Management Consultancy is an exciting profession that can offer a great variety and intellectual challenge for the consultant, whilst also making a very positive impact on clients and society as a whole.
Consultants can enjoy applying their knowledge to a broad range of problems in widely differing situations. They are able to use their highly specialist knowledge and experience in a wider context than one firm can provide, and they are able to gain a more varied experience of management problems.
Whereas 'Management' has been defined as 'the art of getting results through other people'. Consultancy is less easy to define. The key words are probably qualified and professional. Firstly the word 'qualified' implies the experience of management, whilst the word 'professional' implies both an ethical or objective standard, and the backing of a developed and proved body of knowledge. Whilst it is often change that makes management necessary, it is the requirements of change that makes management difficult. Management consultancy is therefore primarily concerned with initiating and implementing technological and behavioural changes. For instance:
Management consultants are used first to provide wider additional expertise than is available within a single organisation. This could be a change in production, or marketing may require expertise in designing and implementing a new system.
Secondly, management consultants are used to provide objective appraisals where it is often easier for the expert's outsider to see the broader picture and recognise the long-term requirements.
Thirdly, the management consultant may be needed to provide additional assistance where there is a temporary increase in the management workload. This may be to cope with a major change or new development in any area of management responsibility.
Who are the Management Consultants?
Those entering management consultancy tend to fall into the 25-35 age group, but there are openings for younger candidates - generally as a prospective consultants. Younger entrants tend to be graduates with MBA's, whilst older entrants will need to bring a t least three years management experience with them
A would-be management consultant must posess
Integrity - your clients interest come first
Intelligence - to follow situation accurately and develop sound solutions
The ability to communicate - listening as well as talking
An enquiring mind - every problem must have a solution
Clarity of expression - both verbally and in writing
Personality - to get on well with people on all levels
How to become a Management Consultant
On joining a firm of management consultants, the new entrant will normally receive several months of induction and training. During that time, they will be under the guidance of an experienced consultant, where their diagnostic skills are developed and the professional standards of their firms are impressed on their mind. Particular attention is drawn to the writing of clear, considered English, and the ability to present thoughts and ideas verbally to clients. In addition, the opportunity will be taken to provide additional training to fill any gaps in knowledge and experience.
Although no organizational framework is common to all consultancies, most have established a formal career structure for their staff: a consultant progressing responsibility for the detailed day -today conduct of an assignment, and later the team leader in a multidiscipline assignment
Management Consultants by their very nature are specialist, and because of the wide variety of management activities, the Institute of Management Consultancy into the following areas of consulting activity has divided the specialisms:
This involves long-range planning, the re-organization of a company's structure, rationalization of services and products, and a general business appraisal of the company.
Manufacturing & Business Services
Involving a review of the layout of a production department, production control arrangements, productivity and incentive schemes or quality control problems
Financial & Management Controls
The Installation of budgetary control systems, profit planning or capital and revenue budgeting, office reorganization and administrative arrangements,
Advising on personnel policy, manpower planning, job enrichment, job evaluation and industrial relations
Defining information needs, the provision of software, systems analysis and design, computer feasibility studies, implementing computer applications, and making computer hardware evaluations
This includes urban and regional development planning, international economic research, cost benefit and social analysis studies and physical economic, ecological and sociological studies for the encouragement of quality of lifestyle
Setting of policy strategy, customer satisfaction, performance measurement, people management and processes