Consulting internships, placements & work experience 2021: expert career advice and an insight into the consulting industry
Find the best internships, placements and insight jobs with the biggest consulting firms in the UK
If you're interested in working the exciting consulting industry, we've got all the info you need and the jobs to get your career started.
Across the UK, children sit in classrooms with misty eyes, dreaming of one day becoming a consultant. Long gone are the days when the nation’s youth dreamt of emulating a Prime Minister, a footballer or Nicolas Cage. Like the days in which dinosaurs roamed the earth, that time has passed.
Consulting is a rewarding and diverse profession, with many paths of entry into it. Like gardening. Consultancy is also a highly competitive industry. An internship or placement year is cracking way of learning more about consultancy, while trapping your foot in that highly competitive door.
RateMyPlacement is here to provide expert career advice, and help you find consulting internships and consulting placements. We are the Phil Spencer & Kirstie Allsopp of the consultancy undergraduate market.
Overview of consulting
Consulting is a professional practice of providing an organisation or individual with expert advice. Consultants provide these services in an advisory or an implementation role.
It might be easier if a consultant explained it to you. Meet Conor, the Consultant.
Conor works as a Management Consultant at PwC, and is employed by businesses to improve the way they operate. If a business hired Conor in an advisory role, he might spend a few weeks observing how the business operates. Once he has identified the problems, Conor will offer the business a series of solutions, to improve their operations.
If the business retained Conor to implement changes, he might spend months, even years, putting in place systems to change the way the company does business. At the end of this, Conor will charge a considerable fee, and be carried out of the office as the people’s champion.
Consultants work like this for organisations in diverse industries. It is highly likely that you will meet Conor again, but if not, keep reading for a breakdown of the different types of consultancy.
Top Placements, Internships & Insights in Consulting
Types of consulting
Consultants can be commissioned to work in a wide-range of industries. They typically specialise in a field in which they have an expertise. This can be broken down into five main areas:
A management consultant helps companies to enhance their overall performance. They examine existing structures, and develop a plan for those structures to be improved.
As management consultants operate in an array of sectors, consultancy firms accept graduates from a number of degree disciplines. The following subjects are particularly relevant...
- chemistry, biology, physics
Financial advisors are employed to offer solutions to a number of different issues facing an organisation. This includes restructuring, the handling of acquisitions and mergers, risk management and real estate advisory.
“The financial advisory sector is estimated to be worth $61.3 billion, a quarter of the global consulting market.” (Consultancy.UK, 2018)
An operations consultant is employed by a company to develop the efficiency of their value chain. A value chain is a series of processes that a firm puts in place in order to deliver a service or product. It includes the purchase of raw materials, marketing, sales and after-sale services.
Operations consultants offer their expertise in the following areas:
- process management
- supply chain management
- sales & marketing
Consultants in this area are hired to improve a company’s performance through improvements to technology.
Below is a little video, detailing what it’s like to be on the technology consultant graduate scheme at KPMG. Good luck finding a group of people as inspired as these folks are.
Human resource consulting
A human resource consultant is employed to advise on a wide-range of issues regarding an organisation’s workforce. Consultants in this area might recommend changes in management structure, help establish performance review processes, or ensure a company complies with employment laws.
Types of consultants
Consultants can work in a consultancy firm, they can work independently as a freelance consultant, or work as a consultant within one company.
A consultancy internship is a marvellous opportunity to get an insight into the consulting industry. Unless you have a parent, sibling or friend that works in the industry or you happen to live on the same street as Conor the consultant, you may not know what a career in consulting entails.
Internships can last between one and four months, and usually take place during the summer. If you complete a consulting internship, you will have practical work experience with professional consultants beneath your belt.
It is a great way of discovering what a consultant does on a day-to-day basis. After a consultancy internship, you will have a clearer idea of whether or not consulting is the right career for you.
It’s like having a small spoon of a certain flavour of ice cream, before you commit to a double-cone.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how an internship works, check out our Internship zone.
We know what you’re thinking... a consulting internship sounds smashing, but where do I find one? You don’t have to look far. It’s not like trying to find a needle, in a box full of objects that closely resemble needles.
There are hundreds of jobs for internships on RateMyPlacement. We have consulting internships on offer, as well as programmes in a wide-range of industries. Click on the link below, and be whisked off like a celebrity to our jobs board.
Management Consulting internships
Some management consulting internships accept applicants from any degree discipline. So if you’re currently studying a course at university, such as Psychology or Dairy Herd Management, you can still apply. An internship in management consulting will provide you with an introduction to the profession, as the little snippet below describes...
