The word consulting encompasses a wide range of industries and professional job opportunities. To put it simply, a consultant provides “external advice for organizations that require specialist experience or an objective outside perspective on their business.”1 There are many different types of consulting that can be explored, including management, strategy, economics, healthcare, human resources, and technology.  Likewise, there are endless opportunities in all types of industries that use consultants: from education to healthcare to the public sector, consulting can provide many opportunities for you to explore different industries or even just a specific field.  

Although the specifics of different consulting companies and positions vary from job to job, overwhelmingly consultants will work on teams that are assigned to clients (for-profit companies, governments, non-profits, etc.) or specific projects. Typically, there is a lot of variability in the kind of work consultants engage with on a day-to-day basis.  If you are interested in exploring consulting, being comfortable with critical thinking, data analysis, problem solving and group work will help prepare you for the type of work you’ll encounter.



Types of Consulting

As previously mentioned, there are several different types of consulting2. The below list is by no means exhaustive, but touches upon the main types of consulting you’ll encounter during your search:

  • Management Consulting: these firms help to improve an organization’s structure, management, efficiency, and profits, and plan strategies for short- and long-term development.  You can think of management consulting as “making statements” and providing clear information for specific problems or projects a client has.  

  • Strategy Consulting: these firms focus on strategic topics (ex: organizational strategy, policy, functional strategy, etc.) and advice. Although Strategy Consulting and Management Consulting can sometimes be grouped together, Strategy Consulting focuses more on “asking questions,” or giving advice to firms based off of their current situation rather than overseeing implementation or specific details of recommendations.

  • Economic Consulting: these firms use applied economics, economic theory, and economic techniques to help their clients solve various problems that arise.  While you don’t necessarily need a degree in economics, knowledge of various statistical methods and some economics concepts is important.

  • IT/Technology Consulting: these firms help clients with the development and application of their technology within their organization(s). Types of work done can include process management, system integration, cyber security, IT forensics, data analytics, etc.

  • Human Resources Consulting: these firms focus specifically on areas of human resources advising, implementation and strategy, including human capital, healthcare, retirement plans, benefits administration, investments, etc.

Additionally, you can join firms who specialize in healthcare consulting, retail consulting, financial consulting, education consulting, environmental consulting and on and on.



Types of Firms

There are three main types of firms you will encounter as you begin looking at all of the various opportunities that are out there.

  1. Full Service Firms are firms extremely large and global.  They have a slightly different model than other types of firms. The consulting teams are typically larger (30+ people) and the firms usually cover a majority of industries and specialities. They typically have branches of their business that compete with smaller strategy or boutique firms.  Some examples of full service firms include Accenture and Deloitte.

  2. Strategy Firms are firms that are large and global. The billing rate is typically higher at these firms and consulting teams are smaller than full service firms’ consulting teams.  Although they are not as large as full service firms, they typically cover a wide range of industries and specialities, so exposure to many different areas is not limited. Some examples of strategy firms include McKinsey, Bain, and the Boston Consulting Group.

  3. Boutique Firms are firms that are small, sometimes global and specific in their work.  The structure of these firms is more like strategy firms, with smaller consulting teams. However, boutique firms often specialize in one industry or one type of consulting.  Some examples of boutique firms include Cartesian, Putnam Associates, and The Cambridge Group.


Finding Opportunities

Recruitment for consulting typically occurs in the fall (September and October) for most full-time positions and some internship positions (some internships will also be posted in early winter), so it’s best to start thinking about the types of firms and consulting opportunities you might be interested early.

  • On Campus Recruitment (OCR): be sure to monitor Handshake for any upcoming events or resume drops. These events are very helpful to get a sense of the type of opportunities that are out there, different recruiters and the types of firms and the work they do.
  • Online Postings: many firms accept resumes online and/or also post on Handshake. Be sure to use your network to see if there are any Wellesley alums or other contacts that might have a connection with the firm and also to check Handshake posts regularly.
  • Consulting Applications and Programs — resource for Wellesley students looking for consulting opportunities
  • Economic Consulting — resource for Wellesley students looking for economics consulting


  • Vault is a treasure trove of information about all different types of industries. Wellesley has a subscription, so it’s free to use for students!
  • Career Education: make an appointment on Handshake with your Career Education mentor or advisor to help you in your search.
  • Alumnae/Network: contact Wellesley alumnae on The Hive and others in your network in your job search. Informational interviews are a great place to start to learn more about a firm or the job in general. If you’ve never done an informational interview before, check out the Informational Interviewing Resource.
  • Wellesley Consulting Club — a pre-professional organization providing networking, educational and mentoring events.
  • Wellesley Women in Business — Wellesley’s pre-business association to help women build a strong network, find career direction and achieve ambitious goals.



  1. Resume and Cover Letter: To begin with, you must have a strong resume and cover letter. Make sure you resume tells a story and that your cover letter is tailored to the firm you are applying to. Below are some helpful things to keep in mind.

    • While it’s OK to use a similar cover letter for each firm you apply to, make sure to tailor each letter and that you include relevant business words. This could include words that are used on the job posting or specific words that are used in the company’s informational materials.
    • Be sure your cover letter conveys your skills and qualifications that are relevant to the position and working in consulting
    • When writing your resume, it’s important to highlight the impact that your work or projects had, and any problems you helped solved and quantify your accomplishments (for example: “grew membership by 30%”).
  2. Background Research: Make sure you do your research on the firms to which you are applying. It is helpful to understand their history, types of projects they’re engaged in and other points of information that show you’ve done your homework.  Moreover, make sure to convey in both your cover letter and resume that you have done your homework on the firm to which you’re applying!

