Forging the Future of Consulting at UCC 2021
5 months of planning, 25 executives and 18 corporate partnerships later, the Schulich Consulting Club successfully hosted the largest undergraduate consulting conference in Canada taking place from November 3rd to 5th. Over 100 students across Canada and the world attended SCC’s flagship conference. Here is a snapshot of what UCC entailed:
An Executive Keynote by a senior EY partner.
Insightful workshops from Accenture, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and McKinsey & Company.
A career fair including a diverse selection of 10 firms looking to hire undergraduate students.
An intimate networking mixer to learn from industry professionals and recruiters who shared insights into their experiences.
The fifth annual McKinsey & Company Case Competition with over $1000 in prizes.
UCC 2021 provided an abundance of insight into how to break into the consulting industry, leaving students feeling inspired, informed, and ready to Forge their Future. Here are three key takeaways from this year’s conference:
1. The Roadmap to Consulting
The road to a consulting career can be daunting for students that have limited information about what to expect. Fortunately, delegates were able to familiarize themselves with the industry and the recruiting process through engaging guest speakers and interactive workshops. UCC’s keynote speaker, Elliot Morris, a Partner at EY, spoke about the importance of understanding yourself and where you draw energy from in order to decide whether the industry is right for you. He emphasized the significance of networking with multiple consultants and learning about their day-in-the-life. Talking to people, asking questions, understanding the types of problems consultants solve and how they create value will enhance your knowledge and help determine how you fit in the consulting industry.
At the KPMG workshop, delegates learned about the different types of projects that KPMG consultants work on and their role in devising a strategy that aligns with their clientele needs. KPMG also shed light on a behind-the-scenes look at the thinking and work involved in developing strategies for clients.
Additionally, during the Accenture workshop, delegates learned that being a consultant is being a lifelong learner. Aspiring consultants must be curious, adaptable and have a positive attitude towards teamwork and collaboration. With a successful combination of these qualities and leadership experience, students are well-equipped with the tools needed to break into the consulting industry!
2. The Day-to-Day of a Consultant
Through UCC, students were able to learn first-hand about the important foundations needed to thrive as a consultant:
Providing solutions to client issues is at the core of consulting. What makes consultants expert problem solvers is their ability to harness effective analytical, communication, and creativity skills. While every firm presents a different framework for approaching a problem, the importance of carefully analyzing the information available, asking the right questions to clients, and ultimately providing an innovative solution, is a constant amongst all consultancies.
Growth and Continuous Learning
A common saying heard from representatives was “2 years in consulting is equivalent to working 5 years in another field”. A career in consulting requires the effective processing of a vast amount of information while adapting to the continually changing landscapes of many different industries. An appealing aspect of consulting is not only the opportunity to learn about a large variety of clients, but also being part of the implementation of change. Many of the firms at UCC, such as Bain & Company and BCG, are currently shaping the transformations of many different systems that affect us at a commercial and governmental level. Consultants are at the forefront of innovation for many of the leading services and companies that we encounter on a daily basis.
Confidence and Leadership
Consulting is a collaborative environment in which every team member’s input is expected and given equal value. Several consultants recounted their surprise when Senior Partners would ask for their perspective during their time as recently hired associates. In light of this, they utilized the exposure to develop their skills and competencies. For this reason, being able to effectively present solutions for a client and team members requires establishing self-confidence in one’s abilities and overcoming the common concerns that many consultants face at the start of their careers.
3. Versatility in Consulting
UCC shed light on the various opportunities for students available to pursue consulting. Although Management Consulting is most typically spoken of, it is not the only service line available. Consulting encompasses many different service lines available for students to leverage their skills, whether they are interested in Finance, Brand Management, or many others. As seen by representatives such as Muhammed Bilal from EY, a previous Senior Accountant and CPA designate, it is even possible for professionals in an entirely different field to move into a career in consulting by leveraging their prior skills and knowledge.
The demand for consultants is rapidly growing and presents a wealth of opportunities available to students. Many firms are increasingly hiring a higher volume of consultants in emerging service lines such as Tech Consulting and Human Capital Consulting. SCC encourages readers to further learn about the opportunities available in consulting through the Industry Overview tab of our website.
Looking Towards the Future
We hope that this blog post provided you with a good recap of key insights and takeaways from the Undergraduate Consulting Conference. The value gained from attending the conference was truly incomparable! The SCC Executive Team would like to thank our members, delegates, competitors, sponsors and alumni for playing a critical role in making UCC 2021 a resounding success. SCC is confident that with your continued support, the conference will flourish for years to come! Our team looks forward to seeing you at the Undergraduate Consulting Conference in 2022.
The Schulich Consulting Club has partnered with Matt Parkin, a consultant at KPMG, to provide students with the opportunity to extend their learning with a 10% discount for their career services by using the code “UCC10” on the “combo package”. Readers looking to strengthen their LinkedIn and networking presence can also enroll in his Leveraging LinkedIn course.