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The Consulting career path

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When joining a consulting firm after graduating, you might wonder what opportunities lie ahead in the future. We take a look at how you could progress your career in the consulting sector.

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Man going up the consulting career ladder

Step 1: Analyst

Joining a consulting firm as an analyst is the typical entry point following graduation from university. As an analyst you'll spend the majority of time on the client site, having responsibility for part of the problem-solving process. You'll support a team of consultants in research, data collection and analysis, as well as taking part in training and development programmes. 

Read: Why a graduate career in consulting is for you

Step 2: Associate/Consultant

After two to five years as an analyst, candidates who prove themselves may secure promotion to associate, or consultant analyst. In this role, you'll be responsible for identifying issues, forming hypotheses and helping with the implementation of change. Associates will manage larger aspects of the problem solving process and be responsible for presenting findings and formulating recommendations.

In terms of managerial experience, you'll help to structure the work and manage analysts who are working on the project. During your time in this role, you will gain sector-specific knowledge and develop core consultancy skills training. 

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Step 3: Senior Associate/Senior Consultant

Senior associates (job titles will vary from company to company) are often promoted having shown promise as an associate. Senior associates will oversee an aspect of a large project and be appointed as project manager on smaller projects. It's the senior associate who is in charge of assigning work to the team, and leading and managing members in that team. You may be required to work independently on individual project tasks which are client-facing, as well as having input to sales, marketing and leadership strategy within the firm. 

Learn the 11 key skills consulting firms look for

Step 4: Principal/Senior Manager

As principal consultant or senior manager you will project manage all phases of the project and be accountable for the timely delivery of the project. Principal consultants will nurture and manage the talent within their team, as well as having to tackle some of the tougher business problems. You will participate in service proposition, business development work and thought leadership. 

Step 5: Director

This will probably be a fair few years down the line from where you are now, but it’s worth aiming high. As director, you will be a senior expert and strategic adviser to senior clients within the firm. You'll be responsible for generating new business and developing client relationships.

Directors oversee the growth and direction of the firm, and are accountable for defining innovative strategies and achieving results. Promotion to this level is a formal acknowledgement of personal merit and accomplishment. 

Ready to take the next step towards a career in consulting?

Browse available graduate opportunities in the consulting sector and take your next steps towards a career in this exciting industry.