What Consulting Careers Are Right for Me? Quiz

What Consulting Careers Are Right for Me? Quiz was originally published on Forage.

Consulting can be an elusive, confusing field, but when you break it down, it’s about people with expert knowledge advising others. Consulting careers are typically impactful, lucrative, and even rewarding roles where you can apply knowledge to help solve problems.

However, consulting is also a broad field with various types of careers. For example, strategy consultants and technology consultants not only have expertise in different areas of business but also give different types of recommendations. So, how do you know which consulting careers are right for you?

Types of Consulting Careers

Consultants are professionals who use their expertise to help other people solve problems. The types of consulting careers vary depending on two variables: the advice the consultant gives and the solutions they offer.

There are five main types of consulting careers, three of which fall under management consulting. Management consulting is a broad type of consulting that focuses on helping businesses with their strategy, operations, and performance.

Strategy Consulting

Strategy consulting is the first type of consulting that falls under management consulting. This consulting career is concerned with helping businesses achieve specific goals. Usually, these goals are related to larger business objectives related to revenue or performance.

For example, let’s say a business’s CEO is like the captain of a ship. They have a destination in mind, a boat to get them there, and a crew to help them out. A strategy consultant would help the captain figure out the best route to their destination.

BCG logo on building

Operations Consulting

Operations consulting is another type of management consulting, focused on helping businesses achieve their goals by advising on processes, operations, and workflows.

Using the same captain and ship example, an operations consultant would help ensure the crew is as efficient and helpful as possible. They could suggest a new knot-tying method for more secure ropes or advise on a new process for washing the deck faster.

HR Consulting

Human resources (HR) consulting is the final type of management consulting. This consulting type focuses on advising businesses about the people who work for them. For example, an HR consultant might advise on recruitment, retaining employees, or employee benefits.

On the ship, the HR consultant would advise the captain about who to hire for the crew. They’d ensure the crew got their jobs done and enjoyed their work.

What is GE?

Technology Consulting

Technology consulting focuses on a business’s technology and how that technology is used. These consultants may help with technology a company uses for communication, analytics, reporting, or operations, to name a few. Their goal is to help a business improve efficiency and reach its goals through technical tools. For example, IT consulting is a type of technology consulting focused on the business’s technology infrastructure.

On the ship, a technology consultant would ensure the ship has the best technology to support the journey. They might suggest a new navigation system or a piece of technology that can help crew members communicate.

PwC

Financial Consulting

Financial consulting concerns all aspects of a business’s financials, including profits, revenue, debt, investment opportunities, risks, and more. Essentially, financial consultants try to guide whoever they’re working with to make smart decisions about their money.

Wrapping up the ship metaphor, a financial consultant would be the ship’s treasurer, ensuring the captain has enough resources to make the journey.

OliverWyman

What Consulting Careers Are Right for You? Quiz

So, what consulting careers are right for you? Take this quiz to find out. It’s completely free — you’ll just need to sign up to get your results!

1. You’re throwing a party with your friends. What job do you volunteer for?

a. creating the list of party activities

b. coming up with the ultimate to-do list

c. deciding who to invite

d. hooking up the music

e. figuring out all the supplies you need to buy

2. Pick a fictional character you admire most.

a. Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)

b. Iron Man (Marvel)

c. Leslie Knope (Parks and Rec)

d. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

e. Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes)

3. You’re trapped on a deserted island with a group of strangers. What role do you take on?

a. searching for tools to build a signal for rescue

b. creating a system for gathering resources

c. figuring out how to ration supplies

d. coming up with a detailed plan for escape and survival

e. mediating any conflict that comes up in the group

4. What does your ideal work environment look like?

a. a welcoming space with room for team-building

b. a collaborative space with whiteboards all over

c. a high-tech office with the newest equipment

d. a quiet and focused space where you can do deep work

e. a well-organized and neat layout with clear places for everyone

5. You win a free vacation to any city in the world. Which one are you choosing?

a. Copenhagen

b. London

c. New York

d. San Francisco

e. Rio de Janeiro

6. You’re working on a group project where everyone has a different work style. How do you effectively work together?

a. use an online tool to streamline communication

b. lead a discussion on everyone’s working styles

c. make a precise schedule to ensure everything is done by the deadline

d. openly address any conflicts that arise

e. analyze everyone’s strengths to figure out how to delegate tasks

7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

a. predicting the future

b. teleportation

c. healing

d. flight

e. Midas Touch

8. Congratulations! You’ve won a million dollars and must invest it all in one area to help a business. What’s your plan?

