Consultancy firms are increasingly attractive for those within the financial services, particularly Experienced Graduates. Chelsea Jones defines some of the key aspects of consulting that make it appealing.
A consultancy is a professional practice that offers expert advice as a service within a particular field. Within financial services, consultancies work with a wide variety of clients facing crisis, as well as those looking to prevent issues arising.
Business/management consultants advise clients on strategies to improve performance; whereas those within financial advisory assist clients on anything from transactions, mergers and acquisitions to regulatory compliance and corruption.
With professional service firms offering a vast range of graduate consulting opportunities across both management consultancy and financial advisory, you may think you’ve missed your chance for a career in consulting if you decided to go elsewhere following graduation.
However, many consultancies, including the Big Four and more niche businesses, have a demand for graduates who have gained a few years’ experience in an industry firm or regulatory body, to bring their skills and knowledge to the table for a fresh and diverse perspective within the practice.
There are many factors that may attract financial services professionals to move in to a career in consultancy, even the definition itself is rather glamorous; “consultant: a person who provides expert advice professionally.”
Below are some of the key aspects of consulting that make it so appealing:
Well-rewarded with excellent progression opportunities
It is no secret that consultants are well-paid with extremely attractive bonuses and benefits. Many firms also offer a time/grade structure to map out progression plans.
Individuals within the industry often feel they have reached a glass ceiling where they are unable to develop any further. Within a consultancy, you know exactly what is expected of you, and where you’re heading once you’ve achieved it!
Project- based, diverse work and the opportunity to really contribute towards the success of a business
Working within an advisory practice, your role will be extremely varied – advising clients on matters such as managing business controversy and disputes, executing deals, maintaining regulatory compliance, risk management and business performance improvement.
There is also immense satisfaction when you contribute to the success of a project, and you see how your work has benefited the client, as well as gaining credibility across your business, regulatory bodies and industry clients.
Opportunity to work with global clients, and with some of the world’s biggest companies
Consulting adds value to your career; it can be said that working in consultancy for two years is like working in industry for five. This is because consultants often work on multiple projects at the same time, addressing the needs of several clients, and have the opportunity to work with multinational or FTSE 100 firms, that those in industry would not!
Many consultancies offer to sponsor relevant qualifications, eg. MBA, along with paid time off for charity work and great maternity benefits. Along with this, the role itself is a constant learning curve, so you will continue to develop throughout your career and build an impressive and varied skillset.
Consultants travel on a regular basis in order to meet their clients face-to-face and become the face of their company. You may be engaging with multiple clients who may be spread across different locations, including some international opportunities!
However, as with any career, it’s not all ‘sunshine and rainbows’. Working in an FS consultancy is for some, a lifestyle choice that can be a challenge; the work can be very demanding and require a lot of commitment.
If coming from an industry firm or the regulator, you need to be able to bring specific capabilities or industry/regulatory knowledge, but preferably both, and understand and be prepared to work in a demanding performance culture.
The positives seem to outweigh the challenges though. One of our associates who recently decided to move from the FOS and take the plunge to join a large, global consultancy in their risk & regulatory advisory practice agrees:
“I was attracted to consultancy because I wanted a more exciting and varied job, where I wasn’t doing the same thing every day. I get exposure to a wider range of businesses, projects and areas of financial services which is excellent for my career development. Travelling is also a bonus!”
Within the Experienced Graduate team at Grovelands, we work with many consultancies ranging from the Big Four to smaller, specialised firms and those in-between. We have a variety of roles suitable for graduates who have gained applicable experience.