How to break into strategy
Breaking into a strategy can be the next step for candidates that have honed their skill set and are ready to apply their knowledge to ever-changing projects. Strategic consulting or Management Consulting is an excellent way to gain new skills and grow professionally. Consulting roles, which are in high demand from many companies and individuals are very prestigious as they come with handsome salaries and benefits.
Whether you are new, interested in strategy or an experienced consultant searching for a full-time opportunity in the industry, it can be challenging to know how to navigate your entry into the sector.
Therefore, if you want to break into the strategy, you need to be aware of the following steps.
Acquiring the Skills:
Within the strategy sector, it is vital for all new candidates in the industry to equip themselves with the relevant technical skills and field knowledge. One of the ways to equip yourself with these skills is by acquiring an MBA. An MBA is an excellent asset for burgeoning strategist’s as it lays the foundation for abilities that only experience would garner, however, although a significant plus, an MBA is not compulsory for those looking to enter the world of strategy.
When considering your first step, focus on seeing if you possess the specific industry qualifications and experience that consulting firms ask for. Degrees that cultivate skills, like communication, management, leadership, problem-solving and working under pressure, are a good starting point for entry into strategy.
Possessing all the necessary qualifications is the first step, but making sure that this is effectively communicated to possible employers is how you’ll cement your first moves within the industry.
Make sure your relevant experience and quantifiable achievements are visible on your CV and known to your recruiter -highlighting all your accomplishments that directly relate to the consulting industry is also a plus. Begin to cultivate your brand and help your recruiter establish a well-written cover letter that focuses on your critical attributes for the employers.
Strategy is dependent on skill but also on how you navigate and move within the industry.
For a new consultant entering the industry, the process of the job-hunting process can seem daunting, but when looking for a job in strategy, it is essential to ensure that you explore all the available options, especially online. Utilising a competent recruitment agency can assist you with the search and help you to prepare for the interview process. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself as well as about your previous experience. Interviewers might also delve into your last projects and test your communication and problem-solving skills.
Your recruiter will also be able to prep you to answer case questions during the interview; this is a common interview technique as your interviewer will be interested in knowing how you tackle certain situations.
Finding a Mentor
Finding a seasoned professional to be your mentor can facilitate your journey into strategy in a multitude of ways. A good mentor can provide industry-specific experience, insight, and knowledge. When considering what to look for in a mentor, it is essential to note if he or she is in the position to assist you in your career exploration as well as if they can assist you in developing strategies on how you can find better job opportunities.
It is of the utmost importance to know what areas your mentors can assist and support you in and helps you to avoid asking them to do things that you can do personally. Finding a mentor doesn’t have to be strenuous either! – Consulting clubs across the world are a brilliant place to begin networking. The clubs help with connections to potential employers and allow you to learn more about the industry. They enable you to have a better understanding of the new trends in the industry and can connect you to several consulting firms.
Furthermore, the clubs can facilitate professional development through workshops alongside social events.
Networking has suffered at the hands of bad press for numerous reasons; it’s categorised as tedious and superficial. However, within the strategy space, it is essential to understand that you must network with people in the industry if you want to break into the sector.
Networking doesn’t have to be consistently formal; it can be as simple as connecting with people that are already in your life, like relatives, friends and even acquaintances you met at a workshop, consulting club or career fairs - networking in the consulting industry should become a part of your daily life. Your network should readily available whether that for job searching or even for career progression. Because you do not know when you might require it, you should ensure that you maintain an active industry network, it’s also vital for keeping up to date sector knowledge.
Lastly, landing an internship in a consulting firm is one of the best ways to begin to gain insight into the strategy sector. Getting an internship at a consulting company can assist you in your skill-building equipping you for possible full-time roles after your internship period ends.
Here at Fresh Minds, whether it is internships or a full-time position, we can help you navigate all the varying levels of your entry into a career in strategy. Get in touch.