What Do Management Consultants Actually Do?

 

Simply put, Management Consultants, ‘consult’ for their clients. These clients are generally top level executives at F-500 firms/government bodies and international organisations.

What do they consult about? they usually solve business problems that plague large firms. For example, several fortune-500 firms struggle with revenue growth or market entry in new locations. They hire Management Consultants to help them suggest possible strategies to execute their business mandates.

Many times, people wonder why a firm – for example Microsoft – would hire McKinsey to advise them on Technology Strategy? Wouldn’t Microsoft be well equipped to solve such problems internally?

This is a logical thought process. However, one needs to understand that Management Consultants have two specific value add: first, they are able to present an external perspective. For firms earning in millions and billions in revenues, getting this external sanity check is critical at times. Second, Management Consulting firms have built a strong reputation in terms of being thought leaders. Therefore, top corporations take their inputs as a stamp of approval for galvanising board level approvals or narrowing down on key strategies for the firm.

The hierarchy at Management Consulting firms and the roles and responsibilities differ starkly as per the organisation. The following is a broad categorisation:

Management Consulting Broad Categorisation

 

Not all Management Consulting firms work alike. While organisations such as McKinsey, BCG, Bain are considered ‘traditional’ consulting firms, organisations such as Dalberg or Delta Partners are niche in their operations.

While there is no unanimous consensus on which which Management Consulting firm is better, the following chart can help you reach a decision:

Management Consulting Firms Decision Making

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