Who are Management Consultants?
“Wisdom is not to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; a real wisdom is to hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Let’s unpack this statement and examine each component a little more carefully to get more insight.
Here smart people are the one who thinks like a consultant by breaking down a problem into smaller, more manageable components. Management consulting or more specifically it can be termed as business strategy consulting, is an organization’s highest level that is charged with making the broadest and pivotal decisions. It is about crafting tailor-made strategies that are grounded in the facts and common sense rather than pursuing generic visions or dreams.
What Management Consultants do?
Management consultant, being a problem solver for some of the more complex business is obligatory when a company faces a mission-critical challenge or problem, to efficiently resolve the issue and can be engaged with a consulting firm.
Being a management consultant is all about having a knife of solutions you can use to work with a client.
While many consultants focus on a specific area of their expertise, management consultants are focused on helping the leadership of an organization improves overall performance and operations. Management consultants often connect with C-Suite level executives and will work on complex issues.
With strong analytical skills, management consultant can build a strategic decision a company can make such as new, large multi-year investment, a political acquisition, a strategy shift, outsourcing etc.
A management consultant must have a unique set of skills to balance analytical abilities and stellar communication. It is the prime responsibility of a management consultant to analyze data and pulling together a story, and ultimately recommendations for the clients.
“Much of it is like the basis of organizational psychology” (Brad). This means having an excellent facilitator and listening skills, a management consultant can be a key player in presenting information to a group of executives. With such skills, he can easily build a relationship with his senior executive and can convince him that his recommendations are sound.
When existing teams and people are tied up with ongoing projects, the company requires an injection of smart people and “brains” to bring to bear on the problem at hand. Some companies are designed to operate this way. For example, private equity firms over and over again rely on management consulting firms to help on specific aspects of due diligence when they’re looking to make an acquisition. Sure, the private equity firms could put together and staff their own internal consulting firms but many will choose to hire teams on an “on-demand” basis, rather than changing the configuration and talent base of their own organization.
How do Management Consultants get a Job?
Consulting firms often employ right out of undergraduate and business school programs, so doing your research on what type of firm you’d be interested in is a great first step. If it’s a big firm you have to keep your eye wide open, take a look at the schools that typically feed into it, so you can begin to plot the steps you’ll need to take.
Even, if the firm is inclined to hire mid-career professionals, you can take another footstep. For instance, you already know the power of connecting with the right people at the right time. You may be able to find alumni of your school who has worked at the consulting firm you’re interested in and pick their brain on what it takes to break in.