Crossing into Consulting: Why & How to Enter the Sector

Thu 21st Mar 2024

The world of Consulting is inadvertently seeking out sporting and military talent.

In a world where firms and organisations are increasingly troubled by the global economic slowdown, digital transformation and such like, Consulting continues to carve its path as a crucial industry. The sector encompasses a vast range of services but, put simply, consultancy firms look to provide advice to both public and private organisations and implement business strategies. Most importantly, consultants are expected to behold a niche set of skills. These are the kind of skills cultivated by those with sporting and military backgrounds.


Careers in Consulting: The Demand for Consultants

Consulting is an industry that is appearing increasingly attractive as a career pathway. The Management Consultancies Association predicts on-going growth in the sector, despite the pandemic’s ‘headwinds’. Commercial firms are beginning to enter a new era as they begin to adapt to the environmental crisis (with environmental consultancy currently ‘booming’) and digital revolution. Consulting jobs involve tackling all those interesting challenges, like sustainability.

The world is also witnessing a new period of technological growth, led by the proliferation of artificial intelligence, a technology - a valuable service for firms which are able to harness its potential. The operations of firms are becoming increasingly dependent on AI, utilising its ability to accumulate data on brand perception, create business models, and collect data to enable firms to monitor their business. Consultants will play a key role in this collective effort to harness AI. AI consultants will therefore register greater demand over the coming years, with gaps in the market opening for employees with a suitable skillset. As such, there is security in consultancy. 


Consulting Career Path: Firms & Job Opportunities

Although the consulting sector is a competitive one, those that persevere and succeed will reap the rewards that are replete within this sector. Traditionally, ‘The Big Four’, referring to the four consultancy firms that have dominated the market, (KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and EY) are regarded as the ideal destinations for employees; despite this preconception, smaller firms are now emerging as strong alternatives, possessing benefits absent within the Big Four. Whilst the Big Four arguably offer the biggest clients and growth opportunities within careers, they are often defined by an intense workplace culture, marked by long hours that showcase a possibly overbearing commitment to work. Firms emerging as market leaders by contrast, are noted for their more laidback and enjoyable cultures, whilst still challenging their employees and offering many of the same rewards.

In terms of roles, there are plenty of specialisms and titles, from associate to director levels. Here is a day in the life of a management consultant, insights collected from one of our alumni athlete.


Desired Skills to Succeed as a Consultant

Consultancy will present employees with engaging issues spanning a variety of concerns. At the heart of these issues will be the need to problem solve. Candidates from sporting and military backgrounds possess skills of acute tactical analysis – they are trained to read a game, or situation, and develop a plan of action.

Adaptability is another skill nurtured in military and sporting contexts, and this ability to morph from the default plan and assess and implement other strategies is equally applicable in consulting. Patience and dedication - developed by sportspeople and military personnel in their rigorous training programmes -   will also prove vital in the workspace, as projects may endure and will need a long-standing commitment to maintain a high standard.

Finally, a strong collaborative approach is key to working in consulting; tasks are often presented to teams of consultants and a cohesive team will achieve better results. Backgrounds in team sports or the military will support a solid workplace dynamic.



Consultancy is a highly broad and engaging sector, combining the intensity of sporting and military life with the security of corporate work. Consultancy firms look for the soft skills possessed by those with a sporting or military background; those who have with a talent for tactical analysis, adaptability, and dedication.