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#1 qualifications
07/10/2002 00:00


Hi, I am about to graduate for Surrey university with a business degree (expected 2:1). I really like the idea of consultancy. My a-levels are unrelated (art) and am worried I won't be choosen for a job. Do you think it would help if I completed an MA?

Thanks for your help.

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#2 Re: qualifications
07/10/2002 00:00


There are a lot of unemployed MBA's out there with the market downturn so I don't think the answer is more qualifications. Experience and insight are the keys to consultancy success - add to both and you will improve your overall marketability.

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#3 Re: qualifications
10/10/2002 00:00

garth mulholland

There are a number of different types of consultant, for example, we employ;

1. Technical consultants- most have an IT related degree, however, a large minority have no degree but have worked their way up through the ranks beginning often as a programmer their key strength is their experience

2. Business consultants- usually have worked in a specific vertical, for example, we employ ex-traders because that is our largest market sector and many will not have degrees

3. Business Process Improvement Consultants- quite theoretical and often possess a business degree and a further qualification but an MA may not be the most appropriate qualification try a MBA or Doctrate

4. Strategic Consultants- lateral thinkers with a holistic overview, for this position you would need experience and other words not yet!!

If I were you I would aim to get a generic background by joining a graduate programme at the best rated consultancy that will accept you and do not bother with your MA it will not add to your marketability.

Good luck, Garth

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#4 Re: qualifications
10/10/2002 00:00


Given the market at the moment, there are a lot of well qualified but unemployed consultants, with several years of industry/business experience, looking for their next role. Gaining an MA will sadly do little to improve your chances. If you can, get some business experience and study for something like an MBA. When the market picks up, which it surely will in time, you will be in a much stronger position.

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#5 Re: qualifications
10/10/2002 00:00


I work as a consultant after studying medieval history, so don't despair about irrelevant A Levels. I would suggest that a masters will be of little benefit unless it has clear relevance to the job, however the market for consultants might well be better in a year or two's time.

It is a competitive market out there and the key to emplyability is some relevant experience whether it be through a temporary job, placement etc. First of all, however, you do need to work out why consultancy interests you and what type of consultancy work you would like to do. If you can't answer those questions credibly then you are likely to fall at the first hurdle, but if you know what you want to do specifically and you have gained some experience to prove to a firm that you can do it, well then you are in with a chance. Good luck.

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#6 Re: qualifications
11/10/2002 00:00


And upon what pray do you propose to consult? My advice would be to get a few years of business experience under your belt, study for a first class MBA, and then think about consultancy. An MA will definitely not enhance your marketability to the consultancy industry especially at a time when there are a couple of thousand experienced consultants on the beach and more to come. Actually,if you have both the opportunity and finance to do an MA in an area that interests you seize the opportunity with both hands. If you are really convinced you want to be a consultant then I advise putting in some long hours of research followed by some long days of pounding the pavements and having a lot of doors slammed in your face, in the hope of finding a firm which is prepared to value your persistence and desire over your inexperience

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#7 Re: qualifications
15/10/2002 00:00


Hi Jennifer

Not sure what anyone else has said, but I don't think your A-Level subjects will affect your chances too much (although does depend on the company) as long as you got good grades at A Level and a 2.1 in your degree. Consultancy graduate interviews often focus on other skills as well, which your A-Levels won't necessarily demonstrate,such as team working and analytical skills and presentation skills.

Also, consultants often need to be creative and think out of the box, so you can play on the 'arty' side of your personality from this point of view on your CV and in interviews.Hope this helps!

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#8 Re: qualifications
24/10/2002 00:00

The Phantom Advice Giver

Don't worry about your A-levels or degree. Neither are entirely relevant from a subject point of view. I joined a Big Five (as was) consultancy and in my graduate intake (and those above) there were no more than two people with a business degree or A-levels. So that's not an issue. The grades are, however, really important so they have to be good (AAB or ABC as a minimum for A-level, and 2.1 degree, though it varies between companies). Another important aspect is what you chose to do whilst not studying: did you apply yourself? Did you do something different? Did you get involved with a club? Lead something? If you pass the grade criteria for A-levels/degree these are way, way more important than the content of your past studies. Let's face it, the content of your degree, even if it is business, will not help you much when you get to consulting. In my experience the content side becomes important much later on (i.e. 3 years into the job). It’s the desire to do something different, be involved, and get on with people that’s more important to start with. A ‘can do’ attitude to use a cheesy phrase. We have people who have done History degrees doing as well as though who have a host of business related subjects on their CVs. What should you do next? Don't do an MA / MBA. Last year, with the downturn in the economy looming heaps of people decided to sit it out on an MA / MBA. They'll all be out in the job market soon and so it's going to be flooded with them. The same will happen next year since the economy has worsened and more people have adopted this as a tactic. Ditch the MA/MBA idea: get some solid business experience. Try and get into a good blue chip company if you can't get into a consultancy firm. If nothing else then try and do an internship with a blue chip (though these are rare at the moment). Business experience will stand you in much better stead than more academia.

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#9 Re: qualifications
28/10/2002 00:00



Yeah, MA would be okay but there are post-graduate courses available in consultancy. Since you are planning to be a future consultant therefore taking those courses would help.

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