A nice woman from New Jersey recently sent me an email from Twitter asking me how to enter the Management Consultant business right out of school. I thought I would put my answer to her here.

Hi Katrina

Whew you ask a lot, lol. I’m not sure I can answer many of your questions. My experience is that a good management consultant needs to have a variety of experience to draw upon in a general way. I guess a good mgmt consultant would have the business/educational credentials, had run several businesses and has a strong desire to pass the knowledge onto others.

You can define the 3 areas of a management type advisor as:

Consultant where that you tell a company what they must do; let’s say handle a marketing problem or a campaign

Coach- where you advise the client on options and which you would suggest as a good option.

Counselor -where you offer advice and options and the client makes the decision.

If you went into the latter field you would need to be analytical and a good listener and of course, a facilitator.

Her questions are as follows (my answers follow each question):

What is your day to day schedule typically like?
I charge about $250-500 per hour but it’s usually based on a per project basis versus hourly. A consultant could easily spend 80% of the week looking for 8 hours work. You need to sell yourself after all. Your day is flexible, constantly changing, thinking on your feet but having a plan in your head, being professional and making the client comfortable in trusting your judgment.

Do you have any memorable stories?
If I told you I might have to kill you!

How do your clients generally judge a job well done in every assignment, for yourself and others in your profession?
I’m doing a branding job for a public company right now and it’s been dragging on with numerous changes. You need to have deliverables defined in a contract so when you meet a milestone you can bill them or define that as accomplished.

What training and support resources are provided on the job to you?
None, you’re supposed to be the expert. You come into the client meeting as an expert in the area for which you’ve been paid big bucks. In the past month I have advised on branding, marketing, personnel admin (HR), leasing contracts and a sales strategy to name a few.

According to Indeed.com, a junior management consultant earns roughly 70,000-100,000 in the NYC area. However, I believe due to the economy it is lower. As an insider in the management consulting industry, how much would you estimate does a junior management consultant earn today, given the economic circumstances?
There are no junior management consultants! You are one or not (see first paragraph). Most guys I know might make $80-90k max, a few can earn more. It’s a tough slog getting customers.

Before you began your consulting business, how do you remember the corporate culture in your previous work experiences?
You must understand the corporation and all its idiosyncrasies and use it as an experiential base for your advice. Experience trumps everything.

And what is it like now, working independently?
Great, because people listen to you because if they don’t they lose money big time but you better be right, therefore you need Error and Omission insurance so when you are sued you have coverage. Imagine suggesting to a client that they should spend $500k on a new computer system to save time and it screws them up more?

I’m really sorry if I have made Management Consulting seem unglamorous or unattainable. I think the experience thing will come back to haunt you if you start consulting now. You need living experience of having been there and done that and remember how you failed in a certain aspect that you can bring to your clients as advice what not to do.

Any further insights and wisdom you would like to share would be gratefully accepted. Thank you very much for helping me gain understanding of your position and sharing with me insights of your career choice. I strongly desire to enter this field, but I wanted to understand the insider’s point of view first. I am very much looking forward to learning from you!!  Thank you again for your insights.

Sincerely,

Katrina

You can define the 3 areas of a management type advisor as:

– Consultant where that you tell a company what they must do; let’s say handle a marketing problem or a campaign

– Coach- where you advise the client on options and which you would suggest as a good option

– Counselor -where you offer advice and options and the client makes the decision.

If you went into the latter field you would need to be analytical and a good listener and of course, a facilitator.

Her questions are as follows (my answers follow each question):

· What is your day to day schedule typically like? I charge about $250-500 per hour but it’s usually based on a per project basis versus hourly. A consultant could easily spend 80% of the week looking for 8 hours work. You need to sell yourself after all. Your day is flexible, constantly changing, thinking on your feet but having a plan in your head, being professional and making the client comfortable in trusting your judgment.

· Do you have any memorable stories? If I told you I might have to kill you!

· How do your clients generally judge a job well done in every assignment, for yourself and others in your profession? I’m doing a branding job for a public company right now and it’s been dragging on with numerous changes. You need to have deliverables defined in a contract so when you meet a milestone you can bill them or define that as accomplished

· What training and support resources are provided on the job to you? None, you’re supposed to be the expert. You come into the client meeting as an expert in the area for which you’ve been paid big bucks. In the past month I have advised on branding, marketing, personnel admin (HR), leasing contracts and a sales strategy to name a few.

· According to Indeed.com, a junior management consultant earns roughly 70,000-100,000 in the NYC area. However, I believe due to the economy it is lower. As an insider in the management consulting industry, how much would you estimate does a junior management consultant earn today, given the economic circumstances? There are no junior management consultants! You are one or not (see first paragraph). Most guys I know might make $80-90k max, a few can earn more. It’s a tough slog getting customers.

· Before you began your consulting business, how do you remember the corporate culture in your previous work experiences? You must understand the corporation and all its idiosyncrasies and use it as an experiential base for your advice. Experience trumps everything.

And what is it like now, working independently?

Great, because people listen to you because if they don’t they lose money big time but you better be right, therefore you need Error and Omission insurance so when you are sued you have coverage. Imagine suggesting to a client that they should spend $500k on a new computer system to save time and it screws them up more?

I’m really sorry if I have made Management Consulting seem unglamorous or unattainable. I think the experience thing will come back to haunt you if you start consulting now. You need living experience of having been there and done that and remember how you failed in a certain aspect that you can bring to your clients as advice what not to do.

Any further insights and wisdom you would like to share would be gratefully accepted.   Thank you very much for helping me gain understanding of your position and sharing with me insights of your career choice. I strongly desire to enter this field, but I wanted to understand the insider’s point of view first. I am very much looking forward to learning from you!!  Thank you again for your insights.

Sincerely,
Katrina

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3 Comments

  1. great insights, crisp, well-written and REAL – as someone who has taken on consulting roles/jobs/assignments every few years or so, after the grind and nuts-and-bolts experience-building of the first five-six years, i second all of your opinions and arguments here.

  2. Nice replay! It is interesting that many young people believe to know everything already after finishing schools and university. What do our teachers teach? We might have to ask for more live experienced teachers as well. Same concept finishes school and teaching our kids? Or finish school learn how the world works in realty and then go and teach.
    It would be more advantages for your business world.

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