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Career Options in Management Consulting & Business: Student

The undergraduate years. The (so-called) best years of your life where the toughest thing you will manage is that stinking hangover and the only bit of business you’ll do is selling those vintage clothes on Ebay for more than you bought them for. In all seriousness though, business courses are a popular choice at degree level which means (that’s right you guessed it) the management consultancy, business and admin industry is a competitive one to break into as soon as graduation sneaks around the corner. Therefore you should do what you can as an undergraduate to get ahead of the competition.

Opportunities available to me

- University societies

- Internships and work experience

- Placement year

- Graduate schemes (applications)

- Postgraduate study.

You may think that university societies are reserved for wannabe journalists writing for the student newspaper or those who just want to go on holiday a lot with the travel society. However, for business and management students, university societies provide a great opportunity to get more experience organising and leading others if you were the president of a society, for example. What’s even better is that you can do this in something you enjoy, whether it be video games, a certain sport or a political party you support.

Being proactive by joining and even leading university societies will help you in your hunt for internships and work experience. It’s got to be stressed that this is pretty much an absolute necessity for students these days, as the competition for entry level graduate jobs is fierce. Therefore, you should try to enhance your CV and experience as much as possible by applying for internship programmes (look on company websites or make a speculative application). It shows you’re passionate about a career in this industry and have made efforts to enhance your skills.

Work experience may be a compulsory part of your degree in the form of a placement or sandwich year. This usually take place between your second and final year of study and you could make the effort to land a really unique business placement – perhaps with a large multinational company or niche start up abroad – to really make your experience stand out to future employers. And who knows, you could impress so much on your placement year that the company you work with want to take you back once you graduate.

Graduate scheme applications are also something every management and business undergraduate should bear in mind. Large companies are always on the lookout to recruit talented, soon-to-be graduates, particularly in areas such as business management and development. Competition for graduate schemes are high and the recruitment process is a long one, meaning that deadlines for applications are sooner than expected. You should be on the ball – who would turn down the opportunity to manage a department of a company like Coca-Cola?!

Finally, even though you’re going to have spent three years studying for your undergraduate degree, postgraduate study may also be worth considering, particularly the MBA (Masters of Business Administration). This will teach you everything from financial knowledge to training techniques and processes and is a highly respected international qualification and viewed very favourably by employers.

Deadlines to consider

Along with all those coursework deadlines and library book loans, there’s loads of deadlines to consider when being proactive with your business career. Then again, keeping to strict deadlines is an essential part of the business world so this shouldn’t be an issue.

When it comes to internships and work experience, specific programmes will have their own deadlines, usually around March or April. However there are always internships cropping up, so keep on the ball. With regard to a speculative application, do it with plenty of time to spare as calling up a week before you’d like to start won’t get you anywhere at all.

Similarly, graduate scheme and postgraduate applications will have early deadlines. Your university careers service will be able to help you with your application to make it as competitive as possible. 

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