When I first came to Georgetown, I had no clue what consulting was. I suspect many others were unfamiliar with the term as well. Still, with its prevalence at Georgetown, it did not take long for any of us to figure it out. Three years later, I still struggle to reconcile my conflicting feelings on the world of consulting; nevertheless, it is vital to accept that every Georgetown graduate will chart their own path, even when we don’t agree with their choices.
If three full years at Georgetown have taught us seniors anything, it is how to deal with diverging viewpoints and paths, even among our closest friends. No matter what we choose to do when we leave Georgetown, we can all agree that our time on the Hilltop has flown by much too quickly, and we should keep this in mind even when our pre-conceived notions about consulting can get in the way.
Consulting work, despite its popularity, can carry a less-than-favorable connotation for many students. Maybe I see myself as a morally superior human for not being enticed by a cushy salary and instead hoping to pursue a career in politics. However, I often fear that what I have really missed out on is an opportunity to avoid pinching pennies in my twenties.
It is common knowledge that both consulting and financial services employ a significant proportion of Georgetown graduates every year. An astounding 23 percent of the class of 2016 went into the financial services industry and 17 percent went into consulting — totaling 40 percent, which is nearly half of the entire graduating class. By comparison, a measly seven percent now work in nonprofits or public service.
My distaste for math means that I have never been interested in consulting or finance. Moreover, I still hold the perhaps naive belief that life is too short to do something you hate. However, I often forget that not all of my peers share these sentiments and that some of them might actually enjoy the responsibilities that come with working on Wall Street or in consulting, and that a job in one of these industries would be a dream come true for them.
While I sincerely hope that all 40 percent of the Hoyas who take these jobs do so for a love of the work, I cannot say I am convinced they do. Between the quick turnover rates between firms and often intense stress levels, it puzzles me how one can reconcile the industries’ benefits with the seemingly inevitable sacrifice of free time. Yet the statistics indicate that a large swath of Georgetown graduates feel otherwise.
Putting my opinions on these industries aside, I have observed an interesting phenomenon in the first few months of my senior year: The people I often judged for being summer analysts at PwC or Goldman Sachs are now getting job offers. They slogged through the recruitment process and survived one or even two summers in New York, and as a reward, they can now enjoy senior year with the comfort of knowing that a well-paying job awaits them when they get their diplomas.
While I often thought that I was taking the high road with my commitment to politics — embodying some idyllic example of “working for the good of the many” — I find myself increasingly jealous of this 40 percent of my peers. Already, I am stressed about what will happen next May. Yet, there is little I can do about it except wait months for entry-level job postings to start appearing.
Moreover, I’ve also begun to realize that some of the arguments I made for not pursuing a career in consulting or financial services also apply to my dream job in politics. Strong cases can be made for how political power and money are just two different types of currency, equally subject to corruption and greed.
And so, I constantly find myself wondering: Did I make a huge mistake in skipping those networking events at the business school? I know that I’m not the only one who avoided consulting entirely, which leads me to believe that I’m also not the only one feeling mild sensations of jealousy toward our peers’ post-graduation plans.
I encourage those of us in the 60 percent to nip these sentiments in the bud. Seniors in particular, myself included, should all swallow our feelings of jealousy toward our newly employed friends and enjoy our final year at Georgetown in its entirety. As we begin applying to real jobs, it would be wise to remind each other that we will all figure it out sooner or later. I just ask that my friends who fall into the “sooner” category help me scour indeed.com in the meantime.
Taylor Harding is a senior in the College. Contributing a Verse appears online every other Monday.