2 April 2024

What is a Management Consultant?

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Do you love the analytical side of life and live to create processes? A career as a management consultant could be the dream.

As a management consultant, you’ll create your hours and work on various projects meeting a wide range of people in the process. Businesses are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the way they work – and you could help them achieve just that.

Read on to find out more about management consulting and how you can become one.

What is management consulting?

A management consultant works alongside businesses to improve their performance. It’s a bit like having a personal agony aunt, working through kinks and issues that’ll help them thrive.

Some tasks will include;

  • Analyse data sets and develop solutions or alternatives to current findings
  • Recommend changes including restructuring teams, new systems and processes
  • Collaborate with management and business stakeholders to understand business goals
  • Do market research
  • Monitor and report on the project process
  • Train and support teams during implementation.

Management consultants are usually contracted or freelance rather than permanent employees.

They’re not bound by industry either. A management consultant can work in any industry from entertainment to finance. So no two projects will be the same and you’ll meet and work with a wide variety of people.

Consulting is a huge, diverse and super rewarding career. Want to know more about the various types of consulting and how you can get involved?

What does a typical day-to-day look like for a management consultant? Meet Jason Lai, he’ll tell you about what he gets up to.

How do you become a management consultant?

First, management consulting is a very well-paid job with a truckload of benefits and job satisfaction (you’ll find out just how much you could earn later), so competition for roles is rife.

Don’t let that put you off though! There are ways to arm your CV with plenty of skills and experience to get that edge over the competition.

It helps to have a Bachelor’s degree. It can be any degree too. However, it does help if you’re studying a subject that works with your analytical and mathematical skills. These include;

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Finance.

On top of that, work experience will be your best friend! A placement or internship in management consulting (or any consulting discipline) will do absolute wonders for your CV. In fact, 49% of interns and placement students hired by the Best Student Employers were offered full-time jobs.

“It was really eye-opening to see how many areas there are in Management Consulting and what opportunities there are available to everyone, regardless of what line you’re in or what level you’re at. It was also super helpful to speak to people from various lines, because I could reflect and see which lines I would be interested in and which lines I wouldn’t be interested in.”

Management Consultant Intern, PwC

Luckily for you, there are plenty of employers looking for the next batch of talented management consults. Read on to find out who those are…

Where can I find management consulting work experience?

Loads of reputable companies are dedicated to training up future generations of management consultants. Here are a few of them.

With a client base of over 9,000, it’s clear why Accenture is one of the most reputable services worldwide. They also offer students various work experience opportunities, including internships, placements and graduate schemes.

Length: 1 year

Salary: £23,310 per year

Length: 15+ months

Salary: £33,500 per year

“During my time at Accenture I was in charge of my own team with my own deliverables which was a huge amount of responsibility. Very beneficial for my personal and professional development.”

Management Consultant Analyst, Accenture

This global services company employs well over 450,000 people worldwide and offers a variety of services for business including tax auditing, legal advisory, asset advisory and, you guessed it – consulting! They offer a wide range of work experience opportunities for students.

Length: 1 year

Salary: Competitive

Length: Full-time

Salary: Competitive

“I learned a lot of new skills; such as how to build business cases, how to make presentations, professional Excel skills, coding, control testing and much more. I also developed a wide range of soft skills such as working within a large team, organisation, decision making, good communication and report writing.”

Management Consultant placement, Deloitte.

EY is all about leadership offering some of the best work experience opportunities for students. They even made number 11 on our Best 100 Student Employer table. EY has placements and graduate schemes in four areas: Assurance, Consulting, Strategy & Transactions and Tax.

Length: 11 months

Salary: Competitive pro-rata salary

Length: Full-time

Salary: Competitive

Watch Jessica talk about her role at EY as a management consultant.

Keen to know who you could potentially work for? Check out our Best Student Employer tables, they’re super informative and voted for by placement students – so you know it works!

What skills do you need for management consulting?

To become a management consultant, you’ll need a host of skills. Your role will involve a lot of collaboration and working with people, so for starters, your people and communication skills will need to be top-tier.

Outside of that, let’s have a look at some of the skills you’ll need…

Communication skills

As mentioned, you’ll be working with people. A lot. You’ll also be writing reports, and emails, making phone calls and even creating presentations. You’ll be accountable during every step of the consultancy process, so you’ll need to cross your t’s and dot your i’s and make sure everything is clear – whether that’s in a document or if having a conversation with CEOs, managers and colleagues.

Data analysis

This will make up a huge chunk of your role. You’ll look over various amounts of company data to help you make decisions and come up with a plan or process for whatever project you’ll be working on. 

Project management

You’ll be at the forefront of the majority of projects you take on as a management consultant, so you’ll get to flex those project management skills. Some tasks will include general admin, making sure actions and deadlines are met, scheduling meetings and check-ins.

If you’re applying for an internship or placement in management consulting, you’ll need to make sure that you’re able to show that you’ve used some of these skills in your application.
Not sure how to? Read 5 Simple Ways To Show Off Your Skills In An Application.

Is management consultancy well-paid?

Urm, a huge resounding YES. As ever, how much you earn completely rests on the level you’re at and the company you work for. So it’s worth shopping around.

The great thing is that there is plenty of room to move up the ladder and earn some major bank.

If you’re starting as an intern or doing a placement year, you’d be looking at a salary of around £23,000 to £25,000 or more per year (pro rata if you’re on an internship).

As a graduate or junior management consultant, you can earn a starting salary from £30,000 upwards per year. The average in 2023 was £47,500. Once you’ve gained around three years of experience, you could find yourself earning as much as £50,000 per year.

Looking to become a manager or senior? You could potentially earn around £60,000 per year or more.

Management consulting is a career where you’ll make all the difference. It’s hard work that’s truly worth it. Why not start your career now?