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The Student Consultancy | The Careers Service The Student Consultancy – Oxford University Careers Service
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What is The Student Consultancy?


An innovative and unique programme, The Student Consultancy equips students with key and demonstrable consulting and teamwork skills to help local businesses, charities and community organisations. Since its launch, nearly 2,000 students have taken part in the programme, helping over 250 clients.

Students work in small teams over a term to address a strategic issue or business problem for a client organisation in Oxfordshire. Whatever your career plans you can benefit from the programme.

The Student Consultancy will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Learn assessment centre skills, regardless of the sector you wish to work
  • Contribute to the local community and gain solid work experience
  • Tackle strategic business issues and concerns
  • Develop key employability skills such as self-management, team working, business and customer awareness, problem solving and communication
  • Provide demonstrable examples of keys skills for your CV or for use in job interviews
  • Gain an awareness of the commercial, social and behavioural contexts of professional environments
How does it work?

After you have been selected to take part after the assessment centre, you will receive intense training sessions during 1st Week to prepare you for your projects. These will cover an introduction to consulting, key business issues, and how to go about solving them, market research, interviewing techniques, making recommendations and reports.

We will divide students into teams who will each be assigned a client organisation, based on your project preferences where possible, and you’ll then arrange meetings with the client to discuss their project. After this you will spend seven to eight weeks working with your clients, producing a report for the client about your findings. Although you will be liaising direct with your client, the Careers Service will be there to support you with any questions that you may have.

The programme is open to students from any discipline, and selection is based on:

  • creativity in finding solutions
  • approach to business situations and commercial awareness
  • motivation to support the local community
  • community or volunteer experience
  • teamwork and communication skills

Past projects

Past projects involved marketing and promotion ideas, website design, audience analysis and evaluating fundraising initiatives. Clients have come from all areas, including museums and heritage, community projects, retail, IT, start-ups, local theatre, local government, local and international charities, art galleries and many more.

What past students have said

Using TSC in job applications

‘I interviewed for BCG, McKinsey, Bain and Oliver Wyman, and used examples from The Student Consultancy at all of them. (I received offers from all four)’

‘I often write about it in job applications, using the programme to highlight examples of working in a mixed discipline team, consultancy, management, knowledge of business, entrepreneurial spirit and so on.’

‘Valuable CV and application material – it’s a really worthwhile project and is a commendable achievement. It really taught me how to think in a different way and communicate effectively with all sorts of people.’

 ‘The Student Consultancy was an excellent example/experience to cite when describing community involvement and group work experience.’

‘Valuable experience in communication management (effective communication) and team organisation / team work! Very helpful experience to talk about in consecutive job interviews!’

‘It’s a very good example to talk about in relation to taking ownership of a project that provides real added value to a business. I brought it up when asked about team work and problem solving.’

Gaining skills and experience

‘The Student Consultancy programme gave me not only an interesting insight into the consultancy sector, but also a comprehensive idea of the intricacies and difficulties of the working world more generally.’

‘I learnt key skills on how to lead meetings, and also ways in which to work as a group.’

‘The Student Consultancy helped me realise how much I did not know about consulting, team work, and project management, particularly about the challenges and difficulties involved. This is valuable insight that will help me in other projects’

‘An appreciation for how a bright spark by a few students can be amplified and transformed to create significant social change in the community.’

‘It was very interesting to work on a project that was not related to my degree subject (thinking outside the box) and I learned a lot from the organisation we worked with.’

‘The programme gave me insight into previously unknown skills: including managing the balance of a diverse group of characters, and that good communication, clear goals and deadlines are key. It also taught me some valuable business vocabulary, and how to present myself in a way that is  more understandable within the industry.’

‘The Student Consultancy gave me an idea of what it would be like to work in strategic consulting, and I came to the conclusion that it would be interesting, dynamic and more satisfying than I ever expected.’

‘Real business experience which was completely unique. A chance to step out of the academic world.’

‘Commercial awareness, and an experience of the kind of job I could be doing in the future.’ 

How to apply

Michaelmas Term 2018

Applications for Michaelmas Term have now closed!

To apply search for “The Student Consultancy Michaelmas Term” on CareerConnect.

In order to take part in Michaelmas 2018, you must be available at the following times:

Assessment centres: 4th OR 5th October. One hour session. There will be eight sessions to choose from (9am, 10am, 11am or 12pm).

Training days: 10h AND 11th October – One 2.5hr session per day. You must attend both days. There will be three sessions per day to choose from (9.30am, 12.30pm, 3.30pm).

We are unable to offer further assessment centres or training days, and you must attend these sessions in order to continue on the programme throughout term.

Keep up to date

If you have any queries regarding the programme, please email

Mentions around the web
  • Cherwell – an article on TSC’s work with Community Action Groups
  • Oxford Mail – Careers Service director Jonathan Black provides an insight into the programme
  • OU Management Society – a first hand perspective from a student
  • NCUB – a report on The Student Consultancy’s collaboration with Centrica
  • Healthwatch Oxfordshire – an article on a student team’s final report for TSC
  • Live Music Exchange – students’ final report on another project
This information was last updated on 11 October 2018.
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Recent blogs about The Student Consultancy

Laidlaw Open Afternoon: Find out more about funded research internships!

