How To Become a Management Consultant

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 January 2023

Published 19 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you enjoy problem-solving and would love to help organisations optimise their operations, then you can work well in management consulting. The profession involves helping company executives achieve success. They do this by adding significant value to organisations through recommendations that help to improve productivity and maximise performance. In this article, we outline what a management consultant is, their responsibilities and what you need to do to become one.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Management Styles

What is a management consultant?

A management consultant is a business professional who helps organisations to maximise growth, create value, solve internal issues and improve business performance. They observe an organisation's structure, strategy, operations and management and then identify options and suggest recommendations for change. They use their business skills and expertise to offer advice that helps organisations better achieve their set goals or develop the specialist skills they lack.

How to become a management consultant

Depending on your educational qualifications, past work experience and the type of consultant you want to be, the exact route to becoming a management consultant can vary. However, there are several steps that are applicable across the board and can ensure your success in the field. They are:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational qualification that most employers will consider before considering you for a management consultancy job. You can take a major in a subject that interests you and pursue several minors and courses to supplement it.

It's a great idea to study something that is relevant to the type of consulting you want to do in future, which can include financial management, accounting, commerce, business administration and project management, among other disciplines. The degree will help you gain the academic skills and competencies that are needed to understand organisational management and develop creative solutions to improve processes.

Related: What is a management consultant? (Plus duties and skills)

2. Gain relevant experience

You will typically require about two to three years of experience to get a management consultancy job. You can start amassing such experience during your graduate program by attending an internship, fellowship or seeking part-time work. The opportunities offer you a chance to learn what your future job could look like.

It's also through such opportunities that you will form key connections and network with industry professionals that you can utilise later in your career. You can also join a company as a junior employee and work your way up to a consultancy role. You can check for the graduate training schemes offered by most top companies in the field.

Related: How To Become A Consultant (With Roles and Responsibilities)

3. Consider earning a professional certification or a postgraduate degree

Although there are no concrete rules about the kind of academic qualifications you need to practise management consulting, it's always a great idea to enrol for postgraduate study. This involves taking an MBA or a master's level degree. This allows you to have a higher chance of getting recruited by your dream company as there is fierce competition in the consulting world.

You can also pursue advanced education or professional certification that proves your possession of high-level skills. For professional accreditation, you can join a body like the Institute of Consulting (IC). Being a member of the professional body allows you to appear more professional and responsible to your clients.

4. Get employed

Most employers recruit graduates or those who performed well during internships through a series of interviews. You should be ready to talk about the specialised and relevant skills that you possess during the interview. Show the kind of value you can add to their company and how you fit into their organisational culture. If you fail to get a job through the interviews, you can try using other means such as attending presentations or events hosted by consulting firms.

5. Continue to learn and grow your skills

After getting a job as a management consultant, you can start advancing your role. You should gain more expertise and strengthen your skillset in the industry. This allows you to pursue beneficial networking and development opportunities and maintain a growth-oriented mindset. You should remain updated with consulting trends and actively solidify your professional network to build up your long-term success in the industry. This can lead to increased compensation, new opportunities and potential promotions.

Related: Management Skills: Definitions and Examples

Duties and responsibilities of a management consultant

The day-to-day tasks of a management consultant include:

  • Meeting with clients to discuss their needs

  • Conducting research to better understand a client's business

  • Interviewing senior and junior employees and the organisation's customers

  • Collecting and analysing data, then proceeding to come up with reports

  • Identifying and probing problems, then initiating plans to tackle them

  • Highlighting areas where improvements are needed

  • Developing computer models to assess the success of proposed recommendations

  • Presenting recommendations to a client

  • Charting a course forward with the client

  • Providing ongoing support to clients

Categories of management consultants

The role of a management consultant can vary widely depending on their specialisation or the organisation they are employed in. The following are the specific categories or types available:

Strategy consultant

A strategy consultant sits at the topmost of the industry and focuses on developing a strategy for corporations and organisations. They may also offer counsel on things like government and economic policy. Because of the sophisticated nature of their job, strategy consultants typically work with senior executives in organisations and are mainly advisors, rather than hands-on implementers.

Financial consultant

A financial consultant or advisor analyses a client's money issues and offers financial advice. Their roles vary, depending on whether they are working with individuals or big businesses. They can conduct audits to help a client better understand their finances, save money and institute a better plan for the future. A financial consultant could opt to specialise in tax, risk management, real estate or corporate finance.

Management consultant

Management consultants handle a wide range of aspects in any company, from general business policies to complex organisational issues. They mostly work independently and advise both public and private organisations on many aspects including finance, strategy, HR and IT.

Operations consultant

An operations consultant assists businesses to streamline and improve their operations. They can have a distinct specialisation in a field such as IT or supply chain management and may also opt to do hands-on implementation or only offer advisory services.

Human resource (HR) consultant

HR consultants assist clients with many employee affairs such as updating terms of employment, change management, talent management and retirement and training and development. They could also help to transform the HR department in a company or improve the business culture.

Information technology (IT) consultant

IT or digital consultants assist in optimising a company's digital or IT potential. They can tackle regular daily operations or large implementation projects. It is common for IT consultants to work in cybersecurity, IT forensics and data analytics.

Related: What Is Strategic Management and Why Is It Important?

The salary of a management consultant

According to Indeed salaries, the average salary for a management consultant is £54,876 per year. However, this amount can differ based on your location, experience, company and education.

Essential skills for a management consultant

Even though a wealth of knowledge and experience will give you an edge in consulting, you still need other skills to be successful. Such skills include:

  • Communication. You will need to be a great communicator to deliver presentations now and then and explain your intentions to many people who you have never met before.

  • **Organisation.** You should be comfortable handling several things and juggling a busy workload is typical of management consulting work.

  • **People skills.** You should know how to build relationships with many types of stakeholders within organisations to interact with them cordially and gather the data you need as you conduct your initial research. You also need their input on a wide range of issues and should be able to relate well with them.

  • **Analysis and problem-solving.** Being able to analyse and solve problems is at the heart of consultation work. Think strategically and use logic to create practical solutions from time to time.

  • Quick comprehension. This involves being able to internalise blocks of information from a wide range of sources. This is because you will have to understand how companies operate by conducting research in various ways, including speaking to the essential stakeholders and observing how the company does its work.

  • Teamwork. Work alongside others as you interact with a company at various stages of the consultation process. You should be great at enhancing cooperation between other individuals and convincing them to work together to attain the set objectives.

  • Commercial awareness. Most of the consulting work you will handle will involve understanding how various companies make money and survive in the markets they operate in. Therefore, you need to understand diverse business environments.

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