management consultant

What is a Management Consultant?

Alan Melton

What is a Business Management Consultant?

A business management consultant can conceive and propose feasible ways to enhance the efficiency of an organization. They usually extend advice to the managers of organizations on more efficient management tactics that increase profits by reducing production costs and increasing revenue.

What Does A Management Consultant Do?

Business management consultants have duties that include:

  • Functional Expertise and Specializations

Business management consultants extend their expertise to managers of companies in specialized areas like governance, strategy, mergers, strategic leadership organization design, operations, finance, digital transformation, information technology, risk management, organizational change management, human resources, organization development, advertising, talent management, and marketing, to name a few.

  • Objective Analyses and Assessments

Their objectivity allows business management consultants better conduct appropriate research and analysis for the betterment of the organization. They also present unbiased opinions as an objective third party and an outside perspective in complex and challenging issues.

  • Project Management

business management consultantBusiness management consultants collaborate with the senior leadership of organizations and internal project teams to deliver hands-on project leadership consulting and management in aspects such as project implementation, measurement, and execution. They will, thus, play an active role in identifying and mapping out schedules, milestones, and required resources needed for the realization of projects. They may also coordinate communication between the client and the company upon project realization and communication with senior stakeholders, staff, and other teams of the company with regards to the project.

  • Understand Business Needs and Challenges

It is the responsibility of the Business Management consultant to study and understand the particular challenges to the organization carefully. They also strive to understand the needs of the organization to provide relevant business counsel. This may be achieved via personnel interviews, review of internal company data like financial statements and payroll information, on-site evaluations on the organization’s production processes, equipment, personnel, and methods.

  • Develop Strategies for Company Growth

The Business management consultant has a responsibility to devise new strategies for ensuring the relevance of the company in the marketplace. Their ideas and innovation maintain the competitiveness of the company in the marketplace.

  • Analyze Financial Data

The business management consultant may need to analyze the financial data of the organization. Data like revenue, expenditure, employment reports, etc., will help synthesize mathematical models for the company.

  • Make Recommendations

Business management consultants synthesize solutions to problems plaguing the organization and present recommended management solutions, often through reports or presentations. They may recommend new practices, systems, procedures, or a complete overhaul of organizational structure. The management consultant’s ultimate aim of recommendations and proposals is to increase business profits by optimizing the production process, reducing production costs, and increasing profits.

  • Actively Participate in Implementing Accepted Recommendations

The role of the business management consultant doesn’t end at making recommendations and presenting proposed solutions to problems. Vetted and approved recommendations need to be implemented, and the business management consultant works with the management of the organization to ensure changes are effected and working.

  • Staff Training

The implementation of more efficient production methods and procedures may necessitate training of current staff. The business management consultant again fits in to organize and coordinate training classes for employees to ensure they are up to speed on innovations in the company. They will also work towards inspiring staff towards faster adoption, and higher proficiency with regards to new operating methods arrived at as a result of business management consultancy.

The Average Salary of a Business Management Consultant

management consultantThe salary for a business management consultant isn’t set in stone and varies depending on geographical location, the scale of consultancy offered, and the working experience.

Going by the scale of consultancy offered, junior business management consultants can start off making about $35,000 – $40,000 per year with larger firms. Smaller-scale consultancy (with small businesses) will be less than this.

Considering the working experience of the business management consultant, a three to five-year experience can earn a paycheck of up to $70,000 annually.

A senior-level business management consultant with a great deal of consultancy experience can make as much as $173,000 per year, given that bonus schemes are in effect. And as the experience builds, the management consultant can charge a daily rate or per-project basis.

Business management consultants can also benefit from allowances, pensions, schemes, insurance, on-site gyms, interest-free season ticket loans, and childcare vouchers

Working Hours for a Business Management Consultant

Business management consultancy can be pretty demanding, with long work hours beyond the average 9 am to 4 pm workday. There may even be extra daily work needed to be taken home, especially for larger projects or when project deadlines are approaching, and the project is behind schedule. However, the specific working hours are dependent on the type of project and the hiring firm.

Firms in the modern-day are increasingly paying more attention to the work-life balance of workers and management consultants by offering benefits packages, work-from-home opportunities, maternity and paternity leaves, and flexible working schedules. All these go to make the management consultant’s job a lot less cumbersome and more effective.

There are also freelancing management consultancy gigs, given the right contacts and substantial experience.

How to Become A Business Management Consultant

Education, Experience & Certification

People who desire to engage in business management consultancy as a career typically require an academic degree and, in most cases, a related work experience.

