Intro to Consulting

If you're interested in consulting as a career or have been actively pursuing it, this guide is your one-stop shop for everything consulting.

Anjali Akula


What is Consulting?

The best way I've heard consulting described succinctly is a doctor for a company, and that's basically what you do. Consultants are just people who provide expert advice professionally which is really more of a skill than an actual profession. This can be in any field including politics, climate, media, marketing, business, tech, etc. etc. but the biggest type of consulting is business consulting so that's what we'll focus on here.

๐ŸŽฌHere's a good intro video about consulting:

Business Consulting

There are three main types of business consulting: strategy, management and tech.

๐ŸŒStrategy consulting is focused on increasing a company's revenue which includes things like entering into a new marketing and mergers and acquistions.

๐ŸฌManagement consulting handles the operations of a business and may restructure an organization, manage supply chains, look at new distribution channels, and much more.

๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธIT Consulting is exactly what it sounds like, helping companies out with their technology. This could include updating internal company programs, creating a new app, creating a new database or more.

Consulting Firms

There's LOTS of consulting firms to choose from, some really large with over 25000+ employees and other boutique consulting firms with maybe 100 employees. Technically, re:Bloom is a consulting firm too and there's lots of really small firms and business that you can work at. This article will go over the 3 types of consulting firms you're probably looking at: MBB, Boutique and other major firms.

Here's an EXHAUSTIVE list of firms and certain programs/internships you can apply to.


MBB stands for McKinsey, Bain and BCG - the three BIG consulting firms. These are typically the firms people think of when they think management consulting and they are the biggest and oldest consulting firms. They're pretty exclusive and can be tough to get into, but we have a few pointers below that can help.

If you're looking to get into MBB, check out this cool study abroad program!


Boutique firms are smaller consulting firms, typically with a specialty in a certain field. re:Bloom would be an example of a non-profit that falls into this category.

Some major boutique firms include Guidehouse, Oliver Wyman, Huron Consulting, FTI Consulting ย and Kearney

Other Major Firms

Notable firms - Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton

Big 4 Tax/Audit Firms - KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, EY

How Consulting Firms are Structured

Leadership Structure

The image below shows the typical leadership structure for consulting firms.

**Note: some consulting firms have different names for these positions like calling consultants "associates" or "analysts" or maybe calling managers "principals". It's the same basic structure for different firms through.

You'll typically start out as a consultant who generalizes and can be pulled onto any project. You specialize in a certain field as you go up the ranks, but how quickly you specialize is really dependent on the firm.

Firm Structure

Consulting firms are typically structured using verticals and horizontals.

  • Horizontals are the branch of Advisory consulting, namely Management Consulting (MC), Technology Consulting (TC), and Strategy Consulting (SC or S&)
  • Verticals are synonymous with Industries including Healthcare, Media, Energy, Finance, etc

For example, here's the basic structure of PwC's consulting branch:

How to Get into Consulting

We'll be writing whole articles on some of these steps, but here's some pointers for now.

  1. ๐Ÿ‘ฅNETWORKING - In both consulting and finance, networking is SO important. Learning how to reach out to people and scheduling 30 minute calls to get to know them and their firms is really crucial to getting into consulting.
  2. ๐Ÿ“‹Research the firms - There are not only differences in firms, but difference between offices within the firms. The Accenture New York office may be a totally different vibe than the Houston office and when you're applying, it's important to know these things. So research the firms, what they are known for and their office/company cultures. Networking is really great way to start with this.
  3. ๐Ÿ—จ๏ธAttend events and apply for programs - Consulting firms have TONS of networking events and programs that can basically act as feeder programs for their internships and full time offers. To find these programs, connect with recruiters on LinkedIn, follow the companies you're interested in on Handshake, and reach out to your college career center.
  4. ๐Ÿ“‘Build your resume - Because consulting is so varied, it's hard to pin down what exactly recruiters are looking for on your resume. What I've learned is that recruiters are really looking for people who are motivated, can work in cross functional teams and know how to problem solve. Highlight these things on your resume and try to get involved in lots of activities during college (re:Bloom is a great way to do that!)
  5. ๐Ÿ‘ฅ**Behavioral interviews -** Every firm has a behavioral interview and it's important to know how to do one well. The best advice is just to keep practicing, but check out our other article for more pointers!
  6. โœ๏ธCase interviews - Case interviews are specific to consulting and are a CRUCIAL skill to learn if you want to get into any consulting firm. Basically, the interviewer will give you a complex business problem and a series of quantitative and qualitative questions relating to it. This is supposed to simulate a real consultant's work and test your problem solving and logic skills.

Consulting Salaries

Just in case you're curious...

Reach out if you want more information, want to connect with people at these firms, or if you just want to chat ๐Ÿ˜ƒ