Consulting is a seriously rewarding and diverse profession, with many paths of entry. It’s a bit like Bank tube station, just without the three-day walk between lines.
Consultancy is also a highly competitive industry. An internship or placement year is a cracking way of getting ahead whilst learning more about the sector and gaining experience.
And we’re here to help you find them. Think of us as the Phil Spencer & Kirstie Allsopp of the consultancy student market.
Read on for more, or skip ahead using the links below...
Top Placements, Internships and Graduate Jobs in Consulting
What is 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 them.
If the business retained Conor to implement changes, he might spend months or 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 can be commissioned to work in a wide range of industries. They can work in a consultancy firm, work independently as a freelance consultant, or work as a consultant within one company.
They typically specialise in a field in which they have expertise. This can be broken down into five main areas:
Financial advisors are employed to offer solutions to several different issues facing an organisation. This includes restructuring, the handling of acquisitions and mergers, risk management and real estate advisory.
A management consultant helps companies to enhance their overall performance. They examine existing structures and develop a plan for those structures to be improved.
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.
An operations consultant is employed by a company to develop the efficiency of its value chain. A value chain is a series of processes a firm puts in place 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:
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.
Consulting internships, placements and insight schemes
There are several ways to get your consulting career started. Getting work experience before you graduate does wonders for your CV and also gives you a first-hand glimpse into the working world.
Duration: 1-4 months
For: 2nd years
When to apply: Sep-Mar
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 six 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’s 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.
We have some rather sensational consulting opportunities on RateMyPlacement.co.uk. 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 even if you’re studying Psychology, English Literature or even Baking Science and Technology, you can still apply.
A management consulting internship will teach you how to engage with managers and leaders to improve an organisation’s performance. Just like the job itself, it will involve a lot of problem-solving and strategic thinking.Apply For Management Consulting Internships
Duration: 7-13 months
For: 2nd years/penultimate year students
When to apply: Sep-Feb
If you’re interested in a consulting career and want to get stuck in, you also have the option of doing a placement year. Usually taking place after your second or third year, a placement is a structured programme in which you will spend an entire academic year working for a consulting firm.
You’ll be a full-time employee, receiving a salary and other benefits.
While the chance of a salary may be the best news 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.
Consulting insight schemes
Duration: 1-6 weeks
For: 2nd years/penultimate year students
When to apply: Oct-Feb
An insight scheme is a short-term work placement in a company where you learn how a business works.
An insight can be a stepping-stone to a longer-term internship or placement. It’s a way to be seen by a potential employer, and build contacts that may help you in your future career. Insight schemes also look great on a CV.
If you‘ve 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 to 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.Search Management Consulting Insight Schemes
Biggest consultancy companies
We’ve put together a list of some of the UK’s biggest consulting companies:
PwC offers a wide variety of consulting graduate schemes, including Economic Consulting, Management Consulting, Sustainability & Climate Change Consulting and Technology Consulting They also offer a summer consulting internship
Deloitte has summer vacation schemes in consulting and graduate roles in consulting and Human Capital, (which is closely related to HR Consulting)
KPMG is one of the largest advisory practices in the world, offering graduate schemes in Advisory and Technology Consulting and a summer internship in technology consulting
EY have consulting graduate schemes in Technology Consulting, Business Consulting and Finance Consulting. Their consulting internships include Business Consulting and Technology Consulting
Accenture is one of the world’s leading professional services and offers loads of consulting work experience opportunities including a foundation consulting virtual programme.
How much does a consulting intern earn?
The salaries for internships and placements in consultancy vary between employers.
Interns usually work for a company for any amount of time between 1-4 months and tend to be paid pro-rata. Placement students are hired as full-time employees, so receive a full salary and other company benefits.
The average salary for a consultancy intern is around £23,257 (pro-rata), and £21,645 for a placement student.
Your best bet is to always read the job description. Our student-written consultancy reviews are also a great way to check the income you could earn on an internship or placement.
"The median graduate starting salary on offer from the UK’s leading Consultancy employers is £47,500." High Fliers: The Graduate Market
Consulting internships in London
Some of the world’s biggest consulting companies have headquarters in London.
If you’re 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 university students to join their teams.
To find placements, internships and insights in London, you can wander over to RateMyPlacement’s jobs page. Or you can cheat and click below - you’ll be taken straight to the latest consulting roles in the capital.View Consulting Jobs In London
The future starts now
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 can afford.
Placements and internships are your chance to road-test a career. If you decide that consultancy is the right path, work experience will allow you to build a network of useful contacts in the industry and get your foot in the door. The skills, experience and on-the-job training you'll gain will have consulting firms fighting each other over you.
Consulting Graduate Schemes
If you’re about to graduate, it’s probably time to start looking for a consulting graduate scheme or job to put everything you’ve learned into a real job environment.
There are loads of graduate jobs for budding consultants to get into with the chance to specialise. Let’s get into it.
Consulting Graduate Schemes
There are a ton of graduate schemes offered by some of the UK’s most notable employers.
Graduate schemes are a little more meaty in the sense that the company you work for will invest in a whole bunch of training and development. There’s also the opportunity to specialise.
We mentioned them earlier, but let’s have a closer look into a couple of big companies that also offer graduate opportunities.SEARCH FOR GRADUATE CONSULTING JOBS
Duration: 3 years
Entry requirements: A pass in a relevant undergraduate degree
Salary: Between £27,000 and £30,000
When to apply: Summer, starting the following Autumn
As a graduate employee at PwC, you’ll specialise in one of their seven areas of consultancy. These include,
Delivering Deals Value
You’ll start with an induction period, and you’ll focus on building your confidence and internal contacts. Once you’re done, the hard work begins as you start meeting clients and getting stuck in.
There’s also the chance to work towards the Chartered Management Consultant award, a highly respected and recognised status, that’ll take your consultancy career to the next level.FIND OUT MORE ABOUR PwC
Duration: Two years
Entry requirements: No academic requirement, nor a degree classification
Salary: £33,500 (with a £10,000 bonus)
When to apply: Autumn, starting the following Autumn
As a graduate consultant at Accenture, you’ll get responsibility early on in your career focusing on the following areas:
Health & Public Service and Resources
Media and Technology
Although you’ll be based in one of Accenture’s offices all over the UK, client projects you might be involved in can take you anywhere in the world.
Throughout your graduate scheme, you’ll receive training and support that’ll include sessions on developing your soft skills as well as mentoring from the company’s most successful leaders.
There are also loads of perks including private healthcare and a gym membership.
Once you’ve applied and you’re successful, you’ll be invited to complete a discovery portal and an assessment centre.FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ACCENTURE