a. hire the most qualified people to lead the next chapter

b. buy the best new tech to innovate the company

c. buy a smaller company to help boost profits

d. revamp the business’ supply chain to make them deliver faster

e. launch a whole new product to engage new customers

9. What adjectives best describe your style?

a. sharp and sophisticated

b. friendly and approachable

c. bold and innovative

d. timeless and classic

e. comfortable and practical

10. You’re trying to explain a complex concept to a friend. How do you go about it?

a. break down the concept into small parts

b. figure out their level of understanding, then speak to that

c. use clear language and encourage them to ask questions

d. use relatable scenarios and analogies

e. use visual aids like diagrams or videos

11. Pick a board game you’d most like to play.

a. Monopoly

b. Codenames

c. Chess

d. Ticket to Ride

e. Werewolf

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How to Get Into Consulting Careers

Now that you know what kind of consulting career is right for you, how do you get into consulting? We talked to current consultants to learn how they found success in their consulting careers.

Get the Right Education

While many entry-level consulting positions exist, these roles often require a bachelor’s degree. Many consultants major in business, finance, or economics, so they have a foundation of analytical skills, research, and general market knowledge. However, specific majors aren’t always a requirement, especially if you hope to go into a type of consulting that’s not finance consulting.

For example, if you’re more interested in technical consulting, having a background in a technical field — like a software engineering or computer science major — is crucial.

Bryan Berthot, a management consultant specializing in project management, advises that taking courses in other business-related fields can also help boost your overall business and consulting knowledge.

“Right now, there are many universities that have both undergraduate and graduate programs in entrepreneurship,” Berthot says. “If you don’t want this to be your major, consider taking one or two courses in this discipline. Some entrepreneurship courses focus on consulting and marketing oneself.”

Explore, Then Specialize

Ella Parlor, founding partner of EP Consulting, emphasizes that having niche expertise can help you thrive in this sector.

“Specialization is a powerful differentiator,” Parlor says. “By focusing on strategic marketing and sales operations, I’ve positioned myself as an expert in the niche field of CPG (consumer product goods — this is just a fancy way of saying things you buy, use up, and buy again like food, beverages, household products, etc.). Consulting offers a wide range of specializations — let your passions guide you toward a fulfilling path. Early in your career, gain exposure to different consulting fields. This experience will help you identify your ideal niche.”

Always Be the Expert

Consulting is all about bringing expertise to business decisions. While specialization can help build that expertise, being a successful consultant also means being a successful learner. To stay relevant and thrive in this career path, you need to have a growth mindset and stay up to date on your field.

“Never stop learning!” Parlor says. “This is such a big one that many miss. Stay ahead of the curve by constantly adapting and updating your knowledge and skill set.”

Berthot shares three ways to flex your expertise and get into the field.

“One is to have subject-matter expertise that people are willing to pay for,” Berthot says. “Another is to be an early adopter (i.e., of a technology, skill, etc.) where you can be ahead of the curve and teach others about it. For example, as a project manager, I was an early adopter of the scrum methodology in the early 2000s and was able to parlay that into an industry book and thereafter consultant opportunities. A third way is to be good at marketing yourself. If you’re personable, you can get business as a consultant. But to get repeat business, you must provide value to the customer.”

Understand the ‘Why’

Yes, consulting is a lucrative and prestigious career path, but it can also significantly impact people’s lives. Maurice Harary, co-founder and CEO at The Bid Lab, a request for proposal consulting firm, recommends digging into the “why” behind consulting to see if it’s right for you. If you’re inspired and moved by the work, you’re more likely to enjoy the career path long-term.

“Plenty of consulting firms include a few customer success stories on their websites,” Harary says. “I’d encourage students to go online and read a few examples of those stories in the consulting industry they’d like to explore. The idea that real customers and real clients found the success that propelled their business forward is a powerful testament to the kind of work you’ll be doing. Picture yourself helping that client through the process, and ask yourself if that work sounds rewarding and interesting to be involved with as a professional. If it doesn’t, then you’ve dodged a bullet! But if you think you’d like to be involved in that industry, put your whole heart into it. You’ll always be pleasantly rewarded by that work.”

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