Becoming a Management Consultant

Everything you need to know about this lucrative career path.

~ 31 minute read

Have you ever considered a career as a management consultant? Many creative, business-minded individuals aspire to without understanding what this demanding role requires.

This comprehensive guide will give you everything you need to know about a career in management consulting. From the different types of consultancy roles to the salary you can expect, we’ll show you if this lucrative career is the right choice for you.

What is a Management Consultant?

The term “consulting” simply refers to providing professional, expert advice to a specific group or business. Management consultants, in particular, are hired to improve a business’ strategy and operations. They may also oversee major events such as mergers or acquisitions.

The numbers show the profession is in demand, and that management consulting is a growing industry. In 2018, there were 684,470 consultants in the US—and this number only continues to grow.

But while management consulting is a common term, it’s actually an overarching title that covers many different sub-sections. Here are the five most popular types:

1. Strategy Consulting

Strategy consulting is a $31 billion industry. Strategic management takes a top-down approach to business, focusing on the highest tier where fundamental business decisions are made. Those in a strategy consulting role will be responsible for the long-term vision of the company, allocating resources, and managing a portfolio of departments effectively.

CEOs and business leaders will usually bring in a strategy consultant who specializes in a specific field or industry. The consultant will be able to analyze the current situation and give an unbiased brief on the direction of the business.

Strategy consultancy is the most difficult branch of management to get into. It’s a highly regarded area of consultancy and is reserved for the very best candidates.

2. Operations Consulting

The operations of a business are what drive it. This includes things like outsourcing, supply chain management, process management, and procurement. Simply put, without smoothly running operations, a business won’t last long.

All successful businesses aim to optimize operations as much as possible to improve the bottom line. To do this, in-house strategies include cutting costs, improving quality, and boosting efficiency.

But for more specialized strategies, a consultant will be brought on to give an outside opinion about more innovative ways to improve operational processes. This is usually the case when the business faces a down-turn, change in senior leaders, or branches into a new area.

Operations consultants work alongside senior members of the business team to strategically reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve the supply chain, and enhance quality control.

Whereas strategy consultants usually give reports and advice only, operational consultants are more hands-on. They’re also usually involved in implementing new processes to ensure efficiency throughout.

Just like strategy consulting, this is another highly competitive field requiring innovative individuals who thrive on problem-solving, long hours in the office, and copious amounts of coffee during long nights.

3. Financial Advisory Consulting

The market for financial consulting and other services is massive. All major corporations and businesses must take into account a huge number of variables when making financial decisions, so financial consultants are a major asset to any business.

Financial advisors are brought on to help businesses increase investor returns. They do this by giving expert advice on how to legally reduce tax bills, improve cash flow, and make the best investments with the lowest risk.

But unlike other branches, financial consultants require specific qualifications and a license to practice. In the US, you’re required to pass an exam given by the FINRA to gain a Series 65 or 66 license. Of course, this makes financial consulting another lucrative career option.

4. Human Resources Consulting

Every business requires effective, clear, ethical processes in place to manage employees. This includes proper training guidelines, conflict resolution, measuring employee satisfaction, benefits and pensions, and more.

Human resources consulting developed to help businesses optimize their HR department. This type of consulting will ensure HR policies and processes adhere to laws and regulations, create more efficient training guidelines and programs, implement HR policies and procedures, and improve overall employee satisfaction and engagement.

Unlike other management consultancy niches, HR consultants need a broad understanding of many fields to work effectively. This is because they will be working within different departments including IT, finance, marketing, and accounting. Having a good knowledge of each department means they can effectively understand the business and remedy any issues within specific departments.

HR consultants require a Bachelor’s Degree in HR management or business administration, as well as certification to practice.

5. Risk & Compliance Consulting

Compliance ensures a business adheres to laws, standards, and regulations set out by governing bodies. Company policies enforce this compliance, helping the business prevent violations such as fraud, harassment, abuse, or discrimination. Overall, compliance plays a key role in preventing a business from being sued or fined. It effectively protects an organization from risk.

