Do management consultants travel a lot?

If you are a consultant, you should expect to travel to most companies, but the level of travel will vary depending on the company and the project. The amount of trips tends to depend on the company's staffing model. Travel is a defining feature of management consulting, regardless of your company. From Bain to Accenture, from McKinsey to Alvarez & Marsal.

If you're a consultant, you can expect to become familiar with acronyms such as LGA, LAX, and ORD. You can expect to spend enough time in hotels for staff to recognize and greet you by name. Before the pandemic, Katie Dye was traveling for work. Make the presentation: all the time, your manager and team will be staring at you for unforgivable mistakes in the slide deck.

If you work for region-focused consulting firms with functional experience (for example, environment, taxes), your chances of spending a significant amount of time in those locations will increase. From Kalon, the luxury brand consultant for The Bachelorette, who made his grand entrance to the show by helicopter (seriously, even I can't defend you, Kalon) to the popular phrase “consultants pick up your watch and tell you what time it is, the image isn't always positive”. Companies based in Paris, Texas, also need consultants, but they will most likely not be able to afford the services of firms of the caliber of the Big Three. Travel projects, especially international ones, face a greater degree of pressure to succeed (both from the customer and from company leaders).

It can be easy to get lost in the massive stampede of type A personalities that you normally see in consulting firms, especially big ones. Most management consultants throughout their careers will be found in 1 or 2 cities that have few redeeming qualities. Dye remains hopeful that management consulting will become one of the most flexible industries to work in, a prediction that might not have been possible before the pandemic. Consulting is truly the art of establishing connections not only in terms of work, but perhaps more importantly, with people.

Before the pandemic, many consultants were expected to spend 60 to 80 percent of their time traveling for work. Of course, most companies try to adapt to special circumstances, but travel is still an important part of the job description. However, finding the balance between requesting new experiences, managing your time, and preparing for an occasional long night or weekend will help you get the most out of consulting. In addition, consulting instills in its recruits an extraordinary amount of discipline and technique that would be difficult for them to acquire at such an intense level and focused elsewhere.

Hopefully it's not a big enough loss to influence your decision, but it's a factor in the consulting lifestyle that can become addictive, especially for extended periods.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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