Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for answers to the most commonly asked questions.

  • What happens once I submit an application?

    We carefully review each online application and invite promising applicants to attend an individual interview. These interviews usually last about 45 minutes and take place in Central London.

    Subsequently, we invite successful candidates to attend a group case interview, where they tackle a business case-study taken from a real-life scenario. These interviews usually last about an hour and involve groups of 4-6 candidates. They allow us to see how our candidates work as part of a team.

    Through this recruitment process, we collect as much information as possible about each candidate and assess their compatibility with our programme. If successful, you will receive an email to discuss the project(s) we can possibly offer to you in the next project cycle. We welcome you to discuss your expectations and goals with us before accepting an offer. As a volunteer, you are welcome to leave at any point.

    Please note that we make every effort to create opportunities for as many volunteers as possible.

  • I have no work experience. Can I join?

    No previous work experience is required to join our team. First Step Consulting primarily aims to help young people break the vicious 'no experience, no job' cycle. Please feel free to submit an application at your earliest convenience.

  • I am not living in London. Can I join?
    It is essential that our volunteers are able to attend their weekly team meetings in Central London throughout their projects. At the moment we recruit volunteers based in or around London only. This being said, we have previously cooperated with volunteers based in other UK cities, such as Oxford and Luton, who were able to conveniently attend their weekly team meetings.
  • Can I join while studying full-time?
    Full-time students are more than welcome to join. Our projects are specifically designed so that full-time students can conveniently take part in their spare time. The expected workload is only around 10-12 hours per week. Additionally, the project cycles run alongside the academic terms, with the exception of the summer examination period, as well as in the summer.
  • Can I join while doing an internship or a summer job?
    It is possible to commit to our projects whilst working full-time but the expected workload would still be around 10-12 hours per week.
  • Can international students on a (Tier 4) student visa join?

    All university students and recent graduates are welcome to apply to join our team. However, we would like to underline that international students, who are on Tier 4 Student visa, are not allowed to work for more than 20 hours per week in the UK during their studies. This is strictly prohibited by law. Voluntary work counts towards the 20 hours per week working limit and it is your responsibility to make sure that you do not exceed this. Once again, the expected workload is around 10-12 hours a week and we ask our volunteers to spend no more than 15 hours on their projects in any week.

    In case of any doubts, please contact us.

  • I am a mature student with years of work experience. Can I join?
    You are more than welcome to submit an application. Your previous work experience will make a valuable contribution to our team, and this will be a good opportunity to share your knowledge whilst working on a challenging management consultancy project.
  • Can I join while working full-time?

    Professionals are always welcome to join our community. You can either mentor university students and recent graduates in our team or work on one of our consulting projects as a pro bono consultant. Please remember that our pro bono consultants are expected to spend a minimum of 10 hours a week to contribute to their projects and meet their colleagues once a week in Central London.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

  • I want to make a career change and break into consulting. Can I join?
    At First Step Consulting we make every effort to design rewarding and diverse management consulting projects. By committing to our projects, you can gain practical, hands-on consulting experience and apply your expertise to make a real difference to the success of our clients. If you’re looking for a career change to consulting, this could provide you with a good talking point to share during job interviews.
  • Am I required to provide or sign any documents before my project starts?

    Yes, we are legally required to see your proof of identity (e.g. your passport) and make a copy of it. If you are currently a university student, we also require you to provide an official document issued by your university to verify your student status, such as a certificate of attendance letter.

    Finally, we ask our pro bono consultants to sign a confidentiality agreement before they start working on their projects. The privacy and confidentiality of our clients is highly important to us.

  • Do you currently accept applications?
    Yes. Applications are open year-round, but we encourage you to apply at your earliest convenience so that we can discuss your application in detail. There are three project cycles per year, starting in late September, January and June. The duration of a standard project is usually around ten weeks.
  • What kind of projects are you running?

    We work with clients of all shapes and sizes from many different industries. Our consultants commonly help ambitious organisations improve their market position, explore investment opportunities, and revise their business strategies. For a full range of project specific examples, please see our client case studies.

