Data compiled by online repository Business Because found the majority of MBA applicants – almost 30% – hope their studies will prepare them for a future in consulting. This is higher than for any other industry.

Cranfield's real-world focus gives students upper hand in jobs market

But studying for an MBA is not the only way to open doors to a career in consulting. A course like Cranfield’s Master’s in Management – with real consulting experience at the heart of the curriculum – could give students the upper hand they need when entering the jobs market.

Some 40% of the 13-month course is taken up by an internship and subsequent project report or thesis, designed to give students experience of the kinds of challenges faced by high-powered consultancy teams.

It was this blend of theoretical and practical learning that most attracted Aditya Pai to Cranfield.

Aditya studied economics at the London School of Economics at undergraduate level and came to Cranfield wanting to learn more about finance and strategy. His internship was with procurement consultancy 4C Associates.

“It had by far the most added value [of my courses],” he told Business Because. “You learn all of these subjects during the Master’s course, [studying for] one year, eight or nine hours a day, but where can you apply it other than writing a report?

“That’s where the internship plays a big role. You still have to think about the theory, but you’re talking to clients and interacting with people way more senior than you are.”

Aditya’s internship didn’t just benefit him personally, but also the company he worked for, as the way he approached the problems he was presented with was new to his managers.

“It [added] a lot of value for them, and the fact that it brought them value brought me value,” he said. “Immediately, you could see an impact.”

Aditya now works in Stockholm, in the finance department at Telia Company.

“The practical experience [I gained at Cranfield] definitely stood me in good stead for what I’m doing now,” he said. “It’s given me a big personal advantage. It put me ahead of the game.”

Fellow Master’s in Management graduate Soufya El Kharbili would agree. Having completed her studies at Cranfield in 2015, she now works as a consultant at Stanwell Consulting.

Soufya studied for a Master’s in Engineering in France, but did not want to pursue a career in engineering. She was attracted to Cranfield by its internationally-recognised teaching staff and its status as an exclusively postgraduate business school, meaning she would be studying with experienced professionals. The Master’s in Management’s internship programme was also a big draw, and she was pleased to secure an internship at Deloitte in Milton Keynes.

“It was the perfect match for me,” she explains. “It helped me understand the reality of consulting, and it enabled me to apply the skills I have gained over my years of study.”

Practical consulting experience is not just limited to the internship part of Cranfield’s Master’s – there is also a management consultancy module on the programme.

“[It was] very insightful,” recalls Soufya. “We were working as real-life consulting teams, providing a company with recommendations on several topics they wanted help with. It was also organised as a challenge between teams. There was healthy competition between us to do our best.”

Soufya credits her studies at Cranfield with being instrumental in the success she has gained in her career. Indeed, within a year of graduating, she had begun working as a financial consultant in Paris.

Article originally published by Business Because.