To get an entry-level business consultant, you must earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, finance, marketing, or a related field. Some also earn a master’s degree to be more competitive in the job market. Take courses that allow you to study and analyze an organization’s policies and resources, and learn how to develop effective business practices for your customers. An internship with a marketing or consulting firm provides hands-on experience in this area and helps you connect with industry professionals. Internships often lead to job offers.

Other qualifications include excellent communication and analytical skills, basic marketing and financial skills, and self-motivation. You also need to be familiar with standard office software and feel comfortable giving presentations. Some offices also have a “buddy,” a more experienced colleague from your office who can help you handle the cross-project part of consulting work. Hoping to get you off to a smoother start, I’ve interviewed some of my former colleagues about their own experiences and insights from their first year as a consultant.

Common tasks may include researching your client’s financial history, analyzing changes in employee policies, monitoring employee efficiency and turnover, and creating presentations with recommendations set by your supervising advisor. Because work hours can be long, consultants often spend most of their day with their colleagues, including meals and traveling to client sites. DDs are known to be among the most intensive projects among consultants, as they try to answer a complex question within two to three weeks. Team members form close bonds, so you can expect to make life-long friendships through the ups and downs of consulting life.

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Management consulting firms are usually full of high achievers, and that can be intimidating at first, especially if you’re from an untargeted school. As a consultant for young professionals, your opinion is important and you are expected to contribute to problem-solving sessions and disagree if you look at the issue differently. Not surprisingly, this results in consultants working much longer and at a much higher intensity than any other typical entry-level job. Spoiled, “what came to mind a bit as a consultant for young professionals was all the benefits and the “consultant life” of door-to-door trips and stays abroad as well as unusual dinners.

First-year consultants often have their case or engagement manager who looks over their shoulders when it comes to analyses, but second-year consultants are considered to be far more independent. This application covers all office locations and segments for consulting positions in the United States. If you’re comparing consulting to other career opportunities, or if you’ve just received an offer from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, or another top company and are now wondering what it’s really like to be a career counselor, then you’ve come to the right place.