Whether you are just starting to explore, or have committed to a career in Consulting, this Career Track offers tips, tools, and action steps to move your career search forward.
The first step in beginning your career journey is to assess your interests, skills, strengths, goals, values, and self to better understand your story and give you career direction. Then, we can help you reflect on your story and create career exploration goals.
Interests: Know your interests, as they may help to align you with organizations and possible job titles representing a match based on your likes/dislikes. Use these tools below to clarify your interests and possible career ideas based on interests.
- MyNextMove - Explore career options and interests by keyword or industry, or take their short assessment to find potential career matches based on interests.
- Strong Interest Inventory (SII) - The SII is a widely respected career interest inventory designed to help people find a fit between their personalities and work. It compares your interests and preferences to people in general and to people who have been happy and satisfied in their careers. The results from the SII identify careers that best fit a person’s interests.
Values: Know your values, as they may help to align you with potential work environments and organizations that match your passion(s) and core belief(s). Use these tools below to clarify your values and identify possible career ideas based on your values.
Skills/Strengths: Know your skills and strengths, as they may help to align you with well suited job titles, work tasks and work environments. Use these tools below to clarify your skills/strengths and possible career ideas based on your talents and skills.
- Career Onestop - Take this short skills assessment to learn more about your skills and how they match up to potential career ideas.
- Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - The MBTI is a self-report questionnaire designed to make Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in everyday life. It is one of the most widely used instruments for understanding personality differences and is widely used to understand people in terms of their decision-making styles, preferences for communication and work environments, and for career development and exploration.
- CliftonStrengths - The CS helps you to discover your top talent themes. By becoming aware of these talents, you can grow them into strengths. Strengths can be utilized in all aspects of your life, including career planning and during the career search process. The assessment is all about focusing on your natural talents to maximize your potential.
Want some coaching on where to begin? Not sure which Career Track is right for you? Make an appointment on Handshake for “Exploring Options”. We’ll be happy to talk more about your Career Track options and explore your interests and skills together, in a coaching relationship.
Explore Your Track
UM students have taken a variety of paths to pursue their interest in consulting. There are several types of consulting or practice areas and common paths for UM students have included management, strategy, human resources or IT consulting. Energy, finance, pharmaceutical and health care consulting are examples of other practice areas.
Many UofM students are drawn to consulting because it is a fast-paced, interdisciplinary and intellectually challenging field. It is also a competitive work environment. Pursuing this industry requires a great deal of preparation including an understanding of the field and an ability to articulate what you can offer the firm and its clients
There are a number of resources for exploring a career in consulting:
Recruiting cycles begin Winter and Spring the year before your internship.
Learn more about consulting and recruiting cycle here: https://youtu.be/SebFkAClD5w
Firsthand: A research library that includes company profiles, industry information and more career exploration resources. Check out the "Careers" tab to find several lists of consulting organizations. Click on "The Library" to find articles about consulting careers.
Information Sessions: A number of consulting firms recruit through the University Career Center each Fall and host information sessions as part of their visit. Check the “Events” section of your Handshake account for dates/times and locations.
Firm websites: An excellent source of information, the “Careers” section of consulting firm websites highlights the work, expectations and internship/job search. To locate the page: Google the firm name plus careers (eg: Mckinsey careers)
Here is some information to get you started:
Consultants work across industries and projects will vary based on client needs. This means consultants need a high tolerance for ambiguity, need to adapt quickly to change, and should be curious and observant. Other important skills include:
- Problem solving, creative thinking, and strategic thinking
- People skills
- Leadership and initiative
- Organization and time management
Consultants also regularly use Excel to analyze data and Powerpoint to create slide decks so consultants should be comfortable with numbers and technology.
Article: Is consulting right for you? (The Muse)
Article: Is consulting the right career for you? (Harvard Business Review)
Entry level consulting job titles will vary by firm. In general, entry-level undergraduate titles include business analyst, fellow, or associate. Recent undergraduates may enter as a junior analyst/consultant.
Get in the habit of reading about industry trends daily. Depending on your intended area of consulting, you may have industry-specific periodicals to subscribe to. Those with more general interests, could consider publications like:
Connecting with professionals is both an important way to explore if consulting is a fit for you AND an important part of the consulting recruitment process. Connect with industry professionals (especially alumni) to learn about their career paths and get answers to your specific questions.
- UCAN (University Career Alumni Network) -- Search and connect with U-M who have volunteered to chat with U-M students about all things career-related!
- LinkedIn-- Connect with industry professionals, especially alum, to set up networking calls.
