Consulting is a rewarding and challenging career path that allows you to diversify your knowledge and experience in the industry. It also provides great responsibilities and allows you to have a direct and measurable impact on the organization or entity for which you work. If you're looking to break into consulting but don't have any experience, there are still ways to make it happen. The first step is to put yourself in the position of your potential customers.
You need to develop the skills necessary to succeed in consulting, prepare your application, and prepare for interviews. You can also develop “consulting experience” on the business side of things once you've started your business. If you have a couple of alternative opportunities and aren't sure which one to take, ask both hiring managers for job descriptions and compare which one will help you demonstrate the skills consulting firms want to see. For those of you who have been in your career for a few years and are looking to make a change in management consulting, earning an MBA and transitioning to consulting is a very popular path (though nothing is guaranteed).
Consulting firms hire MBAs for their insight into general business, its work ethic, its propensity for professional acceleration, and its willingness to learn. It's important to equip yourself with the relevant consulting skills and knowledge before entering the industry. You should ensure that your level of knowledge as a consultant is broad enough to determine when to research in order to find the necessary solutions or ask questions. When you become a consultant, regardless of whether you start working as a consulting employee or starting a consulting business, you will gain several job opportunities that will help you expand your experience, knowledge, and professional network.
It's important to understand that you need to network with people in the consulting industry if you want to break into the industry. You must convince them that you understand what a career in management consulting looks like and that you have thought about this transition. When you become a consultant, you will be required to solve many problems, some of which may be new to the industry or even completely new to you. Doing well in classes related to business or economics will demonstrate that you have the problem-solving and analytical thinking skills needed in consulting.
If you specialize in these areas, your courses will help you develop the business knowledge necessary for success in consulting.