Management consulting is the practice of helping organisations to improve their performance. Organisations often pay for external support (consultancy) to provide services of management consultants for a number of reasons, including gaining external (and presumably objective) advice and access to consultants’ specialised expertise.
As a result of their exposure to, and relationships with many different organisations, consulting firms are typically aware of industry “best practices”. Consultants work for different clients, to provide them with expertise in the area of specialism of the particular consultancy firm.
Consultancies range in the type of services they provide, from organisational change, management assistance, development of coaching skills, process analysis, technology implementation, strategy development, all the way to operational improvement services.
Management consultants often bring their own methodologies or frameworks to guide the identification of problems, and to serve as the basis for recommendations with a view to more effective or efficient ways of performing work tasks.
A career in consulting is a great way to learn and build a network, as you are constantly working across different types of clients and environments. It can however, be a challenging career. Often clients have high expectations and demands on their consultants as they are paying for their time. But it can be equally rewarding through the experiences and variety of work you’re subjected to.
Some consultancies require specific high level academics, but many roles in consulting are open to diverse backgrounds. If you are good with people, can build relationships, have resilience and are able to deal with pressure, you can thrive in this career.