Management consulting is a field that involves advising the senior management of firms and corporations on ways to maximise their efficiency, operational processes and organisational performance. This advice usually aims to identify the factors that are clogging up the corporate machinery and solve them to make the firm function smoothly.
The market for these services is massive and is estimated to be worth around $140 billion, which makes it a very profitable industry to work in. Consultants are hired for this purpose through a consulting contract, which requires potential consultants to meet the qualification of consultants.
How do I get the qualification of consultant?
- No official licence is required to practise as a management consultant, but when considering the qualification of consultants, it is important to note that most professionals have 5-7 years of experience in the relevant field, as either Research Associates or Junior Consultants, before becoming management consultants.
- Scoring well in the Undergraduate Aptitude Test (UGAT) administered by the All India Management Association would also add greatly to your chances of getting the consultant qualification, and it would open up avenues for higher education.
- Other methods to get the qualification of consultant also exist, such as work experience through internships and certification through courses. These can give you an edge over other people attempting to get the qualification of consultant.
- Important certificates include Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification and Talent Optimisation Consultant (TOC) certification.
- Interning in the specific type of firm that you want to work for as a management consultant would give you a better understanding of how the firm operates, thereby adding to your stock of qualifications as a consultant.
Skills that help in getting the qualification of consultant
- Management consultants can be from any field, but a background in subjects such as business, economics, finance and mathematics can help bolster your management consultant qualifications greatly.
- Degrees that are relevant for the field that you want to work in are also helpful, as well as commercial experience in those industries. The Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree is a particularly well-respected one and would be very useful in getting the qualification of consultant.
- Apart from academic qualifications, management consultants also require good interpersonal skills, the ability to work in a team well, oral and written communication skills, creativity, strategic planning, analytical skills and practical problem-solving abilities. They must also be able to cope with pressure, as these jobs come with tight deadlines and strenuous tasks.
What does a consultant do?
- People with the qualification of consultant provide advice on strategic and organisational matters. Depending on the industry that they are in, this could be regarding anything from strategic advice on technological equipment and medical procedures for the healthcare industry to marketing and public relations strategies for firms producing consumer goods.
- Large corporations may have in-house corporate strategy offices, where the presence of those with the qualification of consultants is indispensable.
- They generally facilitate discussions with clients to find out areas that have scope for improvement. Then, they find out whether there are any impediments to such improvement, which begins a complex process of problem-solving. This is why creativity and problem-solving are an important part of getting the qualification of a consultant.
- After this, qualitative and quantitative research is performed to further analyse the problems. This analysis leads to consolidated findings, which are used to arrive at tentative solutions. These solutions are presented to clients in a manner that makes them appear worthwhile and attractive, along with plans to implement the solutions.
- As this is a complicated process that requires a deep understanding of the subject matter, the necessities for the qualification of a consultant vary from field to field. Still, a general understanding of business, finance and how people interact is essential to providing the best service possible.
Types of management consultants
There are many types of management consultants, each with slightly different ways of getting the qualification of consultant. The major types are as follows:
- Strategy consultants are those who advise clients on various aspects of their business, including corporate strategy, business transformation and expansion, digital capabilities and marketing plans.
- The qualification of consultant for this type of consultant would be more inclined toward interpersonal relations and financial knowledge, such as a business degree and corporate contacts.
- As an operations consultant, you would advise firms on logistical matters such as transport and storage, as well as the maximisation of manufacturing potential. While the general management consultant qualifications apply here, a focus on the practical aspects of the firm and an engineering degree would be very useful.
- Information technology:
- An IT consultant would provide and implement technological solutions for a firm, such as improving their online presence through Search Engine Optimisation and better web development and alerting them to technological developments that could be utilised in the working of the firm.
- The qualification of a consultant required here would be technologically oriented, like a Computer Science degree and marketing knowledge.
- Human capital:
- Management consultants in this area advise firms on how to maximise the potential of their employees. This is done through organisational changes, improvements in the management structure of the firm, and changes in the hiring policies of the firm.
- Business and finance degrees would be important qualifications for consultants.
- Financial advisory:
- These consultants handle advice related to mergers and acquisitions, large-scale restructuring of businesses, long term financial planning, and also provide aid during financial exigencies.
- A few of the necessary qualifications of consultants for a financial advisory consultant include a degree in finance, intimate knowledge of the income and expenditures of the firm, and the ability to plan for the long run.
Due to their intricate connections in the fields, they are involved with, and how mentally intensive their work is, management consultants often become experts in their field. This knowledge can be leveraged to acquire other positions in similar firms, including upper management posts.
Being a management consultant for a few years opens up many possibilities for the rest of your career, and your qualification as a consultant will not go to waste in any other job either. Joining a management consulting firm, or getting your own consulting contract, is just the first step to a long, successful and rewarding career path.