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10 reasons why Consulting Remains the Top Choice for MBAs


Although finance remains the number one recruiter at around 30% for placements at top business schools, consulting is not far behind at a consistent 20% on average. If one takes into consideration that there are limited number of vacancies in consulting as compared to finance, this gap could be even narrower.

So what could be the reasons why business school graduates like to enter the management consulting profession?

We offer 10 good reasons:

  1. Hooked on solving cases: The case based teaching gets them hooked. As they enter a business school, b-schoolers will find a different method of learning and working. The case based learning provokes thinking, gets them into researching facts, analyzing their findings, and synthesizing them into a big picture for deriving creative solutions. They never thought they could come up with solutions like this before and now they are hooked. Management Consultants tackle their engagements just like a business school case. So it’s quite understandable that if they are enjoying their casework at business school, they want more of it.
  2. The creative and the non-conformists: Chances are that this is what drew them into a business school to start with. They got tired of doing the same thing and listening to their boss for every day tasks. They want to do things their own way and not follow directions or bury themselves in a process. The consulting profession is the only profession that calls for maximum room for creativity. There is no micro-management by the boss other than the “dreaded deadline”. They are given the brief on their assignment and then off they go.
  3. It is a gateway to interesting work: Management consultants get exposed to interesting work right away. Examples include Mergers & Acquisitions, Investment Banking, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Corporate Strategy, Transformation and Research. Understandably, this will be only true for those entering the top tier management-consulting firms but candidates can still aspire to build their credibility in sideline projects in smaller or lesser known consulting firms.
  4. Provides exposure to sunrise sectors: By definition management consulting projects gravitate towards sectors that are experiencing a paradigm shift. Currently this is happening in Energy, Health and Information Technology. With the interest in environmental issues, energy crisis and alternative energy interest, consultants are in high demand to provide research, direction and transformational advice. The health sector is experiencing cost and regulatory pressure which is inviting thought leadership from the consulting industry on making necessary business process changes, effective use of technology and call for application in emerging science such as biotechnology.
  5. Consultants play in many sandboxes: Most likely an MBA graduate would not want to get pigeonholed into one company’s vision, technology and ways of doing business. They would want to play in many different sandboxes, right? Well that is what consultants get to do. Each project is different because each situation is different in the consulting world. They will get into different cultures, different technologies, different markets, different infrastructure and even different size budgets each time. This makes it challenging, interesting and a valuable learning experience for them.
  6. Puts an MBA in the “board room”: If not literally, as management consultants, candidates are presented with finding solutions to the toughest issues a company is facing today. This means that their work will have visibility all the way to the CXO level – something not possible in any other profession – at least, not when they are starting out their careers.
  7. Preparation for going their own way: Consulting profession prepares candidates well for going into business for themselves or entering a startup. This is because only in management consulting one can quickly develop skills for tough decisions, tight deadlines, getting the numbers to work, selling, purchasing, motivating, politics, influencing, handling conflicts and communicating effectively. Learning all these skills is possible in other jobs but will take twice as long.
  8. A stepping-stone before deciding on a long-term path: When starting out, young professionals may not be sure of their final calling. For example, do they want to be in a leadership role and rise up to become a CEO? Do they like marketing or sales? Do they prefer to stay in engineering, technology or R&D? Do they like operations role such as customer service, purchasing, accounting, or HR? If they are not sure then they can enter management consulting and experience all fronts and decide later where they want to go. Whichever line they pick, they will surely have ample experience and confidence to fast track to the top when they make up their minds.
  9. Builds their personal network: Consulting is a profession that is guaranteed to make ones LinkedIn connections reach the 500+ mark faster than any other career. Moreover, it will give them a far richer and diverse set of connections as opposed to any other profession. As we all know in these days of social media, career progression is very much tied to the relationships one will build.
  10. The need to get a faster return on investment: Last but not the least, consulting happens to be a well-paid profession so chances of repaying that expensive business school loan are quicker compared to other jobs. No one objects to a ROI that is sooner rather than later.

On an ending note, it would be improper to portray management consulting as a flawless career choice. Consulting is an intense profession with long hours and frequent travel. More than 50% who enter will exit this profession within three to four years. On the brighter side, no ex-consulting professional will deny that it was an exhilarating experience and that it helped them tremendously in the formative days of their career.

ZENeSYS provides live case based certification training program to business school students and other aspirants in Management Consulting. See our training website for more details.

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