Graduate stories: From Bristol graduate to OC&C Strategy Consultant

Are you ready to meet some employers? Our 2-day careers fair, the  Employer Showcase, is taking place on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 October, from 12:30 pm to 4 pm, at Bristol Beacon.

A photograph of a busy Bristol Beacon
A busy Bristol Beacon at our last careers fair, Get Hired


This is a great opportunity to network with employers from a variety of sectors, and see what opportunities are available from graduate roles and internships to work experience.

Our employers range from international organisations to small and medium enterprises and there will be different employers attending each day. Check out mycareer to book your place and start planning who you want to meet.

Our sponsors this year are OC&C Strategy Consultants, Frazer Nash, AlphaSights, Datamine, Delaware and Baker Hughes.

We chatted to Bristol graduate and current OC&C Strategy Consultant,  Sam Thomas, about his experiences at Bristol, and what tips he would give to current students preparing to enter the world of work.

A picture of Sam Thomas, a man with short brown hair, smiling
Sam Thomas

“I graduated from Bristol University in 2019 after studying Economics, BSc, and have been working at OC&C for a year now. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bristol, and I feel my university experience and course prepared me well for life as a Strategy Consultant.

In my second year, I heard a lot of people talking about trying to get a summer internship and, since it felt like a lot of people were talking about investment banking, I did some research and decided I would give it a go. I ended up sending off several applications, and after numerous unsuccessful attempts, I managed to get an offer at JP Morgan.

However… after 10 weeks in Canary Wharf, I realised that investment banking wasn’t quite for me.

I decided to take some time to think about what career path I would like to pursue and took a gap year after finishing my finals (which I would highly recommend!).

After studying Economics, it seemed natural to take a closer look into Strategy Consulting. What attracted me to the industry has fortunately proven to be true after my first year of work:

  • it is a job that requires critical thinking on a daily basis
  • the learning curve stays steep for a very long time
  • and the nature of the job creates a highly collaborative environment due to the team-based nature of projects.
  • Furthermore, as someone who enjoys trying new things and changing tacks on a regular basis, consulting is the perfect job, because every 4-8 weeks (usually) you are confronted with an entirely new problem in a completely different industry.

A blue square with four small blue squares inside it and the words "OC&C Strategy consultants"s

OC&C has been the perfect place to start a consulting career; every company says its culture is what makes them stand out, but for OC&C this really rings true. I’m very grateful to be surrounded by bright, charismatic and friendly people on a daily basis, who genuinely want to see you succeed. I would highly recommend anyone thinking about a career in consulting to apply!

My advice

If I were to look back and think what advice I might give my younger self, it would probably be to make more of the network at Bristol. The Careers Service is incredibly helpful, and talking to fellow students is often a really useful way to explore career ideas and get tips on applications.

Another helpful thing to do for anyone considering consulting is to get some practice in for interviews. Since the interview process is heavily reliant on case studies, I can’t stress how useful it is to get used to this format of critical thinking, so my advice would be to find at least one other person to practice with, and before you know it, it will feel natural. Speak to people on your course or perhaps reach out to the Consulting Society, I had to talk through market sizing questions with my mum since I was applying during lockdown… but being able to articulate your thought process is a really important skill.

Finally, I’d just say that looking into these things earlier is always going to benefit you, although I didn’t particularly enjoy my summer internship, I still learnt a lot from it and it stood me in good stead for what was to come. So, for anyone even thinking about applying to consulting at a graduate scheme or internship level, I’d say go for it!”

Find out more about the Employer Showcase and book your place by heading to mycareer.

Your Careers Service is here to help!

Whether you want to find an internship, prepare for an interview or need tips to get the most out of this Autumn’s careers fairs, visit our website or talk to us on Live Chat.