Inside Management Consultant Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Consultant Loves The Challenges...
I was surprised how much I like this work. It is very appealing to me and I hope to continue doing this work for a long time. The people I meet are great and the complex problems I get to solve are very enriching. I also get to do a lot of presentations which I love to do." (Consultant; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied MBA at Dartmouth in New Hampshire; completed Master degree in 2012

"Liberal Arts Degree Most Valuable...
Most people think that getting a formal degree in consulting or business management is the best way to excel at a corporate job. Surprisingly, people with broader backgrounds, such as liberal arts degrees, do much better in these roles. While taking certain business and accounting classes is always valuable, liberal arts graduates are typically better able to adapt and learn more than their formally trained peers." (Consultant; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Russian Studies at Colgate University in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Clients May Not Share Your Ideas For Improvement...
As a successful Business Consultant, it is important to realize that even though you may find better ways to cut costs or streamline efficiency; management may not have the same idea. Whenever I perform an in depth analysis, I always give two or three suggestions, based on my personal interactions with management. This shows your ability to be flexible to management's personal style." (Business Consultant; 2013)

Career: 26 years of experience, currently based in Nebraska, female
School: Studied Business Administration/Accounting at University Of Mary Washington in Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 1986

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Senior Research Analyst: "I get to hear exciting stories about creative approaches and models being used by the best companies around the globe. I feel immense satisfaction in knowing that although I have worked for less than one-fifth of the time my clients have worked in R&D departments, my advice is actually helping them solve their challenges. I also get to see my work create a lot of impact on my client's work. Since my clients are Heads of R&D at Fortune 500 clients, I feel proud that, albeit indirectly, my work is contributing to overall human good." (2011)

Principal In A Consulting Company: "The best part of the job is seeing groups of people accomplish something that they might not have without the consultant's help. The results can be truly remarkable and have a significant impact on the organization and the people involved. Careers can be made from this work. Companies can be saved from destruction by a well-run project that re-positions a company for growth after a period of declining sales. The worst part is that you are not a permanent member of the organization. When the project is complete, you move on to another one." (2010)

Manager Of Consulting Services: "The best part of my job is knowing that our work is in fact making a difference. We have implemented systems that have reduced medication errors, increased clinician productivity and communication, and allowed doctors to spend less time conducting "administrative tasks" and focusing on the art of helping their patients feel better. The worst part of my job is the travel. While I have had the opportunity to travel the world and sample new cultures the delayed flights (especially on the return) have caused me to miss family events, be away from loved ones for extended periods of time, and, yes, even sleep on airport floors." (2009)

Career Background

Management Consultant

  Job Tasks
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  How to Prepare for the Job
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Career Tips

"Become A Jack Of All Trades...
If you want to be a corporate strategist or consultant, try to get a broad range of educational experiences. You will find yourself thrown into industries and tasks that are completely new to you, so building a basic foundation for learning is very beneficial. Varied interests is also looked upon highly." (Consultant; 2014)

"Life Experience Is Of The Utmost Importance In This Career...
Make sue you have a diversified life background. Meaning you can work with many different types of personalities." (Consultant; 2013)

"Advice For Research Analysts...
To become a research analyst, you must develop a flair for reading business articles, magazines, and sometimes academic papers in management and related fields. If you come from a basic science background, then you must develop a bias in favor of practicality. You must learn to empathize with people, make them tell you their stories, and make them receptive to receiving your advice. You should also work on mastering the art of making and delivering power point presentations. You should prepare yourself for a mentally taxing job that does not offer many avenues for business travel." (Senior Research Analyst; 2011)

"Listen More Than Speaking To Learn...
1. Develop your communications skills and learn to listen. We have one mouth and two ears; use them proportionately. As a consultant, you often work in a business that is new to you. People that you work with often have the answers but for some reason are not successful implementing them in an organization. Your role may be to help them get that done. 2. Always look for the simplest solution to any problem. What will have the greatest impact for the least effort in time, money and resources. Clients are running the business and can only devote so much to any new initiative. 3. Share the credit and take the blame. When a project is going well, share the credit with everyone involved, even the reluctant participants. Success breeds success. If a project looks like it has positive momentum, people will support it and want to be part of it. When a project goes off track -- and most do at some point in the project life -- the consultant should take the blame and find the corrective action to get back on track. Don't waste time looking over your shoulder. Always keep things moving forward." (Principal In A Consulting Company; 2010)

"Things Can Always Be Done Better...
It is a cliche, but think outside the box. Know that just because something has always been done one way does not mean that it can't be improved. Use all of your past experience to listen and understand what the client is asking for. Ask as many questions of the client as the client asks of you. Do not be intimidated by anyone's title. While the chief of surgery is a master of the universe in the operating room, you're a master of the universe of software." (Manager Of Consulting Services; 2009)