will be different every few months, working out of hotels. You get the gist!

You need not worry if you don’t have all the aforementioned skills; you will learn a lot of these on the job and you will continuously improve. In my first 3 months in consulting, I ended up learning more than what I had learnt for 2 years in my industry job.

#4 Why you should consider working in consulting?

So by now, I hope you have understood briefly what consulting is all about, what you need to succeed in it and which of the main types of consulting firms are out there.

These are some of my key points on why you should consider working in consulting:

  • Senior client exposure very early on in your career – you will rarely deal with middle management, as a consultant your company will be paid top bucks to help resolve the fundamental client challenges. That kind of authority and accountability only comes from the top, you will regularly interact with C-suite or minus 1 or 2
  • Working in this environment will cultivate many qualities in you. You will become more resilient to change, you will be a natural innovator, you will constantly look at ways to improve things, you will propel your career forward. A significant number of C-suites will have been through the consulting journey themselves.
  • You will earn a lot more; this goes without saying, you will be expected to sacrifice a lot more of your life in comparison to a normal industry job, but you will be compensated more, salaries will be at times 30-40% higher in comparison.

Here are a few more!


  • You will also have better perks; although this point is subjective, as everyone doesn’t enjoy the aspect of travelling. Whilst you are travelling, you will gain spend-able loyalties with airlines, hotel, rail companies, allowing you to have more flexibility when you go on holidays with your loved ones.
  • You will make a big impact; a company/client cares about their bottom line, they will only bring in consultants to help them with their key issues and in turn to achieve business growth, mitigate key risks, strategise how they go to market. Learning this process early on; you will realise the huge impact you will be making on the clients and their customers.
  • You will be respected in your field; having a consulting stint on your CV will open many doors for you in the industry and beyond. You will be confident enough to start your own venture or go work at one of your previous clients on a more permanent basis


I hope this blog has been insightful and has helped answer some of your questions about consulting. If you would like to be kept informed of more great content like this, subscribe to my newsletter.


And what is the one thing you have learnt from this blog? Please share in the comments section below.

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Hanzala Qureshi

Hanzala Qureshi

I’m a digital consultant at a leading consultancy firm. I mostly spend my life working on complex data projects. On this website I document my journey in consulting and thoughts on data & emerging technologies.

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