A management consultant – also often referred to as a management analyst – is a professional who serves as an advisor for businesses that are exploring ways to increase their performance, productivity and profitability. Management consultants, who either work in management consulting firms or as independent contractors, are called in to provide a company with their business expertise and address any number of issues, such as falling profits or inflated labor costs.
The work of management consultants generally includes:
- Meeting with the client and discussing their concerns or issues
- Observing the business’ operations
- Making recommendations to solve the problems
Management consultant jobs involve making recommendations on everything from the viability of an internal department to the outsourcing certain services so as to achieve the business’ end goals. Just some of the job duties of a management consultant may include:
- Interviewing employees and other personnel
- Analyzing all technology and equipment used
- Analyzing all financial data, including revenue, payroll, and expenditure reports
- Building reports using mathematical models
- Writing reports and/or making presentations to highlight recommendations
- Consulting with management to implement changes based on recommendations
- Consulting with management to ensure changes are effective
Many businesses, once they have exhausted all other options regarding the success or profitability of their business, call in outside expertise in the form of management consultants. Although many management consultants are paid a per-project fee, some consultants are paid a percentage of the savings or profits realized by the company that result from the implementation of the consultants strategic planning.
In addition to business performance and profitability, management consultants may be hired to implement new technology or computer systems or to streamline employee benefit plans.
How to Become a Management Consultant
Although there are generally no specific requirements for management consultants, it is generally recognized that a successful management consultant is a professional with years of business experience. The vast majority of management consultants possess at least a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, economics, or a related degree, although many professionals possess graduate degrees or MBAs in these areas, as well.
Most management consultants come from educational backgrounds rich in statistics, mathematics, business management, computer science, and economics. Most professionals enter this profession as a junior consultant in a large consulting firm, earning invaluable training in such areas as research techniques and internal policy.
Certification for Management Consultants
Because the field of management consulting does not have a clear-cut educational or professional path, professional certification is imperative to moving up the professional ladder in this profession. The Institute of Management Consultants USA offers the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification, which highlights a professional’s education, continuing professional development, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards.
Certification can be obtained through three certification streams:
- For consultants with 3 to 9 years of management consulting experience; AND
- A bachelor’s degree; OR
- At least five years of work experience, including 3 years of full-time consulting experience
- For consultants with 10 or more years as an independent or internal consultant; AND
- Meets all basic requirements
- For high-level managers with 20 or more years of experience, including at least 3 years of consulting experience; AND
- Meets all basic requirements
Salary and Employment Projections for Management Consultants
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for management consultants was $78,160 in May 2010, with the top 10 percent earning more than $138,790. Employment of management consultants is expected to increase by 22 percent from 2010 to 2020.
According to the Robert Half 2013 Salary Guide, business analyst managers in large companies earned between $81,000 and $107,250 in 2010 and are expected to earn between $83,500 and $113,000 in 2013, an increase of 4.4 percent.
Business analysts with 1 to 3 years of experience are expected to earn between $54,200 and $75,500 in 2013, and business analysts with up to 1 year of experience are expected to earn between $45,500 and $59,500 in 2013.
Resources for Management Consultants
- Institute of Management Consultants USA
- Association of Management Consulting Firms
- Professional Management Consultants Association
- Association of Professional Consultants
- Association of Internal Management Consultants