Management consultants study the methods, techniques and principles that guide a business towards achieving its objectives. They work independently and are approached by business to advise them on matters relating to general management, strategy, personnel, finance, marketing, sales, production and public relations.
Management consultants aim to improve an organisation's position or profile by helping to solve problems, manage change and improve efficiency. They investigate problems and opportunities, offer suggestions and conceive action plans to be followed. They advise and guide management in overcoming problems relating to changing circumstances inside and outside the organisation. They have to expose difficulties and opportunities, submit possible solutions and show how these solutions should be applied.
The nature of their activities depends largely on the nature of the business client’s requirements of the consultants. Management consultants may be asked to analyse the structure of the firm in order to rectify problem areas or to advise and guide management in order to improve one or more of the firm’s functional areas such as marketing or financial control. They may be required to train clients’ personnel in certain fields.
The work environment of consultants can be divided into three typical situations:
Although the workload can be heavy, management consulting is a sociable profession with plenty of networking opportunities. The work involves conducting research, surveys and interviews, compiling and presenting information, analysing statistics, writing reports, making recommendations and implementing new procedures or training.
Key skills for management consultants are commercial awareness, good numerical skills, attention to detail, analytical skills, excellent interpersonal skills, teamworking skills, IT skills, good oral and written communication skills and self-motivation.
A driving licence and foreign language abilities can also be useful.