Consulting is most favoured by Indian business school students as a career, reveals an online survey by the IT bellwether TCS' global consulting practice and the US-based Association of Management Consulting Firms (AMCF).
"Eight out of 10 students (84 percent) surveyed prefer to take up consulting as a career because it provides global engagement opportunities and they view it as a stepping stone to leadership positions," TCS executive vice-president J. Rajagopal told IANS, citing the survey findings.
About 980 students from across top 10 business schools, including the state-run high profile Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs), participated in the survey conducted in November-December last year.
Most of the respondents (83 percent) are of the opinion that job independence is an important factor for choosing consulting.
The respondents were asked on their interest in consulting as a career; what influenced their opinion about consulting; and their perception on specific issues such as work-life balance and career options post-consulting.
"The insights from this study will be invaluable in helping the consulting profession increase its appeal to high-calibre MBA students in India, an important source of global talent," Rajagopal said.
The students also indicated that they would choose consulting for internship, as they would be able to learn a lot through mentoring programmes in consulting firms irrespective of their location.
AMCF chief executive John F. Furth said unlike in the US, the propensity to choose a career in consulting among Indian B-school students with an IT background was much higher.
Interestingly, 63 percent of the 200 women respondents also view consulting as a favourable career choice.
"We spend a lot of time in the US thinking about ways to make consulting more interesting to women as a profession. It's heartening to see Indian women view it as a very attractive career option," Furth observed, commenting on the survey.
In the highly rewarding career, 54 percent of the students favour strategy consulting, as it helps in defining a vision and goals for business, while 32 percent think business consulting involves advisory and implementation services related to management issues.
Around 10 percent students say IT consulting helps clients align their technology strategies with their business or process strategies.
Students are also attracted to consulting for opportunities to work on complex issues across industries and enhance learning.
"Consulting is a popular choice because of diversity and exposure; ability to use analytical skills and opportunity to learn newer skills on the job that help grow one's career," Rajagopal pointed out.
Internships, mentorship and alumni experience contribute to a positive view of consulting.
According to IIM-Bangalore student Akash Singh, consulting makes an attractive career choice due to the kind of work offered and variety of projects one can work on.
Echoing Singh, Thea Creado from IIM-Lucknow said the opportunity to work across diverse sectors and the preparation consulting offers for senior management positions has led to a shift of interest from investment banking to consulting roles.
"Students with lesser experience view consulting as a fast track to career progression. Since they are generalists, they can get exposure to different sectors," said Debi Prasanna Pati, another B-school student.
IIM-Indore student Aditya Kiran is of the view that a consulting career provides a holistic view of all management functions.
"This will enable me to pursue careers not only with consulting firms but also with strategy divisions of reputed companies," Kiran added.
As the trade body of the management consulting industry, the New York-based AMCF provides knowledge exchange and professional standards for the community of consulting firms worldwide.
Through value-driven programmes, research, and communications, the association also promotes a better understanding of the profession among the business community, government, and academia.