Business Consultant Job Description and Duties
Research what it takes to become a business consultant. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is a Business Consultant?
A business consultant offers advice to businesses to help them operate more productively and efficiently. Their duties may include gathering information about problems to be improved, interviewing workers, and making presentations and reports for management. Business consultants may work for the company they are analyzing but are generally hired on contract. They may also specialize in one area of business or in one particular industry. Consider the information in the following table to determine if a career as a business consultant is right for you.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Business, management, economics, finance|
|Key Skills||Analytical, communication, problem solving, and time management skills|
|Certification Required||Not required, but the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) offers Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||14% for all management analysts*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$83,610 for all management analysts*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What Will My Job Duties Be as a Business Consultant?
Put simply, business consultants are in the business of selling advice. As a business consultant, it'll be your job to help organizations solve problems and set goals for improvement. Depending on the client, the goal may be to improve a business's structure, efficiency, profits, performance or perhaps all of these areas. In this position, you might also be called a management consultant or management analyst.
In some cases, you might perform mediator duties, helping to resolve conflict between employees. Your other job duties could involve making organizational changes or developing and implementing systems that promote efficiency or increase profits. For example, after observing problems with a business's inventory management system, you might come up with a plan to make it better, saving the company money in the process.
This varying career can allow you to gain experience in many facets of business. You might enjoy the chance to perform different tasks each day and work with different kinds of businesses. However, your job duties as an entry-level consultant may be less interesting. For example, you might primarily process expense reports and perform other administrative duties until you gain more experience or education.
Where Could I Work?
As a business consultant, you could work for a consulting firm. Some firms provide general consulting services for a wide variety of businesses and industries, whereas others specialize in a particular industry. Still others focus on a specific function of business, such as human resource management or marketing. Although your job may involve independent research, you might also work as part of a small team of consultants, collaborating and brainstorming with other professionals.
With experience, you might become a self-employed business consultant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 18% of all management analysts were self-employed as of 2018.
What Type of Degree Do I Need?
According to the BLS, business consulting is one of the three most popular entry-level careers for business majors. You won't find many bachelor's degree programs specific to business consulting, but many colleges and universities offer applicable degrees in business, management and related fields.
A bachelor's degree is sufficient for some entry-level positions, but many employers require business consultants to have a master's degree in business administration or a related field. With a bachelor's degree, you might start out working as an associate or research analyst at a consulting firm and be promoted to a consulting position after you've earned your Master of Business Administration (MBA) or perhaps based on experience alone. An MBA may also be necessary if you seek partnership in a consulting firm.
Traits that may serve you well in this field include creativity, an analytical mind, good communication skills and the ability to motivate yourself. Proficiency in business computer applications, such as software for creating spreadsheets and presentations, is also deemed important.
How Much Might I Earn?
Job opportunities for management analysts were expected to increase by 14% between 2018 and 2028, per the BLS. This is much faster than the average for all jobs. However, due to the popularity of the field and its broad education requirements, you can expect strong competition in the job market. You might increase your opportunities by getting your graduate degree or gaining specialized experience.
Based on BLS-reported data, you might expect to earn about $83,610 per year working as a business consultant. This was the median annual wage for management analysts as of May 2018.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Those interested in business consulting may also want to consider some related alternative careers which also require only a bachelor's degree to enter. For instance, market research analysts help companies sell products to consumers by studying market conditions to determine the desire for a product. Financial analysts work with individuals or business clients to help them make investment decisions. Another option might be a career as a budget analyst. They work for organizations to help them budget and monitor spending.