What Is a Management Consulting Career? (With FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 1, 2021

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 play a vital role in helping organizations change the way they operate. These changes can be sweeping or minor, but they all serve a positive purpose for a company. Learning about the management consulting career can help you decide if this career suits your professional skills and goals. In this article, we review common questions about a management consulting career, such as what educational requirements are necessary to work in this field, what businesses use management consultants and what skills are important for the career.

Read more: All About Management Consulting

What is a management consultant?

A management consultant is a professional who uses their expertise to create strategies and action plans that help companies improve their business and operational processes. Companies frequently request a management consultant's skills when they are facing challenges that need to be addressed. A management consultant knows how to streamline procedures and encourage team members with methods of working consistently.

A management consultant often functions under other job titles, such as business analyst or management analyst. An accomplished management consultant is a skilled listener and critical thinker. However, the specific duties and responsibilities of a management consultant vary based on the industry of the work and the employer.

Here are some of different types of management consultant jobs to consider:

  • Information technology consultants

  • Operations consultants

  • Financial consultants

  • Human resources consultants

  • Business consultants

  • Strategy consultants

  • Risk and compliance consultants

  • Environmental consultants

Read more: What Is Management Consulting?

What are the educational requirements for a management consulting career?

To work as a management consultant, companies usually require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, usually in business management, business administration, operations or management information systems. Some companies may request that a candidate has a master's degree, but this isn't always necessary. Experience in business, specifically management, and a variety of management roles, may be more important to the position than education. Because of the diversity of the work, a management consultant may obtain a variety of degrees, such as business administration, marketing and finance.

Read more: How To Become a Management Consultant

What types of businesses need management consultants?

A management consultant career is fairly universal, meaning these consultants can work in many types of businesses. Organizations such as private corporations, nonprofits, small startups and even global conglomerates can employ management consultants. Management consulting firms also employ management consultants, either as employees or contractors. Within a management consulting firm, the consultant functions as a representative of their employer. Management consultants may also work for niche consulting firms that focus on industry specialization.

Consider this list of some industries and businesses that employ management consultants:

  • Information technology companies

  • Financial institutions

  • Environmental organizations

  • Human resources firms

  • Sales agencies

  • Healthcare organizations

  • Legal firms

  • Marketing firms

  • Entertainment companies

What is the work environment for management consultants?

A management consultant's work environment may vary depending on their specialized industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest number of management consultants work in professional, scientific and technical sectors, followed by government and financial agencies. Many management consultants work in offices, completing administrative and clerical responsibilities. Because consultants spend a great deal of time interacting and conducting business with clients, they also have to travel often.

Management consultants frequently travel directly to their client's location, which can sometimes require them to commute from their office to multiple clients throughout the day. They may meet clients in non-office locations, such as restaurants, to discuss the details of a consulting project. Consultants revise their schedules to meet their clients' needs, and because of this busy schedule, it isn't uncommon for management consultants to work under strict deadlines. To meet these demands, they sometimes have to work over 40 hours per week, which may include weekends and holidays.

How much do management consultants make?

The average salary for a management consultant in the United States is $83,987 per year. The amount may vary depending on location, type of position or employer and level of experience. This position may also benefit from additional profit-sharing compensation.

What is the job outlook for management consultants?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management analysts, similar to management consultants, can expect to see a projected growth of 11% in the next decade. This level of growth is faster than the average for other occupations. The increased need for management consulting services results from companies and businesses seeking alternative solutions to improve their productivity and revenue. As markets and sectors become more saturated with similar companies, a management consultant's innovative ideas become more valuable. Management consultants may continue to see positive growth because of their diverse market ability that allows them to work in any sector.

Read more: Management Consulting Internships: Definition, Benefits and How To Get One

What skills are important for a management consulting career?

Here are some important skills that help you find success in a management consulting career:

  • Data analytics: Management consultants need to understand data so they can make informed plans and strategies to help streamline the operations of a business.

  • Time management: Sometimes, management consultants are in charge of projects with strict deadlines, so managing time wisely allows them to complete assignments and projects in a timely manner.

  • Mathematics: Mathematics plays an important role in a management consultant's skill set because they often have to make calculations about market numbers and other quantitive information.

  • Interpersonal skills: Management consultants work with many people in a company, such as managers and other employees. It's helpful to have empathy and patience while working with a company that is seeking better solutions. Understanding how to motivate, use teamwork and leadership may help them work efficiently as a team in a new solution.

  • Expert communication: Communication involves both speaking clearly and actively listening to others. This is important for a management consultant to determine their concerns and convey to them the potential solutions.

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving: A management consultant's primary purpose is to use their critical thinking skills to create solutions for their client's issues and problems.

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