Do you have an interest in shaping business strategy, improving organizational performance and promoting operational efficiency through your expertise and guidance? If so, a career as a management consultant may be right for you. This important role advises managers on how to make their operations more profitable by reducing costs and increasing revenue. To make informed recommendations, though, you need to know how business works, and that’s where a strong, holistic education background can come into play.
ASU Online MBA student Kevin Gallagher chose to earn his MBA in order to help round out his business knowledge. His interest in learning about the bookkeeping side of business, as it relates to managing a small company, propelled him to seek out a more well-rounded education. This type of business understanding is common among consultants, who need to review and analyze all aspects of an operation.
No matter what drives you to begin researching options to go back to school for an MBA, the fully online Master of Business Administration program from ASU offers you the flexibility and customization to create an experience that is uniquely your own. Offered through the W. P. Carey School of Business, the comprehensive MBA curriculum provides opportunities to build your leadership skills as you study the fundamental elements of business.
The online MBA is the same highly-ranked MBA as ASU’s full-time and part-time programs offered on campus, but with the added bonus of you being able to learn whenever and wherever it’s convenient. Students interested in professions such as a management consultant can benefit from the curriculum’s case-based projects, customized learning modules and management-centric courses. According to Gunnar Bergeson, current online MBA student, the program gives students “all the tools in the tool kit plus an understanding of knowing when to use the tools, when not to use the tools and when to modify them to be more effective.”
A typical day in the life of a management consultant
Because management consultants work so closely with research and data to evaluate an organization’s efficiency, they are sometimes known as management analysts. Regardless of title, a typical day can have you working at any stage of the review and recommendation process to help identify and overcome current problems and potential risks within an organization.
If you’re in the early stage of this process, your day might include gathering and organizing information on the problem you’re trying to solve or procedure you’ve been asked to improve. To collect the right information you might interview personnel, visit and observe the business or review financial information.
Once you’ve reviewed the pertinent information related to the organization, it’s time for a management consultant to make a recommendation for improvement. You’ll need to develop solutions or suggest alternative practices that can lead to new systems, procedures or organizational changes. You typically then present your findings to a group of managers within the company.
While management consultants are equipped to review, analyze and recommend alternatives in multiple aspects of business, it is also possible to specialize in a certain area such as inventory management or corporate structure, if you find a particular sector appealing.
A closer look at the professional landscape for a management consultant
Professional opportunities for management consultants are growing, particularly in smaller consulting companies that specialize in areas such as human resources and information technology. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics projects 14 percent market growth from 2014 to 2024, which is double the average for all professions. Demand for management consultants should grow as organizations continue to seek strategies to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Annual salary rates vary based on your experience, seniority and the industry. Payscale notes the median wage for management consultants is $85,000, which rises to $101,500 at the senior level. This increase in median salary is due to the additional responsibilities a senior consultant would have as team leader to junior members as well as being in charge of training clients on business processes.
Becoming a management consultant
Becoming a management consultant requires a combination of education, certification and work experience. Many hiring managers prefer that applicants have an MBA for this role because graduate programs instruct students on a broad range of skills and subjects. For example, Gallagher discovered that earning his MBA has helped him to effectively communicate information across various topics and departments in his organization, just as a consultant would need to do.
“I am able to articulate my observations through what I’m learning in school, whether it be accounting or supply chain management, and I am able to take it upon myself to do some independent study and research to develop reports for upper management.”
Appropriate work experience and the right certification help to round out the benefits your education can bring to you as a management consultant. It’s important to have work experience in the field you wish to consult in, and several years can be beneficial. Areas in which future management consultants can focus include management, human resources and information technology.
Having a Certified Management Consultant designation may also improve job prospects. This is issued by the Institute of Management Consultants USA to individuals who meet minimum levels of education and experience, submit client reviews and pass an interview and exam covering the institute’s code of ethics. Recertification takes place every three years.
Learn more about your potential career as a management consultant
“You’ve got to know what you want to get out of your work experience. You’ve got to know what is going to excite you, what’s going to motivate you and what your strengths are,” says Bergeson, who’s planning on utilizing his ASU MBA to help him thrive in business in multiple ways. He’s not only becoming a better manager through the skills he’s developing as an MBA student, but he’s also putting his improved understanding of business to good use. As a member of the board of directors in a small family business, he uses his well-rounded expertise to consult on high-level decisions.
Learn how an online Master of Business Administration from ASU creates a unique and personal experience to help prepare you for whatever comes next in today’s business world.