How to Get A Consulting Internship
Want to break into the world of consulting? Whether you want to be a management consultant with a large firm or build your own specialized practice, a consulting internship provides crucial experience helping businesses solve problems. Follow these steps to land the consulting internship that's right for you.
1. Choose relevant courses
You’ll want to choose coursework that will prepare you for a consulting internship and stand out to employers. Depending on the type of consulting you’re looking to do, that might mean strengthening your fundamental knowledge across multiple areas like finance, management, and accounting. Or, if you’re looking to do something more specialized, like sustainability consulting, you’ll want to find courses that will give you more targeted skills.
2. Reach out to your network
Let your professors, family members, friends, and previous professional contacts know what your goals are and what kind of consulting internship you’re hoping to land. This may open up the “hidden market” — opportunities your network knows about that aren’t posted publicly. For internships that are posted publicly on the open market, a contact of yours with a connection to the company can help get your resume to the top of the likely very large pile.
"Faculty can be a tremendous resource for students as we all have deep connections in the business community," says Tommy White, senior professorial lecturer and director of AU Center for Innovation. "I challenge every student to meet at least once with every professor they have each semester! With each interaction, you will easily walk away with three to four new concrete ideas to help you move your career forward as well as continue to help build your confidence in communicating and creating a network."
3. Leverage other experiential learning opportunities
You want an internship to gain experience, but it’s also easier to get a consulting internship when you already have experience! If you don’t have previous internship experience, don’t worry. There are other ways to do real, hands-on consulting work as a student.
For example, at Kogod, we have a pro bono consulting program. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students from across American University work together to solve problems for DC-area companies.
“The goal of the projects is to give students hands-on, résumé-worthy experience as well as the tools and the skills required to be successful in any industry while working with real clients,” says Kogod Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning, Angela Petras.
4. Research, prepare and apply
Once you’ve set yourself up with the right courses and experiences, it’s time to begin the formal search and application process. You’ll want to make sure you’re fully utilizing the resources of your college or university. At Kogod, those resources include employer showcases, networking events, resume and cover letter assistance, mock interviews, connections to alumni working in consulting and more.
"Our office offers a holistic approach to career education, providing our students with the tools and resources they need to make career-related decisions not only once they graduate from Kogod but also throughout their lifetime," says Raina Gandhi, Assistant Dean of Career Services at Kogod. The plethora of networking opportunities coupled with the resources delivered through our Consulting Career Community provide a comprehensive career education, including the opportunity to learn and practice articulating their value proposition to potential employers.
Ready to get started? Read our Guide to Business School Internships.