Many candidates with advanced degrees across the arts and sciences have found careers in management consulting to offer a source of satisfying and meaningful work. Those with a Master’s or a doctoral degree in STEM fields with particular interests in health care, biomedical science, pharmaceutical science, energy, and business are likely to enjoy putting their expertise into practice through consulting. Management consulting firms vary in size from boutiques that specialize in a particular industry to larger firms with national and international influence whose personnel consult on a wider range of issues.
Consulting firms value candidates with advanced degrees whose critical thinking skills will enable them to resolve strategic and business problems for clients in fields that overlap with areas of STEM expertise. Large consulting firms, like the Boston Consulting Group, train new hires in essential business concepts to assist them in applying their knowledge and problem-solving skills to matters of business concern. Scientists who have transitioned to consulting have reported a sense of satisfaction in collaborating with others and observing positive results from their research-based recommendations to clients.
A management consultant has a demonstrated capacity to:
- Think strategically, operationally and analytically about how businesses operate and how they might improve
- Employ project management skills to deliver recommendations to clients on-time, even under tight deadlines
- Have a willingness and enthusiasm to travel to client sites
- Support client recommendations with substantive research and quantitative data in relevant industries
- Work well in collaborative environments and have a commitment to using scientific expertise to achieve a real-world impact
Annual salaries for management consultants vary according to experience, credentials, and the size of the firms in which they are employed. Glassdoor reports an average base pay of $105,461. An entry level associate with a Master’s degree may earn from $58,000 to $80,000 per year, and an entry level associated with a Ph.D. may earn from $115,000 to $145,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported median pay for management consultants as $83,610 per year with a 14% job growth rate through 2026, which is faster than average. Although management consulting is a competitive field to enter, prospective employees appreciate the non-degree specific nature of the profession alongside of the analytical skills that many consulting firms prize among their staff. Increasingly, firms are also committed to supporting their staff with work-life balance efforts to maintain a high quality workplace.
Professional Associations for Management Consultants:
- Institute of Management Consultants-USA
- The International Council of Management Consulting Institutes
- Investments and Wealth Institute (formerly Investment Management Consultants Association)
The best way to launch a search for a management consultant job is to contact a recruiter at a school event or through major online networking tools, including LinkedIn. Large management consulting firms, including the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey and Company, include recruitment platforms on their websites.
Resources for Prospective Management Consultants:
- ConsultingMag: ConsultingMag is a magazine devoted to new trends and issues among professional consultants.
- CaseInterview.com: This website operated by a former interviewer at McKinsey offers resources on how to perform well during the case interview segment of an interview for a management consultant position.