Tips for Breaking Into and Succeeding In Management Consulting

Short artilce on breaking into the field of management consulting.

Tips for Breaking Into and Succeeding In Management Consulting

By Jennie S. Bev

Management consulting is one of the professions that endure in a slow economy. Why? Because more than ever, companies need consultants to help them increase revenues and cut costs.

Management consulting is also known as one of the highest paid professions in the United States. A recent survey by the Association of Management Consulting Firms found entry-level consultants earn an average of $58,000 annually while senior partners earn an average of $259,000 (including bonuses and profit sharing). Self-employed consultants may earn $100 to $350 per hour.

Therefore, if you’ve been contemplating to break into this field, wait no more. The financial reward would be a real incentive. Also, there are other perks that would further motivate. They include: intellectual challenge, opportunity to learn, helping others to learn, self-satisfaction and prestige.

Now let’s talk about the two paths of management consulting to consider: working for others and going solo. If you don’t have much experience or are a new graduate, working for others is probably the wisest choice. If you have already gained sufficient verifiable professional experience in a specialized field, going solo is a highly feasible option.

Whichever path you’d choose, here are some tips to break into and succeed this field:

  1. Do your homework, get ready for the job. Equip yourself with the required (and recommended) skills: problem-solving, communication, management, computer and some foreign language.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a business degree, an MBA or even ANY degree to break into this field. Thus, if you do have it, you are ahead in the game. However, you definitely need to have specific personal attributes to succeed. Among them are leadership and working well under stress.
  3. Educate yourself continuously as knowledge evolves consistently and there are new ways of solving the old and new problems.
  4. Know what to expect from the job. Familiarize yourself with the job titles, what their job descriptions are, the typical consulting job cycle and (even better) how the sample proposals are planned and written for the clients.
  5. If your career goal is to work for a consulting firm, familiarize yourself with the professional consulting job hunt process and interviews. For instance, the interview stage for a consulting position includes personality and resume questions, communication questions and business case questions.
  6. For those who are considering to going solo, you’ll need to assess your working style and aptitude for entrepreneurship suitability, planning for success, advertising and publicity, pricing your services and writing the consulting agreement.
  7. While it is not an absolute necessity and not many clients require it, you may want to pursue a professional designation to take the consulting career to the next level!

Last but not least, management consulting is a very lucrative field and recession-proof. In fact, some specialized consulting fields are experiencing a whopping increase of revenue. Now get ready to plunge into this exciting and highly rewarding profession. Just make sure to do your homework properly to ensure success.

Authors’ Bio:
Jennie S. Bev is a San Francisco Bay Area cost-reduction consultant, instructional designer and the author of Guide to Become a Management Consultant, published by, Inc (July 2002). She can be contacted via She is also the Managing Editor of

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