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Business Analysis, Strategy & Consulting

The combined effects of globalisation, new technology, evolving business trends and changes in regulation/legislation, have meant a rise in demand for consultancy and analyst services. The major consultancy firms include the big four (PwC, EY, KPMG & Deloitte) but there are also lots of smaller consultancies and specialist consultants offering services to niche industries. You could use the FAME database in the library to identify boutique consultancies by location and size.

A career as a business analyst or a consultant can be intellectually challenging, lucrative, offer varied work and opportunities for travel both nationally and internationally. Work environments will change between employers, but you are likely to be working in high-pressure situations and work-life balance at early career stage may be a consideration. Recruitment is competitive, so you need to be knowledgeable about the sector and have practised psychometric testing as well as put time in to prepare for case interviews to increase your chances of success.

Business Analyst and Consultant roles are linked. Both roles are change agents within a business and focus on identifying inefficiencies and finding solutions. 

Business Analysts work with stakeholders to analyse problems, evaluating data on critical business issues, proposing innovative solutions to drive process and organisational change. Business Analysts are frequently attached to specific business functions within an organisation.

Management consultants analyse businesses or operating procedures to devise the most efficient methods of accomplishing work. They usually work for an external client but can also be embedded within an organisation. They gather and organize information about operating and other problems and procedures and prepare recommendations for implementing new systems, strategies, or changes.  

Strategy consultants focus on supporting private sector clients to develop corporate, organisational or functional strategies. Some key strategic consulting disciplines include Mergers & Acquisitions, Business Model Transformation and Organisational Strategy. In a public sector context, a strategy consultant would advise on economic policy. 

Technology consultants specialise in the deployment of digital solutions. There are other specialisms too e.g. HR, Change Management, and Sustainability. 

To do further research into this sector, the following webpages may be very useful:

Sector News

Information and links from professional bodies

If you have studied a related degree, check if your course is accredited by one of the professional bodies. Being a member of a professional body is voluntary, however it can be valuable for developing networks, continuing your professional development, and generally keeping up to date with what's happening in the sector.

Making Contacts

Making contacts is essential for success in this and other sectors. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications. You could start by speaking with the experts – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice using the Career Mentor Scheme or Ask An Alum.

  • This video describes how to use the LinkedIn Alumni tool. Why not see if there are any Exeter alumni working in this sector that you can connect with to gain insights and learn more.
  • Start networking to build contacts. Attend events, comment on blogs, follow professionals on X and join a professional body, such as the MCAor the Institute of Consulting


Explore roles in the sector by visiting the job profiles below. Each profile covers typical duties and responsibilities, entry requirements and the key skills required for the position.

Business Analyst Job Profile (Prospects, targetjobs)

Skills employers look for in Business Analysis, Strategy & Consulting roles:

Employers look for a diverse range of skills from consultants and business analysts.  Think of how you might evidence these skills, identify gaps in your knowledge or experience and work out what you might do to develop these skills. 

Business Analyst Consultant
Analytical and numerical skills

Analytical and numerical skills

Communication skills    Communication skills
Presentation skills Presentation skills
Commercial Awareness  Commercial Awareness
Confidence working with complex data Ability to build professional relationships
Problem solving skills  Attention to detail
Ability to work under pressure Ability to work under pressure
Strong IT skills (perhaps coding & statistics) Ability to persuade

Getting a graduate role is competitive. Undertaking relevant work experience will not only make your application stand out, but it will also allow you to develop new skills and gain a valuable insight into the sector.

Placements in the UK usually refer to 9-12 month paid work placements, are often credit-bearing and are normally designed for undergraduate students during year 3 of a 4-year degree programme. You can search for placements on Handshake and on all of the normal jobs platforms such as Rate My Placement, Bright Network and others listed here. Many degrees at the University of Exeter offer the option of a placement year, so do contact your department Info Desk or programme director to enquire further. Applications are just as competitive as graduate jobs, and the process is broadly similar.

University of Exeter Employability Schemes

  • Professional Pathways is a suite of sector specific training courses and paid week-long internships that take place in June. Whichever of the 4 pathways you wish to explore (Charity & Development, Marketing, Higher Education or Arts, Culture & Heritage), you will gain transferrable skills which would help you in a consultant or analyst role.
  • Career Zone Internship schemes: Internships can be extremelyuseful, so try to get relevant vacation work or placements. Search for Student Campus Partner (SCP)or Student Business Partner (SBP) roles on Handshake
  • Grand Challenges is a project week in June each year in which you work in interdisciplinary groups with other like-minded students to design innovative solutions to real world challenges.

