Do Management Consultants Travel? An Expert's Perspective

If you're in the consulting business, you should expect to travel with most companies, but the level of travel will vary depending on the company and project. The amount of trips is usually determined by the company's workforce model. Travel is a defining feature of management consulting, no matter which firm you work for - from Bain to Accenture, from McKinsey to Alvarez & Marsal. If you're a consultant, you should get used to acronyms such as LGA, LAX, and ORD.

You'll likely spend enough time in hotels for staff to recognize you and greet you by name. If keeping your trips and travel hours to a minimum is a priority, then your best bet is to work for a smaller boutique company. At 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. This is one of the most common myths about consultant travel, and one that causes many to not think seriously about the profession (and also the most popular category of jokes about investment bankers). At consulting firms and on customer sites, you must constantly prove (and demonstrate) that you are and would be a valuable asset to a project. Here are the TOP FIVE myths about travel consulting and my take on the “larger truth” behind each one. Consultants are exposed to a wide variety of experiences and are taught how to apply lessons learned in other situations to those before them. Consulting can be a great way to gain experience in all kinds of areas, but it also means that you must constantly adapt and be as flexible as possible with your aptitude, time and work style.

However, finding the balance between asking for new experiences, managing your time, and preparing for a long night or occasional weekend will help you make the most of consulting. If you work for regionally focused consulting firms with functional expertise (e.g. environment, taxes), your chances of spending a lot of time in those locations will increase. However, some firms offer initiatives such as Take Time which allows consultants to step away from their desks to spend a sabbatical year between projects. Companies based in Paris, Texas, also need consultants, but they most likely won't be able to afford the services of large caliber 3 firms.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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