Skills for management consultancy
Required skills will depend on your choice of consultancy. Analyst for IT consultancy, the Creative for consultancies which specialise in retail and introduces innovative strategies, incorporating new designs. The Supporter skills can be applied across management consultancy when project managing a protracted assignment or just generally being the interface between your company and the clients. You will need to enjoy meetings conducted face-to-face or through telephone and/or video conferencing.
Management consultancy is often used as a learning or launch platform whereby consultants join one of their clients to further their career within an operational role. Assignments have a shelf life and the nature of your work will vary with different clients, different markets and different locations. The latter criterion is important to recognise, as management consultancy frequently means working away from home during the week for protracted periods.
If you are considering joining a consultancy, ask for a sample of their current assignments and you can then decide whether the work content suits your skills and aptitude.
This is a popular career and the selection process is very competitive particularly for the large firms, which offer quality training. You can enter management consultancy where you capitalise on your operational experience and apply your knowledge to particular client assignments or you can apply to join one of the large consultancies where the point of entry is for fresh graduates and MBA students.
The focus of management consultancy is to improve the performance of an organization and this may be due to loss of market share, entering new markets or developing innovative products. The consultancy may have a remedial or an improvement remit and it may be due to a change in the plans, which incorporates a new strategy necessitating the operational implementation of new technologies.
Senior management who are considering expansion into new international markets frequently commission feasibility studies by consultants, which will act as the anchor and facilitator for their decision when discussed at board level. Entering new markets requires risking significant capital and decisions, which require due process and the involvement of management consultants, adds credibility and expertise to the debate.
A large consultancy will have a portfolio of large and medium size clients and there will be a global or international element to their work. Some firms will specialise in IT, some in strategy and some in process, though we would add that there cannot be a clear demarcation between such activities and therefore most consultancies like to profile themselves as offering an inclusive, integrated service.
There has been an increase in the growth of boutique consultants focusing on a highly tailored, personalised service and on vertical markets such as retail, pharma, oil etc. Such consultancies will market themselves as being able to empathise more closely with the client's needs and market dynamic and they will normally employ consultants who are specialists with a successful track record of the particular industry.