Career progression

How will my career in consulting progress?

Starting a career in consulting as a graduate opens up many opportunities. 

You could aim to become a partner at a consulting firm. Another popular option is to move into private equity or into a senior role within a business. 

As an experienced consultant, you'd also be very well-equipped to start your own business. 

Here's a guide to some of your options if you start a career in consulting:

Career goals in consulting

Career goals in consulting: partner or other senior role in a consulting firm

Some consulting firms are partnerships where each partner, usually a senior consultant with a significant client following of their own, owns a portion of the business in return for making a financial investment in it when they are invited to join the partnership.

Other consulting firms have more corporate structures, but it's equally possible for talented graduates to progress into senior management roles at these kinds of organisations too.

Career goals in consulting: private equity

Around 10-20 per cent of consultants exit join the private equity and venture capital industry, which essentially assesses and invests in growing businesses or businesses that are struggling but have the potential to be improved.

During their stints in consulting, many of these consultants will have worked on corporate development projects – for example, commercial due diligence or target-scanning exercises – acquiring skills and knowledge that are highly relevant to private equity and venture capital firms.

Career goals in consulting: senior business role

The most popular and common route for consultants leaving their firms are strategy and development positions in corporates. Many move into “industry” by getting hired by the clients of consulting firms to support their internal strategy function. 

Outside of strategy, consultants are also a good fit in any role requiring a mix of research, analytics, project coordination and personnel management skills. Functions that fit the above criteria include business development, corporate development, and some mergers and acquisitions and operations roles.

Career goals in consulting: entrepreneur

The business knowledge and skills that consultants acquire are a great basis for setting up and growing a business of your own.

Work-life balance

Whatever path your career takes, you'll find that the consulting sector takes work-life balance and flexible working seriously.

So while working in consulting means a challenging and intense career, you should be able to find space for the rest of your life too.