What is Consulting?
In general, consulting can be defined as providing objective guidance and solving problems. These problems range from helping a for-profit corporation reduce its expenses to helping a government organization increase efficiency. The consulting industry appeals to many students since it often hires from across academic disciplines. However, it’s also very broadly defined, which can pose a problem for students looking to navigate to his or her best fit of firm and practice area. A variety of organizations use consultants for a variety of projects, so there is no “typical” case and no "typical" consultant.
The field tends to be team-based and often requires working long hours with both coworkers and clients. Projects can last anywhere from a few short weeks to years depending on the nature of the project and goals of the client. The consultant lifestyle is client-focused and often involves traveling to the client site during the week and then working remote or from the consultant’s home city office on Fridays. The amount and frequency of travel can vary firm to firm or even project to project.
Besides the travel, one of the reasons many students are interested in consulting is that it oftentimes gives them exposure to senior-level executives and allows them to explore a variety of fields. This exposure comes from the project-based work flow where clients, often executives, enlist the help of the consulting firm to provide guidance on a business decision. Throughout the project, consultants engage with the client and finally summarize the recommendation via a presentation - giving the team the opportunity to show their expertise and value to corporate decision-makers. Lastly, as clients can range from private to public and for-profit to non, consultants quickly find opportunities to explore a wide variety of industries and markets for continued personal growth and exploration.