Consultants work with clients to provide support around a range of strategic and/or operational issues. Corporations, governments, and nonprofit organizations all hire consultants. The tasks performed range from conducting detailed industry analyses, to benchmarking comparable organizations, to devising key strategic initiatives. Consulting firms can have a specific industry focus or serve a variety of industries.
- Environmental - Ensures that the client maintains an appropriate measure of compliance with environmental regulations.
- Healthcare - Works with medical providers (e.g., hospitals), payers (e.g., insurance firms), and medical equipment/pharmaceutical manufacturers.
- Human Resources - Focuses on the management of people; can include everything from designing an employee evaluation and compensation system to conducting organizational effectiveness training to helping an organization through a merger
- Management - Focuses primarily on strategy for organizations
- Nonprofit - Deals with the unique challenges of nonprofit organizations.
- Public Sector - Help government organizations build/operate lean yet responsive supply chains
- Risk Management - Undertaking a risk management program audit covering exposures, insurance policies, and any non-insurance techniques, and where appropriate, recommending
- Strategic Communications - Advise companies on how to make their communications plan consistent with their business strategy
- Supply Chain/Operations - Focuses on evaluating and improving internal procedures and strategies, as well as the workflow structure and division of labor in a company
Consulting jobs are highly competitive and only a small percentage of candidates get hired. Companies usually recruit from campuses in September or October for positions starting in September of the following year. A high GPA and strong involvement in campus leadership are highly valued by recruiters. Because consulting positions are so competitive, it is crucial to devote part of your job search to connecting with the industry through employer information sessions, career fairs, networking nights and LinkedIn. CCE provides you with several resources to help with your job search:
Consulting 101 Workshops: an invaluable look into the consulting industry, including the best ways to find a job.
LionSHARE: Set up a Job Search Agent to be notified of consulting internships and/or jobs. Also make sure you have access to on campus recruiting (OCR) as consulting positions usually involve on-campus interviews.
Crack the Case Workshops: Whether you're interested in management, strategy, or industry specific consulting, case interviews will be used in the screening process to assess your thought processes and analytical skills. Learn from a consultant how to analyze cases and provide solutions based on the information given.
Fall Career Fair: Career fairs are an excellent opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with representatives of consulting firms. Take a look at the consulting firms who will participate in the 2011 Fall Career Fair.
Employer Information Sessions: presentations by employers about their company and industry.
Student clubs: Join student clubs that hold consulting events, such as the Econ Society, Columbia Women in Business, the Multicultural Business Association, and the Women's International Business Council, Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Consulting Club, and Columbia Graduate Consulting Club.
In particular, we recommend that undergraduate students join the new Columbia Undergraduate Consulting Club, which seeks to educate students about the world of consulting while preparing them to enter the industry. Through informational events, case study workshops, and networking opportunities, CUCC will offer students unparallelled opportunities to learn and advance as problem solvers and team players. Case practice sessions will be held on Thursdays from 8-10pm. Contact Nicole Bleuel at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information and complete the form to join the group's listserv.
- Problem-solving Skills
- Structured, logical thinking
Organization and detail orientation
Comfort with numbers (but a math major is not required)
- People Skills
Ease of communication
Confidence, poise, maturity (do you think before you speak)
Enthusiasm and fit for team (would they like to hang out with you for long hours)
- Business Knowledge
A few, fundamental business concepts and frameworks
Part 1: The interviewer will ask questions to gauge people and communication skills and your interest in consulting
Part 2: The interviewer will present you with a case to test your problem-solving and analytical abilities.
Click here to PREPARE FOR THE CASE INTERVIEW.
John Gardner, CC '08, works for Monitor Group, a strategy consulting firm. Here is what he has to say about his career and his time at Columbia:
I chose to be a consultant because I wanted a job that would give me a lot of responsibility right off the bat, forcing me to sharpen my communication and professional skills. At the same time, I was interested in a number of sectors - government, non-profits and private - and a large number of specific industries, and I wanted a job that would give me exposure to all of these areas and allow me to select the one that I would be most excited about in the long term.
- American Association of Healthcare Consultants
- Association of Internal Management Consultants
- Association of Consultants to Non-Profits
- The Institute of Management Consultants USA