From the likes of Deloitte and KPMG, to the leagues of BCG and Mckinsey: the world of consulting is a competitive and crowded one, and there’s the potential for you to launch an incredible career within it.
Together, these key consulting powerhouses hire thousands of graduates each year and offer very attractive starting salaries, clear development paths and a host of other additional advantages.
The challenge, though, is landing a role at one of these firms. And competition is fierce.
In 2016, PWC announced that it would hire 1,400 full-time graduates alongside 600 interns for a total intake of 2,000. It received 39,000 applications, putting the acceptance rate at a very intimidating 5%.
What sets that 5% apart from the rest? Let’s dig into what makes a candidate attractive to the top consulting firms to boost your chances of success.
Dig deeper into your dream division
The top consulting firms are composed of a variety of divisions: consulting, tax, advisory, etc. You’ll be able to find out more about these divisions from a variety of sources such as PWC’s services page or KPMG’s departments page.
It’s important that you investigate these divisions to find out which is the most attractive to you and best fits your professional and personal goals. Each division should be investigated in a great amount of detail, because consulting firms are impressed when their candidates have a good idea of where they are headed.
If you are able to demonstrate a forward-thinking mind-set and an early understanding of a particular business area, your chances of success will leap dramatically.
It can also help you to develop a strategy. With the majority of candidates going to audit/assurance, you can improve your chances of landing a role by honing your craft in one of the less competitive divisions.
Think outside London
London is an incredibly popular destination for graduates. After finishing university many students dream of heading to The City and launching a successful career while making great friends and enjoying the benefits of the big city life.
But many consulting firms have offices across the country and it’s totally viable to work at one of those while enjoying a great quality of life and a fantastic career. This can be cheaper while also giving you an alternative to the busy and hectic life that London offers.
It’s also a fantastic way to improve your chances of being hired. The majority of consulting firm applications are made to offices in London, meaning that those areas are far more competitive.
Explore as early as possible
Consulting firms demonstrate a preference for candidates who they have had contact with for a long time. In fact, many of them will offer apprenticeships to school leavers and these position candidates very favourably.
Similarly, some consulting firms offer their own degrees and training programmes. If you pursue one of these, you’ll put yourself in pole position when it comes to standing out from the crowd.
Polish up on your test abilities
The top consulting firms are known for their rigorous recruiting methods. You’ll undergo an exacting recruitment path but it will be worth it in the end.
Candidates undergo a series of tests, phone calls and interviews in their quest to find a job at a consulting firm. To give yourself the best possible chance of success you should be sure to take practice tests and train the particular mental abilities that you’re going to need. Check out the BCG problem solving test guide here and the Mckinsey guide here.
You can expect to encounter numerical tests as well as verbal reasoning and personality tests. The results from these tests will help to give the consulting firm a better idea of your character and what you’ll be able to offer in a professional capacity.
Get ready to tackle tough questions
The interview process is difficult but with the right preparation you’ll be able to give yourself the best chance of success. You’ll be posed with a range of infamous interview questions but we have you covered: check out our answers to the most infamous interview questions out there.
Our final piece of advice is to make contact with professionals working within those consulting firms. They are capable of offering you precise and accurate advice which can help you to better understand the company culture and expectations.
These pieces of advice can help you to get an insight into the business and speak in terms that the company understands. Another way to achieve this is by using our platform. Here, you’ll be able to dig deeper into the consulting industry and the top players within it. You’ll see key information, news and all the resources you need to succeed.
We hope that these tips help you to find your dream role at a top consulting firm!