All About Management Consulting

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 26, 2021 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated March 26, 2021

Published February 4, 2020

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.

Management consultants help both private and public businesses and organizations find the most effective strategies for running their business, reducing costs and maximizing profits. Starting a career as a management consultant can be very rewarding for professionals who are problem-solvers and enjoy helping businesses grow and develop. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know if you are considering a career as a management consultant, including the job duties, necessary skills and qualifications, and how to find a management consultant job.

What does a management consultant do?

A management consultant is a person who acts as a problem-solver to help companies and organizations improve their business operations and overcome challenges to reduce costs and maximize profits. Management consultants work with senior leadership and C-level executives to help them identify and implement more efficient and productive operating systems and resolve and overcome their most challenging business issues. Some management consultants work on a broad range of projects in various industries, while other management consultants work within a specific industry.

Related: Q&A: What Is a Consulting Firm?

Management consultant job duties

The duties and responsibilities of a management consultant can vary based on their position, experience and the industry they are consulting in, but may include:

  • Learn about a company's business processes and challenges to develop an understanding of the client's needs.

  • Review and audit internal company data, such as payroll, financial statements and company records.

  • Identify project objectives and goals and establish deadlines.

  • Prepare and present reports for senior leadership on results of observation and analysis.

  • Advise senior leadership and executive team of recommendations for improving business processes.

  • Provide necessary training for development and improvement throughout the company.

  • Provide feedback to the management team in a respectful, constructive and professional manner.

  • Follow-up with the client to ensure changes are consistently working to meet business goals.

Skills management consultants need

Management consultants are creative problem-solvers who need a variety of hard and soft skills to be successful in their roles. Some of the most commonly sought-after skills for a management consultant include:

  • Observational skills: Management consultants begin their projects by observing the existing business processes of a company and interviewing employees to identify areas where improvements can be made.

  • Critical thinking and analytical skills: After observing the practices of a business, interviewing employees and gathering relevant data and statistics, management consultants need to analyze the information they have gathered and will need critical thinking skills to identify the challenges the business has.

  • Problem-solving skills: The primary job of a management consultant is to provide actionable solutions to the challenges their clients have that are preventing their client's businesses from being as efficient, competitive or successful as possible.

  • Strategic planning: Management consultants need to be able to strategically plan new ways for their clients to approach their business processes to successfully overcome the challenges the business is having.

  • Interpersonal skills: These skills include a wide range of people skills, such as verbal and written communication, active listening, empathy, leadership and teamwork. Management consultants need strong interpersonal skills as they often communicate and collaborate with individuals from every level of the organization, from entry-level employees to C-level executives.

  • Time-management skills: Management consultants often work long hours without direct supervision and need to have excellent time-management skills to ensure they meet deadlines and project deliverables as expected.

Other management consultant qualifications

Management consultants need several other qualifications to be successful in their roles. Most management consultants have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, with many holding higher degrees like an MBA. Depending on the position or consultancy firm you are applying for, you may also need a certain amount of experience within the industry or field you want to provide consulting services for. Generally, the more experience you have, the stronger of a candidate you will be, although some firms will recruit and train recent graduates for entry-level consulting positions. Professionals with consulting experience may also choose to become certified.

How to find management consultant jobs

Follow these steps to help you find a job as a management consultant:

  1. Earn a degree.

  2. Complete an internship.

  3. Attend hiring events.

  4. Create a resume and cover letter.

  5. Search and apply for positions online.

  6. Follow-up on your application.

1. Earn a degree

Most consulting agencies prefer candidates who have at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to the type of consulting work they will do. Many management consultants major in business, accounting, finance, marketing, economics or another related field. A bachelor's degree should be enough for most entry-level consulting positions, but management consultants looking to advance their career may want to consider obtaining a higher-level degree, such as a master of business administration.

2. Complete an internship

Many college programs offer the opportunity to complete an internship as part of your program. If you are given this opportunity while in school, you should take advantage of it to gain relevant experience and develop your skills. These internships can also help you earn a position within the company you do your internship with upon graduation.

Related: Definitive Guide to Internships

3. Attend hiring events

Many large consulting firms hire entry-level consultants straight from recruiting events held on-campus at their college or job fairs. If you are interested in becoming a management consultant, talk to your campus' career coach to see which firms will participate in upcoming hiring events on-campus. You can also look for local job fairs the companies you are interested in will be at. Once you know when the hiring event will be, prepare your resume, cover letter, what you will wear and the pitch you will use to sell yourself at the event.

Related: Guide: How To Succeed at a Hiring Event or Open Interview

4. Create a resume and cover letter

Your resume and cover letter should highlight the relevant skills and experiences you have that will make you stand out from other candidates applying for management consulting positions. Review the job descriptions for the positions you are interested in, and then customize your resume and cover letter based on the skills and experience that particular employer is looking for.

Related: Consultant Resume Samples

5. Search and apply for positions online

You can find available management consultant job postings online and use the convenient online application process to submit your resume, cover letter and application to the positions you are interested in. When completing the application, make sure you take your time and review the application to ensure all details are accurate.

6. Follow-up on your application

Following up with the recruiter or hiring manager after you submit your job application can help you show your interest in the position and stand out to the recruiter or hiring manager as a strong candidate. You can follow-up on your application via email or with a phone call, unless the job posting specifically asks candidates not to contact the hiring manager or recruiter directly. However, you should generally wait two weeks before following up on an application to give the employer time to review your application and contact you first.

Related: How To Follow Up on a Job Application

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