“In Management Consulting you’ll have the opportunity to learn about what we do across our different consulting business areas and work with clients to drive innovation and growth, manage costs and operate effectively. This will help you decide where you might want to specialise within Consulting.” (PwC, Management Consulting Summer Internship, 2018)
If a few words about PwC’s Management Consulting internship got you excited, you might want to have a peek at our jobs for similar courses. It is the best opportunity for students since McDonald’s started offering free cheeseburgers to anyone with a student card.
Read on, and we’ll walk through the UK’s top employers for consulting internships and placements!
Consulting intern salary
The salaries for internships and placements in consultancy vary between different firms.
Placement students are hired as a full-time employee, so receive a full salary and other company benefits. Interns usually work for a company for any amount of time between 1-4 months. They are paid at an hourly rate, or will receive a salary for the length of time they spend with a company.
It's best to have a look at the information provided in job vacancies for specific information about a firm’s pay structure. Our reviews however, can offer an insight into the income you could accumulate on a consulting internship or placement.
A Management Consulting Intern at PwC received a wage of £1,666 a month! If you thought those numbers were a little bit nuts, a Financial Services Risk Intern at EY earned a monthly wage of £2,333. Imagine how many sandwiches you could buy with that sort of money.
An Operational Risk placement student at M&G Investments pulled in a salary of £29,999! You could own a small island in the South Pacific for £29,999, or build Takeshi’s Castle in your garden.
If the thought of being able to buy unholy amounts of ham and cheese sandwiches has convinced you that consulting is the way forward, check out our job vacancies.
“The median graduate starting salary on offer in 2019 from the UK’s leading Consultancy employers is £45,000.” High Fliers: The Graduate Market in 2019
Biggest consultancy companies
We’ve put together a list of some of the UK’s biggest consulting companies.
PwC offer a wide variety of consulting graduate schemes, including Economic Consulting, Management Consulting, Sustainability & Climate Change Consulting and Technology Consulting.
Deloitte have graduate programmes in in Financial Advisory, Technology Consulting and Human Capital, (which is closely related to HR Consulting).
KPMG are one of the largest advisory practices in the world, offering graduate schemes in Advisory and Technology Consulting.
EY have consulting graduate schemes in Forensic Technology & Discovery Services, Financial Services Consulting and People Advisory Services.
If a consulting internship has tickled your fancy, read our blog, Internship CV: Your Guide & Template. It offers a step-by-step guide, with a downloadable template, for writing a CV for an internship application.
If you are interested in a career in consulting, you also have the option of doing a placement year in the industry.
A placement is a structured programme in which you will spend an entire academic year working for a consulting firm. This usually takes place after your second or third year at university, after which you will return for your final year. For that year, you will be a full-time member of staff, receiving a salary and other benefits.
While the chance of a salary may be the best new you’ve heard since The Chuckle Brothers announced a nationwide tour of student unions, there are other benefits of consultancy placements.
- A consulting placement will provide you with practical work experience in the industry
- You will have the chance to work with, and learn from experienced professionals
- Placements in industry are an opportunity to build up a network of contacts in the consultancy sector
- A year in placement simply makes you more employable, and will project you above rival candidates when applying for jobs
For the full low-down on how placement years are structured, visit our page dedicated to placements. It sounds like something from the Crystal Maze, the Placement zone.
RateMyPlacement has jobs for consulting placements! There are deadlines that edge ever closer, so get your running shoes on and dash over to our jobs page.
There are Management Consulting industrial placements, placements in Operational Risk, Business Strategy and IT. Do try to contain your excitement, you don’t want to lose your mind. If you follow the link below, you can start your search for a consultancy placement.
Now that you’ve decided to give up your dreams of being a tap dancer to enter the world of consulting, you’re going to need a new CV. Take a look at our blog, Placement & Work Experience CV, a step-by-step guide to writing a CV for placements, that will have employers chasing you through the streets.
Consulting insight schemes
A consulting insight or a banking insight are also great additions to your CV. An insight is short-term work placement in a company, that can last anywhere between 1-4 weeks. If you complete an insight, you will be exposed to a certain industry or profession, learning how the business works.
An insight can be a stepping-stone on to a longer-term internship or placement. It is a way of trapping your foot in the door of an organisation, and building contacts that may help you in your future career.
If you applied for a consulting insight, you might be shadowing Conor the consultant for a few weeks. You will get a first-hand look at what his job entails – he might even take you out for lunch.
For those of you who are unsure if you want commit to an internship or placement, an insight might be just the ticket. Follow the link below to check out our insight jobs in the consulting industry.
