Find out about the competitive and demanding - but rewarding - field of consultancy.


Management consultancy is the practice of providing professional and expert advice to organisations to improve their performance.  

The sector is seeing growth, with a forecast of 13% growth in 2023, largely due to the expansion of the services offered to clients. Services relating to digital transformation - with particular interest in cybersecurity and AI - and sustainability are in high demand.

Strategy consulting, HR consulting and Technology consulting are three of the main specialisations, with Technology consulting seeing strong growth. The largest firms operate across a range of specialisations; niche or boutique firms focus on one or two, or operate within a particular industry sector.   Some large companies have their own in-house consulting divisions. The Consultancy UK site explains what the specialist areas of Strategy, Management, Operations, HR, Financial Advisory  and IT each involve:

Consulting UK: Consulting industry 

The UK’s top 100 consultancies, based on a survey of partners and clients, are ranked in this article from Consultancy UK, which is helpful for identifying firms and their particular strengths: 

The Top Consulting Firms in the UK 2023

For a recent market research report (updated every 3 months) into the UK Management Consultants sector access the IbisWorld database through the University Library’s online databases list. This analyses the state of the industry and identifies key trends: 

IbisWorld: Management Consulting in the UK             (requires UoE login) 

The Management Consultancies Association is the representative body within the UK.  Their site has useful case studies of successful projects, as well as a list of members, and highlights key issues such as digital transformation:

Management Consultancies Association (MCA)

Many people move into management consultancy after working in an industry such as banking or engineering. 

Watch this recording of our session exploring the field of management consulting and how to get into it:

Thinking about a career in Management Consulting?     (University of Edinburgh login required)

What’s it like  

Management consultancy roles can vary depending on the type of industry or organisation you are working in. Consultancy firms can be generalist or focus on a specific area or in a particular industry, so it is important to think about whether you want to specialise early on or work as more of a generalist in different industries. Work may be stressful and require extra hours when close to tight deadlines. 

Responsibilities may include researching and understanding organisations and their structures, collecting data, providing advisory guidance, managing projects and teams, presenting findings and recommendations to clients, reporting to senior stakeholders, visiting international partners, running focus groups, and facilitating workshops.  

Many organisations are increasingly becoming more flexible; however, there is often still the requirement to travel to sites and meet client demands. 

Job profile: Management consultant   (Prospects)

What does a graduate consultant do?    (TargetJobs)

 The Consultancy learning path on our Careers Service Plus platform includes: 

  • An introduction to consultancy 

  • Specialisms within consultancy 

  • The consultancy work environment 

  • Key skills required for consultancy 

  • Top tips for getting in to consultancy 

  • Resources consultancy professionals use  

Consultancy learning path (UoE login required)

Build experience 

Many firms will accept applicants from any degree programme. Employers look for strong academic performance, communication skills, analytical and numerical skills, as well as commercial awareness and a keenness for the industry.

  • Get experience by joining a relevant student society and help out with planning their events or sitting on the committee

Find a society

  • Find and join local organisations to volunteer with, especially if they are related to consultancy in some way, such as FreshSight - a professional student organisation that provides pro bono consulting services for non-profit organisations in the Midlothian area.  


  • Summer internships are a good way of gaining experience - they are usually only for those in their penultimate year of university. These will be advertised on the sites listed in the Graduate Jobs section below. 

  • If you are in your first or second year, search for short programmes that give you an insight into the company. Many companies call these opportunities 'insight weeks' or 'insight programmes'.

  • Apply for an Employ.ed on Campus internship in a relevant department, such as in Project Services. Hear what the four interns from 2019 had to say about their experience over the summer in the Project Services Interns video.  

Employ.ed on Campus

Project Services Interns Video  

Graduate jobs 

Graduate schemes and graduate jobs are competitive. Get your applications in early as many of these close by the end of the year for jobs starting the following year. Find out more about recruitment programmes - and the industry in general - from employers who give presentations and attend our Careers events.  These are advertised on MyCareerHub:

MyCareerHub: Events

Do your research. Think carefully about who you want to work for, and why.  This article gives advice: 

Which consulting firm should you apply for?   (TargetJobs)

MyCareerHub includes details of firms advertising with us:

Also look for graduate vacancies on the following sites:

To find firms which specialise in particular industries, for example oil and gas, sport, or life sciences, look at Consultancy UK's listings:


Read the thoughts of recent recruits on how they impressed in their application:

What makes graduate consulting applications successful?   (TargetJobs)

More free examples of case interviews, and the techniques needed to tackle them, are given on this site:

Ace The Case: Sample Questions