Management consultants offer external advice to any establishment that requires professional expertise or an objective outsider viewpoint on their business. This highly lucrative profession could be the right one for you. Read on to find out if you fit the bill and if this is the apt career for you.
Consultancy usually needs the classification and assessment of a problem or the psychoanalysis of a specific area of an organisation, the accounting of results and the conceptualisation of recommendations for perfection.
Setting up as a self-employed consultant is a popular career option for experienced managers or professionals who are looking for a pristine challenge. They are attracted by the option of running their own business or are seeking a second career or alternative employment to combat idleness.
At the same time, sovereign consultants may miss the security of a regular income and a company benefits package; suffer closing down and reduced job security or face difficulties in maintaining work/life balance. These issues should be measured carefully before starting out on your own.
Scope: The daily activities of a management consultant are often multifaceted. Projects can alter drastically in length depending on the type of consultancy, firm and the requirements of the client. They can call for an individual or a large team and may be grounded in one location or across various sites including overseas.
Business strategy: This involves long-range planning, the restructuring of a company’s composition, validation of services and products and a general business evaluation of the company.
Financial and management controls: These comprise the setting up of budgetary control systems, profit planning or capital and revenue budgeting, office reformation and managerial arrangements.
Human resources: Working as a HR consultant involves advising on personnel policy, manpower planning, job improvement, job valuation and industrial relations.
Marketing: This requires market research and business forecasting, sales force training and the organisation of retail and wholesale outlets.
Actually, a consultant’s job is to recommend a company on betterments and enhancements that could be made to its business. However, the array of work in consultancy is tremendously varied and consultants can be found in almost every business sector. The variety of work available assures that a career in consultancy provides varied and attractive opportunities to any hardworking graduate.
Skills: The necessity of Consultants is actually considered very important because they can get faster outcomes than the company or department. This is done through their specialist skills and the attention that they can provide by having precise objectives and projected time frames. People within the business may be too focused on the ‘business as usual’ and they need the energy, focus and skills of management consultants to help move the business smoothly or advance its performance.
The candidate should have deep industry knowledge, proven analytical skills and ‘real world’ execution experience. The candidate should be a problem solver who advises people on the best options and then works with them to achieve their objectives.
They are thinkers and problem solvers who know how to convince others that change is needed.
He or she needs to be able to conceptualise their knowledge and experience in a way that can be leveraged by multiple clients across multiple industries.
The candidate should have the quality to come up with compelling ideas with less information.
Team working skills are necessary as he has to work with different teams on every project. Strong communication skills (not just presentation skills) are required for dealing with various scenarios across various clients.
Job Prospects: Consulting houses employ MBAs and other post-graduates right out of school or from industry. Most new MBA hires come into a firm as associates; after few years they move to the next level, where they manage case teams. After managing projects for a couple of years, consultants may be upgraded to principal, as a result of which the focus shifts to more intensive client work and the promotion of services. Finally, after seven to ten years within the industry, a consultant might be promoted to partner. The welfares of partnership include big increases in salary and responsibility. The fundamental function of partners at most business firms is to grow clients and sell them the firm’s services.
Thousands of persons call themselves consultants and make money by selling their suggested services, and they present plenty of opportunities for employment. If you like the idea of helping businesses and have a particular interest in computers, human resources, corporate communications, mobile communications, health care, financial services, real estate, e-commerce, or some other specific field, there is a good possibility that you can find a place within an organisation.
The area of IT services in particular has developed over the past decade. Many of the biggest consulting firms, including IBM Global Services, Capgemini, and Accenture, receive a significant section of their revenue through systems integration and outsourcing engagements. These business houses work with a client to develop hardware and software solutions and then often administer the systems.
Eligibility: There are no specific academic requirements that exist for management consultants, but nearly all employers want at least a college degree in a related field. Employers generally favour candidates who have studied in one of the following areas: business, economics, statistics, mathematics, computer science and logic.
More familiar consultants should consider a Diploma in Professional Consulting which will increase your knowledge, skills and behaviours to function as a management consultant. It is meant for people who want to enter management consultancy from a functional discipline, or for those who desire to develop the skills and knowledge required to function in the pasture of management consultancy.
Remuneration: Starting salaries depend on principal qualifications, skills and experience. MBA holders are remunerated at a higher altitude than consultants with normal under-graduate or post-graduate degrees. Average salaries in the first couple of years for graduates are around Rs.20,000 to Rs.30,000 per month. Chief consultants can earn within Rs.50,000 a month. While directors and partners earn between Rs.1,20,000 to Rs.1,50,000 a month. Consultants while working in an establishment get performance-related bonuses. Other perks include company shares, pensions, personal medical cover, dental and optical insurance, etc.
About the Author
Prof. (Dr.) Sanjiv Marwah is the Director of ERA Business School (EBS), located in Dwarka, New Delhi. He can be reached at [email protected]