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Careers in Management Consulting

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If you want to pursue consultant employment, you should know that jobs in consulting require that you help people figure out what they should do when faced with a particular problem. What they want are real and lasting solutions to problems they face, and you as a management consultant are there to help them figure things out.

Consultant careers are among the hottest you can pursue today, with growth even in an economy that's still recovering.

What skills are necessary for consultant employment?

You'll need to be very analytical, and very good at persuading people to your point of view; that's because what you'll need to do on the job is to think about solutions, analyze problematic situations, brainstorm with other people, and then challenge and convince organizations to become better by adopting the ideas you've come up with.

You'll also need to be able to retain your equanimity in what can sometimes be hostile or changeable situations, because you'll need to keep your head about you as you try to figure out the situation and divide a solution. In addition, because clients are often upset or rattled, even if they try to appear as though they're not, you can provide a calming focus that can help a company get on track — even though this interpersonal skill has nothing to do with organizational skills in general.

Getting jobs in consulting

Although there isn't really any formal training when it comes to jobs in consulting, especially in regard to management, you can get degrees that will perfectly dovetail with a consulting profession so that you are well prepared to go into the industry. Some examples of what you may want to go into include engineering, marketing and accounting, business management, and so on.

Self-employment versus company employment

About one fifth of the people who work as management consultants are self-employed, although most start out working for firms and then move to hang out their own shingles when ready. In many cases, because this is an area of such high demand, new graduates have been hired right out of college with a bachelors or masters degree to become consultants. In that case, ''consultant employment'' usually begins after extensive on-the-job training has taken place and/or they have worked for firms in other capacities first.

Are you good at the skills required for consultant employment?

You'll need to be a good problem solver, will need to have excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, you need to be assertive and motivated, have a strong attention to detail, a willingness to put the time in necessary, and, just as importantly, you will need to be able to work with people who may be upset or rattled because they're in a difficult and transitional phase right now. That means that you have to be the ''island of calm,'' so to speak, in what can be a pretty tense situation.

And finally, although not least importantly, you also have to be a very ethical person, because this type of work can often involve handling very sensitive situations and information.
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