Questions about my MBA elective in Consulting

I get asked questions each year about my elective in consulting, but they are usually the same questions, so I’ve provided an FAQ here:

1. I want to get into consulting. Will this course help?

Yes. It will help not only by helping you understand how the industry works, who the good employers are, and how to cope with the recruitment process, but also in helping you understand if you REALLY want to go into consulting. That said, this is no guarantee – consulting is one of the hardest industries to get into and the odds are not in your favour – even with a good MBA.

2. What other electives should I do if I want to go into consulting?

I get asked this very often, and I’m afraid the answer is ‘it depends’. Employers will generally not care a vast amount about your specialisms, unless you’re going for something pretty specialised like finance or banking. Consultancy draws on a number of generalist skills, so your personality and work ethic are more important than ‘what you know’. I generally advise students to do what they enjoy most (both in the MBA and in life!).

3. What approach do we take in the lecture?

I try to keep the lecture as honest and practical as possible. I use a lot of cases, and use my experience as a consultant to inform all the lectures. I recommend my textbook which I wrote because I felt the others were not practical enough. There is a free copy of the 2010 edition available here.  You may also have a look at the (old) module description here.

4. I’ve heard something about a CMI Diploma in Professional Consulting for the course?

We are doing the Diploma for the FT MBA in 2015-2016, but not after that. We are not running the Diploma for other courses.

5. How is the course assessed?

Currently (2015-16) the FT MBA elective is assessed through a ‘live’ group project where students work as consultant with local charities. The details are in the module description about. The EMBA is assessed through an assignment based on a company looking for a proposal. The MSC IM course is assessed though an assignment question.

6. Will I give careers advice 1-to-1?

I’m afraid with over 500 students, it is impossible for me to give 1-to-1 career advice. However, I do a careers lecture every term which I invite all masters students to. This is generally held to be very useful !

7. Can I do my summer project / assignment on consulting?

Yes of course. I’m interested in a number of topics which include: how does the practice of consultancy differ internationally? What tools and methods do consulting firms actually use in practice? What enables the successful growth of small consulting firms? Is there one growth strategy or many? Does growth necessarily mean commodification in consulting firms? How does commodification / productization occur in practice? Also, I’m open to any ideas you have, but I’d suggest doing a good review of the literature first!