commuteThere are a lot of preconceptions that come along with the consultant job title, some positive and some negative. Here, we take the time to prove or dispel four of the most common consultancy preconceptions.

Long Working Hours – True

Consultancy is not a 9-5 job. You will often have to work longer hours for larger projects or to meet deadlines. It can be a demanding job and if 9-5 is what you’re after consultancy may not be the career for you. Get to know the ethos of the companies you are applying to; some may have a face-time culture where leaving at 17:00 on the dot is frowned upon, others take the view that whilst at times you will have to stay late to meet deadlines it is not expected every night of the week.

There has been a conscious move by firms to improve the work/life balance in the industry through the introduction of flexible and part-time working, working from home and sabbatical or parental leave. In a recent survey by the Young MCA of young consultants only 13% of respondents said that work/life balance was poor to very poor.

Head to the Employee Profiles tab to see what a day in the life of a consultant is really like.

Always Travelling – True

Especially on entry to the profession, a large part of your time will be spent on the client’s site. This means you may often have to travel and considerable time can be spent away from home. This is all dependant on the firm and role; some companies lead the majority of projects from their office. Remember, this aspect of consultancy goes hand-in hand with the possibility for international travel – so it could be seen as a positive thing!

London Life – False

It’s true that the big players have their head offices in London and the South East and this is where most opportunities can be found, however some firms have regional offices across the UK and overseas. You can view employers by location via our Consultancy Employer Directory.

Money, Money, Money! – True

Consultancy offers above average starting salaries and potential to progress quickly and up to very impressive sums of money; however you should take into consideration the longer working hours and potential high-stress nature of the role. You shouldn’t base your decision on the industry on salary alone. Find out what you could earn at each level of your career with our article on Management Consulting Salaries & Benefits 2016.

Conclusion

Like with any industry there are pros and cons to becoming a consultant. Create a list of what you want from your future career, what is negotiable and what isn’t, and make sure the industry aligns with your own goals and values. Do your research – don’t take what other people say as gospel, look into the profession for yourself and remember the benefits and costs will vary from company to company. So whilst one consulting firm may not be for you that doesn’t mean you should rule the industry out entirely. Check out the Management Consultancy section of the Inside Careers website, where you can find a vast array of careers advice for aspiring consultants.

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