Roles in Consulting
Digging deeper into the many arms of consulting
What's this about?
Whilst interpretations will differ on company websites and depending on who you ask, we generally like the simplicity of the approach used by the Kennedy Information, a US research agency specialising in analysing the consulting market.
So I'm a management consultant right?
Technically, yes, Most consultants that we know would fall within the management consulting bucket. That's because it is generally accepted as the umbrella term for all the types of consulting that we mentioned below.However, if you talk to most people, they will usually only care if you are a strategy consultant or not (probably due to the prestige). In other words, strategy consulting is often seen as its own thing (even though it technically falls under "management consulting") and, management consulting covers everything else.
Let's get into it.
Strategy Consultant: the creme de la creme. This is what everyone thinks of when they think “consultant”. Advising CEOs and Boards of ASX200 companies about their future direction, these guys and gals are the quintessential plsfix crew. Basically, if your company is struggling or you need something radical, its time to call in the “big guns”.
- What do I do… work closely with senior management and executives to tackle and solve a range of high level problems relating to its business strategy (there’s that word again). This could range from how to make more money, how to cut costs, how to respond to a competitive threat or even just how to survive in the next 5-10 years.
- Make it real for me… a company’s CEO and COO has engaged your firm to help evaluate if training its staff to rely much more on virtual channels to connect with customers could be profitable for it (this is an actual McKinsey casestudy!).
Operations Consultant: this includes the broadest spectrum of consultants, and covers any role relating to improving the performance of a company’s internal operations. It entails mainly “implementation” work and the focus will be on fixing and optimising processes, most likely within certain functions (e.g. marketing, finance, supply chain etc). If you think of strategy consultants as the ones providing the idea, operations consultants are the ones who has to implement them.
- What do I do… work closely with the business to improve and optimise business processes.
- Make it real for me… a company wants to improve the efficiency of their supply chain. You will need to crunch the data and provide suggestions for optimisation that result in costs savings and improved efficiency. Once approved, you will help the client implement the changes are required.
- What do I do… you work with the HR department to improve the way that the company develops, manages or rewards its employees
- Make it real for me… a company is having serious systemic issues relating to workplace bullying. You will be brought in to analyse and solve this by working closely with HR to develop initiatives and to weed out the root causes.
- What do I do… you work with the IT or other tech-adjacent teams (e.g. cybersecurity, data protection etc) as well as businesses to improve their IT systems and overall use of technology. This could range from implementing new IT infrastructure to ensuring that the company’s data is secure from cyber attacks.
- Make it real for me… a company has a legacy CRM system that it has been hanging onto forever. The new CEO wants an overhaul and has brought you in to ensure the smooth transition and implementation of a new system.
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