Business consulting careers | Consultant Journal

Business consulting careers interest people from a wide range of disciplines. That’s because business consulting offers the chance to work on a variety of projects for a variety of clients. The industry has grown at a rapid pace over the last few decades and now draws some of the hottest young business professionals — the "hot wires of knowledge transfer", according to this business consulting career article.

Consulting jobseeker Roman Zelvenschi writes:

I’ve visited your blog from the link on problogger. Interesting topic for
me since, I’ve just graduated with my business and marketing degree, and
was looking to get into consulting. You are probably guessing that I am not
that succesful since from my experience (i currently live in Toronto)
companies want to hire only people with experience. I know that Top Tier
companies like McK and BCG hire right from the college, but its got to be
some ivy league.

So, just what do you need to launch a business consulting career? Well, you don’t necessarily need a specific set of skills. Business consulting careers have been enjoyed by people from a wide variety of backgrounds. In fact, some consulting firms actually like to hire people from non-traditional backgrounds, including Arts, Sciences, law, medicine and nursing. 

The people I know who work for “big” consulting firms didn’t have MBAs or Ivy League educations when they started out. One had a business degree from a mid-sized school – but she had an excellent work history from co-op jobs. Another had a communication degree from a mid-sized school, but was fluent in an Eastern European language and willing to relocate there for a while. Yet another had a background in forestry operations – and I can’t even remember where he got his degree. Two of those people have since gone on to do MBAs, one from Harvard and one from a mid-sized Canadian university. But they didn’t need an MBA to get started.

 You can find tons of sites with tips on business consulting jobs at the big management consulting and accounting firms. I’m not going to recycle their jobseeker information. Instead, I want to draw your attention to the many business consulting career opportunities outside the big consulting firms! Some job ideas:

  • Business analyst for a software or telecommunications company
  • Implementation consultant for the software industry 
  • Market researcher
  • Project manager 
  • Government business analyst
  • Specialist in forestry, construction, mining, oil & gas, technology or another vertical market 

Jobs like those can help you prepare for a business consulting career by taking on a role that’s similar to actual management accounting work. In fact, you might enjoy your “semi-consulting” job so much that you decide to make a career of it.

 You might also consider becoming an independent consultant. As an independent consultant, you’d enjoy many of the benefits of consulting jobs, like variety, pacing, pay and a steep learning curve — the reasons why people become consultants. I started out as a consultant when I was in my early 20s. I researched my market, developed a business plan, and rolled out a plan. Of course, I couldn’t set my consultant fee rates at the levels I do today. I had to target my market. That meant I mapped my rate to my skills and experience. I networked and marketing myself to help clients find my consultant business. I printed professional business cards. I focused on underserved areas of the market and delivered value by doing projects that more senior consultants weren’t interested in – or weren’t able to do. When I started out, most people in my field had little understanding of the high tech market. So I applied my passion for technology to my consulting business. Pretty soon, I was doing consulting work for a Fortune 50 company a thousand miles away! Some people will tell you that a 20-something is too young to be an expert, but I disagree. Anyone can be an expert if they actually know something that other people don’t. Of course, there’s more to a business consulting career than being an expert. To successfully navigate a business consulting career, you also need to know how to run a business. To get started with that, check out my article on the steps to becoming a consultant.

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