Finding Work Experience

Before visiting the sites below you may find it useful to read our Researching employers page.

Use these resources to find additional advertised work experience:

Consider also joining one of the student societies at Exeter which offer ‘pro bono’ consultancy services, for example:

Recruitment Consultants – there are a wide range of recruiters who advertise consultant and business analyst roles and they often advertise graduate and entry-level positions.

See Agency Central for a list of specialist recruitment agencies and search by sector e.g. consulting. Ensure any recruiters you connect with are members of a professional body such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Developmentor the Recruitment & Employment Confederation

Virtual Work Experience

  • Forage provides short virtual internships in a range of sectors, with opportunities to connect with employers.
  • The Bright Network provides virtual internships in a range of sectors and fast-track opportunities for graduate programmes and internships for virtual-intern alumni. Look out for the Bright Network annual June internship week.


Voluntary work experience will give you an opportunity to develop your communication, organisation and other skills. Perhaps you might also be able to analyse data or make suggestions for improved charity processes which would provide useful experiences for a career in consultancy. 

Finding Part-time Work

Many students work part-time during their studies. Part-time jobs are often in the hospitality or retail sector where you can gain transferrable interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills.  

Search for part-time work here:

Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions. Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and research employers.

  • The Bright Network, targetjobs and Prospects – jobs boards where you can filter by role, sector, location and salary for graduate jobs, placements and internships.
  • Student Circus – a jobs platform specifically for visa-sponsored jobs for international students.
  • efinancialcareers– specialist site where you can search for consultant or analyst roles in finance.
  • Indeed – worldwide jobs platform, can search for part-time or full-time jobs in any sector. Large companies as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) advertise vacancies on this platform.

Graduate Schemes

Some well-known graduate schemes include:

For general information about finding graduate opportunities, please visit our Graduate Jobs page, and for a list of general job search engines please visit our general job sources page. You could also have a look at Handshake, our vacancy database with employers who are targeting University of Exeter students.

Preparing for Case Interviews

Case interviews are common for many consultancy roles. In order to perform well, you will need to devote time and effort to learning more about this particular interview format and practising the skill. Questions can include short market sizing questions or longer individual ‘cases’ or business scenarios, where you are required to analyse information and make recommendations, usually without prior access to the material. 

Search on Handshake for Introduction to Case Interview workshops which are run each term to support you.  Other resources to look at include:

Finding companies for speculative applications

As jobs are not always advertised, it can be useful to develop your networking skills and apply speculatively. Before visiting the sites above you may find it useful to read our Researching employers page.

Further sources of support

For further advice on finding graduate opportunities, visit at our Finding a graduate job page.

If you are an international student, visit our international webpages for help finding opportunities both in the UK and globally.

To find opportunities outside the UK use GoinGlobal. Log in using your university email address. The worldwide country guides cover everything from job search resources and CV guidelines to cultural advice and visa information. Watch a short training video on how to get the most from GoinGlobal.

Some individuals decide to undertake further study to build their skills and knowledge of the sector. Not all roles or employers will require this, so it is important to research entry requirements and employer preferences before committing to additional training or qualifications. You may have the option to gain professional qualifications after graduating which will show your commitment towards the industry. Use the sites below to research your further study options.

If you would like to pursue postgraduate study before entering your chosen sector, please visit our Postgraduate Study page for more information about choosing further study. If you are unsure whether further study is for you, you may wish to attend our ‘Postgraduate study: is it right for you?’ session which runs termly. Find these advertised on Handshake.

Many major graduate recruiters have policies and processes that are proactive in recruiting graduates from diverse backgrounds. To find out the policies and attitudes of employers that you are interested in, explore their equality and diversity policies and see if they offer ‘Guaranteed Interview Schemes’ (for disabled applicants) or are recognised for their policy by such indicators as ‘Mindful Employer’ or as a ‘Stonewalls Diversity Champion’.

Schemes which aim to increase diversity in the sector include:

The UK law protects you from discrimination due to your age, gender, race, religion or beliefs, disability or sexual orientation. For further information on the Equality Act and to find out where and how you are protected, as well as information on what you need to do if you feel you have been discriminated against, visit the Government’s webpages on discrimination.

To learn more about how to share details of a disability with an employer and the support you can receive applying for jobs and work experience visit our equality and diversity page.