Strategy consultants are often either self-employed or work for consulting firms. They work best outside of companies because they can give companies an objective picture of their business. Individually, they have expertise in perhaps one or two business fields. For instance, one consultant may have deep knowledge of pricing optimization, while another may specialize in merger-integration management. Still other consultants may work on marketing strategy, tax strategy, intellectual-property strategy, or investment strategy. Most all strategy consultant jobs are concentrated in global corporations that have difficulty handling the large scale of their business.
Perhaps the most-generalized field of strategy consulting is corporate management. Working with upper management, strategy consultants identify corporate objectives. They then take stock of corporate resources, operations, and employment to detect any inefficient components that may be hurting those objectives. Their goal is to redistribute those components to help a business run as a well-oiled machine, directing its resources to the most-productive channels. As consultants critically examine a business’s structure, they may recommend the elimination or creation of jobs. Less drastically, they may recommend reorganization of job duties or outsourcing. These activities consist of strategic human-capital management.
In the same vein, strategy consultants may recommend a client to invest in higher technology, such as new software, to facilitate their operations. They may also recommend the installation of an intranet network to improve company-wide communications, especially if the company is international. They also research a business’s competitors to get an idea of their operations and how those operations contribute to their success. Consultants also strive to push a business into new markets by reworking or increasing marketing collateral.
Strategy consultants use concrete tools to get their messages across to their clients. They may draw up flowcharts, diagrams, and project timelines to stimulate productive action. Also, they may design computer software that measures company productivity, such as performance-evaluation software for employees. They also draft spreadsheets in order to use hard numbers to give managers an idea of their financial status. Moreover, they take advantage of PowerPoint presentations to show managers how company-restructuring will help them. Before their departure, consultants often create agendas for employers to keep for future reference and leave their contact information in case employers have later questions or concerns.
Strategy consultants not only have far-reaching knowledge of business, but are extremely tuned in to the global business arena. That is, they keep abreast of all business trends, especially as related to international corporations. They keep records of which strategic formulas seem to generate greater productivity and those which contribute to lowered income. They stay informed on areas of high job growth, new regulatory laws, and emerging industries. When they are not consulting companies, they spend a great deal of time performing business-related research through the Internet, industry journals, and business seminars.
Many companies, aside from rich corporations, are reluctant to hire strategy consultants because they charge a considerable amount of money for their services. For that reason, it is crucial for a strategy consultant to have a high-performing track record. In order to be considered as serious candidates, they almost always have a master’s of business administration (MBA) degree and previous experience working in a large-scale business.
It also helps a consultant to work for a renowned strategy-consulting firm. Accenture is perhaps the most well-known international strategy-consulting firm, with a full client roster of Fortune-500 corporations. Needless to say, firms like Accenture employ only highly experienced and capable business professionals. At these firms, candidates often go through several rounds of both telephone and in-person interviews before they are hired.
To maximize their chances of entering prestigious firms, future strategy consultants should graduate with both an undergraduate and graduate degree in business administration, finance, or accounting. Moreover, they should complete strategy-consulting certification programs offered by educational institutions and professional associations. They should further seek out numerous internships and membership in consulting clubs throughout their university careers, which permits them to work with mentors and gain personalized guidance. Networking is equally valuable, since personal recommendations for entry-level strategy jobs go a long way to boost employment. Candidates should also prepare themselves for case-study questions during interviews. These questions present the interviewee with problems based on actual strategy-consulting and ask the interviewee for feasible solutions.
Strategy consultants are among the highest-paying jobs in consulting relating to business. Junior consultants earn close to $50,000 per year, while senior-level consultants earn roughly $80,000. Executive consultants earn between $100,000–$200,000 per year.
Since so many business majors are lured by strategy consultants’ high salary and frequent travel, there will be intense competition for these jobs in the next decade. Yet there will also be many strategy consulting job opportunities as more corporations hire strategy consultants. Job seekers who have the highest education level and job experience can expect easy entry into the best consulting jobs.