On 28 February, Surbiton High School’s very own Mrs Sullivan and Mr White presented a talk on Careers in Management Consulting to our Sixth Form as part of our Career Series. The talk presented an overview of what management consulting is, the types of management consulting that exist, and what graduate schemes can offer.
Management consulting is a broad and diverse field that covers a wide range of areas, including strategy, operations, human resources, finance, and technology. The various types of consulting include strategy, change management, process, and technology. Students learned that consultants are external advisors hired by companies to provide advice or services to help companies improve efficiencies or performance.
Management consultants need a range of skills, including strong analytical and problem-solving abilities, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and the ability to work effectively in teams. It can be a challenging and rewarding career path, offering significant opportunities for learning and growth, as well as the chance to make a real impact on organizations and the broader business landscape.
Mrs Sullivan gave examples of consulting projects such as a track and trace application built during the pandemic, a BP Pulse app for electric car owners, and even the IBM Slam Tracker for Wimbledon. She described the life of a consultant which may involve up to 90% travel, often working in large multinational teams, and the opportunity to work with clients across all different industries and geographies. Mrs Sullivan described her own career path and how she knew that she wanted to do something in business but wasn’t sure exactly what. Management consulting offered her the opportunity to work across Procurement, HR, Portals, Project Finance, and Project Management during her 20+ career.
Mr White described what management consulting graduate schemes look for in candidates. Any degree is suitable – from English and Languages to Maths and even Film Studies! Strong teamwork, clear communication, problem-solving, logical thinking, and a strong work ethic are all valued skills that employers look for. The ability to explain a difficult concept in plain English is also important. The students were advised to ensure that they show a passion for the business and to research the company values in order to be prepared to describe how they have demonstrated those values. Consultants often spend a lot of time away from home with their teams, so it is important that they share common values. Mr White described how graduate schemes provide an excellent structured programme or work and training and this looks fantastic on a CV.
The students were impressed at the breadth of experience across multiple industries, clients, and geographies that both Mrs Sullivan and Mr White had gained throughout their careers. The students were encouraged to research a future career in management consulting if they enjoy teamwork, travel, problem-solving, and a variety of work.
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