“Management consulting” strikes many as a rather nondescript phrase. You have probably interacted with a wide variety of people who call themselves “consultants” – whether it be a salesperson, financial representative, or business analyst. The phrase “management consulting” is more precise and considers how an organisation works – its strategy, structure, management and operations – in order to maximise growth, generate a competitive advantage or improve business performance.
Management consultants work on broad range of projects, from helping to determine what kind of business model a client should follow to restructuring programs, building new products, growing new services and advising on management structure after two companies merge. The client organisations are typically businesses, but management consultants also advise governmental agencies and non-profit organisations.
Skilled consultants possess the ability to provide a careful analysis of a problem and suggest creative methods to find solutions to the problem. Management consulting also requires excellent people skills. Successful consultants can tune into their clients' needs and focus on keeping their clients happy. Consultants often will spend much of their time at a client's site, observing and performing research to find the best strategies to assist their client company in meeting goals and solving problems.
The three consulting firms widely regarded as constituting the Big Three are McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company. While The Big Three receive much of the limelight and promote heavily during recruiting season, there are a number of other consultancies that provide excellent graduate opportunities – Azure, Accenture, Port Jackson Partners.
There is no set career path into the industry, degrees in business may be of benefit, but generally management consulting is not a degree-specific industry. Individuals that demonstrate commercial awareness, teamwork, and analytical skills are attractive to consulting employers, as is creativity, flexibility and strong interpersonal skills.
As a career, consulting offers many benefits from high starting salaries to opportunities for travel nationally and internationally. The skill-set you will acquire is also comprehensive and transferable, opening up a range of options in the business and management sectors. Projects differ considerably adding to the range of experience and making for a varied and interesting graduate career. In a nutshell, management consulting is all about making positive change.