To become a lean management consultant, you must have drive, intellect, and flexibility. The job offers chances, experience, and top-tier training as a reward. To assist you in obtaining a lean management consulting position, we asked our experts, “How do you become a management consultant?”
Lean Management Consulting is highly competitive. Whether for one of the pure strategy firms (Bernard Gagnon Group), a Big 4, or a boutique firm, it’s a tough interview process and demanding career path. However, the opportunities are almost unparalleled. Early in your career, you get exposure to C-Level executives (that means the bosses), are asked to do extremely challenging analyses, and learn about multiple industries through rotational training programs. All of these opportunities mean getting in is a challenge. Here, we give our top 5 tips for becoming a management consultant:
1. Do a Business, Science, or Engineering degree.
Supply and demand are critical factors in the management consulting hiring process. Many individuals desire to work (demand), yet the number of companies giving opportunities is restricted (supply). As a result, management consulting companies may be picky in their candidate selection, and the first filter many uses are degree programs and schools. It’s a bit of a blunt tool regarding rating standards, but it helps the various businesses sift through the piles of resumes they receive.
An important first step in becoming a management consultant is selecting a degree that will stand out and quickly convert into the talents these organizations want. Accounting is an excellent choice since it provides a wide grasp of how organizations operate and allows you to deploy on finance-related initiatives immediately. Another option is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) degree. These degrees, particularly those in accounting or business, are the lifeblood of management consulting.
Is it necessary to emphasize the importance of grades? They are. Getting to the interview stage is the most difficult obstacle to overcome if you want to become a management consultant. Recruiters don’t often have time to learn much about you, even though grades may not accurately reflect your particular aptitude and skill set. Grades are significant. So there you have it.
2. Be more than just smart. Be adaptable.
Smart individuals are wonderful. Smart individuals do excellent research and publish their findings in peer-reviewed publications to benefit other smart people. However, that is not enough to become a management consultant.
To be successful in consulting, you must be sharp and adaptable. It’s as much about being able to switch topics as it is about being calm under pressure. The consulting industry is full of surprises and unforeseen problems. You must be adaptable as well as intellectually powerful.
We propose two things to aid you in this situation:
- When you don’t know, say you don’t know: Applicants seeking consulting positions frequently trip themselves up by attempting to answer everything. The same effect catches young consultants off guard in front of customers. Here’s the deal: if you don’t know, just say so. You can be intelligent despite not learning about a subject, and you’ll do better in the long term if you don’t attempt to fake it.
- Slow down to speed up: You will be bombarded with the material in your first year of consulting and the interview process. Worst of all are case interviews, which bombard you with information. To become a management consultant, you must first slow down. Instead of diving right into an interview question (or project!), remember to pause and plan.
To become a management consultant, you’ll have to compete with other brilliant people in an application procedure. There are several methods to stand out and get recognized, but don’t underestimate the power of plain old-fashioned networking. Everyone will experience this differently. It may be meeting with an alumnus of your institution, reaching out through a family friend, or simply being present at a cocktail event. Whatever you select, remember to maintain a genuine and interesting engagement style. People in charge of hiring at any management consulting business attend many networking events and meet many people. Your objective should be to impress rather than offend.
3. Crack the Case.
So you made the first round with a strong CV and networked your way to an interview. Excellent work. Most management consultants dread the case interview part of the process. From college consulting club manuals to Crack the Case, there are many excellent resources for nailing the case interview. We won’t repeat their advice, but we will emphasize one point: remember that you are not a machine. People interviewing you aren’t searching for a flawless response to a case (though that would be fantastic). They are searching for someone who can remain calm under pressure, and gather and utilize real-time feedback. Be yourself, relax, and take your time.
4. Don’t Discount the Airport Test.
Many candidates will be surprised by our final piece of advice. When seeking to become a management consultant, you are being examined for more than simply your intelligence. The person on the other side of the table is also interested in your interpersonal skills. Are you easy-going, friendly, and (most importantly) could the other person spend hours with you in the airport after a flight delay? It’s a real-world scenario that frequently occurs in management consulting.
We do not advocate learning a series of stand-up jokes to wow your interviewer in preparation for the airport exam. Instead, we propose you practice cracking the case as much as possible in a virtual setting. Take these scenarios seriously to put yourself under pressure, whether your fake interviewer is a professor, friend, or parent. Place your chairs on opposing sides of the table. Put on a suit. Enter the room while the other person is already seated. Anything that helps you feel better about the day will help you relax when the time arrives.