  • Education

Most business management consultants must needs have a bachelor’s degree at least. They often major in business administration, management, accounting, economics, finance, marketing, psychology, or computer and information science. Instead, many organizations will prefer business management consultants who have completed more advanced educational programs like an MBA (Master’s of Business Administration).

  • Experience

The more experience you have as a business management consultant, the more likely you will be hired as you’ll be perceived as more competent. In some cases, organizations may offer training and interning opportunities for recent graduates with no working experience.

  • Certification

A Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification from The Institute of Management Consultants USA can set you from the crowd and enable you to get employed as a business management consultant. Even though certifications isn’t a prerequisite to being a management consultant, it is an excellent employment opportunity booster.

Business Management Consultancy Levels

Generally, there are four business management consultant levels on the career ladder, depending on education, related experience, and competence.

Entry Level

The entry-level is the first level of business management consulting. The candidate at the entry-level is usually an analyst for the business or associate management consultant. This level requires a degree but may not emphasize working experience.

Management Consultant Level

The second level of a business management consultant is usually referred to as the actual management consultant level. This level requires an undergraduate degree plus some degree of management consulting experience, ranging from two to four years of experience.

Senior Consultant Level

The senior business management consultant is the third level of management consultancy and is also called the project lead. This level of business management consultancy requires a graduate degree plus seven years of working experience as a business management consultant. An undergraduate degree with at least ten years of working experience may also be acceptable for this level.

Partner Level

The Partner-level is the fourth level as a business management consultant, sometimes referred to as the principal level. This level requires a graduate degree with more than ten years of hands-on experience as a business management consultant.

P.S. Throughout this article, we refer to business management consulting jobs that require at least a college degree as a minimum requirement. But it should be noted that not all management consulting jobs require a college degree. Some organizations will still be willing to work with someone without a college degree with substantive working experience in place of a degree.

The college degree requirement comes into play for more organizations that work with specialized business management consultants or strategy consultants.

Skills & Competencies

The skills and competencies required as a business management consultant vary depending on the industry and specific client base. But you will be expected to hone in on your expertise and specialization and develop the skills and aptitudes in your specific field of functioning you would be offering consultancy services.  The higher the business management consultant you attain, the stronger the required skillset, which means the more you’ll need to know.

Successful business management consultants have the following skills and qualities, which are crucial to their success.

  • Self-discipline and Self-motivation

Business management consultants often work unsupervised by their superiors. They need to be self-disciplined and diligent in their work to deliver results on time and with minimal oversight. Also, their role of motivating other team members requires that they first be sled-motivated and highly spirited.

  • Organizational skills

Clients look up to business management consultants to be exceptionally organized in their problem-solving approach towards the clients and implement proposed solutions. This is important given that they sometimes bill vast amounts of pay per hour of service they render.

  • Analytical and critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Business management consultants must have the ability to critically assess and analyze information from the client about their business, identify problems plaguing the organization and propose a feasible and fact-based recommended solution to these problems.

  • Listening, verbal communication, and interpersonal skills

The interpersonal skills of business management consultants must be well-groomed as they may be required to interact with employees at different levels of the organization. Their communication and listening skills must also be well-honed if they succeed in their job as business management consultants.

  • Writing skills

Business Management consultants usually present their findings of the organization’s problems and recommendations for the efficient functioning of the organization to hierarchy in writing, as reports, manuals, or presentations, which all require good writing skills.

  • Time Management Skills

Working with project teams often highlights the need to stick to a schedule, and management consultants must be good time managers to meet stipulated deadlines for projects. Also, charging on a per-hour or fixed period basis requires that they are good time managers to keep within the organization’s budget.

  • Creativity

Business management consultants need to be flexible and creative enough to take on issues that may arise during the implementation of assessed to deduced problems where the solutions seem not to work as intended. The creativity of the management consultant will ensure that even when complications arise, they can adapt their solutions to apply still and solve organizational problems.

Employers of Business Management Consultants

Management consultancy firms are the leading employers of business management consultants, often divided into the following areas:

  • Generalists

These larger firms offer a more comprehensive range of services from strategy consulting and human resources to outsourcing and IT globally.

  • Strategy consultants

Strategy consultants offer strategic advice on a project-by-project basis to companies, e.g., new market entry strategies, long-range planning, and rationalizing goods and services.

  • Human resource consultants

They offer specialist Human Resource advice, like in organizational restructuring, talent, and reward strategies.

  • Information technology consultants

IT consultants offer specialist IT advice like systems analysis and design, planning information needs, and applications consulting.

  • Financial consultants

These firms offer specialist financial advice like budgetary control systems installation, profit planning, capital and revenue budgeting.

