Problem solving skills are the most valuable asset for any consultant. Clients hire consultants to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to their issues. A solution-oriented mindset is essential for success in the consulting industry. When you arrive at your first meeting, your clients have likely already considered the most obvious solutions to their problems, and none of them have worked.
As a consultant, it is your job to come up with innovative ideas and strategies that will help them achieve their goals. Flexibility is also key when it comes to consulting projects. You may agree on a schedule weeks or months in advance, but it is important to be prepared for changes. Your customer's needs may shift, and you must be able to adjust accordingly. In today's competitive graduate recruitment market, employers are looking for very specific skills and attributes in candidates for their companies.
Consulting firms are no exception. With the help of our in-house experts and partner consulting firms, we have identified 11 key qualities that consulting firms look for in successful candidates. Academic success is essential for top consulting positions. Your academic record reveals both your ability to learn and your ability to work hard, two key attributes of a consultant. Therefore, a strong record of school results (including A levels or equivalent and any school awards), as well as good performance to date in college (including detailed module results, & of expected grades) will show that you are a candidate worth considering. Consulting firms also look for candidates who have already put their skills to the test in a relevant work experience placement.
This could be a vacation plan or an internship that demonstrates your interest in the consulting world, as well as giving you some insight into what you are looking for in a consulting firm. Other professional work experience with well-known brands is also beneficial, especially if you can talk about the transferable skills learned, such as data analysis, presentation skills, teamwork, etc. Presentation is another important factor when applying for a consulting position. Employers must be able to trust you to develop documents for FTSE 100 companies and attend meetings with their executive directors, so you must demonstrate that you are up to the task. This includes everything from a clear, well-articulated application form without typographical errors, a well-structured CV with a consistent format, a readable font and good grammar, and a well-dressed, polished, clean and confident interview assistant. Once you've moved on to the interview stage, consulting firms are looking for someone who is absolutely ready for consulting, rather than any other corporate role.
Your curriculum will have given them confidence in your studies; now is your chance to show them your ability to solve difficult problems, develop strong relationships and be part of high-performance teams. Make sure you have some success stories handy about your academic, extracurricular and work experience. You should be able to talk about situations in which you took the initiative and the impact of your contribution. Consultants typically work 60 hours a week and spend more time with their colleagues than with their friends and family. Therefore, consulting firms are looking for candidates who can get along well with the rest of the team, who have the ability to build relationships at all levels of an organization, and who are fundamentally good at meeting new people. Having some interests outside of work is also beneficial; this is your chance to show that you are a fun and interesting person and not just a set of academic records and work experience records. However, remember not to overdo it: if you say that you love golf, you will most likely be invited to play at some point.