By Marv Dumon

Management consultants solve problems. They are the hired guns brought in to assess the business operations of an organization looking for ways to improve efficiency and cut costs. They then bring these solutions to management – usually in PowerPoint form. Corporate managers, always sniffing around for new ways to unlock shareholder value, use consultants to improve the way a company does business. Read on to learn more about management consulting, what the job entails and how consulting might not be the shortcut to the executive suite that many assume it is. (For an overview of careers available in the world of business, see Finding Your Place In The Financial Industry.)

Types of Consultants
Consultants may be employed either internally within an organization, or externally through the offerings of a professional services firm.

  • External consultants must have a diverse set of skills. They never know what company they could be working for next, and so the deeper their range of experience, the better. Many of the large, recognized consulting firms provide best-in-class training to include methodologies, analytical techniques, change agent values, and presentation skills that give the consultant the critical problem solving skills and leadership traits necessary for upward career movement.
  • Internal consultants, however, are more inclined to develop deep and expert knowledge of their particular industry, and have more intimate knowledge and insight into how a particular company runs. They also have a historical perspective on the business, allowing them to quickly identify and cut through the internal politics often associated with organizational change.

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