Consulting

Many businesses are centered on selling products or services, consulting firms mainly sell knowledge. Whether it is management consulting, human resources consulting, marketing consulting, technology consulting, legal consulting, tax consulting, environmental consulting, or something else consultants advise companies and other organizations regarding an unlimited range of issues connected to business tactics. You name it – oil and gas, e-commerce, educational, systems integration, billion-dollar mergers and acquisitions, corporate firms – there is a consultant that is available to tell companies how to meet their challenges better, sturdier, and more rapidly. They are the directors “behind the scenes” of practically every major event in the marketplace.
 
Of course, "consulting" is a big and broad term that includes virtually any form of advice-giving. Pretty much anyone with a specialty in a field can offer consulting service. The area that most people think of when it comes to consulting is management consulting, a broad category in its own form. Often called strategy consulting, this section of the industry consists of firms that specialize in providing advice about strategic and major operational issues. On the other hand, there are also consultants who specialize in everything from workplace safety issues to environmental concerns to family-owned business issues.
 
Ultimately, consultants take on the responsibility of improving their clients' businesses by effecting change through their recommendations. Although some of the highest-profile firms populate this segment, there are thousands of other organizations and individuals that call themselves consultants, make money by selling their advisory services, and offer plenty of opportunities for employment. If you like the idea of giving advice to other businesses, and you have a particular interest in computers, human resources, corporate communications, mobile communications, health care, financial services, real estate, e-commerce, or some other specialized field, there's a good chance you can find a position with an organization doing precisely that.
 
Most consultants find themselves in various forms of environment, as it is a very broad career scope. You can find consultants in any type of organization; from banks to oil firms, NGOs, accounting and auditing firms, educational firms, legal firms, technology firms, and the list is endless. As stated earlier, the most popular consulting job is the management consulting, which practically has to do with the day to day operations and running of the business, especially when it comes to planning, organizing, leading and controlling all the available resources a company has.
 
Most management consultants earn a stable salary and are employed mainly as the daily management advisory of a particular organization. 
 
While most management consultants hold waged positions at firms that cater to a clientele of mostly large corporations, other consultants hang out a bit and offer their services as soloists or as owners of small companies. They usually deal with clients on a project basis, and clients are billed by the hour for their services. As a consultant in a top firm like Accenture, Deloitte, PWC, Infosys, and the rest; one can earn between the figures of N16, 428, 800 – N17, 534, 000 per annum. Most of these firms pay their consultants in dollars, which is approximately between the figures of $87, 380 - $93, 258 per annum.
 
Jobs like this are usually found by surfing the net to check whether the companies have an opening. One can also attend career exhibitions hosted by various industry sectors of their choice. Job sites like jobberman, careers24, which usually link you to their official company website to apply directly for the position you fit into. 
 
Even though the competition at top firms is intense, the qualities that recruiters look for are similar everywhere. Besides outstanding academic records, firms want people who are problem solvers, creative thinkers, good communicators, and who have a keen understanding of and interest in business.
 
Top candidates will also need to have previous experience in the business world (consulting internships are impressive but not required) as well as a record of extracurricular accomplishment. Firms specializing in IT consulting or e-business may require technical skills and experience.
 
Candidates with experience in industry are much sought after, mainly by firms that have industry practices that match up to candidates' backgrounds. Several firms hold specialized information sessions for experienced candidates as well as PhD and JD holders.
 
During the interview, most recruiters pay close attention to a candidate's experience and background. According to insiders, most consulting interviewers are looking for the following:

  • High energy and enthusiasm
  • Team orientation
  • Integrity
  • Excitement about consulting
  • Knowledge about what makes the interviewing firm different
  • Success on the airplane test – do you want to sit next to this person on a long overseas flight?
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Industry experience

 
Finally, all management consulting hopefuls must clear the dreaded case-interview hurdle to land a consulting position.
 
Considering the fact that consulting is a very broad career, one can find work experience in consulting firms, oil and gas consulting firms, educational boards, management consulting firms, accounting and auditing firms, and the list is endless. Almost every organization needs advice on how to run their activities better, faster, and more effectively. Therefore, consultants are needed in almost every organization, especially in the top shot organizations like; British Council, UNICEF, PWC, Deloitte, Accenture, KPMG, Chevron, and so on.
 
As stated earlier, most recruiters are looking for candidates with experience in the business world (consulting internships are impressive but not required) as well as a record of extracurricular accomplishment. Therefore, post graduate experience is useful for this particular area of work.
 
The work options are broad as the area of work itself is. There are various levels and types of consultancy you can choose from, depending on your area of expertise. Consultants can be found in every sector of the industry, from advertising and communications to systems information and technology firms, and whatever firm in any sector of industry you can think of. Even NGOs and charity organizations have consultants. All you need to do is find the area of work you’re good at, and develop your consulting skills on that particular area.
 
Professional qualifications / Training & Development
 
Undergraduates
Undergraduates generally join a consulting firm as analysts, although their titles vary. The work itself, as well as the hours, can be quite demanding. It often includes field research, data analysis, customer and competitor interviews, and client meetings. In IT, analysts might do heavy – duty programming. Usually, the analyst program lasts two or three years, after which you're encouraged to go to business school. However, this system has been changing over the past several years. Firms have increasingly begun to promote analysts into positions they hire MBAs into or otherwise, into an interim role between the undergraduate and MBA position. If you choose to go to business school, many firms will pay your tuition, provided you return to the firm when you're done.
 
MBAs
Consulting firms hire MBAs and other postgraduates right out of school or from the industry. Most firms hire new MBA holders as associates then after two to three years they move to the next level, where they'll manage projects and teams. After managing projects for a couple of years, consultants may be promoted to principal, upon which the focus shifts to more intensive client work and the selling of services. Finally, after six to eight years with a firm, a consultant might be promoted to become a partner. The benefits of partnership are big increases in salary and responsibility. The key function of partners at most firms is to nurture clients and sell them new business ideas or businesses.
 
Mid-Career Professionals
If you have spent years accumulating knowledge about a particular business sector, that knowledge can be valuable to other companies. To make the transition into consulting, you should have a solid base of experience, as well as a few success stories to share. After all, you're going to be giving advice to other professionals – they want to know that you're a cut above the other people in your field. So, if you came up with the idea for the Mac vs. PC television commercials or helped a company save  approximately $3 million on its IT costs, be sure to share that information.
 
Advanced-Degree Candidates
Over the past five years, consulting firms have increasingly recruited unusual candidate pools, including JDs, PhDs, and MDs. If you are one of these candidates, find out which level you'll come in at-the same level as undergraduates, MBAs, or experienced hires. Also, you should ask about the type of support you'll receive once you join the firm. Some organizations offer a mini-MBA training program, while others rely more heavily on mentorship.

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