Career Tips on Breaking Into Consulting

Ashley Case, an INTA alumnus working as a Manager with Accenture, put together this list of amazing tips on breaking into the field of consulting. There’s been increased interest in the talents and skills of Nunn School Students among employers in the field of consulting.  We’ve had recent information session with consulting leaders such as Booz Allen Hamilton, CapGemini, Deloitte, and IBM to name a few.  Read on to get first-hand advice from someone who was in your shoes not so long ago…

“Regarding tips for upcoming INTA majors interested in management consulting, please see my notes below.  These are by no means required to get into the firm, but each of them will help!!

  • Study Abroad!!!  Working at a global consulting firm, you will be exposed to many different types of people.  The cultural understanding you gain during study abroad can be very beneficial, and provide you with a solid foundation to network with others in a global business environment.  It’s important to back up the academic major with “real world” experience.  Seek experiences that are going to enhance you as a person beyond the classroom.
  • Learn a language.  Language can open a lot of doors and you will be surprised how useful these skills are.  Spanish is phenomenally useful given the US vicinity to Latin America.  Additionally one might consider focusing on the BRICS countries, as these are booming and there is a lot of opportunity to work with these nationals.  Interest or effort in another’s language will take a business relationship to the next level.
  • Expand your skill set on business fundamentals.  If possible, find an opportunity to take a course or two at the Management building.  You will have an edge starting in the workplace if you have fundamental training in business (Understanding different functions within a Business, Lean Six Sigma, Organizational Behavior) as well as solid skills in XLS, PPT, and Access.  Data analytics is a hot item at the moment and a great area to focus in!
  • Be an intern.  The big consulting firms are looking for students that have credible experience in the workplace that supplements their education.  Start putting your resume out there now for that big time internship – and more than anything, network!!
  • Speaking of network…start thinking along those lines.  Your career is your network.  The opportunities you are allowed are based upon relationships and what others think about your professionalism and work ethic.  Never burn bridges and keep a positive attitude – you never know how your relationships will change the course of your career.
  • Get involved in the university extracurricular activities.  Consulting firms want to see that you are willing to go the extra mile.  We are dedicated to our jobs and often work long hours – demonstrating that you care about your community and want to bring about positive change shows the potential for the same level of commitment to future clients.
  • Stay informed of current events.  Demonstrating interest and knowledge of occurrences happening daily around the world portrays a level of maturity that is desired for young folks entering the work place.  In consulting, especially when starting out, your clients will have more experience than you.  It will bring about a higher degree of credibility if you are able to converse with them on a variety of topics.
  • Be open minded.  Often times in order to get your foot in the door, you may need to accept an offer or position that is not ideal.  Everyone has to pay their dues, and you will inevitably find opportunities to move positions and increase your salary in time.  As long as you keep a positive attitude, you will be supported to reach your goals.

In sum, be interesting!  The large consulting firms are looking for interesting people with interesting life experiences…people that are easy to relate to, flexible, and quick to adapt to each new client scenario!  Fundamentally, it’s a people orientated firm.

These are just a few pieces of advice that I have picked up along the way.  Hopefully you will be able to share this with the INTA students at GaTech – I truly wish them the best of luck, and I will be here as a resource should anyone want to speak further! “

We plan to bring Ashley and Accenture to campus in the coming months.  Stay tuned for more information.  You may contact her directly with further questions.

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