Management Consultant Skills: Examples and How to Improve

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Management consultants use an array of skills to help them fulfil their job duties and meet their clients' expectations. These skills can help management consultants build positive relationships with clients, successfully conduct business analyses and balance their various responsibilities and projects. Understanding more about what these skills are and how to develop them may allow you to advance your career. In this article, we discuss what management consultant skills are, explore various examples and offer advice on how to improve or highlight these abilities.

What Are Management Consultant Skills?

Management consultant skills are abilities that can benefit both management consultants and their clients. Management consultants typically possess an array of both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are technical abilities learned through studying or training, such as data analysis for project management. In comparison, soft skills are behaviours and personality characteristics that can influence a management consultant's conduct on the job, like communication and adaptability.

Related: What Is Management Consulting? A Comprehensive Guide

Examples Of Management Consultant Skills

Following are some key skills you may want to develop:

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to process information and make informed judgments on a particular subject. Management consultants often first hope to understand the larger strategic goals of a company. When reviewing processes and data, one of your tasks might be to suggest how a company can improve its processes so they support the strategic vision better. This requires them to think critically about what they learn through employee interviews, task observations and data analysis before making improvement suggestions.

Related: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions and Examples

Consulting

Consulting skills are a larger group of smaller skills like collaboration, creative thinking and communication. To use these for a consulting role, it is important to listen to your clients, collaborate with them and propose solutions. Consulting may require you to negotiate or persuade clients as well. For example, if a company hopes to keep an older system rather than making the update you recommend, you might persuade them to change certain processes to maximise their efficiency. Consulting skills help you become the advisor a company might need.

Related: Your Guide for How To Become a Management Consultant

Process improvement

There are several areas where a company might want to hire a management consultant to improve their processes:

  • Decrease costs: Decreasing costs may mean reducing the number of duplicate tasks employees might perform or reallocating resources.

  • Reduce waste: Reducing waste can mean maximising inventory use, producing fewer defects or leveraging employees' specific talents.

  • Improve collaboration: Increased collaboration means employees have the tools and resources to communicate frequently to improve efficiency.

  • Clarify processes: Clarifying processes includes mapping out current processes, defining roles and determining timelines.

You can use this knowledge of process improvement to identify what a company needs the most and advise what steps they can take to improve these areas.

Project management

Project management skills involve scheduling and facilitating meetings, creating project schedules, allocating resources and defining success metrics. Companies may hire management consultants to both provide potential solutions and oversee the completion of them. Learning how to be an effective project manager can help you with increasing employee support, completing projects on schedule and under budget and ultimately helping a business achieve its goals.

Related: How To Improve Project Management Skills (With Tips)

Research

Management consultants often perform investigative work to understand potential problems within an organisation. You might research company databases for historical data, organisational charts, sales information and system used to understand how a company can improve. Consider creating a series of questions you hope to answer that can support your goals. You may also research competitive companies to see how others solved problems or how they excel in the market. This can show you how the company you work with might improve.

Related: What Are Information Literacy Skills? (With Tips To Improve)

Data analysis

Data analysis is the ability to transform pieces of information into information that businesses can use to improve performance. Management consultants may review data, such as the time needed to complete a certain task or how productivity changes over time. While analysing data, you may input figures into charts or graphs that you can use to share with the company's management. This might involve making predictions for how the data might change if you implement some process changes.

Related: 10 Valuable Data Analysis Skills

Problem-solving

One of the biggest parts of management consulting is proposing solutions to problems. This means you imagine how a company can more successfully operate while learning about how they currently operate. Consider analysing various solutions for each problem to understand how each change may affect a business. This requires creative thinking and creating scenarios that can help an organisation better solve its problems and improve business performance.

Public speaking

Public speaking means sharing information with people, often live. Once you complete your observations and research, you may present data to leadership teams. Consider speaking objectively and confidently, using the data you have found to provide the context for any solutions. Explain any complicated areas using simplified language and encourage questions so you can provide the business with the service they expect. You may make other presentations as well, like when pitching your services or presenting new data after companies implement new solutions.

Related: Guide: How Much Does A Management Consultant Make?

How To Improve Management Consultant Skills?

Here is some advice that can help you hone your abilities as a management consultant:

1. Attend courses

Consider enrolling in workshops, conventions or certification courses related to management consulting. Although there are no specific educational requirements for management consultants, pursuing developmental or certification options can help you stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends. You can also include these credentials or experiences on your resume, which can demonstrate your ability to prospective employers.

2. Find a mentor

A mentor can provide you with professional guidance and help you determine which professional opportunities might offer you the greatest benefit. When deciding who to pick as a mentor, look for someone with more expertise or skills related to management consulting than you currently possess, so that you can learn more from them.

If you are not sure who in your existing network to ask to be your mentor, consider joining a professional association for business or management consultants. This can help you build or strengthen relationships with more professionals in your field. Some professional associations may already have established mentorship program that you can simply sign up for to receive a mentor.

Related: How To Develop Your Skill Set: A Complete Guide

3. Join social activities

To develop your soft skills as a management consultant, consider taking part in social events or activities that both align with your interests and might help you hone your abilities. For instance, if you enjoy team sports, signing up for a soccer team gives you the opportunity to strengthen skills like flexibility and collaboration. As another example, joining a book club may help you build skills such as communication and emotional intelligence.

Management Consultant Skills In The Workplace

Here are a few tips to help you build management consultants skills while on the job:

  • Receive feedback: Be open to receiving constructive feedback from colleagues, clients or managers that can help you identify specific skills you might benefit from improving.

  • Offer feedback: Giving feedback to other professionals, such as clients or colleagues, may give you the chance to hone soft skills like communication and leadership.

  • Ask for additional responsibilities: Volunteering for additional job duties can not only help you develop your skills, but also demonstrates to employers or clients your commitment to giving your full effort.

Related: Business Consultant Vs. Management Consultant

How To Highlight Management Consultant Skills?

Following are some strategies that can help you demonstrate your abilities as a management consultant on your resume, in a cover letter or during an interview:

Management consultant skills for a resume or cover letter

Consider adding a separate section on your resume to spotlight your key or most relevant skills. On your cover letter, describe one or two specific examples related to your management consulting experience that can demonstrate your skills. For example, to showcase your data analysis skills, you could describe a time when you effectively collected and evaluated information to produce effective business strategies for a client.

Related: What Is Strategy Consulting? (Skills, Careers and Salary)

Management consultant skills for a job interview

If you have an upcoming job interview, practice your answers to some questions that you might receive. A prospective client, for example, likely wants to understand how your existing skill set can benefit their business. Consider using the STAR technique to help you highlight specific actions and result related to your professional history, as these can demonstrate your practical management consulting skills.

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