Outside of the business world, not many people know just how crucial management consultants are to the health of an organization. For example, if a company is trying to change or enhance their image, they would call in a management consultant to completely turn it around for them. Management consultants bring industry knowledge and management experience and handle many crucial projects for mid to large-scale companies.
How To Become A Management Consultant
The process of becoming a management consultant involves five steps: thinking about your future early, getting a Bachelor’s and/or Master’s Degree, getting an optional certification, being flexible with your time, and applying for jobs to receive as much experience in the field as you can.
- Think about your future early
Starting as early as high school, take classes and get involved in extra curricular activities that are relevant to the field of business, including statistics, forensics, speech and debate, and economics. Keep your grades up. The companies you’ll want to work for will highly consider your GPA.
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree and/or Master’s Degree
Get a Bachelor’s Degree in a field of study relevant to the business world, such as computer science, public relations, economics, advertising, etc. After that, consider going on to get a Master’s Degree, which will make you look more qualified than your competitors on a resume. There is no one specific subject you have to major in to become a management consultant; however, most jobs are available in fields related to technology.
- Get a certification
Although it’s not required, getting a certification in management consulting can put you a step ahead of your competitors. To get a certification, you can go through the Institute of Management Consultants USA.
- Be flexible
Be flexible with your time management. Employers will expect you to work long, hard hours. They’ll also expect you to be quick on your feet in case there’s a drastic change in the company.
- Apply for jobs
College is the prime time for getting into the industry. Apply for internships at consulting firms and offices with good reputations, and build a solid repertoire with them. Your resume will develop more breadth, and you’ll develop trusting relationships with people of importance. Some quality firms to consider are The Boston Consulting Group and Cooley.
The tuition and fees for Bachelor’s Degree at a private college will be roughly $30,000 a year, and the tuition and fees for a Bachelor’s Degree at a public college will be roughly between $10,000 to $20,000 a year. In order to receive an MBA at an average, non-Ivy League University, the cost will be around $30,000 to $40,000. To earn an initial certification as a member of the Institute of Management Consultants USA, the cost would be $350; however, as a nonmember, the price goes up to $550.
Job Description / Responsibilities
A management consultant’s job is to be a company’s best problem solver and adviser by relying heavily on his or her area of expertise, which can come in many forms (human resources, public relations, technology, etc.). Generally, a management consultant’s responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
- Meet with clients regularly to discuss the status of the company’s welfare. Try and get in touch with them in person, since it helps establish intimacy.
- Carefully organize information to present to clients. For example, write proposals or visual demonstrations (i.e. a power-point presentation) to show during a formal meeting.
- Act as a middleman between a client and a possible liaison to the company. If a company is struggling to develop a relationship with a potential partner, it’s your job to step in and strengthen it.
- Have quick solutions to problems that happen within the company. You will be the first person an organizational manager will turn to in times of stress.
- Use encouraging and empathetic human resource skills to interact with peers and employers
- Be an effective communicator at meetings and interviews. This is where speech and debate training will come in handy, considering you will have to convince your coworkers of the validity of your opinions.
- Stay alert to hazards and costs that could come from your decisions or the decisions of the company
- Make sure that your ideas and plans for the company are relevant and creative
- Moderate gatherings where employees have an open forum and express their opinions on how to better their organization
- Put together and lead task forces that specialize in fixing an organizational issue. For example, an IT consultant would call on his or her best technicians to install faster computers in the employee workspace
- Test your theories on how to better the company through the implementation of rules and regulations
- Analyze and document company data
- Have extensive computer knowledge and dexterity
- File status reports that contain analysis of an organization’s progress and/or pitfalls
- Make your schedule as open as possible to provide a client with extra help if need be
The field of management consulting is growing rapidly. Between the years of 2014 to 2024, job opportunities are anticipated to go up by 14%.
This immense growth is mainly due to the categorical expansion of modern companies. More and more businesses are becoming technologically savvier, therefore requiring the expertise of IT consultants. Considering 1 in 3 women has been sexually harassed in the workplace, the need for human resource consultants has spiked.
