As I begin to explore possible subjects in higher education, what major would best teach me the skills most useful in landing and excelling at a consulting job at a respected firm?
I am currently taking a business management course at Oxford and we have been talking about consulting. We have practised consulting with case studies, but not really discussed what it takes to become one professionally. #business #business-development #consulting #management-consulting #strategic-consulting
As mentioned by Michael, finding a discipline that aligns with your passion is key. No matter where you work, or what you make, you will never be satisfied if it is not what you enjoy doing.
I would consider a discipline that interests you and that you are passionate about. As you graduate and take on work in the consulting space, you will want try to align that skill set and passion in the work you would be doing for clients.
I would recommend looking at a tech based minor (at the least) as this seems to be the greatest Demand in the market today. I often will hire students with a strong understanding in a core skill associated in tech - (code development, cyber, SaaS development, etc.) along with a core business discipline like - marketing, sales, finance, Data Management, supply chain management, human capital, etc.
There several majors that lend to relevant consulting skills! Most of my colleagues were in the business school, however I know several consultants who were engineers or who majored in computer science. I personally was a chemistry major! I think all of the mentioned majors give you the necessary problem solving mid-set that help to make a great consultant. There are several different types of consulting that lend to different skill sets. If you interested in Technology consulting, computer science or information systems could be a great major. Another major thing that makes a good consultant, is communication. I would recommend taking a communications course to be comfortable speaking with people, and a writing course to refine your writing skills.
Going to a management consultant would be job one.
Management consultants are sometimes called management analysts. Their job is to look at what an organization does as a whole, then work to increase efficiency in most areas. Specifically, they strive to make a business more profitable, usually by helping the owners cut costs and grow revenue. To get there, they might recommend personnel changes, new systems, alternative practices or new procedures. Most are self-employed and work on a contractual basis. To learn more about what it means to be a management consultant, as well as the work it takes to get there, read on.
Although it doesn't seem like the most glamorous major from the outset, studying Economics can open a lot of doors. Instead of being job-specific like marketing or accounting, the discipline covers the study of how people make decisions, especially with regards to the business cycle. Not to be trite, but it is "the study of how to get the most out of life." This is exactly what consultants do; they optimize company processes, structures, revenue streams, etc. so executives, employees, and society can benefit at the highest level possible.
I started my undergrad experience as a communications major, but because I wanted to go into consulting and simply increase my knowledge of the world, I switched to Economics. It is the best professional decision I have made. My first semester as an econ student, I interviewed with several management consulting firms and landed the internship of my dreams. Not only that, but I felt like I could contribute intelligently to high-level conversations and have an opinion on world events. The major has changed the way I solve problems and look at the world.
According to managementconsulted.com, econ is the #1 major in the consulting world.
I just wanted to mention that there is no one path that leads to a career in consulting. Regarding my own experience, I received my undergraduate degree in biology with a minor in chemistry, and immediately began a career as a research scientist. I eventually transitioned from my role in the laboratory and obtained a position as a project manager within the public health sector. During my time as a project manager, I was able to acquire transferable skills that have served me well in my current position as a management consultant at a big 4 firm. As you continue your educational journey, I just wanted to point out a few core consulting skills that can lead you to a career in consulting. Listed below, are a few valuable consulting skills that I believe will serve you well.
• Creative thinking – Creative thinking will allow you to share ideas that go beyond the standard and normally accepted ways of approaching the business of the industry. It encourages brainstorming and listening to ideas from all kinds of people.
• Problem-solving – As a consultant, you may be called on to help a client solve a business need and provide additional guidance or expertise. Your ability to listen carefully to the concerns the client presents to you and react quickly and thoughtfully to help propose solutions may be among the most valuable skills you can possess.
• Collaboration with all staff levels – As a consultant, you may interact with clients and stakeholders of all staff levels. It will be useful to have a sense of confidence when working with both clients and stakeholders. Developing poise, politeness, friendliness, excellent listening skills and public speaking skills will serve you well in any circumstance.
• Time management – Time management will also serve you well as a consultant. Good time management will allow you to focus your time and energy on your most important activities, so you can achieve more in less time. Managing your time will help you get clearer, more focused and more productive on your most important activities.