Business

Management Consulting Career: Is It Right for You?

Extremely respectable and highly-paid, a management consulting career can seem exciting. But is it the right one for you? From its pros and cons to life as a management consultant, here’s all you need to know before you decide to take up this career. 

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1. Career in Management Consulting

Management consulting is a career option that provides the opportunity to get plush, well-paid and respectable jobs, and that’s why it is being considered among some of the top professional choices by students all over the world. A career in management consulting is becoming quite popular these days, especially for MBAs. And its demand is only growing with time.

I am a Management Consultant, and my role is to find solutions to an organization’s management-related problems, to help improve its performance. Our job is to think of innovative ways of doing things and help with strategic planning of a company.

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A career in management consulting can be quite an interesting choice for someone who loves traveling, problem-solving, and the chance to work with some of the biggest companies in the world. However, all its perks mean that this is a competitive field. The top-paying jobs are reserved for the smartest, most talented and competitive people in the industry.

Is a career in management consulting right for you? Find out here as we talk about everything you need to know before taking it up.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 What Does a Management Consultant Do
1.2 Industry/Sector
1.3 Social Image
1.4 Reasons to Become a Management Consultant
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3.1 Extra Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

1.1 What Does a Management Consultant Do

The scope of work of management consultants is quite vague. And that’s why this job profile is often misunderstood or not understood much by outsiders.

Management consultants usually work in consulting firms, which are hired by large companies to get solutions on specific problems. These could include plans to introduce a new service, restructuring the company, upgrading the company’s management policies, etc. Because of the versatility of this scope of work, management consulting firms are expensive, and employ highly talented experts.

Management consultants work directly with the C-suite, such as CEOs or COOs of the company, and their work days are mostly spent at client offices.

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1.2 Industry/Sector

Government and Public Sector, MSME, Housing, Social.

Management consultants most commonly work for large private firms. These are typically hired by Fortune 500 companies. The projects they work in, could be in various sectors, such as housing, social sector, or the public sector in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), etc.

1.3 Social Image

Highly respected.

Management consulting is perceived as an extremely respectable profession. The top students of the top colleges and business schools often go on to become management consultants.

For example, firms like McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Co., etc. hire many IIM, Harvard or Stanford graduates or from IITs. In the top management consulting groups, also known as the Big 5, it is common to earn a six-figure salary with very less experience. The high pay and strong academic backgrounds are one of the biggest contributors to making this profession respectable in the society.

Furthermore, management consultants are also required to be very smart, with great analytical skills and knowledge in strategic management. And they work with the top management of large organizations. So all these opportunities combine to make this profession a very respectable one.

How to Become a Management Consultant in India 1

1.4 Reasons to Become a Management Consultant

Becoming a management consultant can be quite interesting opportunity for many reasons. Want to know if management consulting is the right career for you?  If you’re someone who likes a fast-tracked career growth, and working on a new challenge everyday, this can be a great career choice. Here are some of my favorite reasons to be in management consultancy:

1. Opportunity to work with great minds
2. Fast-tracked career with diverse project opportunities
3. Exposure to complex and enriching projects that affect large businesses/public sector entities

As we get the chance to work with senior management or CXOs of various companies, and a lot of people in management consulting are alumni of some of the world’s top universities, this career gives the chance to work closely with really intelligent minds, which is inspiring everyday.

Secondly, for someone who works hard, good at networking and isn’t afraid to come up with innovative solutions, growth can be quite fast in management consulting career. And there’s the opportunity to work on a range of projects, so every day is a new day.

This career option can also be great for those who love traveling, working in fast-paced environments and meeting new people.

life as a management consultant consulting career

2. What It Takes to Be a Management Consultant

2.1 Personality Traits Required/ Preferred

— Leadership skills
— Great communication skills
— Key networking skills
— Being meticulous

As a management consultant, one should have great analytical skills, communication and presentation skills, as you’re required to present your management or business solutions to the company’s management teams on a regular basis.

The growth in this career is based on the ability to work hard and being able to connect with people. Additionally, management consultants typically have 5-7 years of experience, as fresh college graduates join as Research Associates. So strong leadership skills are required.

Being hard-working and having attention-to-detail are also some of the important personality traits you should have.

Management Consulting Career Is It Right for You w

2.2 Physical Demands

Moderate to excessive travel as per client needs.

The only physical demand in management consulting career is that we have to travel a lot. Work typically takes place in clients’ offices, which may be in different cities, or in different parts of your city.

Traveling is usually comfortable. However, not everyone enjoys excessive travel, and some people don’t find it healthy. So if you’re considering whether management consulting is the right career for you, this is an important thing to consider.

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2.3 Psychological Demands

Extremely tight deadlines for work delivery, stress or long hours during deadlines.

Companies hire management consultants on a project basis, to get expert solutions on certain problems, or to improve a current management situation. That’s why, they almost always require quick analysis and reports. The work deadlines are very tight, and work often spills over to after-office hours.

