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Management analyst: Learn more about the career

It’s a key goal of any business to continuously improve performance in every way possible. Perhaps that’s why a career as a management analyst or management consultant is among the best prospects for job-seekers with the requisite skills. Involving both creative thinking and objective reasoning, a career as a management analyst is often rewarding for qualified candidates.

Management analysts take on a variety of roles and titles in an organization, including:

  • Management consultant
  • Administrative analyst
  • Leadership development manager
  • Organizational development consultant
  • Quality control analyst

However, the basic responsibilities and skills underlying these roles tend to have much in common. In most cases, management analysts work with the leaders of a business to develop strategies for more effective operations and communication with co-workers. The result is a team of leaders and staff more closely aligned on high-level goals, processes and expectations for quality.

A typical day in the life of a management analyst

In many cases, management analysts work as third-party advisors for other businesses. This might involve working as part of a consulting firm or as an independent contractor. Either way, the management analyst’s job is to understand how an organization operates, examine the challenges it faces and develop solutions to overcome those problems. This may involve tasks like:

  • Gathering and analyzing data related to the performance of teams or individuals in a business, particularly its managers and executives
  • Conducting interviews with leadership and staff to gain an understanding of their roles and how they relate to the business as a whole
  • Developing reports based on research findings with precise recommendations for how to implement and execute more effective processes in the organization
  • Meet with stakeholders to discuss these findings and further refine recommendations for improvement

These outcomes and the methods to achieve them can vary widely depending on the project scope. Management analysts may even work with clients individually or in small groups to put a plan in action or help develop the necessary understanding of the problem. Clearly defined goals with precise, time-bound milestones for progress are often critical to the success of any initiative led by a management analyst.

A closer look at the professional landscape of a management analyst

Qualified, talented management analysts and consultants are in high demand across the U.S. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with approximately 806,400 people employed in the field as of 2016, the role of management analyst is expected to see faster employment growth than average from 2016 to 2026. In fact, the BLS expected jobs fitting the basic description of management analysts to experience twice the average growth across all occupations in this timeframe. Industries like health care, information technology and human resources are expected to be particularly good prospects for those entering this role.

The BLS also found that management analysts tend to be well-compensated, in line with their promising employment prospects. The median reported salary of management analysts in 2016 was $81,330. This was much higher than the median reported for the more general category of business operations specialists, and more than twice the national median wage that year. A significant number of management analysts are paid on a contract basis at an hourly rate — the median rate reported in 2016 was $39.10 per hour, according to the BLS.

While they can expect above-average compensation, management consultants also reported working relatively long hours and under tight deadlines. The BLS found that around 25 percent of people in this occupation usually worked more than 40 hours per week. Management analysts must also travel frequently to meet with clients while juggling multiple time-sensitive projects.

Becoming a management analyst

The most successful management analysts are those who possess the right mix of acquired knowledge, technical aptitude and interpersonal skills.

Strong education credentials are a foundational requirement for most in the management analyst field. According to a survey by the U.S. Department of Labor, 46 percent of management consultant roles required applicants to have a master’s degree, such as an MS in business analytics. Degrees or coursework preferred by employers in this field include:

  • Business administration and management
  • Human resources
  • Leadership practices
  • Statistics and data analysis

Management analysts must be equally adept at working with data and technology as they are communicating directly with people. As far as specific IT skills and knowledge, management analysts should be familiar with database management software, enterprise resource planning systems and other related tools. They must also know how to effectively communicate the meaning of the data they find using these software tools. This often involves skills like inductive reasoning, critical thinking and comfort with verbal and written expression. Finally, most management analysts need to be attuned to the needs of their clients and co-workers. Prior experience in customer service and even psychology can prove valuable.

Learn more about your potential career as a management analyst

Management analysts and consultants are some of the most in-demand positions in the corporate world today. Still, employers have set a high bar for prospective candidates. Many employers now value graduate-level education in their employees, and a higher level of education could help you stand out in this industry.

The online Master of Science in Business Analytics program offered through the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University works as a stepping stone to the top jobs in the modern corporate world, including work as a management analyst. With these credentials, job candidates may find even more career possibilities available to them.

Arizona State University Online Master of Science in Business Analytics -
O*Net OnLine Management Analysts -
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Management Analysts -

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