The Power of Networking:
How to Secure the Ideal Gig
as a Management Consultant

See also: Management Skills

Finding a consulting job involves many components, from crafting an impressive resume to nailing the case interview. One of the most crucial yet underrated aspects is connecting and networking with potential employers.

Many management consulting candidates possess outstanding GPAs and resumes, but you may need help to gain an edge, rather than relying solely on those factors. Instead, show that you're curious to discover more by meeting employees from companies you’re interested in. Not only will recruiters gain insight into why you would be an asset to their team, but it will also help you determine whether these companies truly meet your ideals of employment.

Do you need some assistance connecting with consultants? We've identified some of the key places to go and skills to develop to start successfully networking and eventually secure the ideal gig as a management consultant.

Meeting in a brightly lit room.

1. Go to orientation sessions

At an information session, you will gain a brief introduction to the company's recruitment process and meet local employees. You’ll have a chance to network and ask any pertinent questions about working with that particular employer.

What are the primary advantages of showing up? Attending an information or orientation session shows enthusiasm and can leave a positive impression on employers. Dress appropriately, bring the required paperwork, and be on time!

During these sessions, introduce yourself to potential consulting clients, recruiters and employees, before asking for any requirements or tips for the application process. They can discuss specifics or answer any queries, which may give you an edge over other candidates.

Bonus Tip: While most information sessions target recent graduates, they can also benefit mid-career professionals. Subscribe to your desired company's career site or alumni job board to learn about potential orientation sessions.

2. Attend campus activities and associations

Colleges and universities often host campus events or student organisations dedicated to consulting, including consulting clubs and industry nights. Here, you might find case interview preparation sessions with firm representatives, or case competitions.

Volunteering can be an excellent way for post-grads to stay involved and connect with others. Whether that means returning to your old school to judge a competition or attending alumni events, volunteering allows you to build up your skills while making valuable contacts within your industry. Engaging in such activities can also enhance your competitive soft skills like active listening and collaboration, providing you with an edge in the consulting field.

3. ‘Buddy up’

Most firms provide you with a "buddy" during their recruitment process; someone slightly higher up in your field who can answer your queries and provide helpful insights. While it's a fantastic opportunity, the outcome depends entirely on you and how much effort you put into developing a relationship with them.

Use your time together for tips and practice interview questions. Often, they can provide insight into a company's inner workings and help assess whether you’d be a good fit for the company. Stay in contact after your initial meeting — they may become one of your greatest resources once an offer has come your way!

4. Set up coffee meetings

Coffee meetings can be an informal yet effective way of meeting potential employers. You can meet directly with consultants and learn about the work you’ll be performing, their company’s cultural values, and opportunities for professional growth.

You can ask someone you meet at an employment or networking event, or you can reach out online. Search LinkedIn or get recommendations from network members. Or contact HR of the company you’re interested in working for and see if there’s anyone they can connect you with.

Find someone in a similar position as yourself who can vouch for you if needed, and with whom you can share resources (and email addresses!)

Showing appreciation to those who agree to meet you is always a good way to kick things off. Be prepared with questions to ensure you make the most of your time, but save space to delve deeper into interesting topics that may get brought up. As you’re the one who invited this person, it’s polite to offer to pay for their drink as a token of gratitude.

5. Present yourself with confidence

If you have natural salesmanship abilities, count yourself lucky! Selling is often seen as the hardest and most frustrating aspect of being an independent consultant – particularly if you don't possess much prior sales experience.

However, selling your skills and your services effectively must happen for work to materialise (and to get paid!). It’s a skill that will become vital to securing clients in the future, so learn to see it as a necessary part of your recruitment and ongoing employment requirement. Strike a balance between confidently asserting yourself and sharing your talents and work ethic, without bull-dozing a conversation or always being the loudest person in the room.

If people are nodding along, asking questions, and responding to what you’re saying – they’re probably interested. If they seem distant or disengaged, continuing to list your talents will do little to help. Learn to walk away if someone is not giving you the time of day, as this will not only save you time, but will help develop your confidence as you put your efforts into those who are more invested.

Securing the ideal gig as a management consultant takes some hard work, and a lot of time and effort to network with the right people, until you meet an individual or uncover an opportunity that can help you achieve your career goals.

Additionally, it is wise to investigate insurance coverage. Your career exposes you to potential risks like being sued by clients for professional indemnity, if you don’t provide them with the results they’re looking for. Adopting a comprehensive insurance policy will safeguard both your job and finances, and provide peace of mind as you begin to network.

Don’t be disheartened if the process takes longer than you’d anticipated to score the job you’re after. In the meantime, you’ll be continuously learning as you navigate the recruitment process, and even in consulting-adjacent jobs, that will only serve to bolster your resume and future prospects. Follow these tips to unleash the power of networking in securing the ideal gig, and good luck on your journey to becoming a management consultant.

About the Author

Caitlyn Bell is an arts student whose experiences in life make her tougher than anyone else. She can lend you expert tips on diverse topics ranging from relationships to fashion, making money, health, and careers.