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Consulting, Finance, Operations, and Sales


While many businesses are based on selling products or services, consulting firms primarily sell knowledge, advising corporations and other organizations regarding an infinite array of issues related to business strategy in a variety of ways. Consultants offer skills in assessing and solving business problems and are hired by companies who need their expertise and outside perspective.

Undergraduates generally join consulting firms as analysts, associates, or research assistants, although titles vary widely. The work itself, as well as the hours, can be demanding. It often includes field research, data analysis, customer and competitor interviews, and client meetings.

Strategy and Management Consulting

When most think of consulting they focus on management consulting, which is often the most competitive niche area. Often called “strategy consulting,” this segment of the industry includes firms that specialize in providing advice about strategic and core operational issues. Depending on the client's needs and the firm's functional specialty, consultants conduct objective research and analysis on behalf of their client, and make recommendations based on their findings.

Typical main duties performed:

  • Assist in the development of economic, strategic, and financial models
  • Analyze raw economic, financial, and operational data and model complex economic and financial solutions
  • Assist in the preparation of reports and presentation materials and develop ideas and alternative approaches

Noteworthy employers: Accenture, Bain & Co., Deloitte, KPMG, McKinsey & Co, Oliver Wyman, PwC, The Boston Consulting Group

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Economic and Litigation Consulting

Typically, these firms provide economic and financial analysis to law firms, corporations and government agencies as the complexity of litigation has increased significantly in recent decades. Consulting firms in this area may provide expert testimony and economic and financial analysis to attorneys, corporations and government agencies involved in business litigation.

Typical main duties performed:

  • Assist staff in conducting economic and statistical research, modeling and analysis
  • Perform competitive benchmarking and collect economic, statistical, and financial data

Noteworthy employers: Analysis Group, A.T. Kearney, Bates White, BDO Consulting, Brattle Group, Charles River Associates, Compass Lexecon, Cornerstone Research, FTI Consulting, LECG, Nathan Associates, Navigant Consulting, NERA

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Information Technology and Security Consulting

Information technology (IT) consultants, also known as computer consultants and digital consultants, help clients design and implement IT systems or develop better IT practices; provide strategic advice on social media and IT issues; and train staff members working in IT areas such as hardware/software design and setup, computer security, network setup and administration, and search engine marketing.

Information security analysts protect an organization’s computer systems and networks from unauthorized intrusion by cyber attacks.

Typical main duties performed:

  • Ensure that new or current information technology systems meet security requirements
  • Conduct assessments of threats and vulnerabilities to computer systems
  • Identify, analyze, report and respond to suspicious events and activities
  • Engage in surveillance/counter surveillance methods and use surveillance detection strategies and interview and interrogation techniques to gather evidence of security breaches or related issues

Noteworthy employers: Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Capgemini ,Cisco, Cognizant, Deloitte, EY, Gartner, IBM, McKinsey, Oracle, PwC

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Investment Consulting

An investment consultant helps investors (public, private, foundations, and endowments) with long-term investment planning by formulating clients' investment strategies in order to fulfill their needs and goals.

Noteworthy employers: Cambridge Associates, NEPC, Wilshire, Rocaton

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Healthcare Consulting

Healthcare consultants work with healthcare companies to deliver better value for patients, fuel innovation and reduce the cost and complexity of operating systems. Healthcare organizations may hire healthcare consultants to come in and examine the efficiency, profits, and structure of the organization and then offer suggestions on methods of improvement. This can occur in areas such as:

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare management
  • Billing
  • Coding
  • Regulations and compliance
  • healthcare standards

Healthcare consulting is not just for individuals with medical degrees.

Noteworthy employers: Clearview Healthcare Partners, Health Advances LLC, Huron Consulting, IMS Consulting, Kaiser Associates, L.E.K. Consulting, Mercer, Navigant Consulting, Press Ganey, The Advisory Board Company, Towers Watson, ZS Associates

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Executive Compensation Consulting

Executive compensation consulting firms are organizations that provide analysis and advice to the board of directors of client firms regarding senior management pay and benefits. Companies rely on executive compensation consultants to:

  • Make recommendations on appropriate pay levels
  • Design and implement short and long-term incentive arrangements
  • Provide survey and competitive benchmarking information on industry and competitive pay practices

Typical main duties performed:

  • Construct peer group comparative analysis and benchmarking
  • Perform comparative analysis of:
    • Executive compensation levels outside director compensation levels
    • Company performance
    • Incentive plan design
    • Overall use of stock incentive
    • Other more specialized topics
  • Create spreadsheet models to test and refine incentive compensation plans

Noteworthy employers: Aon Hewitt, Compensation Advisory Partners, Compensia, Frederick W. Cook and Co, Hay Group, Hewitt Associates, Mercer, Pearl Meyer and Partners, Radford, Semler Brossy Consulting, Towers Watson

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Government Consulting

Government consultants offer their expertise in a particular field or industry to government departments, agencies, and other affiliated entities. Most government consultants have specialized knowledge and experience to apply towards a specific area. Government Consulting usually requires US citizenship.

Typical main duties performed:

  • Reviewing case histories, analyzing data, and evaluating protocol
  • Focus on potential solutions while taking into account the organizations nature, mission and relationships Present cost-benefit analysis on new and existing programs as well as make alternative recommendations

Noteworthy employers: Accenture, Acumen LLC, Avascent, A.T. Kearney, Boston Consulting Group, Booz Allen Hamilton, CGI, Deloitte, IBM, KPMG, McKinsey & Co.

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Candidate Profile/Recruiting

  • Proven evidence of academic success supplemented by a passion for something
  • Naturally inquisitive with a desire to solve problems
  • The ability to look at a problem and determine root-cause analysis
  • A leader on and off campus that manages time effectively
  • A quick thinker with quantitative and qualitative research and analytical strengths
  • A responsive, diplomatic communicator including very strong written and verbal

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Consulting Recruitment Cycle


The vast majority of jobs and internships within the field of consulting are filled in the fall, particularly the months of August and September. As a result, if you are interested in a full-time job or internship within the field of consulting, it is imperative that you get an early start.

To be competitive at firms which recruit internships at a small group of core schools on-campus, students should apply directly on the firm’s website and utilize alumni and professional networks.

Undergraduates generally join consulting firms as analysts, associates, or research assistants, although titles vary widely. Traditionally, analyst programs lasts two or three years, after which you're encouraged to go to business school. However, some firms have increasingly begun promoting analysts into typical MBA-favored positions or into interim roles between undergraduate experiences and MBA positions.

Full-time, post-graduate jobs:

  • Recruiting deadlines typically occur in August – October

Summer internships:

  • Recruiting deadlines range from end of September – December
  • Students should apply directly on the firm’s website to be competitive with large management consulting firms that recruit candidates from core schools.

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Student Organizations

  • University of Rochester Consulting Group (URConsulting)
  • Undergraduate Finance and Economics Council (FEC)
  • Alpha Kappa Psi - (URAKPsi)
  • Meliora LaunchPad

For more information about these groups and to see the full list of student organizations within University of Rochester, see Campus Community Connection.

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Resources for Researching Industries and Professions

Practice Case Prep

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Career Insider by Vault is your one-stop career resource to help you research career fields and employers, plan your best career path, and prepare to land that highly competitive position. The links to create a free Vault account and access the guides referenced above is located within Handshake in the Resources section. If it is your first time accessing Vault, create an account with your UR email on the login page, and then click the link again to access these specific resources.