  • What is the expected workload?
    Our pro bono consultants are expected to spend 10-12 hours per week individually on their project and to meet their colleagues once a week in Central London.
  • When will your projects start?

    There are three project cycles per year, starting in late September, January and June. The duration of a standard project is usually around ten weeks. Applications are open year-round, but we encourage you to apply at your earliest convenience so that we can discuss your application in detail.

  • How many people will be working on my project?
    In a standard project, there are 6-7 volunteers who work with our core team members and we manage every project professionally.
  • When and where are the weekly team meetings?
    The team meetings are organised collectively at the beginning of each week, depending on the availability of each individual team member. In instances where team members are not available during business hours, we meet during the evening or at the weekend. The meetings take place in Central London.
  • Will I get paid?

    As a not-for-profit social enterprise, our guiding mission is to help volunteers of all backgrounds and age groups gain career-enhancing work experience – primarily ambitious university students and recent graduates with a wide range of prior experience. In order to achieve our mission, we need to maintain the autonomy to select, train, and work with volunteers of our own choosing. Therefore we intentionally do not ask our clients to budget for the remuneration of our volunteers – meaning that all of our pro bono consultants work on a voluntary basis. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

  • Will I meet my client in person?
    This depends on the project and the availability of our clients. In some cases our teams provide consulting services to organisations based outside the UK. Therefore it might be hard to arrange physical meetings with the clients in such scenarios. However, in a standard project, all of our volunteers directly collaborate with their clients, even if this is achieved primarily by means of online communication. There will usually be a final client presentation at the end of each project during which all volunteers are invited to make an equal contribution.
  • Can I choose what project I’m on?
    We make every effort to offer a choice of multiple projects to each successful candidate in order to try to match their preferences and specific project ambitions. Despite this, it may not always be possible for each candidate to be assigned to their first-choice project.
  • What makes your business different?

    First Step Consulting has pioneered a new model of management consulting that is the first of its kind. We recruit and professionally train ambitious and hardworking volunteers from many different backgrounds and age groups to work with us on consulting projects. Supported by our dedicated volunteers, we help an eclectic mix of clients develop effective business strategies.

    This model uniquely equips us to serve organisations of all sizes, from early-stage ventures to large enterprises, as it allows us to minimise unnecessary expenses and bring more value to our clients for a fraction of the cost.

    For more information about what makes us different, please visit www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/our-difference

  • What services do you offer?

    We work closely with our clients to understand their specific needs and conduct extensive research to gather a wealth of information for each client. In every project, our team meticulously analyse research findings and provide clients with practical recommendations. To learn about what we offer to clients, please see: www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/services

    Our range of services includes:

    Growth Discovery
    Market Entry Strategy
    Employer Branding
    Customer Strategy
    Product Positioning
    Competitive Intelligence
    Global Expansion
    Health Technology Economics
    Brand Strategy
    Fundraising Strategy

  • What type of organisations do you work with?

    First Step Consulting adopts an industry agnostic approach and our pioneering business model enables us to serve clients of all shapes and sizes. For more information, please see: www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/who-we-serve

  • Who manages your projects?
    Our core team members professionally manage every project and closely collaborate with clients to assure quality throughout the entire process. They work directly on every assignment, train and lead our volunteers, and create a rigorous foundation for each consulting project.
  • How do your volunteers contribute to the projects?
    Our team of volunteers includes undergraduate and postgraduate students, recent graduates, MBA and PhD candidates, and working professionals. After carefully selecting and professionally training our volunteers, we assign them a management consulting project for which they are best suited. Our volunteers dedicate a minimum of 10-12 hours per person per week to their assigned project. In every project, they conduct targeted research and extensive analysis under our close supervision.
  • Do you serve organisations not based in the UK?
    Yes. Using modern means of communication, we are able to effectively serve clients based outside the UK.
  • What previous projects have you completed?

