There are very few large financial consulting firms. Financial consultants frequently work for large professional-services firms, such as Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, that have specialized sub-practices in finance. In 2020, Vault.com ranked the following financial consulting firms as the best in terms of prestige and a good work environment: EY, Deloitte Consulting LLP, McKinsey & Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Bain & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, KPMG LLP, Oliver Wyman, Accenture, and Grant Thornton LLP. Other financial consultants are employed directly by businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies. Approximately 18 percent of management consultants are self-employed.
Contact consulting firms directly to learn more about job opportunities. At many of the top firms’ Web sites, you can view job listings, find interview and resume preparation tips, and apply for jobs. Use social media such as LinkedIn to connect with recruiters and hiring managers. Join professional associations to access network opportunities and job listings. You can also use the resources of your college’s career services center to find a job.
New graduates at large consulting firms are typically known as associates for the first couple of years (although consulting titles often vary by firm). After three to five years, a skilled associate may be promoted to senior associate. These professionals have supervisory duties and take on more demanding work. After seven years or so, those who excel may be promoted to junior partner (or principal). Partners have managerial duties but, more importantly, enjoy a financial stake in the firm. Financial professionals who work as internal consultants for corporations typically move up the promotion ladder to managerial positions. Some may become top financial executives such as controllers, treasurers, finance officers, cash managers, and chief financial officers. Some consultants start their own firms.
Tips for Entry
Read Consulting magazine (http://www.consultingmag.com) and Business Economics (https://nabe.com/NABE/Publications/Publications.aspx) to learn more about the field.
Join the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) and other professional associations to access industry publications, training and networking resources, and employment opportunities.
Become certified by IMC USA, the CFA Institute, and other organizations in order to show employers that you’ve met the highest standards established by your industry.
Conduct information interviews with consultants, and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field. Visit the IMC USA Web site, http://www.imcusa.org/search/custom.asp?id=2065, for a database of consultants (including those who specialize in financial consulting).