As a management consultant, also called management analyst, you’ll work with companies to develop solutions that make their operations more efficient. This is an advisory position in which you consult with managers to analyze their current model and find ways to reduce costs and increase revenue. Most often, management consultants are self-employed or part of consulting organizations that work with clients.
On a day-to-day basis, management consultants gather information about problems that need to be solved, which involves interviewing company personnel, making on-site observations, and analyzing company data, including revenue, expenditures, and other financial details. With this information, you can make recommendations to improve efficiency. You may recommend the implementation of new systems or organizational changes to improve the company’s workflow and processes. Recommendations are the first part of the process. After the plans are implemented and the company employs your solutions, you follow up to make sure the plans you established are working smoothly. At this point, you can “tweak” the plans to improve them as needed.
This is a rewarding career that provides a high return on your investment. Keep reading to learn more about careers in management consulting.
Top reasons to work as a management consultant
Management consulting is a rewarding career, generally featuring challenging work, high salaries, and a lot of freedom and flexibility. Some of the benefits you can expect include the following:
Management consulting lends itself to self-employment. If maintaining a good work-life balance is important to you, then this line of work offers flexibility in that you’ll be able to choose the number of contracts to take on at any given period of time. Because you work as a third-party contractor, you can choose which companies to pursue as prospective clients. Moreover, you’ll have the ability to tailor your schedule to accommodate a family and social life.
A good return on investment
A bachelor’s degree is usually required to land typical entry-level management consulting jobs – and for a four-year degree, the starting salary is respectable. In addition, earning certifications makes you even more competitive in the consultancy market.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019, the median annual pay for management consultants was $85,260. That’s more than twice the median annual salary for all fields combined.
Companies in every sector need management consultants to help streamline their operations to improve workflow and save money. This means you can choose among companies in manufacturing, professional services, government, health care, IT, and more.
The BLS predicts demand for management consultants to increase by 11% between 2019 and 2029.
Industry trends in management consulting
Because management consulting is a rapidly growing field, some major trends will reshape future opportunities. If you’re interested in becoming a management consultant, here’s a quick overview of industry trends to look out for.
According to the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI), consultants in the future will be expected to have a diverse, wide skill set. In a consulting role, you’ll examine a company’s operations, which means you must have an understanding of workflow, HR, marketing, financials, and other elements as necessary. In particular, three primary skill areas will be most in demand for the consultants of tomorrow: analysis, project management, and relationship building.
Project management skills are crucial for budgeting and delivering on time. Management consulting is often a fast-paced job, which means you must be efficient to meet client deadlines. Well-developed analytical skills are in demand because they enable you to pinpoint problems and develop customized solutions. Relationship skills are necessary, not only for maintaining good communication with colleagues and stakeholders, but also for landing consultant projects and building good relationships with clients.
To work as a management consultant, certifications aren’t required. However, obtaining certifications through reputable industry associations can give you an edge over the competition.
As more consultants become certified through professional organizations, hiring managers are increasingly likely to want to see these qualifications. That’s largely because these programs demonstrate several valuable qualities. Certifications show initiative, which is essential in consulting. They are also a way to illustrate that you’ve learned the skills needed to effectively develop solutions to help streamline the company’s operations.
Management consulting is typically contractual work by self-employed individuals or those who work for consulting firms. However, as ICMCI reports, a growing trend exists in major companies such as Porsche, DHL, and Philips creating their own internal consulting units. Contract consulting through firms and self-employment aren’t expected to decline, but in-house consulting is projected to increase. These openings will occur primarily in major companies with the resources to create their own internal consulting units.
Areas of opportunity in management consulting
Companies of all sizes need management consultants, which means opportunities are available to work in startups, major corporations, and every type of company in between. This career is not limited to particular sectors, as most industries need management consultants. Next, you’ll find a list of the industries with the highest demand for these services.
Popular career areas of management consulting:
Professional and technical
What different types of management consultant jobs are available?
Many opportunities exist for individuals with analyst experience. Many of these positions emphasize financial analysis of some type, while others are more holistic, approaching not only finance, but business operations as well. Depending on your education and areas of interest, you may qualify for one of several specialized roles.
According to the BLS, currently, 876,300 professionals are working as management consultants in the United States, a number that’s expected to grow by 93,800 additional positions by 2029. This brings the total number of management consultant jobs to 970,100, an 11% increase. Demand, the BSL reports, is predicated on the fact that organizations always “seek ways to improve efficiency and control costs.”
Here, you’ll find a listing of entry-level and advanced positions in specialized areas.
Entry-level management consultant jobs
Entry-level consulting and analyst positions typically require a bachelor’s degree, but since you will enter the job at a relatively high salary, you should see a good return on your educational investment.
Market Research Analyst
Advanced management consultant jobs
While some advanced consulting careers require only a bachelor’s degree, in many instances, a master’s degree is helpful or even necessary to secure an upper-level position. Note that your geographic location and level of expertise have a significant bearing on the salary you will receive.
IT Senior Business Analyst
Senior Human Resources Consultant
Senior Financial Analyst
Top skills and digital tools for careers in management consulting
Whether you’re working remotely as a self-employed contract consultant or working in a brick-and-mortar office, management consultants share similar skill sets with their colleagues in the business management market. We’ve prepared research, listed here, which outlines the fastest-growing in-demand skill sets in management.
Fast-growing management consultant skills
Projected Posting Growth (2018-2023)
General Sales Practices
Microsoft Office and Productivity Tools
Advanced Microsoft Excel
Key Performance Indicators
Source: Burning Glass Technologies
The most in-demand soft skills for management consultants are:
The top-requested specialized or technical skills for this career include:
Popular management consultant tools
Management consultants use a variety of tools to process and communicate information. Some of the most important tools are:
Management consulting internships
Serving an internship is one of the most beneficial career moves you can make while you’re still in college. An internship provides valuable real-world work experience that employers seek when hiring. You may find an internship in this field at these companies:
As a management consultant, one of the fastest ways to grow your professional network and improve your industry knowledge is to join a professional association. Some associations that you may want to consider include:
Enjoy a flexible career with great earning potential
Management consulting is a lucrative field with a particularly high demand for employees. This career offers a lot of flexibility, which allows you to maintain a work-life balance. If you have the right skills, management consulting can open opportunities in a diverse array of sectors.
This field will continue to grow in the coming years. For people like you who are interested in pursuing these opportunities, we’re here to help. We can guide you along the path to success by connecting you with educational opportunities, as well as with potential employers.