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Walker Sands Study: What College Students Really Think About Consulting Careers

Matilda Schieren

At Walker Sands, our professional services practice area works with clients in the management and technology consulting space on a daily basis. Suffice it to say, we have a direct window into the what these businesses do, how they’re structured and what motivates their employees.


An understanding of how consulting firms operate isn’t only a necessary quality for the PR agencies they work with – it’s also a prerequisite for potential new recruits. With consulting industry employment projected to swell 26 percent between 2014 and 2024, firms need to start establishing a pipeline of interested, knowledgeable candidates.

But as our latest research illustrates, this might be easier said than done.

Walker Sands recently surveyed 500 college students across the U.S. to gauge how the next generation of the workforce perceives consulting firms and the careers they offer, and how they find out about job opportunities in the industry. Surprisingly, we discovered that four in 10 college students don’t fully understand what consulting firms do.

The new study, Where They’re Going, They Don’t Want Roadmaps: Gauging College Students’ Perceptions of Consulting Careers, highlights a handful of findings that suggest a troubling awareness gap between students and consulting firms, such as:

  • 56% of college students don’t know if consulting firms recruit at their school
  • 60% of students would rather work for a startup than a consulting firm after graduation
  • Only 9% of students have applied to intern or work for a consulting firm

Contact us to Download the study or watch the video to learn more about how college students perceive the consulting industry, and what the implications are for employers.