Consulting as a Career

A consultant is someone who reviews a situation and offers ideas and solutions that people close to the problem or circumstance might not see; they offer alternatives and ideas that may be creative, impersonal, save money, or shift a company into a new direction. Consultants are individuals, typically with a college degree, who provide an objective opinion on matters related to trends, problems, or data for a company but are not on that business’ payroll. A consultant may work independently or be part of a larger firm. Major consulting firms offer insight into the industry and their company cultures so applicants can get a solid grasp of the expectations, roles, and clients the organization serves.

Regardless of the industry or type of consultant (management, operational, financial, and human resources, to name a few), or working as part of an organization or independently, the successful person in the role has a key set of skills that transfers across all disciplines. These skills include analytical, problem solving, critical thinking, and communication (written and verbal-speaking and listening). Being adaptable, high energy, and knowing how to prioritize are qualities that are also valued in this career. Many majors and experiences (internships, club involvement, sports, etc.) prepare a student for a job as a consultant, and as such, candidates need to know how to market themselves while also participating in relevant and related work and involvement opportunities. If you are a creative problem solver with a knack for seeing gaps in information and concepts and are solution-oriented, you may want to consider this lucrative and exciting career field.

For more information on this field, review these articles and companies.

By Beth E Settje
Beth E Settje Associate Director, Experiential Learning & College to Career Transitions | Pronouns: She/Her