  3. Start Early: This point is probably one of the most important parts of your application strategy!  Don’t procrastinate and make sure you start early on your resume, cover letter, general application, mock interviewing, etc. The more you prepare, the easier it’ll be and the more comfortable you will feel during the entire process. Starting early ensures you’ll be able to use all of your resources to your advantage, rather than having to miss out on some due to a lack of time!


There are two main types of interviews you will encounter: the behavioral interview and the case interview. Please note that the approach outlined here is primarily for management/strategy consulting.  See below for more information to prepare for economic consulting.


The Behavioral Interview

The Behavioral Interview is an approach where the interviewer learns more about you by asking how you’ve performed, reacted, and conducted yourself in past situations.  You can find a comprehensive guide on Behavioral Interviews here, but ultimately you will want to think of this portion of the interview involving questions like, “tell me about a time when…?”  You will also want to stick to the STAR method of answering these questions, in which you first describe the Situation, Task, Action and Result.

In order to best prepare yourself for a Behavioral Interview, you will want to make sure you do a few things:

  • Know Your Resume: keep in mind that your interviewer could ask you about anything on your resume.  Be prepared to tell a story of why you’re interested in this position using your resume.
  • Prepare for Typically Asked Questions: although you never know all of the questions the interviewer will ask, there are some typical questions that occur in most interviews that you should think about prior to your interview.
    • Walk me through your resume or tell me about yourself
    • Why consulting?
    • Why this company?
    • Examples from your experience about leadership, solving conflicts, prioritizing etc
    • Strengths and weaknesses


The Case Interview

The Case interview is a style that is used by virtually all consulting firms. Unlike a behavioral or informational interview, a Case interview is a logical or business problem (i.e. a case study) that is presented to you by one or multiple interviewers.  The purpose of a case interview is to see how you think about business problems and analyze data.  Additionally, interviewers are looking to see how you approach ambiguous problems and how you perform under pressure.

During the Case Interview, you will either be presented with an open-ended question (ex: how many coffins are in NYC?) or a specific case-study about a firm with a particular problem. Your interviewer will help guide you through the case, but you are expected to ask questions, clarify information, and work with numbers.  

There are several widely-used resources to help you prepare for a Case Interview that are listed below.  To become more comfortable with Case Interviews, the key is to practice as much as possible and to practice with other people. The more comfortable you are working through a problem with someone else in the room, the more comfortable you’ll be working through the case in the actual interview.

There are many resources available to help you nail the Case Interview.

  1. Career Education & Consulting Club: Wellesley’s Consulting Club and Career Education have teamed up  to bring consulting workshops & resources to students.  Multiple events occur each semester on campus, including Case Study Workshops and more. Make sure to regularly check Handshake for more information or visit Consulting Club’s Facebook page or website.
  2. On Campus Recruiting: Several companies throughout the year come on campus and lead information sessions or educational workshops. Be sure to check out Handshake to see when the next event is so you can learn first hand from prospective employers.
  3. Victor Cheng, a successful consultant, has created a variety of materials to help people nail the case interview.  Most notably, he has a series of videos that walk through different types of cases and frameworks step by step.  Additionally, on he has many handouts and a program called Look Over My Shoulder, which includes 22 recordings of case interviews with commentary throughout about what the candidate did well/poorly.
  4. Management Consulted:  A resource on all things consulting including interview and case study preparation.  Additionally, Management Consulted offers private coaching.  For more information, please contact Namaan Mian at  And check out Management Consulted's free MC Starter Pack.
  5. Case in Point by Marc Cosentino is a popular book used to help people navigate the Case Interview.
  6. has a variety of resources to help sharpen your Case Interview skills, including example cases, mental math quizzes and interview questions.
  7. Company Websites: many firms will have example practice cases on their websites, so it’s worthwhile to check out each firm to see what examples they have. Here are some examples:

Mental Math
In most Case Interviews you will be required to do some mental math. Below are some resources to help you brush up on your math skills and learn some new tricks:

  1. Mental Math Tricks: articles here, here and here. (Note: there are many other resources on Google and Youtube to help you brush up on your math skills.)
  2. Practice Math Questions can be found on many websites. also has some here.
  3. Magoosh: Mental Math app for your phone

Practicing with Partners

  1. Wellesley’s Consulting Club will pair interested students to practice case studies.  Please contact Lotus Xia ‘18 at
  2. Boston Google Sheet: This spreadsheet was put together by other people in the Boston area looking for people to practice cases with.
  3. Case Interview Partner: is a service that matches you to people looking to practice cases.


Resources and Professional Associations

Selected Additional Resources

  • Investopedia Industry Handbook: provides an overview of the major trends/characteristics in the Internet, Telecommunications, Utilities, Insurance, Semiconductor, Biotech, Banking, Retailing, Automobile, Precious Metals, Oil, and Airline Industries.
  • Quizlet Case Interview Set
  • Vault: Wellesley has a subscription to this service, so students can use this free of charge.

Selected Professional Associations

As always, please use your best judgement when using third party services.