CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAY. 04, 2014
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How to Become a Management Consultant

Assisting businesses management departments to overcome all kinds of problems, as well as to improve efficiency and deal with changes in their workplace- the role of the management consultant requires advanced mathematic skills, an analytical mind and excellent people skills. Working to streamline entire teams of workers, the role of the management consultant is infamously high-demand, though strictly speaking requires no specific entry requirements.

Breakdown of the Role

Management consultants are professionals brought in by the personal request of company directors to provide guidance on the direction of a business. Utilising their expansive reserves of knowledge and experience, the idea is to offer a fresh and reinvigorating viewpoint for organisations. Consultants help their clients in many different areas of their business, such as:

  • Finance
  • Planning and Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Personnel Management
  • IT

As for specific tasks, the day-to-day schedule of a business consultant will depend on the type of business they are working to improve. Some across-the-board tasks that you could expect to encounter include:

  • Hosting meetings with clients to discuss their needs and plan comprehensive improvement strategy’s
  • Conducting research into a client’s business in order to gain a better understanding of their needs
  • Collecting and analysing data and preparing reflectional reports
  • Interviewing the client’s managers, staff and customers
  • Providing training and support

Pay Expectations

As with any career there are certain pay bands a professional management consultant can expect to encounter as they enter; progress and reach the top of their field. As well as basic salaries, the area is known for its profit sharing schemes and bonuses. Here’s an outline of the base salary rates at junior, intermediate and senior levels:

Experience Level

Salary Band

Junior

£25,000 - £30,00

Intermediate

£30,000 - £50,000

Senior

£50,000+

What do you need to become a Management Consultant?

As mentioned previously, there is no direct educational route that can land you a job as a management consultant. Given the high pressure nature of the role, the most direct and affirmative way of achieving legitimate work in this area is by gaining a lot of experience in business management. Other relevant professional fields include: finance, human resources, IT and project management.

Typically, business consultants have a history of management in their particular field of expertise. Most are educated to degree level and have passed through a training scheme or two specifically designed to sharpen the senses in this capacity. Perhaps more important than an individual’s educational background, however, are their personal characteristics. It takes a certain type of person to succeed in this role, someone with all of the following:

  • Top notch people skills
  • Excellent skills with numeracy and IT
  • The ability to think analytically and solve problems
  • Confidence with presentations and public speaking
  • A persuasive and inspiring manner
  • Flexibility and stamina
  • A keen business sense
  • The ability to communicate ideas and concepts clearly

Training and Career Progression

Trainee management consultants receive in-depth vocational conditioning which usually revolves around supporting more experienced consultants with their clients- gradually taking on more and more responsibility as time passes and their skillset expands. It is likely that as a trainee, they will also receive exposure to an array of professional qualifications available within the field, in particular those accredited by the Institute of Consulting (IC).

With time (three years of solid on-the-job experience to be exact), those who hold membership with the IC can opt for assessment- the positive outcome of which results in the highly coveted Certified Management Consultant Award (CMC). The gaining of this accolade will manifest itself in an industry-wide recognition of personal skill and competence- with in turn can and will only grow with further experience. 

As such, the outlook for newly qualified management consultants is current rather positive. Though it may have suffered a slump in recent years, commercial business big and small will always be around- and what’s more, it will always be in need of the opinion and prowess of trained consultants.  

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