Should I Become a Consultant: Part III

In Parts I and II of “Should I Become a Consultant,” the focus was on already-established professionals who were contemplating making the jump from corporate to consulting. If you’re a new college grad, the question takes on a whole new dimension.

I recently asked the WIC Community List members the following question, “I’m a new college graduate, and I’m thinking of going into consulting. What would you advise?” About 20 WIC consultants replied. Here’s a summary of their advice themes.

  • Figure out the work about which you’re truly passionate and competent. You need to know this to drive your consulting practice.
  • Get experience, mentoring, and contacts in that field.
  • It’s hard to consult if you’ve never worked in the area you’re interested in pursuing. Most people in consulting have developed expertise by working for someone else in the field for a while.
  • Few consulting firms hire new B.S. grads.
  • Large firms generally hire MBAs. Bear in mind that those roles typically require almost fulltime travel. Most people find that pattern sustainable for no more than five years.
  • Smaller regional firms may have opportunities for people with new bachelor’s degrees, but those positions are typically filled through college recruiting cycles in the fall and winter.
  • Hold off on diving into consulting for a few years. As a consultant, you lose the opportunity to learn and collaborate with peers within your company or department. And this is a valuable part of the learning process, especially in your first years in a field.
  • Mentoring is tremendously important. Take advantage of every opportunity to be mentored, especially in the early years of a career when there’s so much to learn.
  • Consulting can be a rich and rewarding career. If you enjoy helping others, working with others, challenges, change, learning, teaching, communicating, being creative, and being an entrepreneur, this may be the right choice for you.' About Jan Richards

Principal of J. G. Richards Consulting, Jan helps companies improve profitability and revenue as they decrease business complexity and costs. This occurs in many ways, including: streamlining business operations; project management for major change and process improvement teams; coaching leaders of major change programs; creating long-range visions and strategic plans. A WIC Board member, Jan oversees WIC's strategic initiatives and mentoring programs.

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