Are you thinking of becoming a management consultant? It’s a lucrative job and can be very satisfying – especially when you see your clients’ businesses reap the benefits of your consultancy services. It is an exciting job that puts you right in the middle of people and their business problems. In a way, you become the business’ savior, because it’s up to you to solve these problems. The job offers excitement, momentum, and satisfaction.
But like any other job, there are some aspects of the job you must be aware of before becoming a management consultant. You must fully understand the job, what it entails, how it functions, its pros and cons, and the skills required to become a management consultant.
What does a management consultant do?
On the surface, a management consultant helps businesses to grow. They do this by solving the client company’s mission-critical challenges and by enhancing the efficiency of services that are running smoothly. Consultants are expected to solve complex problems and devise expert strategies that will help businesses perform better and enhance their finances.
A big part of the job involves research, data analysis, analyzing reports and internal results, interviewing employees, and preparing and presenting reports. A lot of time is also spent building relationships within the client’s business and with other professionals.
Management consultants work from a single location and manage several clients. Big management consultancy firms have several hundreds of clients located locally as well as internationally.
Business management is a very large area, and consultants offer services across different fields of business. Some fields that often require help from a business consultant are:
- Human resources
- Information technology
The risks of being a management consultant
As with any other job, there are risks of being a management consultant as well. Your management consulting business oversees helping other businesses succeed. When things don’t turn out as planned, your clients’ businesses could suffer. This, in turn, could lead to high litigation costs that can drain your resources and ruin your business ‘reputation. Professional liability insurance for management consultants will help protect you against negligence, omissions, or error in judgment on your part.
Who are the clients of a management consultant?
Clients include businesses in the private and public sector, investors, businesses that range from small businesses to multinational conglomerates, non-profit organizations, investors, and Fortune 500 companies.
Job duties of the management consultant
- Leverage industry expertise and technical knowledge to improve business processes, organizational design, and executive strategies.
- Engage with all levels of the client’s employees to understand problems, previous solutions that did not work, and individual employee’s capabilities.
- Formulate the root cause of a problem and develop recommendations through actionable planning.
- Guide executives and train management to ensure corporate missions are fulfilled.
- Expand capabilities of the organization at the departmental level and organizational levels.
- Suggest technical solutions that will benefit the organization by speeding up tasks and processes and increasing productivity.
Working hours of the management consultant
As far as work timing goes, there is no fixed time for a job consultant. Long hours and a lot of time away from home are common. Tough targets will need to be met on time; however, that is not to say that there is no work-life balance.
The pros of becoming a management consultant
The broad span of services that a consultant can offer makes management consultancy an attractive career. It offers a wide range of challenges, projects, and opportunities that all help in their personal development.
When working with a business, management consultants will find that once a problem is solved, it’s not the end. Another type of problem will arise, which will require their expertise, and then another, and so on. Every problem brings with it its own challenges, as well as new learning experiences for the consultant.
What are the key attributes a management consultant should possess?
A wanna-be management consultant must:
- Love challenges
- Possess industry insights and logical objectivity
- Possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Be unafraid of facing new problems consistently
- Accept working long hours and the tedious workload
- Be a people’s person and should be able to get along with everyone
- Be prepared to travel a lot – sometimes internationally.
What are the key skills a management consultant should possess?
An aptitude in the following areas is necessary:
- Client handling
- Strategic planning
- Business analysis
- Team building
- Creativity and flexibility
- Strong interpersonal skills
How to become a management consultant
Advanced degrees such as an MBA or MSc are the common degrees that management consultants possess. They also have vast and deep experience in managing a firm, or in other management positions.
Consultants will require experience with risk and strategic planning, management, and performance improvement.
Consultants will also require experience in presenting analyses to leadership.
Consultants should be able to assess a business from different perspectives, like the technology aspect, financial aspect, and the business process aspect.
Here are the steps to becoming a successful management consultant
Step 1: Complete a Bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is also advisable.
Choose a major that is related to management, such as accounting, business, marking, leadership, or finance. You could also pursue a minor specialization in an industry like tourism, or education, or even finance.
Step 2: Gain work experience. Some employers require a minimum of two years of experience. They often look for experience in fields such as accounting and management.
Step 3: Get certified. There are certification courses available in management consulting. Although certification is not required, it would help immensely. Ensure the certifications are renewed as often as required.
Step 4: Get a master’s degree. Again, this is not a necessity, but it will be beneficial when applying for a job as a management consultant, and also on the job. A master’s degree can help hone your communication skills, as well as leadership and management skills.
The job of a management consultant is exciting and very challenging. It is this combination that makes it extremely attractive. With more information on what it takes to be a management consultant, you can be sure you will get into the role with your eyes wide open.