By GREG THISTLETHWAITE, HEAD OF TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT 

It has been said that a year working as a management consultant brings you five years of experience.

There is some merit to this opinion. As a management consultant, you’ll be exposed to multiple industries and business functions within a couple of years. So, in terms of broadening your CV prior to choosing a long-term career path, a management consultancy is a great place to start your working life.

The product of a management consultancy is its people. Therefore, management consultancies usually have some of the most difficult recruitment processes to navigate. Being aware of what these are can help you prepare to get a job as a management consultant – and prepare you should. Here’s how you can get a job as a management consultant:

1. Your online presence

Are your Facebook and Instagram accounts public? It’s not always a good idea for potential employers to see evidence of late-night parties and bolshie talk. Setting up a LinkedIn profile, however, is a very good idea. You should maintain a LinkedIn account that reflects your academic and business life. If you are actively looking for work, be sure to check in on LinkedIn at least once a day – missing a message from a potential recruiter by a few days may mean a lost job opportunity.

2. Past experience is important.

Do what you can to add business-related elements to your resume, such as past work experiences. This could also include seeking out a company to partner with on a thesis, or getting work as a temporary employee, or winning an internship somewhere.

3. Numbers stand out

On your CV, highlight with numbers how you helped improve a situation. For example: “In the role as chairman of the college charity, I was successful in increasing student volunteer hours by 50%.”

4. Extra-curricular activities

Sometimes, the person interviewing you wants to get to know you more as a person. Your extra-curricular activities can be a good conversation hook. Don’t fake it, though. If you state that your hobby is photography, make sure you’re able to talk about it in detail. If you don’t have much in terms of extra-curricular hobbies, seriously consider starting something – it just makes your CV more interesting.

5. Do your homework

Before applying for a management consultant job, at the very, very least, be sure to visit their website and social media pages to find out what they are doing. It’s also a good idea to follow their associated social media accounts.

6. Tailor your applications

If you are applying for an opening with a particular set of requirements (for example, in the telecommunications sector), be sure to bias your CV and covering email/message with relevant experiences. Don’t submit a CV without a covering message.

7. Expect a telephone screening call first

If you have applied for a job and see an unregistered number calling you, don’t ignore it! It could the be recruiter wanting to talk.

8. Group assessments

If you get past a telephone screening, in almost all cases, you will be expected to attend a group assessment. Typical components of group assessments include:

  • A numerical reasoning test
  • A psychometric profile test
  • A group exercise
  • A presentation you are expected to give

You can find practice numerical reasoning and psychometric tests online. While numerical reasoning ability is a must-have for a candidates, your psychometric profile is more about understanding your personality. Don’t try to fake your responses, there are built in contradictory questions to give a confidence level in your test results. You can’t fake your personality, so don’t do it.

The key to the group exercise is to participate and demonstrate leadership traits (such as suggesting how the team might process the problem, like using a whiteboard to brainstorm out ideas).

With regards to presentations, if you are allowed to prepare in advance, choose a topic you know well, and practice, practice, practice.

9. References

You may be asked for one academic reference, and one non-academic reference. Make sure whoever you nominate, they know about this.

10. The final round(s)

Post group assessment, if successful, you will probably have additional further interviews. These interviews may be with the people whom you will be working with. They will be thinking: “Is this the kind of person I want on my team?” Be sure to use your interpersonal skills to strike up a relationship. Also expect real life scenario questions, such as: “Imagine this is the first day on your job, what are you going to do?” At this stage the people interviewing you will be looking for intuition and your ability to plan.

As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. While you may fail in the recruitment process of the first management consultancy you try, the experience should help you better prepare for the next one.

Also, ask yourself, do I want to be a small fish in a big pond, or a big fish in a small pond?

Boutique consultancies such as Renoir Consulting generally give you more autonomy with clients, which leads to a more rapid learning curve, and faster progression through the ranks to higher renumeration levels.A career as a management consultant is a rewarding one. If you would like to explore opportunities with Renoir Consulting, check out the career page on our website: https://renoirgroup.com/career/