At a time when a number of segments within the consulting industry are seeing lower demand amid the Covid-19 crisis, Gary Williams, the founder of professional services business development coaching consultancy BD Coaching Hub, explains how consulting leaders can win a bigger slice of a smaller pie.

Professional and business services make up 25% of UK businesses, with a combined turnover of £399 billion – and adding £190 billion to the economy. The sector employs 4.6 million people – 13% of the UK workforce – and accounts for 27% of the UK’s services exports, worth £66 billion to the UK economy.

One of the industry’s flagship segments, management consulting, is worth around £10 billion. While the overall market grew by 2.5% last year, the unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus-induced downturn has meant that some segments within the industry are contracting.


Created in the midst of a global pandemic during the summer of 2020, Covid-19 Student Response Network (CSRN) is now the UK’s largest student-led response to the global pandemic.

Launched by the Bristol branch of 180 Degrees Consulting, CSRN was designed to unite established student consultancies from across the UK with the aim of aiding charities and NGO’s that have been so awfully impacted by Covid-19.


Taking up an internship with a consulting firm during studies can provide students with invaluable work experience. Not only does it contribute to a good-looking CV, it also helps students familiarise themselves with working in the consulting industry, and understand if that is something they want to pursue further as graduates.

Consulting is a challenging and complicated field, which provides a variety of choices for students. Those looking to enter the sector will need to determine which consulting segment is right for them, the kind of service offering they find most interesting, and also what size of consultancy meets their needs.

After this step, things get even more challenging. The competition for roles in consulting is high, as one of most popular starting sectors for graduates, and every year in the UK thousands of students send in applications for internships with one of the 400-or-so top firms in the country.

For those willing and able to navigate this process, here are five tips that can help increase the odds of landing an internship.


The last 12 months saw the UK’s consulting industry to sustained disruption – with mounting public scrutiny, digitalisation and Brexit pressures exacerbated by a global pandemic. As a result, Consultancy.uk’s most popular articles published in 2020 were dominated by the challenges and opportunities presented by Covid-19 to the British advisory market.

By the reckoning of Source Global Research earlier in the year, the planet’s consulting scene was worth a combined $160 billion, but with the coronavirus having pushed many sluggish economies into the deepest recession since the Second World War, clients delayed projects, decreasing their scope or cancelling them all together. The researchers went on to predict that by the close of play in 2020, the consulting industry would subsequently be 18% smaller than at the start of the year.


When the pandemic hit, Movemeon launched  ‘’Consultants Against Covid-19.’ Over just a few months, the scheme has seen more than 60 consultants placed pro bono at over 30 organisations, saving an estimated £1 million in consulting fees.

The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has seen organisations in every sector and industry suffer a period of deep economic and social crisis. In order to help organisations impacted by the situation, at the beginning of the pandemic, Movemeon launched Consultants Against Covid-19, a pool of consultants ready to volunteer their services. Launched by Jack Fitch and Clare Tsangari, in just days, close to 300 consultants and professionals had volunteered their expertise and joined the pool.


Professionals from Coeus Consulting have helped a client in the banking sector find a digital partner, who will help modernise the bank’s core platform to adapt for the challenger bank market. In order to facilitate this, the consultancy helped draw up a rigorous contract for the partnership, as well as ensuring a competitive selection process to ensure value for money.

Throughout the banking new challenger banks and FinTechs are attacking business models, with newcomers rapidly making inroads into the sector’s profits by offering agile, digitalised alternatives. In retail banking, the disruption of challenger banks is visible across the value chain, from customer contact and lending to mortgages, payments and alternative financing. At the same time, the likes of Monzo, Starling and TSB have all launched a marketplace banking offering. In response to this, many traditional banks have looked to protect their market share by collaborating with digitally savvy startups, rather than fighting them.


In the latest in a succession of headlines related to Government spending on outsourcers, it has been revealed that consultants have racked up a £175 million bill for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic. The huge increase since August has seen UK Parliament announce a probe into its heightened use of management consultants amid the crisis.

Despite a recent edition of the respected Global Health Security Index predicting at the turn of the year that the UK was one of the best-positioned nations in the world to handle a pandemic, Government mismanagement of the situation quickly saw Britain spiral into crisis, amid the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak.

After a decade of austerity, the National Health Service had been left under-resourced and under-staffed, and hospitals quickly reached bursting point.

As a result of its thin-spread Civil Service, the UK Government resorted to massive outsourcing of its work, tapping consultants from many of the world’s largest professional services firms. In August 2020, publicly available data collated by The Guardian and online journalism platform openDemocracy revealed that Whitehall had doled out contracts worth a total of £56 million to help with the national response to the first wave of Covid-19.


While M&A in consulting has taken a hit from the Covid-19-induced downturn, a new report from Boxington Corporate Finance says that deal making activity has recovered over the past months, as the sector emerges as a counter-intuitive beneficiary of the global pandemic.

As Covid-19 arrived, valuations across the consulting sector were particularly hard hit, with investors expecting the sector to be exposed to the pandemic given the service-based nature of consulting work and its reliance on onsite meetings and delivery.

Despite the fears, the sector has proven resilient and its valuations are now well on the road to recovery, with average quoted company share valuations increasing by circa 31% in the past six months to 30th September 2020, and in some cases even surpassing pre-Covid valuations. To come to its finding, Boxington Corporate Finance analysed a cross-section of 20 global listed consulting firms, including Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Capgemini, FTI Consulting, Wavestone and Wipro.


The coronavirus lockdown placed the digital capacity of organisations of all shapes and sizes under a sudden stress test, particularly in sectors such as higher education, where face-to-face contact has always been a prized asset. Coeus Consulting has helped a prestigious London university to up its digital game, in response to the challenges it was presented by social distancing measures in Britain.

Amid the unfolding crisis, Coeus Consulting took up work to help the higher education sector address the massive pressure it came under to accelerate its digital transformation journey. In the otherwise traditional sector, where value has often been placed on face-to-face tuition, social distancing means that higher education has undergone a crash-course in adapting to new methods of value delivery, maintaining its primary clientele while serving its wider role in society.

Coeus Consulting’s work in the sector saw one client ask for help embracing fundamental digital changes, in order to help maintain its leadership position among the world’s elite universities, despite the disruption of the coronavirus.

The London based university’s digital strategy was a document that was created within the central IT function, and had little to no impact on how the various directorates envisioned their digital future and almost no traceability to the wider university strategy. As a result, while siloed initiatives were flourishing, staff, student and researcher survey results were worsening year-on-year regarding digital services.

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