Article: How to network on LinkedIn
- LinkedIn Groups
- Beyond just joining LinkedIn, groups are a great way to expand your network, contribute to a community, and get questions answered. Checkout these groups geared toward consulting. See what the members are doing, participate in discussions, uncover resources, and even ask your questions.
- Article: Top 7 LinkedIn Groups for Business Consultants
- Campus Resources
- Info sessions: A number of consulting firms recruit through the University Career Center each fall and host information sessions as part of their visit. Info sessions are an excellent opportunity to explore the career and connect with professionals right here on campus! Check the “Events” section of your Handshake account for dates/times and locations
- Maize Pages Learn more about the field by working with other students who share your interest in consulting. Maize Pages is a searchable database of registered UM organizations. Search for “Consulting” in the Organization Directory to identity student organizations that share your interest in consulting. Or search based on your interests and passions and join an organization that will also help to develop the skills we highlighted earlier
Case Competitions A number of student groups, UM departments and centers partner with employers to host case competitions. Working in small groups you have an opportunity to work with other students, develop skills relevant to consulting and receive feedback from leaders in the field.
Resource: Mpowered Entrepreneurship (Student organization)
Resource: Center for Entrepreneurship
Resource: Maize Pages (Search for Case Competition)
Want some coaching around navigating your Career Track? Interested in talking with a Career Coach about your exploration of a Career Track?
- Attend a University Career Center Program/Workshop to learn more about your Career Track in group formats.
- Make an appointment on Handshake for “Exploring Options”.
You have been exploring your Career Track, and may be wondering “What Next?” This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your career exploration questions.
3 - What are three take-aways from your exploration of this Career Track?
2 - What are two questions that you have/ what are you questioning now?
1 - What is 1 specific action step you plan to take, to answer your 2 questions?
Launch Your Job or Internship Search
When job searching it’s important to understand the hiring process from the organizational perspective. It directs your job search efforts, identify timelines and best job search strategies. Consulting Job/Internship Essentials include:
- Competitive recruiting process: Securing a consulting position is an extremely competitive process. Applicants must be fully prepared at the start of the job search process. This includes understanding the field of consulting, the recruiting process and what you bring to the firm and its clients
- Early on-campus recruiting: Recruiting timelines vary by organization, but you can expect a few of the most competitive applications to be due in the summer (think McKinsey, Bain, BCG). Many other organizations will have applications due in September and early fall. Consulting information sessions start early- prior to application deadlines. If you are interested in consulting this means you should be on the lookout over the summer on organization websites and on Handshake. Already past that time? Don't fret smaller organizations often hire later. In addition, many organizations hire interanl analysts, and these deadlines are not usually as early.
- Case interviews: Along with behavioral interviews, consulting firms use the case interview format to assess applicants knowledge, ability to think critically (and quickly) and team skills
- Firm Websites: Much of what you need to know about the consulting job search process is thoroughly outlined on firm websites. Implementing the tips provided in the “Careers” section will help you stand out in the process.
A referral from a contact goes a long way when looking for a job. Utilize the groups you have been contributing to on LinkedIn as one valuable referral source.
Job posting sites are a not a primary recruiting tactic for many organizations and should be a small part of your job search efforts. Instead, make a list of target organizations and go to their websites. However, job boards can be helpful to identify smaller organizations you may not be aware of and analyst roles internal to an organization (instead of as a consultant).
A well-written resume connects your skills and experiences to the needs of the organization. The articles below (combined with the “Necessary Skills” outlined in this track),will help you develop a strong resume
The consulting interview process includes behavioral and case interview formats. To prepare it's important to know the similarities and differences between the formats and practice for both.
- Resource: The University Career Center’s Interviewing Resources- for behavioral interviewing
- Video: What should I be doing to recruit for Consulting? | Conquering the Case Video
- Book: Case in Point by Marc Consentino
- Resource: Firm websites often have great case practice resources, such as the Deloitte Case Interview Prep Tool and the McKinsey Practice Cases
- Article: Ace the Case (The Muse)
Want some coaching around launching your Career Track? Interested in gaining experience including securing Internships or looking for Jobs?
- Attend a University Career Center Program/Workshop to connect with employers and organizations that represent opportunities in your Career Track.
- Make an appointment on Handshake for your Internship Search or Job Search.
You have been launching your job/internship search, and may be wondering “What Next?” This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your job/internship search questions.
3 - What are three take-aways from exploring the resources in "Launching Your Job/Internship Search"?
2 - What are two questions that you still have/what are you questioning now?
1 - What is 1 specific action step to help answer your 2 questions?