Blogged by Internship Office on 17/10/2018.

The Laidlaw programme provides an amazingly well-funded opportunity to gain an insight into leadership in your chosen field anywhere in the world. Go for it!”  – 2018 Laidlaw Scholar

This Friday, 19 October, drop in to the Sheldonian Theatre between 15:00 and 17:00 (no booking necessary) to discover how the Laidlaw Scholars programme can give you a head start.

Calling all undergraduate researchers, wannabe researchers, and the research-curious…! Are you considering postgraduate study or a career in research? Would you like to develop your leadership skills while spending time researching a project that you love? As a Laidlaw Scholar, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a fully-funded research project of your own design at any institution worldwide, alongside practical leadership training which will help you understand and manage your project, yourself and those around you.

At our Open Afternoon this Friday you’ll be able to meet the current Laidlaw Scholars, hear about their research, and find out how and why to apply to this exciting programme. See the Laidlaw Scholars Programme webpages for more information, and register your interest in the Laidlaw Programme on CareerConnect to make sure you don’t miss out on future Laidlaw updates. The closing date for applications will be Monday 7 January 2019.

There is so much to this opportunity: the rapid learning process, the wonderful people and the invaluable opportunity to get right to the front of cutting-edge research as an undergraduate.” – 2018 Laidlaw Scholar

Don’t know where to start with your micro-internship applications?

Blogged by Internship Office on 11/10/2018.

Application support sessions and sector lists now available!

The micro-internship applications are rolling-in ahead of the deadline of noon Monday 22 October. But are you struggling to get your own application off the ground? If so, don’t worry: the Internship Office is here to support you!

If you don’t know where to start, sector lists are now available, each one offering project summaries of all the placements available within each employment field.

And if you’d like further advice and assistance, as usual the Internship Office are offering application support sessions. These take place across the applications window on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 14:00-16:00.  Book a 15 minute appointment ahead via CareerConnect, or just pop-in on the way back from a lecture and wait for an open slot. A member of the Internship Office will be able to support you in choosing a placement to suit your skills and aspirations, as well as offering feedback on CVs and personal statements.

And if you have no idea what a micro-internship even is, then the Micro-Internship Programme page is a good place to start.

Call to Finalists: Paid opportunity to take part in graduate careers research

Posted on behalf of High Fliers Research. Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 11/10/2018.

Focus groups this term:

High Fliers in association with The Times are undertaking their annual research into finalists’ experiences and opinions about graduate roles and positions, and job hunting in general. They are seeking volunteers for a small number of 2-hour focus groups, and all participants will be paid.

The research covers the top 35 universities in the UK and will help employers improve how they approach graduate recruitment, informs our work at the Careers Service, and may help the finalists who take part to gain an edge in and wider appreciation of the recruitment options available.

High Fliers is looking for Oxford finalists who wish to take part in one-off 2 hour Research Groups which will:

  • Take place in 4th and 5th week
  • Entail providing opinions and feedback on brochures, adverts and websites
  • Last approximately 2 hours and
  • Be rewarded with a cash-in-hand (£20) payment upon completion.

There are a limited number of spaces available, and places are expected to be filled quickly. If you want to take part, contact the Oxford University Research Manager (and current Oxford student), Jihoon Kang, on or 07761845043.

Large student survey in Hilary

In Hilary, Jihoon will also co-ordinate Oxford’s contribution to the UK’s most comprehensive survey of graduate recruitment in the UK’s leading universities: The Times Final Year Survey. This annual research project surveys over 35,000 students and requires a large network of paid student interviewers, so if you would like to support this additional research next February you may want to take this opportunity to register your interest with Jihoon now.

Making a Difference – graduate schemes and careers with social impact

Blogged by Claire Chesworth on 11/10/2018.

Saturday 13 October, Exam Schools, 13:30-14:15

Are you looking for a graduate scheme that would allow you to make a significant social impact in your career? Then come along to this talk at the Oxford Careers Fair and hear from Oxford alumni in the public/charity sector who are working for organisations such as Think Ahead, Unlocked, and the National Graduate Development Programme.

Each speaker will give a short presentation about their work on a day-to-day basis, followed by a Q&A panel session.

Free Applied Deep Learning Course this term

Posted on behalf of OxAI, OSG Digital and the Oxford Foundry. Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 11/10/2018.

An excellent opportunity to learn cutting edge deep learning skills and how to apply them in practice.

If you have an interest in building working models to solve real world problems using the power of emerging digital technologies, you can join a new eight week applied deep learning course co-presented by OxAI, OSG Digital and the Oxford Foundry.

The course is is free and open to Oxford University students at all levels and is explicitly target at students from diverse backgrounds and the only pre-requisite is that you are comfortable writing simple Python code.

All sessions are on Saturdays from 16:00 to 19:00:

  • 20th of October: Introduction, Recognize Cats and Dogs
  • 27th of October: Improving Your Image Classifier
  • 3rd of November: Understanding Convolutions
  • 10th of November: Structured, Time Series & Language Models
  • 17th of November: Collaborative Filtering, Inside the Training Loop
  • 24th of November: Interpreting Embeddings, RNNs from Scratch
  • 1st of December: Resnets from Scratch
  • The course ends with a final project demo.

Applications will close on the 13th of October.

For more information and an application link click here.

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