A management consultant is someone who proposes ways to improve an organization's efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.
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Organizations hire management consultants to develop strategies for entering and/or remaining competitive in the marketplace. Although some management consultants work for the organization that they are analyzing, most work as consultants on a contractual basis.
Whether they are self-employed or part of a large consulting company, the work of a management consultant may vary from project to project. Some projects require a team of consultants, each specializing in one area. In other projects, consultants work independently with the client organization's managers.
Management consultants typically do the following:
Management consultants often specialize in certain areas, such as inventory management or reorganizing corporate structures to eliminate duplicate and nonessential jobs. Some specialize in a specific industry, such as healthcare or telecommunications. In government, management analysts usually specialize by type of agency.
Management consultants who work on contract may write proposals and bid for jobs. Typically, an organization that needs the help of a management consultant solicits proposals from a number of consultants and consulting companies that specialize in the needed work. Those who want the work must then submit a proposal by the deadline that explains how they will do the work, who will do the work, why they are the best consultants to do the work, what the schedule will be, and how much it will cost. The organization that needs the consultants then selects the proposal that best meets its needs and budget.
Management consultants must work with managers and other employees of the organizations where they provide consulting services. They should work as a team toward achieving the organization’s goals. They must be able to think creatively to solve clients' problems. Although some aspects of different clients' problems may be similar, each situation is likely to present unique challenges for the analyst to solve.
Management consultants work under fairly high pressure. They should be confident and self-motivated when working with clients. They often work under tight deadlines and must use their time efficiently to complete projects on time.
Management consultants usually divide their time between their offices and the client's site. Because they must spend a significant amount of time with clients, they travel frequently. They may experience stress when trying to meet a client's demands, often on a tight schedule.
Self-employed consultants can decide how much, when, and where to work. However, they often are under more pressure than those who are wage and salary employees, because their livelihood depends on their ability to maintain and expand their client base.