For many, graduation is a scary time filled with a lot of uncertainty. How can anyone possibly know what they want to do for the rest of their life based on a college major chosen at 18 or 19 years old?
As a technology consultant who spends time at campus recruiting events and consistently mentors new-hires and interns, I’m frequently discussing why I chose to begin my career in consulting and why I believe consulting is a great route to take. Now in the final months of my 3rd year, I can confidently say these are key benefits of consulting for recent graduates:
1) Experience and Variety
In my short career, I have worked on more than 50 projects for close to 20 clients across many major industries: financial, insurance, retail, health, etc. I’ve worked with people at all levels within an organization from executive level meetings with CEOs, CIOs, and CISOs to technical discussions with Engineers and Analysts. Every project is an opportunity to improve or learn something new. The knowledge and experience gained in consulting will continue to serve you well as you progress throughout your professional career.
Consulting companies strongly encourage learning and development. As a consultant, you are your company’s “product”. Clients are paying for your time, knowledge, and expertise in order to fulfill a need or to solve a problem. By growing your knowledge base through attending conferences, completing trainings, and earning professional certifications and graduate degrees, you are in turn strengthening the company’s “product”. However, these trainings, certifications, and degrees, as well as all of the experience from #1, not only help your company, they help grow your own personal brand as well.
Personal and professional relationships enable you to stand out. However, expanding your personal and professional networks becomes increasingly difficult after graduation. As a consultant, you are constantly working with different clients and different members of your own firm. Each project is an opportunity to develop relationships with your clients and team members. Professionally speaking, the more networking and relationship building you can do early on, the better off you will be later on in your career.
Consulting also helps grow your personal network. Let’s face it, once you leave school behind, how often are you in a room filled with people in the same stage of life as you? Consulting companies tend to hire a lot of recent graduates every year. As a consultant, you can be working and collaborating with peers in the same stages of life as you, which makes it much easier to make new friends.
Now, I am not saying consulting is all sunshine and roses. Consulting is a demanding line of work that really pushes you. But, if you are willing to invest the time and effort, have an open mind, and view the various challenges as learning opportunities, consulting can be very rewarding and a great way to start your career.
Ryan is a Information Security & Privacy Management Senior Consultant at Protiviti. He interned at Protiviti in 2013 and began working full time in 2014 after graduating from Temple University with a degree in Information Science and Technology.