As a student newly entering Fisher or an established upperclassman, the word consulting pervades the minds of many aspiring businessmen and women. A consulting career presents a challenging workload, a significant amount of traveling and the opportunity to learn about many different industries. Nonetheless, few truly know what this field truly consists of.
Consultants handle a wide variety of complex issues that are unique to each client. Some of these issues may include deciding which market to expand into, how to expand into the new market, which business model to use or how to ease the merger and acquisition process. Consultants offer keen advice to solve business problems so that in-house operations can remain steady.
“Consultants are like the doctors of business,” says John Strayer, a fourth-year finance major at Fisher who interned at McKinsey & Company this past summer and will be working with them full-time after graduation. “Similar to when you go into a doctor’s office for a personal health reason, you have some type of issue and due to your lack of expertise you do not know what it is. You may need your doctor to solve it for you or you may need your doctor to give you advice so you can solve it yourself.”
Similar to the medical field, there are different categories in which consultants typically conduct their work: technology, management and strategy. Different consulting firms may specialize in a category.
Fisher has many on-campus opportunities for people interested in any category of consulting: Buckeye Undergraduate Consulting Club (BUCC), Fisher Emerging Consultants (FEC), Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO) and the Industry Immersion Program can give any student a taste for the industry. BUCC has made meaningful strides in advising a group of motivated business majors who are interested in gaining miniature real world consulting experience through case work.
“BUCC gives you the exposure you need to succeed in a consulting world,” says Mitchell Switala, president of BUCC. “An average day in BUCC can take many forms, whether it be practicing with case interviews, preparing for networking events or figuring out what type of business works for you depending on their focus of study. BUCC gives you the experience to help you in an interview and hopefully gives you the upper edge on your competition.”
Just as varied as the work in BUCC is, the career path for consultants post-graduation is full of opportunities for different types of work. It is typical to work as an analyst for one to three years at a small to mid-size consulting firm. An analyst crunches data and works with the client team to define the problem. Analysts can be promoted to a manager role in which the focus shifts to translating data into a presentation for the clients. The final step is to become a partner, in which building clientele and making decisions is the main priority.
Strayer emphasizes the importance of testing the waters early: “utilize upperclassmen or professionals you are able to get in contact with through LinkedIn,” Strayer says.