Is Consulting a Challenging Career?

Consulting is one of the most sought-after career paths for MBA graduates, and the competition for positions in top consulting firms is fierce. Working in a top consulting firm can provide almost unlimited exit opportunities for those who don't want to stay in the industry forever. But what does it take to succeed in this demanding profession?The first step to succeeding in consulting is understanding what the job entails. Consulting is a high-risk profession that involves a lot of work stress.

The emphasis is on billable hours, and the general culture is to praise employees for the hours they spend. Professionals who lack a strong work ethic or who cannot work long hours do not usually succeed in consulting. A common joke in the consulting industry is that newcomers can gain 5 to 7 kg in the first three months until they learn to control themselves at hotel buffets. In addition to long hours, consultants are expected to always be “active”, making it difficult to find a clear separation between personal and professional life. They are also prepared to undertake consulting internships, and the practice of one-on-one interviews helps them create appropriate frameworks and understand how to demonstrate their skills to hiring managers. The biggest challenge for aspiring consultants is that most candidates are working very hard to get a job that they know almost nothing about.

Can you imagine applying for a job when you don't really know what that job is? How would you formulate your answers for the interview? The first objective of the book is to give students a practical understanding of what work is. In a single consulting project, the “hard” backyards that analysts don't take up so much time. If you compare this to a law firm or investment bank, their basic cases or M&A projects require a large number of staff hours. And that's just to carry out their most basic bread and butter work. Literally, they have to recruit so many graduates to do the correction at a law firm and calculate numbers in a bank. Consulting firms want to know that you are adept at acquiring the information you'll need to perform well for your clients.

An interviewer often overlooks an error in the case if they see what they are looking for in the rest of the interview, which is much more about “if this candidate feels like a consultant”. The consultants told us that many of their former colleagues went on to work for former clients, if not directly, within one or two years, depending on their non-competence. Pursuing a career in consulting can be difficult. However, for MBA graduates with the right skills, consulting offers a good and lucrative career path and a variety of world-renowned firms to work for. Above all, there aren't a lot of roles in major consulting firms.

The reason for this is simple: there is fierce competition among graduates of major business schools for positions in top consulting firms. Answer these questions and, at the very least, you'll have a general idea of whether consulting is the right option for you: Do I have strong work ethic? Can I handle long hours? Am I able to acquire information quickly? Do I have good networking skills?If you can answer yes to these questions, then consulting may be an excellent career choice for you. With hard work and dedication, you can make it as a consultant and enjoy all the rewards that come with it.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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