Management Analysts and Consultants
Education and Training Requirements
High school courses that will give you a general preparation for this field include business, mathematics, and computer science. Management analysts and consultants must be able to clearly and effectively share their findings through written or oral presentations, so be sure to take English and speech classes.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to become a consultant, although some employers—especially major firms such as McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company—prefer to hire consultants with an MBA or at least a bachelor’s degree and several years of appropriate work experience. Attending an Ivy League school or a college with a top-rated MBA program will increase your chances of landing a consulting job.
Many people believe that you must earn a business degree to prepare for a career in the consulting industry, but this isn’t true. Firms are increasingly seeking applicants with a variety of educational backgrounds and life experiences. While many consultants do have business degrees, a growing number have degrees in economics, finance, computer science, information technology, accounting, statistics, engineering, education, communications, medicine, human resources management, marketing, supply chain management, and architecture and environmental design. Degrees and concentrations in consulting are offered at a few colleges, including the University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Notre Dame, and the College of William & Mary.
Regardless of their background, management consultants must continue their education throughout their career to keep up with industry developments and best practices in their field. They routinely attend conferences and take part in educational programs.
Although it is not required for employment in the field, the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation from the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) provides a competitive advantage when seeking employment or advancement. The certification, which must be renewed every three years, has specific requirements in areas such as experience, education, references, engagement, competence, and ethics. More information is available by visiting https://www.imcusa.org/page/CERTIFICATION.
IMC USA also offers the Management Consulting Certificate Program, an executive development program, in partnership with Willamette University and the University of Colorado. Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Dallas also offer consulting certificate programs, but they are not affiliated with IMC USA. Contact these schools to learn more.
Other Education or Training
Many professional associations provide continuing-education opportunities to management consultants. The Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) provides professional education through its IMC USA Academy for Professional Development. The academy helps consultants enhance their skills, manage their practices, and find clients. Educational opportunities are offered in the forms of face-to-face seminars and online webinars, at conferences, and through other media. Contact IMC USA for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
The Institute of Management Consultants USA offers the certified management consultant designation to those consultants who meet minimum educational and experience criteria in addition to passing a rigorous examination. All types of consultants (internal consultants, technical consultants, strategy consultants, etc.) are eligible for certification; the requirement is that they must provide consulting to management of organizations. Certification is voluntary, but it provides an additional advantage to those who are interested in demonstrating their competency, experience, and ethics as measured against globally recognized professional standards. The certification is recognized in more than 47 countries, which is an advantage to those desiring to start an international consulting practice. The American Academy of Financial Management also provides certification to management consultants.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Students should obtain as much experience as possible in the field by participating in summer internships and working at part-time jobs. It will take several years of on-the-job experience to be considered a full-fledged consultant.
Management analysts and consultants are often responsible for recommending layoffs of staff, so it is important that they learn to deal with people diplomatically. Their job requires a great deal of tact, enlisting cooperation while exerting leadership, debating their points, and pointing out errors. Consultants must be quick thinkers, able to refute objections with finality. They also must be able to make excellent presentations.
A management analyst must also be unbiased and analytical, with a disposition toward the intellectual side of business and a natural curiosity about the way things work best.