As a management consultant you will be in the practice of helping businesses and organizations improve their performance. You will be tasked with reviewing how organizations currently perform and helping them develop plans to improve their performance and better their margins. Organizations that are wanting to grow, or have realized that they can do better and just aren’t sure how will usually be the ones searching out your expertise. Some of the skills that you will be expected to teach these organizations how to implement include organizational change management, coaching skills, process analysis, technology implementation and strategy development. They aren’t expecting you to teach them what they already know, or use the processes that they may have tried to put in place. They will however, be expecting you to bring new ideas to the table, your own proprietary methodologies or frameworks to help them identify areas of weakness within their organizations. These findings will also serve as the baseline for useful recommendations that will teach these organizations how to put more effective or efficient business processes in place.
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If you enjoy helping others find a way to improve upon things, management consulting may be a good career path for you. In order to break into the field you will have to have completed your education and received at least a Bachelor degree in a field like business. Of course, the higher your education level, the more money you will begin to make right off the bat. Another thing to keep in mind is that top tier firms are looking to recruit top tier students. So, the higher your GPA, academic excellence and extra-curricular activities are, the higher a chance you have of being recruited by a top player in the field. There are also professional certifications that you can obtain that will not only help you to expand your knowledge of the field, it will also provide you with a better opportunity to make more money in your career of choice. Some of the certifications that you may want to add to your list of qualifications may include:
- Certified Management Consultant (CMC) professional designation from ICMCI
- Chartered Business Strategist (CBS)
- Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA)
- Management Consulting Excellence certification (MCE)
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Recent college grads who are fortunate enough to be recruited by top tier management consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, and CGI can expect to be offered salaries and compensation packages similar to what I have laid out below.
Expected salary for first year post undergraduate
- Base Salary of between 50-65k
- Signing Bonus of approximately 5-10k
- Relocation and moving expenses if necessary could range from 5-10k
- And year-end bonuses if you qualify of 5-10k depending on the firm
Based on those figures, you can be looking at an average of 75k in your first year as a management consultant. If you are lucky enough to score a summer internship with a management consultant firm you can expect a comparable pro-rated salary but unfortunately you probably won’t be looking at a bonus. Learn how to market yourself as a consultant and get firms to notice you by learning the four ‘P’s of marketing that are necessary for a company to succeed, How to Market Yourself as a Consultant will teach you the ways.
First Year Out of Business School/MBA
The further you get in your education, the higher up the salary ladder you will climb. Once you have completed an MBA program you can expect to have a salary that falls within the ranges described below:
- Base Salary of between 110-140k
- Signing Bonus of approximately 20-40k
- Relocation and moving expenses if necessary could range from 10-20k
- And year-end bonuses if you qualify of 20-40k depending on the firm
That’s a whooping 160-200k average salary in your first year as a management consultant. If you’re interested in pursuing your MBA but aren’t sure where to start, Kickstarting Your MBA Plans may help.
If you continue on the management consulting path, you may at one point in your career set your sights on becoming a partner in the firm. Your salary will grow exponentially and you could expect to make 175-200k as a Project Leader, 250-400k as a Project Leader, 500-800k as a Partner/Principal, and 1 million plus as a Senior Partner or Director. Once you hit the Senior Consultant level salaries tend to be variable and performance based. Learn how to increase your performance and productivity and lock in a higher salary by joining others in this great Hyperperformance Productivity and High Performance Behavior course.
Regardless of whether you take a job as a management consultant as an undergraduate or complete your MBA you can expect to have a benefits package, retirement contributions, and a generous expense/reimbursement package that will go along with your salary package.
Consultant firms want to hire the best and the brightest. They want to know that their prospective employees can get the job done and feel confident that they have learned those skills at school. They also know that an MBA and a top tier school not only provide a great education, but also give the student confidence and a presence. Skills that are crucial in a business that charges for their knowledge and advice. They are also teaching new employees a business model, approach and framework that has been developed over time. They want to make sure that they can mold their new employees’ way of thinking to fit that of what their vision is. They definitely aren’t looking for someone who is going to push back and challenge a framework and model that has worked and may continue to work exceptionally well. The moral of the story is do your best in school, market yourself and add certifications to your list of qualifications if you can. Completing these steps will help you to land a job at a top tier management consulting firm and earn great pay doing something that you love.