Consulting is a demanding profession that requires a strong work ethic and the ability to work long hours. It's not a 9-5 job, and you may find yourself “always connected” as you're expected to spend a lot of time on the road. If you're looking for stability and structure, consulting may not be the right career for you. However, you can design your work to a large extent.
You'll need to create your own work structures and be responsible for your impact. Additionally, there are few positions available in major consulting firms due to the amount of hard work required. In a single consulting project, analysts don't spend much time on the “hard yards”. This is in contrast to law firms or investment banks, which require an enormous amount of work hours for basic cases or M&A projects.
The level of difficulty in consulting varies depending on the type of work, line of business, and other factors. It's also one of the most popular career paths for MBA students, making it highly competitive. Unfortunately, many candidates don't know what they're getting into when they apply for a job. Mika Kim, a former Big 4 consultant, explains why consulting paid off for her personally in this YouTube video.
Consultants are expected to always be “active”, making it difficult to find a clear separation between personal and professional life. A Quora response from a former Big Four management consultant mentions that there's an old joke at Deloitte that “partners eat their young”. Consulting is attractive and requires less arithmetic knowledge than similar positions. However, many consulting firms now offer competitive packages to retain talent by paying them better than the competition. If you're interested in consulting, it's worth giving it a try.
However, many people don't last more than a year or two in the field due to its demanding nature. As a consultant, the impact you have is mainly indirect through the advice you provide to your clients. Consulting offers an excellent opportunity to earn more than your peers who work in other industries. In the field of consulting, you'll be working with a lot of data and facts and have to make many decisions.