    Since our inception in 2014, we have managed to successfully deliver over 40 major management consulting projects. To see the wide range of projects we have previously worked on, please take a look at our client case studies: www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/past-projects

  • Why do you not disclose the names of your clients in your client case studies?

    In order to protect their confidentiality, we do not disclose any reference which may reveal the identity of our clients in any case study. For more information, please see: www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/client-confidentiality

  • We want to get more information. Who should we contact?

    We are happy to answer your questions. Please follow the link below to tell us about your organisation and outline your enquiry: www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/submit-rfi

    You will be contacted shortly.

  • What do your mentors do?

    We look for our mentors to become role models to ambitious university students and recent graduates volunteering with our team. Our mentors share their knowledge, experience and expertise to help support the career progression of these volunteers. This can be done in several ways, from holding group mentoring sessions, pairing up one-on-one with one of our volunteers or running a training session aimed at developing valuable skills. Our mentors sometimes even organise workplace insights by inviting volunteers to visit their company. For further details, please see www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/mentoring

  • How much time do I need to dedicate to the mentoring sessions you will arrange?

    The amount of time which you dedicate to the mentoring sessions is determined at your own convenience. We seek to work flexibly with our mentors and do not ask for a fixed commitment. You can meet with us periodically or sporadically, and the sessions usually last between 45-60 minutes.

  • I am not living in London at the moment. Can I become a mentor?
    Some of our mentors live outside the Greater London area - if you are not able to meet in Central London for any reason, we are happy to organise online conference calls as an alternative.
  • I have less than two years professional experience. Can I become a mentor?

    We believe professionals with a number of years of full-time experience can reflect on their own career paths more effectively and easily. This is required to be able to share useful suggestions and insights with our ambitious volunteers. At the same time, we understand that entry level professionals often feel that they should fully focus on their own professional development at the start of their career. Despite this, please don’t hesitate to make contact with us even if you have less than two years professional work experience, as there may be alternative ways for you to support our mission.

  • How do I make sure that my expertise and experience would be relevant to your volunteers?
    Our mentors are successful individuals coming from a range of professional services industries, such as finance, healthcare, law, engineering and technology. We believe that such individuals can offer wisdom and advice which transcends the specific intricacies of their own industries, offering insights into professional life that can support the career progression of any and all of our volunteers.
  • I am happy to mentor your volunteers. When should I get in touch?

    Please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. We aim to organise mentoring sessions throughout the year.

  • When and how will I meet my mentee(s)?
    You can meet your mentees either in person or through an online conference. We try to organise these meetings at your own convenience, whether that is during business hours, in the evening or at the weekend.
  • Are all your mentors volunteers?
    Yes, all of mentors generously support the ambitious university students and recent graduates in our team by donating their time.
  • I need more information about your mentoring programme. Who should I contact?

    Please fill out the contact form at www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/get-involved. We will contact you shortly to answer your questions and to tell you more about our programme.

  • What is your mission?

    We primarily aim to help ambitious university students and recent graduates aged 25 or under to get a better start in their professional life by gaining career-enhancing work experience. Our volunteers work with us on challenging management consultancy projects in their spare time, gaining an insight into the working world and developing transferable skills valued by employers.

    At the same time, we strive to help purposeful organisations gain access to high quality management consulting services. Traditional consulting firms normally work with highly resourced corporations. First Step Consulting has pioneered a new model of management consulting that enables us to serve clients of all shapes and sizes.

  • How many volunteers have completed your programme?

    Since our first project cycle in January 2015, we have rigorously selected, trained and guided over three hundred volunteers through our programme. See what our former volunteers say about their experience: www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/testimonials

  • Where are you based?
    We are currently operating from London, United Kingdom.
  • I want to publish articles on your FSC Insights page. What should I do?

    We are happy to cooperate with all inquisitive university students and recent graduates who are proficient in English. To submit your application please visit www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/publish-articles

  • How can we get in touch?

    For general enquiries and more information, please fill out the contact form at www.firststepconsulting.co.uk/contact

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