During deadlines, work weeks can become very long, some consultants even put in between 50 to 70 hours a week.

3. How to Build Interest in a Career in Management Consulting

3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended

Team-sports, hiking, debate team or public-speaking events, academic clubs.

Hiking and trekking are two great ideas to try, since they will keep you physically fit as management consulting requires traveling a lot. Also try team sports, such as hockey or cricket, since management consulting is all about team-work and leadership. Additionally, these will also help build your resume to get into top colleges as they prefer applicants with great extracurricular activities.

It is important for management consultants to have exemplary communication skills, so try to participate in debates or public-speaking. Also, top management consulting firms usually hire from the top colleges, so building a strong academic background should be top priority. Joining academic clubs in your area of interest, such as maths or science, would be helpful.

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3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up

Chess, puzzles, quizzes, memory games or classic board or card games.

It is a good idea to play games that give mental strength, since strong mental and analytical thinking abilities are required in this profession. Examples include quizzes, maze, puzzle games. Also, try games that are based on analysis of other’s performance or behavior, such as classic board or card games like Monopoly or Scrabble. Chess is a great idea.

Management consulting is also a career in which you need strong leadership skills. So play games to build social or interpersonal skills, such as board games, team-sports or charades.

3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows

  • Up in the Air (2009)
  • The Insider (1999)

3.4 Related Books to Read

  • Dangerous Company
  • The Consulting Bible
  • The Management Consultant: Mastering the Art of Consultancy

4. Life as a Management Consultant

How to Become a Management Consultant in India

4.1 Part-Time Options

No.

Management consulting is always a full-time job. Moreover, the job itself doesn’t leave enough time to pursue any part-time work either, mostly because of the tight work deadlines and excessive travel.

4.2 Traveling Required

Yes.

Management consultants have to travel often for client work or meetings. This can be within the city or to various cities, as per client locations. If the clients’ offices are located within your own city, you may be traveling to and fro everyday to various offices, too.

Frequently, you may be required to travel to the client’s city several times every month over a year, etc. Traveling outside your city may be once a month, or even multiple times a week, since you may be working on multiple projects at a time. So it all depends on the clients and their requirements.

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4.3 Average Workday/ What to Expect in Management Consulting Career

A typical day, for me, starts with an early rise, a healthy breakfast and a quick glance at the previous day’s news.

It is important that we are always updated in current affairs, the government and business. International affairs also have a link to the factors affecting the nation. This helps me in keeping abreast of what is happening around the world and trying to understanding the bearing it will have on my client(s) and the work they do.

Currently I am heading 3 projects, related to Housing, MSME and Sanitation factors.

My day at the client location starts with reading or replying to new emails in my inbox, delegating work to my team members. I have a noon meeting with the Chief of a large MSME public sector entity, wherein I am advising the client on process improvements and showcasing a detailed Branding and GTM plan for one of their under-performing verticals.

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After lunch, I head to my housing client’s office, a meeting set-up with a senior bureaucrat to explain a detailed project report pertaining to a housing scheme.

Mid-afternoon, I attend a call with my remote location team which is helping a large civic body to implement best practices in sanitation. I review the presentation sent earlier by the team and suggest critical improvements/impact points.

By the evening, I am approving reports/ documents prepared to go out to my clients the next morning. I head back home with some quick check of updates on LinkedIn and some sports news.

5. Future of Your Career in Management Consulting

Person Man Male Business Tablet Computer Charts management consultant

5.1 Retirement Prospects

Retirement age: Management consultants typically work till 57 to 60 years of age.
Post-retirement age:
Senior professionals usually go on to serve on Board of Directors of large companies as independent directors. Some take up an honorary advisory role in the government.
Experienced professionals can venture into teaching as guest faculty at the top B-Schools.

5.2  Threats from Automation

No.

Management consulting requires skills that AI has not yet developed, such as interpersonal skills, problem-solving or strategy skills. And as such, this profession faces no threat from automation even in the future.

Management consultant business professional confident 1

5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit Management Consulting Career

There are two main reasons for people to quit management consulting: excessive travel and burnout.

As a young professional, traveling is great, but it becomes difficult when you have a family and children. Additionally, for some, excessive travel begins to pose heath issues after a certain age, when it becomes tiring or draining. This makes them retire early, or change careers.

Even though management consulting career is high-paying and well-respected, some professionals do not enjoy the tight deadlines and work pressure over a long period of time. The challenging and very stressful environment can cause burnout.

It is also common for people to quit this profession if they joined it only for the salary, without any other interest in the field of business/management. So it is always good to consider these factors before you decide if management consulting career is worth it for you.

Read next:

How to Become a Management Consultant

From academic qualifications to best colleges, from costs to management consulting career path, we have created a full guide on how to take up the management consulting career. 

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