A management consultant provides external advice for organisations that require specialist expertise or an objective outside perspective on their business. Consultancy usually involves the identification and assessment of a problem or the analysis of a specific area of an organisation, the reporting of findings and the formulation of recommendations for improvement.
Consultants are commonly called in for business improvement, change of management, information technology and long-term planning projects.
In essence, a consultant’s job is to advise a company on improvements that could be made to its business. However, the range of work in consultancy is extremely varied and consultants can be found in almost any business sector. The variety of work available ensures that a career in consultancy provides diverse and interesting opportunities to any hardworking graduate.
The different areas of consulting activity
- Business strategy – a general business appraisal of a company.
- Manufacturing and business services – a review of the layout of a production department and productivity.
- Financial and management controls – profit planning, budget control and office reorganisation work.
- Human Resources – advising on personnel policy, job evaluation and industrial relations.
- Marketing – carrying out market research and business forecasting alongside training and organisation of sales departments and outlets.
- Environmental management – ecological and sociological studies for the encouragement of quality of lifestyle.
- Quality management – the setting of policy and strategy around customer satisfaction, performance measurement and people management.
- Information technology – the provision of software, systems, design and applications following hardware evaluations.
Graduates or those with up to two years’ postgraduate work experience start as an Analyst earning around £32,000.
From here you can next progress to become a Consultant earning around £50,000, all the way to an Equity Director/ Salaried Partner earning £250,000+.
At larger firms, the competition to hire has led to ‘little extras’ such as: sign-on bonuses of £2,500 or interest-free loans of £7,500, iPhones and iPads, gym memberships and personal development study support. Depending on the size of firm you work for, you could also receive benefits such as private health schemes and bonuses at the end of the year.
Basic requirements for becoming a consultant
To become a management consultant strong academic background to degree level with a minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent is needed, along with good interpersonal skills. Having a previous internship or work experience with a management consultant also helps your CV stand out from other applicants’.