From my experience working 4 years as management consultant and a bit of experience working for start-up, I would say that consulting will definitely benefit you in starting your own business in future for 3 reasons:
- First, it will shape how you think. You will be trained to be a real problem solver, to think strategically and logically. Very essential skill for any businesses.
- Second, you will be amazingly good at presentation. As entrepreneur, you will have to present and pitch to potential investors and business partners very often. This skill will become very useful. I have a colleague who left consulting to found a start-up. He was able to attract a huge amount of funding from his outstanding pitches. Both his presentation slides and delivery are noticeable from others.
- Third, you will have exposure to many industries at many levels. If you are lucky, you might be able to find the industry that you are passionate about and might meet company executives that would be your potential investors (But it quite a rare case, I actually haven’t heard of such story)
However, one of the most important thing needed for starting business, which consulting cannot offer is “Business Idea”. It is you and only you that can come up with business idea to make a successful start up. In term of monetary rewards, you will be able to save decent amount from working as consultant. Nevertheless, to start a business, you don’t actually need that much money, most funding should come from investors. If the business is good or looking good then there should someone to invest, right? Otherwise you might want to rethink about it. Working start-up, you will certainly learn how it operated as well as its working culture (which is totally different from consulting). However, this kind of thing can be observed and learned within a few weeks. The learning curve isn’t that high. What you will gain most would be connection. Start-up community is quite close-knit. Everyone kidda know everyone. But alternatively, you can just connect to these people from other ways.
In short, consulting will absolutely a good option. Try to look out for opportunity and business idea by yourself and make connection with relevant people.
Hope it helps!