Consulting graduate schemes
As mentioned above, the UK’s biggest consulting firms all offer graduate schemes. These schemes are incredibly competitive, even for the graduate market.
Consulting firms accept graduates from a number of different degree disciplines onto their schemes. The entry requirements and selection processes for each graduate programme vary between companies. It’s best to check company websites for specific requirements.
To increase your opportunities of gaining access to a consulting graduate scheme, you have the option of completing a placement, internship or insight. Make sure you keep reading, next we will delve into placements and internships specifically for consulting.
Review of consulting schemes
We have a huge amount of reviews of undergraduate consulting programmes. By a huge amount, we mean unnaturally, and quite frighteningly huge, and they are all on RateMyPlacement for you to read.
There are reviews of consulting placements, consulting internships and consulting insights. There are reviews of programmes with some of the UK’s biggest consulting firms, and other smaller companies across the UK. It is highly exciting – the sort of thing you might want to write to home about.
Each review is written by a student who completed a consultancy programme. They are unedited, so provide a candid and authentic assessment of their experiences in the consulting industry.
The reviews ask the following sorts of questions...
- To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
- To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
- To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
- How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
- Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
From these reviews, you can ascertain whether or not a specific programme, or a specific company are right for you. There are enough reviews for you to read to last an entire weekend. Maybe even Monday and Tuesday. You are but a click away from the best weekend of your life.
Top consulting employers
Based on the mountains of student-written reviews of we have collected, we can reveal our guide to the Top 100 Undergraduate Employers 2019-2020. The top 100 are the bees-knees in offering undergraduate opportunities to students. They are the cat’s pyjamas.
We can also reveal – because revealing things is incredibly cool – the top employers for undergraduate schemes in consulting.
The big four professional service companies, KPMG, EY, Deloitte and PwC are all in the top 100. Check out the link below to see what other consulting firms have made the list.
Consulting internships & placements in London
Some of the world’s biggest consulting companies have headquarters in London. If you are an undergraduate, looking for work experience in the consultancy sector, there are an ungodly amount of opportunities for you in the capital.
London is brimming with consulting firms that are looking for undergraduates to join their team. Perhaps you should consider interning in London.
To find placements, internships and insights in London, you can wander over to RateMyPlacement’s jobs page. The link below will show you jobs for undergraduate consulting roles in the capital.
Consulting internships in the UK
There are opportunities for you to find consulting placements, internships and insights across the UK. On our jobs page, you can filter your search to target jobs in specific locations.
(Just to give you a hint, Bristol and Scotland are hotspots for consulting). To have a peek at jobs in these areas, follow these links for consulting internships in Bristol and consulting internships in Scotland.
To look for consultancy programmes in other regions in the UK, head over to our jobs page. Who knows, there might be a consulting internship just three streets away.
Consulting internships & placements abroad
As if the subject of consultancy couldn’t get any more thrilling, there are jobs for roles that are based outside of the UK.
No, this is not a joke. Ant and Dec aren’t going to appear out of nowhere with a camera crew, to film a cruel prank.
We have jobs for consulting programmes in countries you had only previously dreamed of, or seen on a David Attenborough series.
Applying for a placement, internship or insight in a distant land may be a frightening prospect. It would involve moving abroad! Unless of course, you commuted to Prague every morning. That’s dedication.
If you are unsure whether or not applying for a consulting programme abroad is the right option for you, head straight for our reviews. We have reviews written by students who competed consulting programmes overseas. Each student offers advice to any other adventurous soul, who might consider applying for a placement abroad.
A little recap...
So what have we learnt? Rather a lot, we would hope, unless the news about the Chuckle Brothers’ nationwide tour of student unions totally befuddled you. It is understandable.
The impressive salaries of interns and placement students in the consulting industry make them an alluring proposition. But money isn’t everything! No matter how many trips to LEGOLAND you could afford.
An undergraduate consulting programme is an opportunity to get an insight into the industry. You can read blogs and articles galore, or skype Conor the consultant every night, but neither will let you know if consultancy is truly right for you. Placements and internships are like a road-test for a career.
If you decide that consultancy is the right path, work experience will give you an opportunity to build a network of useful contacts in the industry. Who knows how handy that could be in the future.
Internships and placements simply increase your chance of being able to secure a consultancy job after university. The skills, experience and on-the-job training you could obtain will have consulting firms fighting each other over you.
Considering that consulting firms accept students from a wide-range of degree disciplines, you have no more excuses not to apply. Your journey into the consulting industry starts here.