Jessica Ach 15 in front of a chalkboard
Jessica Ach ’15 learned about potential career paths in the worlds of finance, marketing and consulting.

Consulting firms provide expertise to assess problems facing organizations, formulate recommendations, and help implement solutions in order to achieve the objectives of their clients.

 

Colgate Consulting Networks

The Consulting Network highlights the great influence the Colgate community has on consulting. Bringing together consultants from a range of specialty areas, this network is designed to assist with professional development for those currently in the industry and support students starting their consulting careers.

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The consulting industry can be segmented into four main service areas:

  • Strategy & Operations: Corporate Strategy, Operations, Customer and Marketing, Supply Chain, M&A
  • Finance: Accounting/Tax, Transaction Advisory, Risk and Controls, Forensics
  • Technology: IT Strategy, Technology Risk Management, IT Architecture
  • Human Resources: Benefits Management, Human Capital Management, HR Technology

Consulting firms serve a variety of industries across the globe:

  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Communications & Media
  • Education
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Non-Profit
  • Natural Resources & Power
  • Public (Government) Sector
  • Transport & Logistics
  • Wholesale & Retail

Most consultants enter the field by working for an established consulting firm. This way they can gain experience and develop a portfolio and a list of references before venturing out on their own as an independent consultant or moving to a different firm in a higher position. Graduates with B.A. or B.S. degree are often employed in entry-level positions spanning two to three years. Titles like research analyst or junior consultant are common for these types of positions, depending on the industry. Afterward, many go on to business school, other graduate and professional schools, or positions with client companies. As their careers progress, consultants usually specialize in a certain industry or type of consulting.

The daily activities of an analyst might include:

  • Interviewing clients for case information and sharing it with other team members
  • Researching client-related industries
  • Locating data needed for cases through library and internet resources
  • Creating financial models in excel
  • Performing competitor benchmarking analyses and identifying savings opportunities or possible product and service enhancements
  • Conducting analyses of key business processes: gathering and organizing information on problems and procedures, analyzing data, developing solutions or alternative methods of proceeding
  • Writing and presenting final recommendations to management
  • Creating client presentations

Most consultants travel frequently, as they go and work at the clients' work sites, which may be in another city, state, or country. Consultants often spend several weeks or months away from home in order to complete their projects and working long hours to meet tight deadlines is typical.

Consulting is a field with a wide variety of exit options including graduate or business school, internal consulting, jobs in finance, nonprofits or the public sector, and entrepreneurial ventures.

Is consulting right for you?

Prepare for Jobs and Internships

Information, tips, and strategies to help prepare you as an undergraduate.

Entry-level candidates do not need to be experts in the specific area/field with which they would like to work. A good understanding of the field and past experience that will align with the firm is helpful, but there are no “pre-requisites”. The priorities and requirements of individual employers will vary significantly given the focus of their consulting activity. Qualities and skills often valued by recruiters in consulting include:

  • Academic Achievement
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
  • Business Acumen (Tip: read The Economist or Wall Street Journal)
  • Team Orientation
  • Ability to Cultivate Relationships
  • Computer Skills (PowerPoint and Excel proficiency)
  • Quantitative and Statistical Skills
  • Leadership
  • Communication Skills (writing and presentation)
  • Project management – ability to multitask
  • Prioritization – identify relevant issues or “low hanging fruit” wins

Case interviews are a way for consulting firms to test your smarts. In order to nail the case you need to know both how to prepare and perform. CaseQuestions.com will help answer a lot of your questions and get you started (you will need to create an account using your Colgate e-mail address to view this content).

CaseQuestions.com

Management Consulted lists these as key consulting “lingo”; Be familiar with these terms and use them in application materials and networking conversations:

  • Development Opportunity: A weakness, flaw or shortcoming that should be rectified, usually by the subsequent suggestion
  • B2B: Business to business, referring to a company’s primary audience for sales and marketing
  • B2C: Business to consumer, referring to a company’s primary audience for sales and marketing
  • CAGR: Compound annual growth rate
  • EBITDA: Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization
  • MBB: McKinsey, Bain, BCG aka the “Big 3″
  • MECE: Mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive. A term originating at McKinsey and common across management consulting firms, it’s a grouping principle that in the words of Wikipedia, “data in a group should be divided into subgroups that comprehensively represent that group (no gaps) without overlapping”

Knowledge of industry news can give you a sense of the culture and make you a better interview candidate.