A risk and compliance consultant will conduct an analysis of a company’s compliance policies. They’ll also minimize exposure to industry-specific risk by implementing internal controls.

This specific type of consultant works directly with senior members of management to develop programs that ensure compliance. As such, they need a wide knowledge of legal processes and regulations as well as the specific compliance laws for the industry they specialize in.

Because of the technical knowledge involved, risk and compliance consultants usually need a Bachelor’s Degree as well as an MBA or CPA.

What Do Consultants Earn?

The average salary for consulting is $75,000 per year. However, because the consulting profession is so broad and covers so many different sub-sectors, salaries are equally wide-ranging.

Of all the sub-sectors of consulting, management consulting offers some of the highest salaries. While the average salary is nearly $93,000 per year, there is potential for massive career growth and salary advances in this industry.

Essential Skills You’ll Need for Management Consulting

With more and more people entering the consulting space, the recruitment market is more competitive than ever before. Employers now have the luxury of cherry-picking the best candidates by searching for a specific skill set and desirable attributes. To get you on track, here are the essential skills you’ll need to begin the management consultant career path.

1. Academic Success

All of the top consulting firms will look for academic achievement when choosing candidates. A history of academic excellence highlights your ability to learn and work hard — two vital traits of a good consultant.

As mentioned above, certain sectors of management consulting careers require specific degrees or certificates to enter. So it’s imperative to know which certifications are needed to enter your chosen field.

2. Work Experience

Although not all consulting positions require a degree, all consulting firms will be looking for experience in the chosen sector. The ideal work experience is a summer scheme or internship with a relevant company that shows your interest in consulting, such as the Bain Summer Associate Program. However, if this isn’t an option, other work experience is also valuable.

Professional work experience with well-known brands in a particular industry shows a knowledge of the operations in that category of business as well as a desire to work in the industry. This also helps you develop foundational teamwork skills, communication skills, and presentation skills, all of which are important in a consulting role.

3. Leadership and Initiative

Consulting companies look for candidates who are confident in a leadership role and thrive when given responsibility. Make sure to highlight any experiences in which you took initiative and faced challenges. Even if you have no formal work experience yet, a position in a team or campus society could highlight these important skills well.

4. Presentation Skills

A massive part of a consulting role is presenting ideas, initiatives, and processes to clients, so this is a vital skill all recruiters will be looking for in consulting candidates. Consultants charge hundreds of dollars per hour to give presentations, so only those with flawless presentation skills are considered for roles.

Firms will be looking for everything from a well-written, error-free resume to a confident, professionally dressed candidate. If you have experience giving presentations, make sure to highlight this in your application.

5. Ability to Accept Feedback

This profession has a culture of constant feedback and improvement. There are always ways to improve and things to learn so it’s important to take criticism and feedback well. In other words, you better have thick skin to be a leader in this field!

6. Problem-Solving Skills

There is a marked difference between a candidate suitable for a corporate role and one suited to consulting. Consulting requires someone who can problem-solve, develop strategic solutions, liaise well with clients, and become part of a high-performing team.

As well as showing your academic excellence, it’s important to highlight specific instances where you diagnosed a problem, found a strategic solution, and achieved proven results. This is the foundation of the consulting role and a valued trait firms are looking for.

7. Industry Knowledge

No matter the specific sector, management consultants spend most of their time working in a variety of industries and departments. It’s important to show you can quickly and effectively understand the basic principles of an industry and how it works.

Demonstrate this by keeping up to date with industry news in your sector as well as neighboring sectors. Spend some time researching the major companies, trends, and news stories to show your foundational knowledge in an interview.

8. Communication Skills

Consultants spend most of their time liaising with clients, taking calls, strategizing with a team, and delegating tasks. All of this requires excellent communication skills. Consulting firms will be looking for both verbal and written communication skills in candidates.

To show written skills, make sure your applications are concise, clear, and flawless, and be sure to speak clearly and confidently during interviews.

Further show your communication skills by highlighting instances where you diffused a heated situation, communicated a technical idea well, or motivated your team.

9. Teamwork

Although consultants often work alone, it’s a team-based career. Being able to work effectively alongside others is a vital trait. Firms are looking for individuals who can demonstrate an ability to confidently work alone and make important decisions themselves, as well as effectively manage and become part of a results-driven team.

During an interview, along with highlighting instances about working well autonomously, provide examples of instances you gained results as part of a team. This could be a professional setting as well as a sports team or college society.

10. Entrepreneurial Spirit

The job of any consultant is to help optimize a business, so it’s important to understand and have a passion for the entrepreneurial side of the role.

Starting your own business is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the world of business and understand firsthand the aspects of running a company. This will be invaluable when working with businesses in the same industry in the future. Having this firsthand experience will also be a significant advantage with large consulting firms in the future.

Unsure whether your skill set and personality type are suited to consulting? Take our free, comprehensive career test now to discover whether or not management consulting is right for you.

The Consultant Career Path Explained

A consultant’s career path follows a fairly standard progression, with each position lasting around two years. Here’s a breakdown of the career path you can expect:

  1. Entry-level Analyst (expected salary of $70k–$100k)
  2. Associate (expected salary of $150k–$200k)
  3. Manager (expected salary of $200k–$300k)
  4. Senior Manager (expected salary of $300k–$400k)
  5. Junior Partner (expected salary of $500k–$900k)
  6. Senior Partner (expected salary of $1million or more)

These are the standard salaries but they do vary depending on the firm. Of course, the top-tier firms offer the best pay, whereas smaller, more boutique consulting firms will have lower salaries. On top of that, many firms offer bonuses for those who deliver outstanding results.

What Does a Management Consultant Do?

A consultant has many responsibilities and roles, which is why this industry pays so well. But a major part of the consulting role is to carry out in-depth research to collect data on a business or organization. From that data, consultants conduct analyses of current practices to identify any issues or problems.

As part of the research, consultants conduct interviews with employees, managers, and investors to get a full picture. This usually involves focus groups or workshops.

From the research gathered, consultants will prepare proposals and presentations to present to the board of directors or managers of the business. They identify any issues found within the business and offer innovative solutions while clearly presenting their findings and giving their expert recommendations to the client.

It may also be part of the role to implement the recommendations given and ensure the client has the right team of assistance throughout. This is usually the case with operational consultants.

During the implementation, the consultant acts as the project manager and oversees the entire program. They will lead the entire team and liaise with the client to ensure they make informed, desirable decisions that lead to results.

A Day in the Life of a Management Consultant

There’s no denying it, consultants work incredibly long hours. Although you may not have to work quite as hard as an investment banker, be prepared for long hours, late nights, and eating dinner at your desk.

To give you a peek into this world, here is a breakdown of a typical day of a management consultant.

5:30 am - Start of the Day

A consultant’s day starts early, so be prepared to become a morning person! Some days they may be working in their office but often they will travel to meet a client on-site, which could mean taking an early flight to another city.

6 am - Catch a Flight

On this particular day, there is an important client meeting in another city, so the consultant will catch an early flight. On the flight, they’ll go over their presentation and make any final edits ready to present to the client that day. They’ll also grab a quick breakfast to keep them going.

9 am - Travel to the Client’s Office

From the airport, the consultant will jump in a cab and make their way to the client’s office. During the car journey, they will check emails to make sure nothing was missed during the flight. They may also check their alerts and news feed for the latest industry news.

9:30 am - Arrive at the Client’s Office

Once at the client’s office, the consultant prepares for their meeting in a dedicated project room. While waiting for the client to arrive, the consultant will prepare their presentation and check their emails a final time to keep up to date with the team.

10 am - Meet with the Team and Client

By this time, any other team members have arrived and the consultant can update the team and check in with each member on the progress of projects. This is the time to go over all findings and get progress reports from all team members.

This is also when the consultant will have a brief meeting with the client to let them know their consulting team has arrived on site.

11:30 am - Project Work

Now, the consultant will catch up on project work and ensure the team is running smoothly. There’s no time for a long lunch break, so the consultant will grab a quick lunch from the nearest cafe.

2 pm - Client Meetings

This is the most important part of the consultant’s day. Client meetings usually happen at least once each day with a senior member of staff or several high-ranking members. During the meeting, the consultant will give their presentation, outlining all findings and giving expert advice and solutions.

3:30 pm - Debrief

After the client meeting is finished, the project team will debrief and make a plan of action moving forward. This is when work will be delegated for the rest of the week.

4:30 pm - Coffee Break

There’s now time for the consultant to grab a quick cup of coffee before getting back to work.

5 pm - Project Work

Now the client has left, the consultant has time to work in the project room. They will conduct research, work on deliverables, and finalize presentations. This is also time for team members to liaise to ensure projects are on track.

7 pm - Client Dinner

The client has extended an invite to dinner so the consultant attends. This is an opportunity to get to know the client and gain their trust as well as build rapport and get to know the city they’re visiting.

9:30 pm - Go Home

The consultant will head to their hotel room to get some much-needed rest before starting all over again the next day.

While the typical day can be long and demanding, many consultants thrive from the diversity, challenge, and variation in their days. This type of role provides an opportunity to build a vast network, gain insight into how other companies operate, and spend time in new places — even if most of that time is in an office setting.

How Do You Become a Management Consultant?

There are three common entry points into consulting.

Direct From Undergrad to Entry-Level Analyst

Top tier consulting firms recruit entry-level analysts from top colleges. These firms target top-performing students usually from business, economics, or engineering programs.

For example, data from the Wall Street Oasis (WSO) shows that of 142 users who held an analyst position at McKinsey in 2018, 20% came from the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, or the University of Michigan. They also recruited from Stanford University, Duke University, Princeton University, and Boston College.

From an MBA to Associate

The top firms almost exclusively hire MBAs from top programs for associate positions. Most join this position as generalists working across a wide variety of industries and functions before becoming specialized in a specific field.

From Business Leader to Partnership

Although undergrads and MBAs make up the bulk of new hires into the top-tier consulting firms, there is also a third entry point. Consulting firms are constantly looking for experienced individuals at the top of their respective fields to take an expedited path to higher-ranking positions, including partnerships. However, these are more rare positions and are headhunted.

Other than these more traditional routes, some management consultants take more focused paths, starting at firms like Accenture for experience in technology and digital innovation, companies like Deloitte or KPMG that focus on finance and accounting, or agencies like Ogilvy and IDEO to specialize in service design.

Regardless of the path, here are a few steps needed to break into the competitive realm of management consulting.

1. Complete a Degree

Although many branches don’t require a degree, it is advisable to get one in a relevant field. The top choices are business, engineering, or science.

The consulting world is very competitive. Firms can be incredibly selective when choosing ideal candidates and those without an educational background will likely be filtered out early on in the screening process.

When choosing your degree, pick the one that best suits your chosen field of consulting. Accounting is a good choice as it will give you a wide understanding of the financials of a business. A STEM degree is another great choice, especially paired with a minor in business.

Once you’ve chosen your degree, you also need outstanding grades. This is the first hurdle of getting into the interview process. The more you can stand out as an excellent candidate, the better your chances.

2. Get Relevant Experience

As well as an outstanding academic record, firms will look for the best experience in their candidates. Ideally, this will be a graduate consulting scheme or an internship with a high-profile firm.

Unfortunately, graduate schemes are rare and difficult to secure. You can expect a tough recruitment process to achieve a space.

Internships are even tougher to secure. These usually last six to twelve weeks over the summer period. Again, there is a long recruitment process to find the best candidates but it is an excellent way to gain valuable experience and get a foot in the door of a top firm.

There are year-long consultancy placements available but these are extremely rare to find. Only select companies offer these and competition is high, including firms like PwC.

If you fail to get onto a management scheme or internship, there are other ways to gain valuable experience. For example, business-focused work experience opportunities will give first-hand experience of the industry and how the business operates.

You should take any opportunities for volunteering, temp work, community activities, or other work experience. Taking on these roles shows commitment and a passion for the industry.

A Reading List for Aspiring Management Consultants

Here are some of the top books you should read to further your industry knowledge.

The McKinsey Way

The insights given in this book will give insider knowledge of working at one of the top consulting firms. It’s a must-read for those interested in breaching the field of management consulting and want to understand the mindset and working day of top consultants.

Key Management Models: The 75+ Models Every Manager Needs to Know

This book covers an extensive range of management models from operational to strategic. It also gives useful information on how to use the different styles and when they are applicable. This book is an excellent reference guide for consultants who are starting out and need to solve client problems effectively.

Case Interview Secrets: A Former McKinsey Interviewer Reveals How to Get Multiple Job Offers in Consulting

Victor Chang is a case interview expert who has helped hundreds of candidates secure consulting offers with top firms. In this book, he gives his innovative approach to case interviews and gives his best advice on what firms are looking for during these interviews. This book is a must-read for those looking to get through the consulting interview process.

Consulting Blogs to Follow

It’s important to stay up to date with the latest industry news and theories. Consulting blogs can also help you broaden your knowledge of the industry and keep up with the latest news and insights:

As well as staying current on the top consulting blogs, it’s also important to keep abreast of news in your specific industry. This will help you give cutting-edge advice and recommendations to clients.

For example, if you’re interested in the marketing sector, Seth Godin’s blog is a must-read. Whereas if your client is in e-commerce, Drew Sanocki is a leading expert. Whatever your chosen industry, find several leading sources of online content and remain knowledgeable about industry news.

How to Shift from Your Current Career to Management Consulting

Making the shift from an unrelated career to management consulting can be difficult. A consultant takes years to develop a specific set of skills that make them good at this role, hence why the career trajectory begins in college. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to transition from a different career. Those in different fields must be willing to work twice as hard to develop their knowledge and make up for the lack of industry experience.

When you want to shift into consulting, it’s best to begin by building up as much industry experience as possible. This is especially true if your degree isn’t related to management consulting. Recruiters will rely on experience to understand if a candidate is the right fit for a role, so the more experience you can show the better.

Once you know the specific sector of consulting you would like to do, consider internships, certifications, temp work, or volunteering to build up your experience in the sector. This can be done without leaving your current position, alleviating some of the pressure.

Also, spend any spare time reading up on the industry and current news. The list of books and blogs above is a great place to begin broadening your industry knowledge.

Next, begin looking for networking opportunities where you can meet consultants. This will give you the opportunity to uncover any openings within firms, internships, or consulting schemes that will help you further your career in the industry.

The Top Three Companies Dominating This Industry

The consulting industry is dominated by major firms. Getting a position within one of the top three is highly sought-after so this section covers the interview process of these three giant firms to give you an inside look at the process.


McKinsey interviews are regarded as some of the hardest in the world. Questions asked are difficult and extremely specific to the firm. Interviewers are looking for the very best candidates and as such can seem intimidating during the process.

At McKinsey, one in ten interview candidates secures a job offer. However, these candidates are chosen from a pool of hundreds of thousands of applicants. Overall, just 1% of all applicants each year receive a job offer.

To begin the interview process, McKinsey requires a resume and cover letter that are both screened. To make an impression, these need to be flawless, professional, and extremely well-written.

Following the resume, candidates will sit the McKinsey Problem Solving Test (PST). This further screens out potential candidates.

If a candidate passes the resume screening and PST screening, they will be invited to an interview. This first interview consists of a case interview and a personal experience interview. Together, this lasts around one hour.

If a candidate makes it through this interview, they will be asked to attend a second interview. Only those who pass the second interview process will be given a job offer. Of 200,000 candidates, 2,200 are offered jobs each year.


BCG is another consulting giant and a highly sought-after firm. The interview process at BCG involves three steps: resume screening, first-round interviews, and second-round interviews.

BCG uses four assessment tools to screen candidates. These are case questions, personal experience interview (PEI) questions, the BCG Potential Test, and written cases.

In both rounds of interviews, you will be given a combination of PEI questions and case interview questions to answer. You will then also be required to take the Potential Test and produce a written case.

The BCG Potential Test consists of 23 computer-based questions and must be answered in 45 minutes. For the written case, the interviewer will give you a set of documents and you will be given two hours to answer case questions in the form of a 15-minute presentation.

Overall, BCG hires around 1,000 candidates a year out of a pool of hundreds of thousands so competition is fierce.


The Bain interview process follows a similar structure. However, it also includes the Bain Maths Test.

First, the firm will screen resumes and cover letters. Following this, candidates will sit the Bains Maths Test. Those with the best scores will be invited to the first-round interviews. Finally, the best candidates will be invited to second-round interviews.

There are two maths tests at Bain. The first resembles the GMAT with 15 questions that must be answered in 25 minutes. The second test is more closely resembles the Mckinsey PST or the BCG Potential Test. This contains two case studies along with 15 questions that must be answered in 45 minutes.

The first-round of interviews at Bain are carried out by their junior consultants and managers. However, the second-round interviews are conducted by the partners. Interviews last around 45 minutes consisting of case questions, PEI questions, and time for questions.

Bain also utilizes written cases during second-round interviews with partners. Candidates are required to present five pre-filled slides to the interviewer over 30 minutes.

Again, competition at Bain is high, close to that of both McKinsey and BCG.

Preparing for Your First Day

If you are one of the select candidates who make it through the interview process, here are some tips for getting prepared for your first day on the job.

1. Set Up Google Alerts

Industry news is constantly changing and it’s vital to keep up with the latest information. To begin, set up Google Alerts for your clients and any competitors. This will give you up-to-date information and allow you to prepare for any problems that arise.

This will also give you a competitive edge with insider knowledge. Higher-ranking consultants and managers will be impressed when you have pieces of information before anyone else.

2. Research the Client’s CEO and Managers

It’s vital to know all senior members of staff of the organization you will be working for. This way, you’ll know who you are talking to when they forget to introduce themselves at client meetings.

To familiarize yourself with high-level members, go to your client’s website and research their profiles. Get to know their faces and do some quick research to understand each member so you can make the best first impression.

3. Understand the Basic Financials of Clients

Even if you’re not a financial consultant, it’s important to know the basic numbers of your clients. This includes annual revenue, overall revenue, gross profit, and margins.

Having these numbers memorized beforehand will be beneficial when you begin working and someone needs to know these numbers offhand.

4. Research Competitors

Find the top five competitors of your client and know their basic numbers. Familiarize yourself with their revenue figures, number of employees, key products, and services. This will allow you to stay ahead of the game and cement yourself as an industry expert.

5. File All Contact Information Needed

Your first day will run much more smoothly if you have all the contact information you need in hand. This includes information for all the people in your team, the firm partners, as well as client contact information if available.

Make sure you know who you report to and the best way to reach them. It’s best to have a cell phone number, email, secretary email, and direct line if possible. This will be invaluable when someone is running late to a meeting and you need a contact number urgently.

6. Get Up to Speed on Client Work

You will be jumping into ongoing client work when you begin so it’s important to get up to speed as quickly as possible. Consulting firms will have knowledge libraries with information about all past clients and cases.

As soon as you can, research this library and get all relevant information about your client and past projects. This will give you an idea of the firm’s work ethic, process, and methodology.

7. Research Places for Dinners and Events

You will likely be asked to plan a team event as the new person in the office. It’s vital to make an excellent first impression so do your research and make a list of possible venues in advance. This will take the pressure off and make the planning process much easier.

Taking the team to a fantastic restaurant will make a good first impression and make the partners notice you as a top contender for future advancement in the firm.

8. Stock Up on Supplies

Finally, it’s always best to come prepared. As you will be unfamiliar with your new office, never assume there will be items such as extra power cords, adapters, or USB sticks on hand for you. Instead of spending valuable time searching the office for needed supplies, take everything you may need with you on your first day. Being over-prepared is always best and shows your team you are dedicated.

Advancing Your Career

As shown in the section above, consulting firms usually have multiple tiers ranging from entry-level analyst up to partner. Each role lasts around two years before progression meaning becoming partner can take 10 or more years depending on the speed of progression.

What’s more, progression is not guaranteed. Many who begin as an entry-level analyst leave the firms before progressing if they’re not deemed a fit for promotion. This is what is known as an “up or out” policy — an HR policy that outlines the predetermined time frame consultants will remain in each role. Consultants cannot stay in a role for longer than this set time without being promoted or asked to leave the firm.

As such, it’s important to stand out as an excellent candidate to make sure you progress efficiently through the ranks.

Below are some of the top traits of the best consultants. By showing these characteristics, you’ll progress through a firm much more quickly and effectively.

1. Flexible

The top consultants easily adapt to new projects, take on new ideas well, and are flexible enough to accept change. This flexible approach allows them to enter a new business, adapt to different processes and operations, and still give expert advice.

2. Disciplined

The best consultants also work extremely hard — and smart. They are prepared to put in long hours and are dedicated to getting results for clients. This discipline allows them to prioritize important work while letting go of less important tasks.

3. Confident

Consulting involves spending countless hours pitching to clients, leading team meetings, and updating upper management. This continual interaction requires a high level of confidence to pitch well and lead effectively. This confidence also allows consultants to work well as part of a high-achieving team to get results no matter the project.

4. Studious

Great consultants understand the benefit of being a perpetual student. The industry is constantly evolving so there’s always more to learn. Those who dedicate time to honing their skills, reading up on the latest industry information, and developing their knowledge will progress the fastest.

5. Persistent

Top consultants do not give up on projects. They deal with unforeseen problems, manage disputes, take negative feedback well, and move on. They learn from mistakes and persistently continue, never letting the same mistake happen twice.

6. Friendly

The best consultants are also the most sociable. They are excellent listeners and understand the power of forming good working relationships. They rely on others and allow others to come to them when needed. Those who clients and colleagues like the most are the ones who progress through the rank of a firm.

How to Get a Promotion as a Management Consultant

In order to achieve a promotion as quickly as possible and within the timeframe the firm sets out, try these techniques:

Develop a Personal Brand

People promote people. As well as looking for those with the best skillset, partners of a firm are also looking for candidates who are smart, trustworthy, confident, credible, likable, and committed. Developing a strong personal brand with these traits will help you stand out from the pool of potential candidates. Take every opportunity you can to impress upper management with your presentation, industry knowledge, and innovation so they keep you in mind when it’s time for promotions.

Strategically Select Your Deliverables

Be strategic when volunteering for workloads. Although it might seem best to volunteer for everything, it’s actually better to cherry-pick the deliverables you know you can excel in. Management will prefer a person who delivers less work of outstanding quality than someone who delivers more work that is average.

Form a reputation of delivering excellent work by taking responsibility for pieces of project work you know you will deliver well.

Manage Relationships with Colleagues

Although it’s important to develop strong working relationships with colleagues, it is also important to remember that there’s competition here, too. This is more prevalent in consulting than any other industry. Consultants are continuously being compared to their peers. Becoming close friends with colleagues can put a strain on working relationships when you are both aiming for the same promotion.

Perform Like You’ve Been Given the Promotion

When aiming for a promotion, perform as if you’ve already been given it. If you are an entry-level analyst, take on a role as an associate (without stepping on anyone’s toes, of course). Doing this will demonstrate to management that you are already prepared and able to do the role you are aiming for.

Ready for a Career in Management Consulting?

Management consulting careers are exciting, challenging, and extremely rewarding. However, they are also high-pressure, competitive, and demanding, which isn’t the right fit for everyone.

If you’re unsure whether management consulting is the right fit for you, head to our guide on finding the perfect career. Included is a link to our free, comprehensive career test. Based on your interests and intrinsic personality, the CareerExplorer test will match you to careers best suited to you and give you insights into why and how you’ll be successful in them. Perhaps you’re the perfect fit for a lucrative consulting career after all.

Originally published on November 29, 2019.
Blog / Becoming a Management Consultant
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