Management consultants work with companies to eliminate corporate inefficiencies and increase revenue. While some management consultants work in-house, most are employed by private consulting firms and are contracted out to companies on a project-by-project basis. They work in varied industries, including healthcare, agriculture, technology and transportation. Both private sector corporations and public sector organizations utilize the services of management consultants to help their companies run more efficiently. Since consultants frequently work on-site with their clients, travel is often required.
According the to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2010 median income for management consultants was $78,160 per year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,900, and the top 10 percent earned more than $138,790. A management consultant's income hinges on work experience and seniority. The most senior individuals at consulting firms, those with an equity stake in the company, may earn more than $200,000 annually. Self-employed consultants may earn between $100 and $350 per hour.
Low-level management consultants are expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree. While an undergraduate degree in business is helpful, consulting firms accept applicants who are trained in a variety of disciplines, from history or political science to the hard sciences and English. Any academic program that requires problem solving, analytical thinking and communication skills can help develop and hone the skills management consultants need. Some employers prefer candidates with MBAs. According to a 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics Report, 28 percent of management consultants had a master’s degree in business administration, which requires two years of post-collegiate study. To boost credentials, consultants can go through a certification process and become a certified management consultant. Certification requires an interview and an exam.
Seniority and Management:
The earning power of a management consultant depends on his or her level of seniority. Entry-level consultants are responsible for data collection and research. Senior consultants supervise teams and work on complex projects. They often have business development obligations and are expected to build their firm's book of business. Partners occupy the most senior roles in management consulting firms and are among the company’s highest earners. An Association of Management Consulting Firms survey found that entry-level consultants earned an average salary of $58,000 annually, while senior partners earned an average salary of $259,000.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the employment rate of management consultants is expected to increase by 22 percent between 2010 and 2020. As companies look for ways to decrease costs and improve efficiencies, the demand for management consultants is expected to grow. During economic downturns, management consultants are highly sought-after, as corporations are especially anxious to eliminate fiscal inefficiencies in hard economic times. This anticipated growth is expected to result in about 157,200 new jobs.