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The consultancy industry specialises in providing expert advice for businesses, helping them to improve their efficiency, grow their profits or enhance their performance. Consultants call upon their specialist knowledge to improve an area that’s often underperforming in a client’s business. They tend to spend time at a client’s site, so there’s a lot of opportunity for travel and meeting new people in the consultancy industry, all while flexing your creative and problem solving muscles.
Consultants typically specialise in a particular area of business operation (e.g. Strategy, Operations, Finance). A client will hire a consultant when an area of their business needs to be improved. These areas may include helping a business plan to enter a new market, making a business more environmentally friendly, improving office culture, or giving training to management. Businesses are complex structures with lots of moving parts, so there’s a lot of room for specialisation for consultants.
Consultancy can be a varied job. A consultant may be hired for a short engagement of a couple of months because a company merely needs a little push, or it may need massive restructuring, requiring a project which might take years to complete. A good consultant can be the difference between a client’s business failing or flourishing.
Consultants almost always have a bachelor’s degree - preferred subjects can include business, economics, engineering or related fields, though many larger firms will be as open to applicants with humanities degrees. It’s a very competitive industry, so a master’s degree can be useful to make you stand out. All that studying will pay off in the long run, however. Junior consultants earn (on average) £44,645, while, at the very top level, partners can earn £168,745 (plus significant profit-related bonuses!)