Do you have what it takes to be a management consultant?
Management consulting is one of those professions everybody’s heard of, but few seem to really understand. Do you have what it takes?
What’s the job?
You’ll hear lots of jargon and buzzwords around management consulting, but in its purest form it’s a fairly simple role to understand. It involves conducting thorough analysis and assessing the processes and procedures in an organisation, before providing objective advice on everything from IT systems and supply chain management to human resources and marketing techniques.
Then, they implement appropriate measures to solve problems and improve efficiency and capability so an organisation can perform to its full potential. In a nutshell, management consultants go into other businesses and tell them how to get better.
As you can probably imagine, it’s a varied role which can encompass everything from interviewing stakeholders, running focus groups, conducting analysis and project management. Though the chances are if you join a consultancy firm you’ll work in a managed team, more experienced staff with proven track records can often pursue successful careers as self-employed consultants.
What skills will I need?
Calm under pressure: With a company’s performance often depending on the findings of your project team, the role is not without its responsibilities and especially in the run-up to deadlines, being able to stay productive and manage a heavy workload is vital.
Analytical skills: Analysis will be an important part of your role, so being able to think critically, spot inconsistencies and identify problems is a must. This can be just as crucial with financial data as it can be when evaluating staff interviews.
Commercial awareness: It may seem obvious, but it is vital you know how businesses work and the market conditions in which they are operating. This will help you understand the information put in front of you, as well as making sure you can make valuable recommendations at the end of the project.
Communication: You’re working in a team, so the importance of collaboration cannot be overstated. But in a potentially high-pressure environment, you will also need to be confident enough to talk to stakeholders at every level of the client’s organisation, taking on board feedback but prepared to stick to your guns.
What’s in it for me?
Management consultancy is an important function with a lot of responsibility. Salaries tend to reflect this: according to the Management Consultancies Association, basic salaries for junior roles range from £25-30,000, but this goes up quickly. In a few years salaries can be as high as £50,000 – and in the most senior roles, where bonuses and profit-share options are often included in the benefits, pay can be much higher.
It’s also a very varied role, since no two businesses are the same, and you’re guaranteed to gain lots of experience very quickly. This isn’t necessarily limited to any one country, either – especially among larger firms which have international operations, there can often be opportunities to travel abroad and work overseas for longer or shorter periods.
How do I get there?
The industry is certainly not degree-specific, but a degree in business, economics or finance can be an advantage given the nature of the role itself. Ultimately recruiters will be more interested in seeking out the right combination of skills, so think carefully about specific examples you can describe in detail in your application. Though you don’t necessarily need work experience if you can demonstrate these skills, it is often advantageous to have spent some time in a business environment, since this will help to demonstrate commercial awareness and business acumen.
Some companies are particularly interested in candidates with postgraduate degrees, and qualified candidates can sometimes enter in more senior and higher-salaried roles. One such course is the Global Master of Business Administration (MBA), which provides a solid foundation in areas such as finance, systems management and research methods which be real advantages when you come to apply for roles. If you choose to specialise in Management Consulting, you can gain valuable industry knowledge from specialised modules that will equip you with everything you need to succeed.
LSBF’s Global MBA (Management Consulting) programme is designed to give you a necessarily wide range of skills and knowledge to excel in high-profile job roles including Management & Marketing Consultancy, Change Management and Project Management.