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Business management & consulting Career Pathways For School Leavers

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Large corporations, SME’s and start-ups sometimes need to call upon the support of experts in their industry, who have already had a great deal of experience dealing with their issue at hand. Business management consultancies can provide this service (also known as “professional services”), often specialising in improving efficiency, performance and profits of the customer (usually a company) in one particular area. This includes, but is not limited to, operational management, human resources (HR), strategy and planning, environmental issues and financial management.

When employed by a company, a consultant will frequently be based within their offices or sites. This helps them to really get a feel of how the company operates. They’ll analyse the business structure and strategy, looking for ways to improve the way that it runs and is managed. Often this task requires a great deal of in-depth data collection, speaking to employees and reviewing records and reports. Then the consultant will offer advice on how to implement changes to tackle the problems that the company is experiencing.

While consultants will usually focus on one area of a business, sometimes larger consultancies will be able to cover many different areas in order to take a more holistic approach to their service. Companies that are going through a restructure will often pay for this.

Being a consultant a diverse job that requires an analytical mind and confidence, plus it can also be very satisfying both professionally and financially.


You’ll need to be motivated, organised, a good leader, and dedicated to success in work and to achieving strategic goals to be a success in this area.

Foreign language skills are also highly valued (but not essential), as many firms work with international clients.

Other vital skills include:

- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Commercial Awareness
- Communication
- Data Analysis
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Powerpoint
- Microsoft Word
- Numeracy
- Presentation Skills
- Problem Solving

Progression opportunities

The business management & consulting industry has a variety of exciting career paths available to school leavers, including many reputable apprenticeships that are scattered across the UK. As you’re likely to be in a large and well-structured company for your apprenticeship, the career path you can pursue is likely to be excellently laid-out.

In general, you are likely to start your post-apprenticeship career as a business analyst or junior consultant, before later becoming an associate consultant, and eventually consultant (after two to five years). These roles involve a lot of analysis, including research, conducting interviews, presenting results and building operational/business models.

Career development

If you’ve finished an apprenticeship in business management & consulting, you could contemplate going on to university afterwards in order to enhance your professional standing. Whilst some companies are open to supporting young talent straight after they finish school, others will require you to have a degree in order to progress within the business management sector. You should look at the requirements of different companies carefully to see whether further qualifications would suit your career aspirations.

Earning potential

Apprentices under the age of 19 will earn a minimum hourly salary of £3.70 in the first year of their apprenticeship. Those over the age of 19 will earn the National Minimum Wage which totals to around £150 - £240 per week. Keep in mind, however, that many larger consultancies can afford to pay their apprenticeships significantly more than the national minimum wage. In fact, this industry is known for paying its staff exceptionally well. This is largely down to the fact that many of those working in business consultancy work with multinationals and high-paying clients, so can charge a lot of money for their expertise.

Average salaries for the overarching roles in the industry, according to and including benefits and bonuses, are as follows:

Junior consultant: £44,645
Senior consultant: £63,074
Manager: £85,678
Senior manager: £115,744
Partner: £168,745

Types of jobs in Business management & consulting

Qualification requirements & subjects to study

Typically you will require GCSEs (or A-levels) to a relatively high standard.

To get a job in the business consultancy and management sector as a school leaver, it’s a good idea to undertake a vocational qualification. A diploma, certificate or short course can give you the practical skills you need to get an introductory job in the sector. Professional organisations, as well as colleges, can provide these qualifications.

Alternatively, you could look at apprenticeships in business management. Apprenticeships will see you studying and working for a company at the same time. You will work alongside experienced staff and will have one day off per week to study, usually at a local technical college or equivalent. Business management apprenticeships are available at both small companies and huge multinationals.

Industry Bodies

Institute of Consulting
Chartered Institute of Management Consultants
Management Consultants Association
Chartered Institute of Business Administration

Further Reading