Do you love solving problems? Are you skilled at discovering creative solutions using data and analytics? Then you might enjoy being a management consultant. Management consultants are hired by companies to solve issues like whether or not to close a branch office. They develop strategies to expand sales in an untapped region or streamline an operation. Using consultants can be less expensive than relying on staff. Thanks to the increasing complexity of running a business, the field is growing rapidly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s expected to grow some 14% by 2030 with an average of nearly 100,000 job openings each year.
As explained by management consultant Terina Allen, the job means working “…
with domestic and/or global clients (organizations, executives, leaders and teams) to identify and solve complex business, organizational, and operational problems and define and improve processes.” Many are hired soon after graduation with limited work experience. So if you’ve been thinking about joining this profession, here’s how to become a management consultant.
Earning a bachelor’s degree from a highly selective university will improve your odds of becoming a successful management consultant. Why? Well, if you’re wondering how to become a management consultant, keep in mind that top firms recruit primarily at top schools. However, with the increase in remote interviews that has been slowly changing. Regardless, experts recommend that you major in a field that interests you like finance, marketing, or accounting and gear your degree toward a particular sector like healthcare or e-commerce. Minor subjects and a few well-placed internships can help round this out.
However, few fields are as thirsty for newly minted MBAs as management consultancies. While an entry level job as an analyst might only require a bachelor’s and pay around 75K a year, earning an MBA can propel you into a job as an actual management consultant earning as much as 200K annually. However, it’s vital that you do your research since not all MBA programs are created equal. You don’t want to take on a six-figure debt load for a five-figure job.
Gaining experience by managing a team or running a small business will definitely smooth your path. The key is focusing on your achievements, not just your responsibilities. If you saved a client money or increased your company’s sales your resume should reflect that along with how you achieved it. The fact that you’ve never consulted before is less important than a record of achieving results and being able to clearly convey how you did it.
Plus, having work experience means a network and networking is a vital part of earning an interview for a consultant position. If you’ve worked with consultants in the past, then you definitely need to reach out for them about opportunities.
Ace The Interview
The series of interviews that lead to a job offer as a management consultant are notoriously time consuming and demanding. The winnowing process likely starts on familiar terrain with a one-on-one meeting with a hiring manager. This is often followed by an interview with several higher-ups including executives or team leaders. These interviews can be prepared for and I definitely recommend running practice sessions with a trusted friend.
However, the final interview often involves a test to see how you’ll solve a problem based on a real case. This case interview means spending most of an hour developing a recommendation or solution to a real-life business problem. In some situations, you
may be competing with the final crop of candidates or joining a team. This portion is hard to prepare for but if you have what it takes your talents will shine through.
Becoming a management consultant isn’t easy. Those who succeed in the field are not only well rewarded financially but get to travel extensively. Most say one of the best parts of their job is that every day is different.
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