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The very short answer? No. Although consulting is no longer as popular a graduate destination as it used to be, it is still a valuable career in itself. It also still provides a wide range of transferable skills and a ‘fast-track’ to certain careers. When is it less relevant? When you know what you want to do – if you have a clear idea, don’t keep your options open with consulting, just go for it.
In the last few years, the big tech firms (google, apple, facebook etc) have risen to become the most in demand employers for graduates. Not long ago, the top spots were dominated by the leading banks and also the big 3 strategy consultancies. So has a spell in consulting become less relevant than it was a decade ago?
For me, the answer is no (or perhaps ‘largely not’).
Why a spell in consulting is still relevant
- Consulting is a great career in itself. Yes, the majority of people use it as a stepping stone ‘into industry’, but for many it becomes a life long pursuit. And there’s lots to recommend it: variety of interesting problems to solve, super smart colleagues, travel, constant interaction with (often new) people – clients or colleagues.
- Consulting skills are as relevant and transferable today, as they were when I started in 2007. Particularly if you aspire towards General Management (rather than deep functional or technical expertise). Simply put, consultancies are training grounds; they refine your thinking. You are taught, coached, pushed and learn to influence and communicate in a sophisticated way. You learn tangible business semi-basics (valuation, strategy, financial modeling…) – which is highly relevant in the UK where graduates from all degrees can enter consulting (perhaps less so e.g, in France where generally consultants have business degrees or in the US where MBAs are more common). These transferable skills remain as sought after as they ever were.
- Consulting remains a fast-track. And certain brands in particular (in a similar fashion to the university/school you attended) are a rubber stamp of calibre. After a spell of a few years, you are sought after for opportunities that wouldn’t be thought suitable for those with only a few years experience elsewhere. And the range of opportunities open to you is unparalleled (from startups to scale ups to corporates to PE & VC).
When is consulting less relevant
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