Read on to know more if you have a friend like this or you yourself are one....
You believe that you know better than others do. You like the thrill of setting up a new business. You, my friend, are a Management Consultant.
Business is a complex matter these days and more often than not you need someone to figure out what is best for your business. It could be an international company looking at India or an Indian company looking internationally. Their requirement could be as basic as identifying an office in a new area. Or it could be as complex as identifying a business partner, or looking up industrial or trade investments.
This is where you step in. Management consulting is a dynamic profession. As a consultant you could provide your expertise in any one or all of the following areas:
Strategy consulting involves advising on corporate-level or business-unit strategies. What business should we be in? How do we compete? Should we diversify or focus on core activities? How do we fight (and win) against our competitors? The work is very conceptual and considered glamorous.
Operations Management consulting is figuring out how to improve the efficiency or productivity. Some even call it reengineering. Whatever the name, there is always a need for practical, results-oriented and detailed consulting.
Human Resource consulting includes attracting, motivating and retaining high quality employees for a company along with advice on compensation and benefits.
Information Technology consulting is a new entrant. Today it is indeed hard to think of a business problem, which doesn't involve technology. A good part of systems consulting includes helping clients install or operate massive software solutions.
You will research data and make sense of it all. You will identify the markets and competitors; prepare risk studies as well as feasibility reports. You will identify financiers, arrange and negotiate loans and working capital, as well as workout joint ventures.
Thus, you will handle projects right from conceptualisation to implementation. For large-scale organisations you will assist them in getting the ISO certifications and corporate take-overs.
You must however remember that there is no such thing as a typical day in this field. It involves a lot of travelling. It is possible to work for a different client each day of the week, but it is equally possible to work for the same client for two years or more. Even when you are working on a project, you never know when and how the plans may change.
The basic qualification is usually an MBA. In areas like IT consultancy, technical qualifications such as an MCA or a B.E in computers is preferred. Some sort of management background, however, is still necessary. A Ph.D or a Fellowship in Management is also a good qualification for getting a job.
One of the important qualities that you need to have is the ability to innovate. You should be capable of supplying a continuous stream of new ideas to your clients. Management consulting is an idea-driven profession. You must therefore have the ability to bring fresh ideas to the table.
Consultants need to excel in relationships with their clients, which must be face-to-face. Communication skills therefore become vital. You also must have the ability to merge inconspicuously with the client team and be able to quickly cultivate working relationships with them. Time management skills would help you meet tight deadlines.