Career Guide

Management Consultant

Ben Maples  · Nov 30th 2021

Plenty of businesses require assistance. Plenty of businesses require assistance. Some companies will make it a matter of paramount importance that they seek expert help from outside the company to make sure that they are moving in the right direction.

Presentation to the office team

Even governments use external consultants or ‘gurus’ to help them (Like Julius Nicholson in The Thick of It), this is where a Management Consultant comes in to help!

But what exactly does a Management Consultant do? Well, we’ve got you a useful career guide that should clear all of that up for you, so why not check it out, below?

Management Consultant Career Guide

What is a management consultancy?

Management consulting services focus on helping companies improve their performance. They will help businesses grow by solving problems and finding better solutions to doing things. Why hire management consulting? Firms work across all areas of the company, are an external, unbiased and specialised service.

What is management consulting?

What is consultancy work? Consultancy is when an external firm or professional is hired on a temporary or ongoing basis to complete projects or offer advice and expertise. Management consulting consists of helping companies to operate better, solve issues and maximise growth. A management consultancy will provide guidance, create value and work to improve business performance. Suppose we take a further look into the management consultant job description. In that case, we find that they use their business skills to provide expertise and objective advice to help a company develop specialist skills they’re lacking. Management consultants can either be employed as part of a firm or as a self-employed individual.

The job uses problem-solving and organisational skills to deal with structure, strategy, operations and management within a company. It will identify solutions for the organisation and make recommendations for change and additional resources, according to the business consultant job description. There are several areas you may find a business consultant including e-business, marketing, human resources, business strategy, financial and management controls, supply chain management and information technology. Firms can offer end-to-end solutions or specialist expertise and skills in particular industry sectors.

What does a management consultant do?

Now, what do management consultants do daily? Firstly, they will research and collect data to understand the company they’re advising. Research may be in the form of analysis, interviewing employees, the management team and stakeholders, and running workshops and focus groups. Management consultant jobs will prepare proposals and presentations, form theories, identify issues and solutions and present findings and recommendations to their clients. Taking a further look into a job profile for consultants, we find they’ll implement these solutions and assist the client, manage projects and programmes associated with the recommendations they made. They may also lead and manage those within a team, either in the client or consultancy firm. A management consultant in the UK will liaise with their client throughout the process to keep them informed of progress and to make decisions.

The management consulting salary starts at around £25,000 and £30,000 for junior consultants.

What qualifications do you need for the management consulting career?

So you’re thinking of becoming a management consultant but not sure how to get there? This career path is open to all graduates, although having a degree in an analytical or numerical subject can be seen as an advantage for some agencies. There are no official management consultant qualifications or specific business management degrees, per se. Still, there are several subjects you can study which can be helpful, including business, finance, engineering, economics, science and mathematics.

If you want to become a management consultant, then having a degree related to the area where you want to work can help, for example, healthcare or engineering. Candidates with a 2:1 degree or equivalent is a requirement for most graduate training schemes, as well as commercial experience. Having a postgraduate degree under your belt isn’t essential, but it can be useful. Particular employers highly value the Masters in Business Administration (MBA); the same for a Masters or PhD. Having a higher level of education may allow individuals to enter the career at a higher position.

Most management consultants join this field with commercial experience and professional qualifications. However, some agencies take on graduates for their training schemes to let them learn on the job. It’s an area that is highly competitive, so achieving as many of the requirements and standards that you can will help push you into a decent position through the application process. If you want to start work after graduating then try to secure work experience before you finish your third year and apply early on in the autumn term. Other ways to strengthen your application is to keep up to date with industry news (Management Consultancies Association) and gaining membership to the Institute of Consulting (CMI).

Management Consultant Career

What consultancy skills do you need for the role of a consultant?

The skills needed for consulting work across various sectors. The role of a management consultant will need to be able to work independently as well as part of a team and flexible. Management consulting skills include being creative, innovative, and strategic. Problem-solving, decisiveness and having planning and organisation skills are essential for a managing consultant role. Consultant skills can also be in the form of excellent communication and interpersonal skills - both written and oral - as you’ll need to write reports and presentations and meet with clients and colleagues every day of the job. Although taking a further look into the consultant job description, we find that having the ability to cope under pressure, challenges, and to complete work to a deadline is just as vital. Having an analytical mind, as well as commercial and business environment awareness, are also considered part of the role.

Pushing particular skills aside, employers value experience and expertise as high as qualifications or university degrees. Therefore if you can obtain some relevant work experience before applying it’ll help you with the application process as well as the job itself. It can be in the form of part-time or voluntary positions, extracurricular activities - even at university - like sports, societies and club memberships. Anything that shows you have team-building skills, financial knowledge or organisational skills.

Management consulting services focus on helping companies improve their performance.

Where do you find consultancy roles?

Consultants work in several areas, including niche firms, generalists, human resources, IT firms and financial consultancy agencies. Firstly, let’s learn about how each type of consultant profile fits within the industry. Generalists are large firms who offer a range of services from HR to finance. Then we have outsourcing consulting who outsource projects for various departments. Next, we have specialised areas, from human resource consultants - who can advise on talent, restructuring and reward strategies - and IT consultancy firms who work systems analysis, design, applications and needs. Financial consultants specialise in budgetary control systems, capital and revenue budgeting and profit planning. Looking at strategy consultants, they offer advice on a project-by-project basis, and this could be goods and services or long-term planning. Lastly, we have niche firms who specialise in a particular sector or function.

The opportunities are even more expansive as management consultancies can work across a vast array of industries. If a particular sector piques your interest, then you may find the consulting career path is suitable for you. Financial services, manufacturing, charities, healthcare, educational institutions, leisure, media, hospitality, telecommunications, utilities, government, retail and the public sector all hire consultants.

Management Consultant

What is the average management consultant salary?

The management consulting salary starts at around £25,000 and £30,000 for junior consultants. Although, smaller firms may offer a lower consultancy wage depending on the location, size and type of agency. After gaining three to five years of work experience, the business consultant salary can increase to up to £50,000. The consultancy salary for the senior level could be as high as £125,000, including profit share and performance bonus schemes. Individuals with a significant amount of experience are more likely to see their wage increase over time.

The role of a management consultant will need to be able to work independently as well as part of a team and flexible.

What are the prospects for consulting?

If you are a graduate and looking into the career for management consultants, you can start in an analyst role who researches, analyses and collects data. After gaining experience, the individual can progress to consultancy work. Following this, you’ll often work to progress to a manager or senior consultant level, and this is generally after the three-year mark. Once you achieve this level while working as a consultant, you can lead teams and develop solutions and projects. Some choose to move into project management roles and specialise in the area.

It’s also common for business management consultants to eventually become a director or partner of a firm. This role involves generating new business, overseeing strategic growth and developing client relationships. Others may choose to open up their consultancy agency after gaining valuable experience and networking.

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