Join us for an interactive program focusing on all things consulting. Starting with a comprehensive overview of the field, followed by actionable steps to help make you a marketable candidate, then closing with a comprehensive case interview workshop. This is a must for all students interested in pursuing this field.

ECON 105 Principles of Accounting

ECON 238 Economic Development

ECON 249 International Economics

ECON 251 Intermediate Microeconomics

ECON 314 Industrial Organization

ECON 328 Natural Resource Economics

ECON 332 Financial Economics

ECON 342 Labor Economics

ECON 349 Topics of International Trade

ECON 352 Money & Banking

ECON 375 Applied Econometric

ECON 442 Sem: Labor Economics

MATH 102 AX Introduction to Statistics

Alumni Advice

Tips and advice from alumni working in this industry.

headshot of Jack Galvin ’15

Jack Galvin ’15

Current Title and Organization: Consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Major at Colgate: Behavioral Neuroscience

What is it that you currently do? What are your major responsibilities?
I help insurance companies plan for and implement large-scale transformations. Specifically, I have focused on assisting a large, multi-line insurer plan for the implementation of a software solution that manages compensation for its salespeople. This involved a detailed analysis of the company's data feeds, several interviews with salespeople, as well as the design of an operating model that would support the new system. My day-to-day responsibilities vary by project, and fall anywhere between taking notes to presenting at client meetings.

How can students prepare themselves while at Colgate to work in your field?
Practice writing and speaking - you have the analytical skills you need, but you need to be able to communicate your thought process. You will learn the Excel and PowerPoint skills that you need once you begin working, but nothing can replace solid communication and logic. I suggest taking Logic and doing something like Mock Trial, Debate, or Rhetoric.

What extracurricular activities, associated with your profession or not, were you involved with while at Colgate?
Ski team, Maroon News, Students for Students, Independent Contractor for a software startup, Neuroscience research

Find Opportunities

Full-time employment: Fall Semester, especially October and November
Internships: Spring and Fall semesters

Vault.com has a variety of Consulting Firm rankings by practice area as well as other criteria like prestige, work/life balance and diversity: Vault.com: Log in >Companies >Best Consulting Firms (you will need to create an account using your Colgate e-mail address to view this content).

Types of Consulting Firms

  • Management: Perform across service lines; Focus mostly on Strategy and Operations (McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Oliver Wyman, L.E.K. Consulting, Point B, Roland Berger).
  • Big Four: Consulting arms of the Big Four accounting firms; Leverage scale and expertise to help clients; Focus on finance; New players in Strategy and Operations (Deloitte, PWC. EY, KPMG).
  • Boutique (Service Line): Focus on particular service line e.g. Technology, HR; Provide services across industries (IBM, Accenture, Towers Watson, Aon Hewit, Mercer, A.T. Kearny, ZS Associates, MarketBridge).
  • Boutique (Industry): Focus on particular industries e.g. Healthcare, Defense, Education (Booz Allen Hamilton, Huron Consulting, Navigant, The Advisory Board, Putnam Associates).
  • Internal: Permanent internal units in large corporations to provide consulting services in-house (P&G Business Development, American Express Strategic Planning Group, 3M Strategic Business Development).
     

Industry-specific job boards: Consulting Bench

Non-profit consulting: Idealist.org

Environmental Consulting: conservationjobboard.com

Colgate Handshake Opportunities

Check Colgate Handshake, Colgate's internship and job database, for opportunities that may interest you in this field.

Connect to Careers

Latest stories about internships, workshops, professional networks, and more.

Consulting Advisors

Career Advisor
206B Benton Hall
Associate Director of Career Development

Questions? Call 315-228-7380 for an advising appointment.