MCA Member Survey 2019 – by Catriona Cookson

The MCA has recently published its 2019 Member Survey, you can take a look here ……fortunately for all of us the outlook seems positive with 9 in 10 respondents believing their consulting activity will increase in the next 12 -14 months, and members estimating that consulting activity grew by almost 6% in the last twelve months. As ever Brexit provides both an opportunity and a challenge ……

I found one of the most interesting sections to be the section on the young MCA, members who have been in the industry 0-5 years.

The percentage of young consultants attending Russell Group universities has dropped from 73% in 2011 to 54% in 2018. The number of young consultants attending Oxbridge has also decreased significantly from 13% in 2011 to 4% in 2018.

The report states :

“What is clear from the survey findings is that the industry is becoming more accessible than ever to graduates from all backgrounds. While a significant proportion of young respondents attended a Russell Group university (above the national average), there has been notable downward trend since 2011”

Is the data provided in the report really telling us this? The overall sample size was 328 and there is no information around how many of this group are young MCA…so we only have a small sample of young MCA on which to reach this conclusion. It may be that some Russell Group candidates were offered roles in management consultancy but choose alternative options in banking, fin tech, start ups etc or it may be that some Russell Group candidates joined management consultancy and then left after a couple of years using their early experience as a career springboard. It seems to me that we haven’t got enough data to conclude that “entrance to leading management consultancy firms is becoming more accessible than ever”

In fact, the league table of universities attended by young MCA members in 2018 is broadly similar to 2016 – and Loughborough although not a Russell Group university is a very good university with high entrance requirements.

The management consultancy firms will continue to make offers to Russell Group and Oxbridge candidates, and so to increase diversity, accessibility and inclusion the key is to increase access to the top universities. That’s why the real story (and the real positive for the MCA) is their decision to choose The Access Project as their charity partner for the Recent MCA Awards.

This charity works with bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them gain access to top universities. This will then facilitate their access to top tier careers in fields such as management consultancy, law and corporate finance. If the MCA really wants to increase accessibility, they should continue their partnership with this charity and encourage their member firms to do the same.


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