So, do you want to be a management consultant (or strategy consultant) after finishing your undergraduate or MBA program? These are the prime jobs; glamorous, lucrative, sexy and pay more. Besides, a job at the top management consulting firms (BCG, McKinsey, or Bain) or the Big 4 (PwC, EY, Deloitte, KPMG) is going to invite some oohs and aahs from your peers and relatives as well. Several college graduates and more than half of the MBA graduates dream of becoming a consultant after college or B-School. Hence, competition is cut-throat. So how do you get it, especially in a country like India? What do the top management consulting companies look for? This post will give you a sneak peek of the behind-the-scenes of consulting jobs.
What is Management Consulting?
Management consulting, strategy consulting, or consulting is a very broad term, and sometimes a little bit vague and unstructured as well.
Consulting can be defined as the business of advising or the act of coming up with solutions to real-world business problems. Management consulting or strategy consulting is all about helping a client obtain advice that leads to a practical and lasting solution to a real business problem. More often than not, those solutions are being offered by subject matter experts or specialists in their respective fields. The popular fields are IT, financial services, human resources, mobile and communications, marketing & PR, healthcare, real estate, e-commerce, corporate law, etc.
The majority of the strategy consulting or management consulting firms specialize in providing advice on strategic and core operational issues such as where to set up the manufacturing unit, integrating work and staff processes after the merger, identifying potential business partners and competitors, identifying the right customers, researching a new market, finding new channels for selling products (or services) or reducing the production (or operating) costs. However, these are NOT the only ones doing consulting.
In India, the field of IT consulting and services has been one of the most popular segments in the last two decades. Most of the biggest consulting firms like TCS, Infosys, Wipro etc. make a chunk of their revenue through consulting, systems integration and outsourcing. These IT firms work with clients to develop software and IT solutions, and then often manage the systems (that’s why the term “outsourcing”).
Related Post: Top Management Consulting Firms in the World
What does a Management Consultant job involve?
As per the typical scenario, consultants are hired advisers for the big corporate firms. Client organizations hire consultants when they require expertise beyond what their internal team can provide, or when they need a fresh perspective of an outsider. It’s expensive (and sometimes doesn’t make sense) to hire a smart and analytical consultant on a full-time basis. So, when there is a large enough problem, the client organizations approach management consulting firms or strategy consulting agencies (aka rent-a-brain agencies), where they hire consultants on an ad-hoc (as-needed) basis.
So, it’s like seeing a physician or doctor and paying him/her for the consulting services, when you are unable to self-doctor yourself, or unable to cure yourself through over-the-counter medicines.
As a consultant, you will think, analyze, brainstorm, cajole and challenge your client to become more effective and better, by adopting and implementing new ideas. Great consultants are driven by ideas and a strong desire to have a positive impact on the client.
Generally, the management or strategy consultants exercise a lot of power. They could advise a client to acquire a company by shelling out millions of dollars or to reduce the current workforce (layoffs) by thousands of employees.
Few Behind the Scenes Facts of Management Consulting Jobs
- Traveling is a big part of your job. It might sound fun, but at times it can be painfully hectic.
- Long working hours is a norm; typically it would be 60 hours per week and might extend to 80+ hours per week
- Personal and social life is very likely to take a backseat. Besides, you are expected to be available on call 24*7.
Self-starter attitude, strong networking skills, sharp analytical thinking, excellent report making and presentation skills are as essential as inhaling oxygen for surviving. Extroverts generally do well in this field, but some of the introverts have been the most successful management consultants.
The roles pay crazy salaries – expect to earn salaries of CEOs (not at the entry level, though).
Most Popular Management Consulting Job Categories
- IT/Technology Consulting
- Operations Consulting
- Financial Consulting
- HR Consulting
- Marketing & Sales Consulting
- Real Estate Consulting
- Few Niche / Boutique functions such as Engineering Consulting, Branding & PR Consulting, Design Consulting, Pharmaceutical Consulting, Oil-Gas-Petro-Chemical Consulting
Related Post: Careers in Advertising & Public Relations (PR)
Education Requirements for Management Consultant Jobs
Ideally, engineering, finance, or statistics graduates are the hot cakes among all the fresh graduates. You will join as an analyst (entry-level). You will spend as an analyst approximately 3 years before moving to the next level. It must be remembered as well, that for the junior management consulting roles, the college brand names do play a vital role. If you are not attending a not-so-famous (or not an established brand) college, you need to work harder on your CV – acquiring skills, doing internships, strategic networking, etc. Know more about job hunting tips for fresh graduates.
For mid-career and senior roles, MBA graduates (just out of business school) are highly sought after. As an MBA graduate, you will join as an associate. After spending 2 – 3 years at the associate level, you could move on to the next level.
Just to give you a rough idea, each year at the entry-level, roughly 10, 000 resumes fight for 200 positions at the top management consulting firms. Profile, CV (resume), and interview play a big part in the recruitment process. The jobs are equally competitive for MBA graduates.
The chances of getting jobs at premier companies become very slim if you don’t have an MBA degree from top-notch business schools. Firstly, it shows that you are the cream. Secondly, one of the key reasons for preferring graduates from college and business schools with brand names is the range and of their contacts.
If you have attended an IIM, ISB, Harvard, Wharton, Cambridge, Oxford, or HEC Paris – your recruiter is very likely to have access to a wide and useful range of contacts (CEOs, General Managers, Investment Bankers, and VCs etc. who might be your peer or alumni) through you.
Related Post: Top MBA Abroad Countries for Indian Students
Management Consulting Salary
As of January 2022, a management consultant draws an average of INR 11,88,058 (payscale.com) annually.
Do you want to know more about Jobs in Management Consulting and Strategy?
How to get into management consulting, if you are not from a top-tier college or business school?
How does it feel to be a management consultant on a day to day basis?
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