What Does a Management Consultant Do?
Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More
A management consultant, also sometimes called a management analyst, helps a company or government entity plan and execute projects with the desired outcome of becoming more profitable or competitive. To achieve this goal, the consultant may recommend a variety of strategies to alter the organization's structure or operation methods in ways that result in increased profits, better systems, and improved efficiency.
A management consultant may specialize in a particular industry, such as healthcare, manufacturing, or education. Alternatively, a management consultant's focus may be on a function, such as human resources, information technology, financial restructuring, or inventory control.
A management consultant works with company leadership to assess the company and identify problems, gather information, and implement solutions. Management consultants frequently work in teams, and most work for consulting firms, rather than being on the payroll of the company they are analyzing.
Management Consultant Duties & Responsibilities
Management consultants engage in a variety of duties and tasks. On any given workday, they may engage in job duties such as the following:
- Learn about the client's business challenges and technologies to understand their business needs; interview company personnel
- Review internal client company data such as financial statements, payroll information, or existing computer systems
- Outline the scope of the work and identify and map out schedules, milestones, and required resources to meet the project objectives
- Determine and communicate the work product or results that will be delivered to the client upon project completion
- Develop and carry out communications to the company's senior stakeholders, company staff, and internal and external project teams
- Conduct any required training classes for employees at a variety of levels
- Provide respectful feedback to company management
- Work tactfully to inspire faster adoption, greater utilization, and higher proficiency by employees regarding new ways of operating as a result of the consulting project outcomes
- Meet with client to ensure the provided solution is working
Management Consultant Salary
A management consultant's salary varies based on the area of expertise, level of experience, education, certifications, and other factors.
- Median Annual Salary: $83,610 ($40.2 /hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $152,760 ($73.44/hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $48,360 ($23.25/hour)
Education, Training & Certification
Individuals who want to pursue a career as a management consultant typically need a degree, and in some cases, may need some type of related work experience.
- Education: Many entry-level jobs require a bachelor's degree. Management consultants often major in business administration, economics, finance, psychology, management, marketing, accounting, or computer and information science.
- Advanced degrees: Many employers prefer candidates who have completed an MBA (Master's of Business Administration).
- Experience: Any experience you have in the industry in which you want to consult will make you a more competitive job candidate, even if it wasn't a consulting position. However, in the absence of experience, many consulting firms provide training to recent graduates.
- Certification: While not required, management consultants can get the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification by attending courses and passing an exam given by The Institute of Management Consultants USA. This can make an individual a stronger job candidate.
Management Consultant Skills & Competencies
Management consultants must have the following soft skills, which are personal qualities that will help you succeed in your work:
- Self-motivation and self-discipline: Management consultants often work at the client site without their superiors, and must be self-motivated to complete work in a timely manner with minimal oversight.
- Organizational skills: Clients rely on management consultants to be very organized about their approach to solving the client's problem and implementing the solution, especially since management consultants often bill by the hour for their time.
- Analytical, problem solving, and critical thinking skills: Consultants need to be able to absorb a great deal of information about the client's business, analyze the data and make clear and useful recommendations.
- Listening, verbal communication, and interpersonal skills: Consultants need to interact with many of the client's employees at various levels of the organization and must be able to do so with diplomacy and effective communication skills.
- Writing skills: Management consultants typically present their work results in the form of reports, manuals, and other forms of documentation that require good writing skills.
- Time Management Skills: Since management consultants often either bill by the hour or work under a fixed-fee agreement, they must actively manage their time to keep within budget.
- Creativity: Consultants must be able to have the flexibility and creativity to handle any situations that arise while implementing solutions for the client, such as a solution that doesn't work as intended, or a problem that has other, unforeseen circumstances.
Management consultants may be helping a client work on a very time-sensitive project, and the ability to deal effectively with stress is another important characteristic of a good consultant. Clients will expect the consulting team to effectively deliver project results on-time, on-budget, and within a project scope that meets or exceeds the company's expectations.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in this field will grow more rapidly than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026. Consultants who specialize in health care and IT, particularly cybersecurity, are expected to have the best job prospects.
Employment is expected to grow by about 14% over the next ten years, which is much faster growth than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026. This growth rate compares to the projected 7% growth for all occupations.
Most jobs are in large metropolitan areas, and management consultants often work at the company's headquarters, but may also visit divisional offices and subsidiary companies. Although the majority of consultants work for a consulting firm, about 17% of all management consultants are self-employed.
Approximately 25% of management consultants work overtime. The job may require a good deal of travel to client offices, which often requires long periods of time away from home. Management consultants may experience a lot of stress at work as a result of these factors. Management consultants often spend very minimal time in their own company's office. Consultants may also experience a high level of stress due to trying to meet client demands within tight timeframes.
How to Get the Job
FIND AN INTERNSHIP
Get guidance by working with an experienced management consultant. You can find management consulting internships through your college career center, on-campus interviews, and online job search sites.
Look at job-search resources like Indeed.com, Monster.com, and Glassdoor.com for available positions. You can also visit the websites of individual consulting firms and apply online or find job openings through your school's career center. If you have any specific industry expertise, such as banking or energy, or technical experience such as with software or computer networks, you can increase your chances of getting hired by applying to consulting firms that take on these types of projects for their clients.
Attend networking events sponsored by management consulting firms to connect with current management consultants and related parties who may be able to hire you or refer you to a hiring manager.
Comparing Similar Jobs
People interested in a management consultant career also consider the following career paths, listed with their median annual salaries:
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Management Analysts." Accessed January 13, 2020.