  • Outsourcing consultancies

Outsourcing consultancies oversee the outsourcing of projects like IT, finance, and HR.

  • Niche firms

Niche firms are often set up by consultants who have left the larger firms to start up their firm.  Niche firms often over very specific/specialist services.

Business management consultants operate across a wide range of industries and sectors, including:

  • financial services
  •  charities and educational institutions
  • healthcare
  • the public sector and government
  • manufacturing
  •  hospitality and leisure
  • retail
  • media and telecommunications
  •  utilities

What to Expect as a Business Management Consultant

  • business management consultantBusiness management consultants often have a high level of responsibility and pressure under which to work. The stress levels associated with the job can sometimes prove challenging, coupled with the tight deadlines and targets to meet.
  • Business management consultants may travel a lot, spending a great deal of time in transit between cities and nations.  As such, they may have considerably less time at home unless work-from-home facilities are set up. This can get even more prominent with overseas offices and employment, as business management consultants can work at an international level working abroad.
  • Management consultancy firms usually commit firmly to diversity. Initiatives like internal mentoring targeted graduate recruitment and diversity networks to support under-represented groups usually get established.
  •  After spending a lot of time in the conventional salaried corporate position as a business management consultant, you could consider self-employment. Such a move requires a great deal of knowledge of the market and your specific specialized industry.

8 Tips to Becoming Business Management Consultant

Before you start searching for a job as a business management consultant, you need to think about your:

Ideal work environment: so, are you shooting for a big firm or a small business? How do you intend to balance your work and life? What terms do you have in mind to achieve this?

Transferable skills: What experience do you have that will, in your opinion, make you a successful management consultant?

Network: who do you know can help you in your career? Knowing the right persons is just as essential as knowing to consult.

  1.     Identify management consultancy firms that align with your needs and goals

You should do your homework and identify the firms that best align with your goals and personal needs. It’s not just about the firm’s name; you should know the different types of firms out there and find what works for you.

  1.     Understand the role of a business management consultant

When it comes down to it, you should know the difference between an opportunity and the demands of that opportunity. Don’t be quick to jump on an opportunity with partial knowledge of the demands of that opportunity.

Even though being a business management consultant is generally about solving problems, the nuances of the job can vary from one field to the other.

For example, larger firms will have teams with different strengths and skillsets, and there may be a more efficient division of labor. Some employees may be more proficient with analyzing data; others may be effective communicators, which may usually work with the organization’s leadership or may focus on business development. Each member may have a specific role, which, when put together, forms a functional and efficient system. On the other hand, small firms usually have fewer employees, which means employees may have to handle more roles.

Now, depending on your personal preferences, you may choose the path of a boutique firm in which you’ll still be able to enjoy the hunt for new businesses while still having client face time.

  1.     Clearly define what’s important to you

When it comes to choosing your work environment, there are multiple factors like the benefits packages, advancement opportunities, training programs, work-life balance, among others. You should clearly define what factors are more important to you. These critical factors will have more sway in your choice of organization to work with.

Suppose a particular employer doesn’t meet your needs or satisfy the conditions you’ve set as necessary. In that case, you may end up disappointed and disengaged from the job, and that significantly affects your output as a business management consultant.

  1.     Build the right resume

The resume of a business management consultant has some differences from other positions’ resumes and for a good reason.

A business management consultant’s resume shouldn’t be filled with a list of education history and responsibilities but impact points and tangible experience with each bullet point.

Your business management consultant resume should highlight the skills hiring firms lookout for in problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, and leadership. You should also highlight friends, alumni of schools attended, and consultants you may know who work at your target firms and who you can network with.

  1.     Build Networks

As the demand for business management consultants increases yearly and as the number of consultants in the workforce continually increases, stepping into the field becomes increasingly difficult without the right connections. So, build good networks with those in hiring positions.

You can also participate in informational interviews to become more familiar with the industry and build allies in the consulting firm.

  1.     Undertake courses that enhance your management consultancy skills

STEM, business, economics, and finance courses can help you become a business management consultant, as it causes recruiters to view you as one who can get the job done as they review your resume. Strategy and financial analysis classes can also be of help to MBA students.

  1.     Engage in extra curriculars you’re passionate about

Engage yourself in activities that demonstrate your ability to work with teams and lead others towards realizing a goal. This will demonstrate your ability to lead teams on projects towards success.

Engage bigger and more ambitious projects, and not just recycle projects executed in previous years.

  1.     Apply for internships and training programs

When you find the opportunity, apply for an internship and other training programs to become a business management consultant. These training programs reflect in your resume as a working experience, which is a crucial determinant of whether you’d be hired or not.  Here’s another blog about Business Consulting.

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