Management consultants have rich experiences
As a consultant, you will travel the world and, depending on the engagement, you will see places and make experiences at a very young age that other people will never see or have in their lifetime. This includes exotic client sites such as oil platforms, gold mines, and factories as well as professional experiences such as boardroom meetings, CEO discussions, etc. The lifestyle that accompanies your work is relatively luxurious. Consultants usually reside in 4 to 5-star hotels, can expense fine dining, and depending on the office travel business class. Additionally, your office or team will organize some fancy events every now and then.
Management consultants in top-tier firms can have a high impact and responsibility
You work with C-level executives of Fortune 500 companies from day one, usually on highly visible and high impact projects. The client wants you to answer critical questions about the fate of their multi-million or billion-dollar company and generate a positive impact on their business. As a junior consultant, you will work closely with senior clients and get the chance to coach people twice your age.
Working for McKinsey and others gives you a sense of accomplishment
No matter what people say, it is always in the back of your mind that you work for one of the most prestigious consulting firms (a great brand), chosen from a very competitive pool of candidates, and given a chance that only 1-3% of applicants get. Additionally, improving organizations and helping their staff is a very rewarding experience. In this respect alone, consulting overall can be an amazing journey, especially when you have just graduated from university and consider the alternatives your peers are working for.
Top-tier consulting firms provide a stimulating work environment
The people you work with are usually brilliant as well as highly likable characters (as a direct result of the selection criteria of top-tier firms). You can learn a lot working alongside them while at the same time enjoy the stimulating work environment. Working teams are usually within the same age range which contributes to a pleasant and fun experience in the team room. Overall, the firms try to create an exceptional work environment that fosters strong team bonds. Friendships formed in the team room will usually stick around for a lifetime.
McKinsey will put you on a steep learning curve
As a result of the constant stream of new experiences and challenges as well as the engaging work environment, you will learn a lot within a relatively short time span. You will have the opportunity to work in multiple industries and business functions. What you do will always challenge you intellectually. Apart from that, a strict training curriculum will guide you on your way. Training is often excellent and comparable to C-level training in other organizations.
Top-tier firms pay their consultants very well
Generally, you will earn good money right from the start, usually significantly more than your peer group. Add to that, salary increases are exponential as you climb up the ranks in your firm’s hierarchy. Additionally, all expenses are paid for while you are away from home, contributing significantly to your end-of-month bottom line.
Additional benefits such as points and status
Since you spend most weeks traveling you will earn a significant amount of frequent flyer miles and hotel points as well as a certain status with some travel companies. In turn, you can use them for your private vacations to get free flights, upgrades, and free hotel nights as well as food, etc.
The other side of the coin
Consulting is not always rainbows and butterflies. There are some severe downsides which you can read about here.
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Florian spent 5 years with McKinsey as a senior consultant. He is an experienced consulting interviewer and problem-solving coach, having interviewed 100s of candidates in real and mock interviews. He started StrategyCase.com with the goal to make McKinsey more accessible for top-talent, using tailored and up-to-date know-how about its recruiting.