While a graduate degree isn’t required to enter the management consulting field, findings in U.S. News & World Report suggest that if you’re serious about a career in this competitive and well-paying profession, you may want to consider earning an MBA.
“An MBA [Master of Business Administration] is a major advantage when competing for management consulting jobs,” claim experts in the report.
Admissions consultant Karin Ash, former director of MBA management at Cornell University, confirmed the sentiment, saying, “Although consulting firms hire B.A. and B.S. students, they are often relegated to handling the presentation preparation passed off to them by the consultants. MBAs are hired as members of consulting teams that are assigned to company projects.”
What Management Consultants Do
When companies and other enterprises face difficult problems, they can turn to external management consultants for guidance and solution support. A management consultant’s work usually falls into one of three categories identified in a Forbes article.
- Industry counsel and functional expertise in specialized business areas:
Management consultants provide advice on advertising, digital transformation, governance, information technology, mergers, organization design, organization development, organizational change management, reorganizations, strategic leadership, talent management, finance, human resources, operations, risk management and strategy – the latter five being the most popular specialties.
- Objective analyses and assessments:
As objective third parties, management consultants conduct in-depth research and analysis and provide impartial perspectives on challenging matters and complex business problems and issues.
- Project management:
Management consultants consult with senior leaders and internal teams to deliver hands-on project management including project implementation, execution and measurement.
5 Most Popular Management Consulting Career Tracks
The following management consulting career tracks are the most popular, according to Consulting.com:
Strategy consultants work directly with top decision-makers in an organization. Consultants who specialize in their industry provide research-based reports that executives can use to guide decision-making.
Operations consultants work closely with executives to optimize value in operational processes which drive business. They focus on factors like cost reduction, quality control in manufacturing and increased production and supply chain efficiency.
Financial advisory consultants, who must have a securities license, provide guidance to businesses regarding many aspects of corporate finance including money management, cash flow, taxes, investments, transaction services, restructuring, risk management, forensics and litigation, and real estate.
Human resources consultants help businesses ensure their employees are as engaged, effective, productive and satisfied as possible. These consultants must know a company’s HR issues well to determine how to best remedy them. This requires broad knowledge of other fields like communication, finance and labor laws and IT, and they must hold an HR specialist certification from an organization such as the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).
Risk and compliance consultants advise senior management and help develop programs to ensure organization-wide socialization and compliance. These consultants must have deep understanding of legal regulations, compliance parameters and ethics specific to clients’ industry or niche.
Fast-Track Your MBA Education With an Accelerated Degree Program
So, if you want to take the fast track to a full-fledged management consulting role, an MBA could be the best strategy for improving your opportunities. Consider enrolling in a program such as the online MBA with a Specialization in Leadership from Youngstown State University (YSU). You can complete this 100% online program in as few as 12 months.
The program’s courses will deepen your business knowledge and background in topics such as economics, cost-based decision-making, corporate financial management, operations, marketing strategy, business policy, organizational management, corporate planning and more.
Plus, the program integrates a leadership emphasis into the curriculum, offering instruction on best practices for organizational talent management, effective decision-making to drive results, analytical methods and strategic thinking.
Learn more about YSU’s online MBA program with a Specialization in Leadership.