Research according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 22% of businesses are in the highest demand for management, scientific, and technical consulting, and 10% (the second highest percentage) are in demand for finance and accounting services. The first percentage is due to the fact that technology has become vital in organizational communication and data storage. The second percentage ensures that a company has less chance of falling into financial crisis, and if the potential does become high, the problem can be nipped in the bud almost immediately.
Long-term career prospects as a management consultant appear high, due to companies constantly expanding to keep up with public demand. However, the competition to get a stable job will remain high, considering the hefty pay that comes with being a consultant.
Management consulting can be a stressful job, due to the grueling hours it takes to schedule meeting times with clients, travel to get to a client, and ultimately perform tasks for them. On average, a consultant is expected to work 40-60 hours a week.
More than ever, consultants are self-employed, working from their own places of business. Because of this, the work environment itself is full of less interaction and challenges.
This is not the case when consultants are actually meeting with clients, however. With clients, a consultant must perform with impeccable public relations skills, and be constantly subservient to the needs of the client, considering a client can have them do anything from run meetings to file and analyze important company data.
Luckily, the only pressing safety concerns that could come with being a consultant are the risks that come with getting in a car or plane to meet with a client.
- Institute of Management Consultants USA – You can receive a certification for management consulting through this website, and it also contains a list of resources such as conference information and academic programs.
- Association of Management Consulting Firms – This website is a way for rising consultants to connect with hiring firms. It also contains a link to the Operating Ratios Benchmarking Report for consulting firms.
- Consulting Crossing – This is a job search engine specifically for management consultants. It allows you to search, browse, and post jobs.
- Consultants Board – This is a very specific job search engine that gives numerous different categories of consultant jobs for you to apply for. It also gives you an opportunity to upload your CV.
- Top-Consultant – Not only does this website provide a list of hiring consulting firms in the U.S., but it also has lists of firms in the U.K., Australia, and the Middle East.
- Consulting Magazine – This is one of the best informational consulting magazines, in particular for giving rankings of consulting firms and managers, and for printing news articles related to the industry.
- Fast Company – Fast Company is a consulting magazine that not only lists rankings of firms and creative individuals in the field, but it also gives technology and leadership tips.
- The Economist – The Economist gives great information on consulting in the forms of financing and business, and is highly regarded
- The McKinsey Way – Written by Ethan Rasiel, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, this book provides you with tips and techniques from accomplished management consultants from around the world.
- Key Management Models: The 60+ models every manager needs to know –This is a problem solving guide that provides you with strategic models you can use in the workplace to help your clients with anything they may need.
The world of management consulting is fast-paced and strenuous. That’s why, along with a considerable amount of patience, the qualities needed to become one have much to do with strong character, leadership, and adaptability.
- Flexibility: Have an open schedule. You have to be able to accommodate a 40-60 hour a week schedule that includes traveling and assisting clients. More frequently than not, those things are also subject to change.
- Adaptability: Be open to new people and environments. If your client can tell that you feel like a “fish out of water,” it will lessen their faith in your abilities.
- Empathy: Try to understand where your peers and your clients are coming from. If you can understand their train of thought, you can easily come up with solutions to problems that will benefit them.
- Mathematical Savvy: Since most consulting jobs require analyzing significant amounts of data, good math skills are crucial. You will also have to track the progress of an organization, which requires being able to calculate statistics.
- Eloquence: Learn how to speak persuasively and vividly, so that the people you communicate with can get on board with your opinions and see their aftermaths play out.
- Swift computation: Think rapidly. A crisis may face your business that needs to be solved immediately for the sake of its health. For example, as a financial consultant, if you notice your organization’s stocks drastically dropping, you must be able to find a solution to it before debt strikes.
- Leadership: You have to not only lead your clients in beneficial directions, but you may also have to lead task forces and meetings where you submit proposals for organizational change.
- Ingenuity: Be creative. You want your company to stand as a model for others to imitate. Thinking outside the box can also lead to faster problem solving.
- Organization: Be able to balance multiple tasks at once. You’ll more than likely have to help several different clients simultaneously who will all need your full and undivided attention. This requires the ability to organize your schedule.
- Attentiveness: Pay attention to detail. Sometimes the biggest problems facing a company arise from the smallest of mistakes. When you analyze a company’s progress and compute its data, there’s no room for error. That is why it’s important to listen to your clients, and carefully observe the resources they give you.