Entry Level Consulting: Is it really better or more interesting?

My friend that worked at Accenture told me that in Consulting the first few years of consulting are nothing special. The work you'll be doing analyst and senior analyst is just similar to grunt work you'll be doing in industry. A bunch of excel, meetings and support work for senior people but you don't really have the position to exercise your strategic muscles. You won't learn anything that you couldn't learn in an average role in industry? I'm thinking of a business analyst, finance analyst, operations, marketing type roles.

I wanted to get your guy's thoughts on this. Here are some questions running through my head: How true is this? How much does it depend on which shop it is: MBB vs tier 2 vs Accenture/Big4? Aside from the exit opps, is there much value in starting in consulting as an analyst and doing 2-3 year stint? Is it just about getting through your 2 years so that you can go onto do something better or will you actually learn more and do more interesting work? Assuming you go into consulting for just a few years, Is it better to get into consulting at the associate level?

Personally, I feel like I want to experience consulting for at least a few years and ideally would prefer starting out there. But I wasn't sure whether a stint as an analyst would really provide things like applying the consulting toolkit and mindset, strategic skills, rapid learning and growth that is equivalent to multiples of equivalent years of industry experience(2 years consulting=4 years industry), etc. If not what do you say you walk away with such a stint?

Consulting Case Interview Course

  • 2,037 questions across 209 consulting firms. Crowdsourced from over 600,000 members.
  • 11 Detailed Exclusive Cases developed by a McKinsey Associate and 10+ hours of video.
  • Trusted by over 1,000 aspiring consultants just like you.

Comments (6)

May 19, 2019 - 2:52pm

Hi mrgth23, check out these resources:

  • Neuroscience undergrad looking to get into entry-level consulting and it should get better as I move into more and more major classes. All of the above means that I can ... interested in doing pharma/biotech/biomedical focused consulting. As I understand it usually life-science ... people enter into consulting at the PhD level with an associate position, but what are the ch
  • Why I think you should take a corporate strategy gig over consulting (including MBB) at the entry-level make exec level at a F500. 2) Opportunity to stand-out: It's really, really hard to stand-out when ... than consulting. Background: Graduated from a mid-level ivy, had offers at Mck and BCG (did not get an ... of pure strategy consulting is gone, even at MBB. Clients are getting smarter and often have their ...
  • Better Entry-Level Opportunity: Financial Operations or Valuation Analyst? Investment Banks. Neither position is 100% ideal, considering I wanted an entry level IBD Analyst position. ... future. I am leaning towards the Valuation Analyst position which seems more interesting and relevant. ... a small Valuation Consultancy and another from a large Financial Operations company supporting the ...
  • Entry-Level Natural Gas Scheduler getting internships it really comes down to just networking networking networking even more so than ... get that is even remotely in your field of interest and start as early as possible. Always be working ... whenever my boss had no more use for me. I took it without a second thought and stayed there over 9 months. ...
  • Entry level (lateral) management consulting. Are there any specific consulting companies, that recruit for entry level positions ... (end of June). I'm not interested in Public Finance work, and I'm looking more into ... been using Indeed and typing "consulting or management consulting" is vague and doesn't ...
  • Entry Level Positions at Top Consulting Firms? Hi all, I am wondering what are the opportunities available for entry level positions in the top ... consulting firms do not really hire large numbers straight out of UG. Most get some work experience...and ... then move in. If this is true, what are some paths/careers to focus on? Also, MBA /B-School...will it ...
  • Why is CRE so underpaid at the entry level? I entered real estate for primarily one reason and that's because I really enjoy it and want ... of work and be paid significantly less. I know there's a consensus typically that entry level ... CRE salaries are shitty typically but why is this so? I can understand for the CRE jobs with better ...
  • More suggestions...

Hope that helps.

May 25, 2019 - 12:09am

Depends on your firm, but also depends on the teams you get to work on. People don't realize this, but consulting firms are partnerships and partners (and their managers) are going to define the culture of a team/project.

Some teams will be very hierarchical and very no respect for juniors. Some teams will be more flat and you'll get some unique responsibilities.

That being said, you're in way over your head if you think you're going to walk into a client and "flex your strategic muscles". No one would care what you say at all. Why would a VP pay $500k for some 22 year old ivy league dip shit to tell them how to run their business. It takes time to build up to that point. If that bothers, you probably shouldn't do consulting.

And consulting experience isn't some magic pill. For example, you'd be better off dropping off the arrogant notion that consulting is worth 2x industry experience - it's absolutely inane.

May 25, 2019 - 8:32pm

To the substance of your question, the first few years are likely to be similar on average. Like the previous poster said, your industry, company, boss, project, etc will be much more important to your environment than "consulting vs. industry".

Imaginably, the main advantage of consulting will be to see more clients in more industries. You can get a handle on different organizational cultures. For industry, if you work at the box factory, you're just learning about boxes. However, you will have to work to get that extra exposure, since consulting will want to typecast you and keep giving you the same work with the same or similar client, so you may end up consulting for the box factory anyway.

Finally, unless you are very unusual, expect your "strategic muscles" to stay limp and flaccid no matter where you go for an entry-level job.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

April 2021 Consulting

  • Principal (20) $274
  • Director/MD (42) $261
  • Vice President (33) $245
  • Engagement Manager (72) $215
  • Manager (123) $165
  • 2nd Year Associate (115) $138
  • Senior Consultant (263) $128
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (89) $126
  • NA (9) $126
  • Consultant (475) $114
  • 1st Year Associate (419) $113
  • Engineer (4) $110
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (108) $107
  • 2nd Year Analyst (238) $95
  • Associate Consultant (131) $92
  • 1st Year Analyst (821) $83
  • Intern/Summer Associate (130) $82
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (366) $67