July 7, 2009
A certified Management Consultant begin around 9 in the morning and usually leave the office by 10-11pm. The day begins with checking the voicemails and replying to emails followed by brief news update. Meeting with client teams, presentations and analysis of facts and figures consumes most of the day. The day is generally hectic. In most firms, consultants spend 4 days of the week (Mon-Thurs) at the client site and Friday at their own office but the travel policy varies from firm to firm and some may require travel to client site only. At the beginning and at the end and occasionally in between if required, Usually, consultants work for 60-80 hours a week.
Top strategy consulting firms include McKinsey and Co., Boston Consulting Group, Bain and Co., Booz Allen Hamilton, AT Kearney, Delloite and Monitor Group. But besides them also there are several other smaller firms.
Good communication skills are a must. Most big firms recruit only the graduates of top universities. Analytical mindset, ability to work in teams and leadership qualities are given a lot of importance. Prior experience in business world is a huge advantage specially with a strategy consulting firm therefore management consulting interns are readily recruited. MBA is a must to get to the associate level and higher. Analysts are mostly high academic achievers from top undergraduate programs. The recruit process strongly focuses on case solving ability. International certifications such as the CFA Certification are an added advantage.
The salary is very attractive. The base salary is around 10-12 lakhs at the analyst level and bonuses, though not significant at this level, can add another couple of lakhs. Associates can expect to earn 18-22 lakhs depending on the firm plus significant bonuses.
Opportunity to work with top management of the client company
Opportunities to travel
Enjoy the luxuries of the best hotels and business class flying
The frequent flyer program ensures you never have to buy a ticket for personal travel
The work never gets mundane since you keep on shifting from one project to another every few months and thus gather a lot of experience in several industries.
Involves a lot of travelling which may take a toll on personal life. Working hours may be highly unpredictable and you may be called back from a holiday or at 2 am and you can be expected to work on the weekends also if required.
Most people entering as fresher’s start as trainee but if you are a CFA Level I Candidate or higher you may directly make it to the associate level.
Generally undergraduates are recruited at this level. Typically they work on preparing presentation material, analyzing and gathering data or sometimes photocopying and faxing documents for the associates.
Mostly, this post is filled by MBA graduates but sometimes an exceptional analyst may be promoted to an associate. The work involves analyzing business of the client, valuing companies, proposing solutions in the team and presenting them to the client and work closely with the partners.
Associates after about 6-7 years may become Vice-Presidents and then Partners after another 10 years or so but most of them move to senior management positions in the industry. Many McKinseyites have been the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies.