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What is the best advice for a sophomore hoping to become a management consultant??

I have always wanted to go into consulting, and so I joined a few business clubs on campus, and have researched different firms. I am not sure where to go from here though. If you were a sophomore in college wanting to go into the field, where would you go from here? Is it important to specifically choose one field of consulting, or should I keep it more broad? How do I know which skills they will be looking for in interviews?

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Katharine’s Answer

Hey Marissa,
I answered a similar question of yours just now, but because this one talks about business clubs and I wanted to let you know that I never once joined a business club, I didn't go to business school, it's not necessary. Some of consulting is about financials and tax advice, and in that case a business focus might make sense, but I have colleagues who have backgrounds in analytics, GIS, mathematics, literature, economics, international relations, just about everything under the sun.

There is no such thing as a Consultant Type. Our customers span industries and needs and interests and we do as well.
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Violaine’s Answer

For a second-year student dreaming of a career in management consulting:

Ace Your Classes: Keep your grades up, especially in business and management subjects.

Get Hands-On: Try to find internships or part-time jobs in consulting or similar areas.

Hone Your Talents: Improve your analytical, problem-solving, and communication abilities through constant practice and friendly competitions.

Make Connections: Build relationships with professionals in the industry to gain insights and discover opportunities.

Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest trends and news in the industry.

Seek Support: Find a mentor among experienced consultants who can guide you.

Step Up: Take on leadership roles to demonstrate your potential.
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Doug’s Answer

To effectively present yourself as a valuable management consultant to employers and clients, it's essential to gain hands-on experience in multiple industries or fields. While academic knowledge is important, real-world business experience is crucial due to its complexity. Determine the specific consulting areas that appeal to you, such as project management, HR, communications, planning, change management, training, accounting, IT, diversity, sales/marketing, and more.

Successful consultants often specialize in a particular field but consistently expand their expertise to stay current with industry changes and client needs. A useful strategy is to examine the job titles and descriptions of management consultants at well-known firms like McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group, Accenture, and Bain & Co. This can help you pinpoint roles that match your interests, allowing you to tailor your courses, internships, and job interviews to that focus.

Remember that consultants serve as coaches, teachers, service providers, confidants, guides, and collaborators. The key is to find it rewarding to assist people and organizations achieve success in what they do.

Lastly, don't overlook the importance of internships. Many recent graduates secure employment after their internships by demonstrating exceptional performance and being pleasant to work with.
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Jody’s Answer

Hi Marrissa! Consulting is a broad and exciting field where consultants are like problem solvers, helping clients with specific tasks they need done. I suggest you join the student International Toastmasters group and really dive into the beginner's manual. As a consultant, you'll interact with CEOs, VPs, and other executives, so presenting yourself well is super important for getting hired or landing an interview. I joined Toastmasters International while working at NASA, and it made a huge difference in my life, all for just $10 a month. You're on the right path! Keep growing, and when you start interviewing, just be yourself. Make sure to let them know why you want the job and that you're eager to work hard and become a valuable and dependable part of their team.

Jody recommends the following next steps:

Develop a list of companies you think you want to work for and Internet search the careers sections for open positions
Copy the job descriptions of the open positions you think you want to apply of and the positions you want to grow into for the future
Develop a personal computer library of companies and positions you want to apply for. See what skills are listed and what goals you can create.
Develop a list of requirements for the open jobs. The job descriptions posted by companies will also list the job requirements.
Look for internships you can and get some valuable experience. Any work experience will help you grow and give you ideas and exposure to real world conditions
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