Most business and management professionals target MBB (Big 3s) as the landing grounds for their career ships. So much so that McKinsey has an offer rate of 1%.
How do you get your foot in the door when the odds are stacked tightly against you?
Securing a job as a strategy consultant puts you among the academic and professional elite. Here’s how to make it happen.
Making the right choices, no matter how incrementally, prepares one for success. So, what counts as the right decisions in a strategy consulting career. We discuss a few decisions that can make your consulting dream a reality.
It includes going about old requirements such as garnering the right skills, the smart way; say, by earning the proof of competence with a global strategic management certification.
A quick look at the stepwise guide on becoming a strategy consultant. For a more detailed overview, you can visit the Strategy Institute (TSI) blog on “How to Score A Strategy Consulting Job: A Moving Target.”
5 Stages to Build a Business Consulting Career
Strategy consulting is a golden career with the potential to open a huge wide world in front of you. It offers huge potentials to cultivate a variety of skills and work in different industries with varied businesses. How do you break-in?
Step 1: Understand the consulting landscape
As the name suggests, all industries and individuals could use consulting services. Consultants understand the ins and outs of an industry or a function and provide services based on that. The first step for carving a career in strategic management is about gaining knowledge of the types of consulting services there are.
Based on function, the consulting landscape can be divided into – HR, marketing, IT, finance, operations, etc. They are also divided based on industry expertise. Boutique consulting firms usually specialize in certain domains.
You can choose to work in a consultancy that best suits your 3Es – education, experience, and expertise.
Step 2: Earn basic education
Most consultants come with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. If you are already enrolled in college, you can start gaining some business and management knowledge alongside cultivating the right skills. Beyond basic education, skills, knowledge, and experience matter a lot in consulting.
Most new graduates, who don’t come from business, and management backgrounds (even those from business management), opt for an industry-led strategic management certificate to get an accurate picture of what to expect in the industry and develop a solid grounding in the field.
Step 3 (a): Get a certification
If you don’t have relevant training or understanding of business (how firms make money) and management (how firms run the place), a strategic management certification can be a practical primer into the industry. It can help you develop a global outlook and attain skillsets sought by the industry in a practical way.
Some of the globally reputed certifying bodies in strategic management include:
- The Strategy Institute (TSI),
- International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA),
- Project Management Institute (PMI), and others.
Step 3 (b): Undergo an internship
Work experience is very important to get your foot off the ground in consulting careers. Leverage the skills and knowledge gained during the strategic management certificate program to land a job in the industry. It will give an accurate picture of the industry – and a glimpse into what and what not to expect going forward.
The internship is the best time to test the waters, and above all test yourself. Don’t play safe during this period. Aim for all kinds of places – from Big 3s and Big 4s to boutiques and small firms.
Step 4: Find a job
Armed with a professional strategic management certificate, an internship, and industry knowledge, you’ll be well placed to aim for a consulting position. Prepare for the interview, and approach individual firms with a customized résumé that reflects your achievements particular to the firm. Most importantly, know the firm you appear for the interview at very well.
Step 5: Go for an advanced degree
After a few years of experience, it is common for consultants to either go for advanced professional strategic management certification or pursue an MBA or do both, in order to rise in the workplace.
Learn on the go, develop backroom as well as frontline skills, and network –the three mantras of a successful consultancy career. Learn more about the careers in consultancy and potential pathways at TSI Insights.