I’ve chosen to begin my series of careers in… with management consulting as there are many similarities between the skill set of a management consultant and those of an academic researcher. I have also known over the years a number of PhD graduates and research staff who have moved into this career area.
Management consultancy employers are looking for people who have analytical minds, who can come up with creative solutions to problems, who can express themselves clearly both verbally an in writing, who are flexible and can show initiative – surely all things you can identify with through your PhD. Of course, they are also looking for commercial awareness and a genuine interest in consulting and business but if these are areas you are less strong on I’m sure you could work on developing them if you wanted to!
But what is management consulting? The Prospects occupational profile of a consultant states:
Management consultants help organisations to solve issues, create value, maximise growth and improve the business performance of their clients. They use their business skills to provide objective advice, expertise and specialist skills which the organisation may be lacking.
Consultants work on specific projects for companies in private, public and voluntary sector across a range of industries. Consultants can sometimes choose to specialise in specific areas; examples include education, healthcare, public sector, or retail. They spend a lot of time based at clients sites so travel is a common feature of the job. Some typical tasks of a consultant include:
- carrying out research and data collection to understand the organisation;
- conducting analysis;
- interviewing client’s employees, management team and other stakeholders;
- preparing business proposals/presentations.
- identifying issues and forming hypotheses and solutions;
- presenting findings and recommendations to clients;
- managing projects and programmes;
There is a wealth of information on management consultancy as a career if you’re interested in finding out more. A good place to start is the occupations section of our website. You should also look out for consulting firms coming to talk to students on campus, most typically in the autumn semester.
If you want the insider’s view then why not get in touch with one of our career contacts in management consultancy? These are University of Edinburgh alumni now working for companies such as Accenture, Deloitte Consulting and Capgemini who have said they are happy to talk to current students about what they do. You can find their contact details here