Management consulting is a field that involves advising the senior management of firms and corporations on ways to maximize their efficiency, operational processes, and organizational 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 certain management consultant qualifications to be met.
What are management consultant qualifications?
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 enhancing your management consultant qualifications. 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.
Other management consultant qualifications, such as work experience through internships and certification through courses, can give you an edge over other potential employees. 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 as a management consultant in would give you a better understanding of how the firm operates, thereby adding to your management consultant qualifications.
No official license is required to practice as a management consultant, but when considering management consultant qualifications, 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 management consultant qualifications, and it would also open up avenues for higher education.
What do management consultants do?
Management consultants provide advice on strategic and organizational matters. Depending on the industry that they are in, this could be 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 management 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 important parts of management consultant qualifications. After this, qualitative and quantitative research is performed to further analyze the problems. This analysis leads to a set of 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 management consultant qualifications vary from field to field, but 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 management consultant qualifications. The major types are as follows:
- Strategy: 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 management consultant qualifications for this type of consultant would be more inclined towards interpersonal relations and financial knowledge, such as a business degree and corporate contacts.
- Operations: As an operations consultant, you would advise firms on logistical matters such as transport and storage, as well as the maximization 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 utilized in the working of the firm. The management consultant qualifications 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 maximize the potential of their employees. This is done through organizational 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 management consultant qualifications here.
- Financial advisory: These consultants handle advice related to mergers and acquisitions, large-scale restructuring of businesses, and long-term financial planning, and also provide aid during financial exigencies. A few of the necessary management consultant qualifications 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 field in, which they are involved, 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 management consultant qualifications 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.