Application, interview and assessment day advice

Consulting firms are looking for students with the potential to develop a range of business skills.

Consulting firms are looking students with the potential to develop a range of business skills. These include the ability to analyse data, understand and react to business problems, work with high-level people, and manage projects and teams of staff through working in an in-depth and hands-on way with a number of different organisations.

Here are the main steps involved in applying to a consulting firm for a graduate scheme place or internship:

Applying to a consulting firm step 1: research and thinking

It's important that you go through an honest process of self-analysis and think about what you want from your career and what kind of consulting employer would suit you best.

Next, think about what you've achieved so far in the context of the skills consulting firms ask for. For example, you could demonstrate your drive and motivation through having sought out a valuable internship and then gained skills from the experience. 

It doesn't matter whether your achievements are in voluntary work, academics, sporting activities or work experience – consulting firms are most interested in what you've learnt, rather than the context in which you did so.

Applying to a consulting firm step 2: written applications

The next step in applying to a consulting firm is usually an online application.

The application will typically involve an application form where you'll need to fill in details of your qualifications and experience, complete some numerical and logical reasoning tests, and answer some questions to test your knowledge of the firm and the role you're applying for. 

There may also be some questions designed to test your understanding of the consulting industry in general and your general commercial awareness.

Applying to a consulting firm step 3: interviews and assessment days

If your written application is successful, you may be initially invited to a first interview, either over the phone or face-to-face.

If you pass this hurdle, you'll then be invited to an assessment day. This will involve a mixture of activities, probably including a group exercise, a written assessment, more interviews, and an opportunity to meet people currently on the firm's graduate programme.