Do Consultants Travel the World? An Expert's Perspective

Traveling is a defining feature of management consulting, regardless of the company. From Bain to Accenture, from McKinsey to Alvarez & Marsal, consultants can expect to become familiar with acronyms such as LGA, LAX, and ORD. A typical schedule is to fly on Monday morning, fly home on Thursday night, and work from the central office on Friday. However, the exact schedule varies depending on the consulting firm and the client.

One of the benefits of traveling is being able to visit new places with the company's money. I was wondering if consultants (especially those starting their careers at one of the three big firms) travel abroad. My theory was also that consultants in Europe could do it a little more, since countries are closer to each other, while a consultant in the United States could simply travel domestically. Your best bet if keeping your trips and travel hours to a minimum is a priority, it will be a smaller boutique company.

With most large consulting firms, few or no employees work an average of 40 to 50 hours a week. Even fewer see two days of travel or less. However, in boutique firms, travel may be limited and there is a greater variety of average hours that consultants spend. These are also large consulting firms that focus more on management consulting, specifically strategic consulting, while the “Big Four” are accounting firms that also have consulting. We talk about what the title of “consultant” means, the paths you can take to enter the industry, the skills you need to succeed, and what you can expect to get paid when you're just starting out. Most management consultants, throughout their careers, will find themselves in 1 or 2 cities that have few redeeming qualities.

However, increasingly, consulting firms recognize that not all employees want to devote their entire waking life to their work. Traveling, both domestically and internationally, is very common -although it can be avoided if you really try to meet people-. I was interested in consulting because I knew that you can work with many different types of clients in many different industries and you are helping them solve a variety of problems. I joined as an associate consultant, which is the initial level of my company, and I wanted to be at the consultant level. My MC colleague has maintained Delta Platinum Medallion and Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite more than 10 years after leaving Bain.

If you want to continue making travel a priority, having the status you have obtained in consulting is an excellent starting platform to continue doing it in style. And then you'll also see people who simply stay for years and years at their consulting firm and move forward on that scale. Join for free to get the latest senior-level jobs, career growth content and paid consulting contracts delivered straight to your inbox. So I think the reason there is a misconception that consultants are paid to “do nothing” is because they are paid a good amount of money to work at PowerPoints.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

Certified pizza specialist. Incurable food evangelist. Tv advocate. Amateur travel lover. Hardcore pizza practitioner.