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How do you answer the interview question “Why do you want a career in consulting?” Why would you consider consulting in the first place?
The job description of a consultant can vary quite a bit, depending on the industry and geography of the role you are looking at. A consultant is almost like a psychiatrist – a consultant will evaluate the problems that their client is currently experiencing, and help walk them through a solution. A consultant will provide advice on what steps need to be taken, and sometimes a consultant will actually take care of some tasks for the client.
But why consulting?
There are many benefits for a career in consulting. Many consultants will travel to their clients, so you get the opportunity to see new places and also collect airline miles. You will be ‘wined and dined’ by your clients, meaning you will get to eat out at a lot of nice restaurants on the company’s budget. There is also typically flexibility on where you work – since many consultants may be on the road, there is also the opportunity to work from home.
A career in consulting is appealing, but how do you answer the question “Why consulting” in an interview? While “I want to travel” and “I want free food” may be your real answer, that may not be the answer your interviewer is looking for. Consider using one of the following reasons for why a career in consulting is appeal.
You want new projects on a regular basis.
In many jobs, your role will be routine. You go to the same place each day, working with the same people. Typically, your day-to-day will involve the same tasks, and while you may get new projects every now and then, your role is essentially the same.
In consulting, your role will change on nearly every project. Each project at a new client will be completely different. Your coworkers will rotate in and out, and the client that you are working at will be full of new faces to introduce yourself to. The way that the project is approached and solve will differ each time.
If you start out as an analyst for a company right out of college, it could take a few years before you are working with the managing leaders of your company. In consulting, you typically work directly with those managing directors. You will be exposed to the smartest people in your industries, emailing directly with directors and sometimes even C-level executives.
Depending on your firm, your new projects and clients might change each week, each month, or each year. The length of projects will likely change on a project by project basis as well. When you are interviewing with your firm, feel free to ask how long a typical project will last. When asked “Why consulting?”, mention how excited you are to constantly be presented with new challenges.
You want to help companies solve their problems.
You will probably see some eye-rolls to this answer, but you might want a job in consulting because you genuinely want to help people fix the problems that they are facing. When I was a freshman in university, I originally wanted to be a small business consultant in order to help struggling businesses out. Now, I am a financial crime consultant, which involves helping companies prevent money laundering.
When asked why you are interested in a career in consulting, you might say that you are interested in helping people. As you move up in your consulting career, you will be exposed to a variety of ways to solve problems. You will gain many perspectives on how to solve issues, giving you better opportunities to help your clients as they come to you.
You are excited for the learning experiences that consulting has to offer.
Consulting has so many great exit opportunities, meaning that if you ever get tired of consulting, you will have many transferable skills that will make it much easier to find a job. However, you don’t want the company you are interviewing with to get the idea that you are already planning to leave.
Since you are rotating projects and clients on a frequent basis, you will be expected to learn quickly. You will see how your knowledge applies to a range of situations, and have opportunities to grow. Consulting will help you grow rapidly as a professional, giving you plenty of learning opportunities.
When asked “Why consulting?”, there are so many benefits to offer. If you are ambitious and ready to learn, consulting will be a great fit for you.