It’s no mean feat to secure a graduate job in consulting, so a huge well done from us if you’ve managed it. It’s completely natural to be nervous about starting, but with these nerves comes an exciting prospect of your first steps towards a fulfilling career.
Naturally, your first few weeks of consulting training will vary from company to company, but largely, the training will consist of an intensive residential training programme with other analysts. Often, you will find that your residential training will take place in an international hub. This is an immersive method of training to help you understand the culture and values of the firm you are going to.
This residential programme will allow you to gain a grounding in consulting, and equip you with the skills you will need to become a successful analyst. You'll take part in plenty of practical skills sessions run by specialists from across the business, enabling you to gain an understanding of practical skills that will be looked for with clients and colleagues. Your training will cover core skills, including how to put together PowerPoint presentations, which will become integral in presenting solutions to clients.
During your first few weeks, you will be expected to learn data analysis, using different tools including forecasting, surveying and reporting.
Top Tip: Want a head start? Check out our guide to perfecting PowerPoint just here.
There will be plenty of opportunity for socialising with fellow analysts to help you to get to know one another within your intake. Evening events will be organised to give you the chance to meet people across the business and other graduate trainees. Alongside this, you will be given a mentor or buddy within the business.
Make sure you use them – they are a fantastic resource to ask questions about the business and the culture there. It’s likely they were in your shoes once, so interrogate their knowledge and experience to gain a full understanding of what you can expect.
Top Tip: Don't let all the sociaising go to your head. Stay professional and friendly at all times, and don't blur the lines between professional socialising and personal socialising.
The voice of experience
Bright Network's Director of Operations, Rosie Cook, started out as a Graduate Analyst at Deloitte before joining Bright Network. Here's what she has to say about her first few weeks of training:
"I spent my first month or so studying for CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and then took a series of exams in management accounting, financial accounting, business strategy and economics. As an English graduate, I found this was a very helpful immersion in the world of business. Following this I spent two weeks in the Cotswolds with the rest of my cohort (there were 250 of us in total), and a suite of Deloitte managers who provided training on the softer stuff - interview skills, research and analysis, how to nail powerpoint and excel, how to work in a team, how to develop a hypothesis etc. Following this I was launched onto projects and gained the rest of my experience on the ground, in the detail, learning from my colleagues.
Beyond your first few weeks
When you return from training and begin the job, processes will become more normal, and you will get used to the other characters around you.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – this is what helps your learning continue as you work. No one is expecting you to have all the answers, and being a 'know-it-all' in a new situation will do you no favours. Asking questions shows that you are curious and hungry for knowledge - this is an excellent trait. Just make sure you think through the question before asking it.
Due to the nature of graduate jobs in consulting, there will be a number of reviews and appraisals, so remember to go that extra mile to prove yourself as the outstanding and committed individual that you are. Reflect on your learning, and if you have identified an area that you think you could do with developing, don’t be afraid to flag that to your line manager.
And finally, it’s perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed
The whole process is very full on with plenty to learn, lots of names to remember and a new culture to adapt to. Settling in takes time so don’t worry if you feel a bit stunned. You’ve been selected for the programme because you are bright, analytical and a great fit for the role.