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Career Options in Management Consulting & Business: School Leaver

What is the industry about?

Do you find yourself leading group work at school and organising projects? Are you captain of your local football or hockey team? A career in management consulting or business could be for you. Be warned though, there’s a difference between bossing people about and being responsible for a team and making sure everyone gets their job done. If you want to break into the management consulting and business industry, you will need to go to university. You can’t give someone advice without backing up the advice you give by possessing qualifications. So a degree in business management is ideal for following this career path.

If you don’t think higher education is for you but you’re still awesome at organising your work, making sure everything runs smoothly when you work in groups at school and have great communication skills, then a career in admin is a great alternative. You could compile reports, manage spreadsheets and have to be good at taking notes, so a shorthand course could be worth your while.

What opportunities are available to me?

- Further and higher education

- Intermediate Apprenticeships

- Advanced Apprenticeships

- Higher Apprenticeships

- School leaver programmes

- Entrepreneurship

As mentioned, to become a management consultant or business adviser, you will need to attend college/sixth form and university, studying relevant courses such as business management or accounting and management. Although tuition fees are currently £9000 a year, this shouldn’t put you off going to university, as everybody is eligible for a student loan that only gets repaid in small instalments when you earn over £21,000 a year.

However, if a career in admin has tickled your fancy, Intermediate, Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships could be the ideal route for you. These allow you to work full-time whilst also gaining a nationally recognised qualification and could see you start your career as a receptionist, administrator, personal assistant, secretary or office manager.

Alternatively, school leaver programs can strike a balance between starting out in the industry straight from school and going to university. School leaver programmes may require you to have a couple of A Levels under that metaphorical belt of yours, but then you could train to become a management consultant over the course of up to five years. Like apprenticeships, school leaver programmes are paid… ka-ching!

If you’re really business minded, you could take a risk and attempt setting up your own business. It’s advisable that you don’t devote all your time, just in case the idea doesn’t work out. Setting up your own business takes a lot of time and money, so it’s best to have a plan B.

Setting the school leaver record straight

As the management consulting and business industry is one that requires a lot of knowledge and advice, school leavers are encouraged to get a few more qualifications before entering this industry. However, if you’re passionate about admin work, there are plenty of opportunities available following the end of those glorious GCSEs. Don’t be discouraged by the loud-mouths at school who say the only way to get a job is by going to university, they’re talking nonsense.

Formal education: should I stay or should I go?

You should definitely go on to further and higher education if you want a career in management consultancy and business. Going on to university will provide you with the skills required, such as leadership, communication, teamwork and analytical skills. You’ll also learn the theory and knowledge it takes to be a great management consultant or business adviser.

If you would prefer a career in admin, Apprenticeships and school leaver programmes provide a real alternative to university and allow you to work whilst also studying towards a nationally recognised qualification. They should not be seen as a ‘soft option’ and offer great opportunities to those wanting to get their career started early. 

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