Management consultants study the methods, techniques and principles that guide a business towards achieving its objectives. They work independently and are approached by business to advise them on matters relating to general management, strategy, personnel, finance, marketing, sales, production and public relations.
Management consultants aim to improve an organisation's position or profile by helping to solve problems, manage change and improve efficiency. They investigate problems and opportunities, offer suggestions and conceive action plans to be followed. They advise and guide management in overcoming problems relating to changing circumstances inside and outside the organisation. They have to expose difficulties and opportunities, submit possible solutions and show how these solutions should be applied.
The nature of their activities depends largely on the nature of the business client’s requirements of the consultants. Management consultants may be asked to analyse the structure of the firm in order to rectify problem areas or to advise and guide management in order to improve one or more of the firm’s functional areas such as marketing or financial control. They may be required to train clients’ personnel in certain fields.
The work environment of consultants can be divided into three typical situations:
Although the workload can be heavy, management consulting is a sociable profession with plenty of networking opportunities. The work involves conducting research, surveys and interviews, compiling and presenting information, analysing statistics, writing reports, making recommendations and implementing new procedures or training.
Key skills for management consultants are commercial awareness, good numerical skills, attention to detail, analytical skills, excellent interpersonal skills, teamworking skills, IT skills, good oral and written communication skills and self-motivation.
A driving licence and foreign language abilities can also be useful.
Schooling & School Subjects
Degree: Various BCom degrees such as: Management and Industrial Psychology
Management and Data Processing
Management and Economics
Management and Statistics
Management, Economy and Education Management Accountancy and Finance Management Science - most universities
Diploma: N.Dip: Management or Management Practice - CPUT, CUT, DUT, VUT, UNISA.
The SA Institute of Management offers one- two- and three-year diploma courses, which can be followed full-time, part-time or through correspondence study. These courses are offered by accredited private colleges nation-wide. After the first year’s basic course, students can follow specialised training in Management (for example Financial Management or Human Resources Management). Prospective students have to register at the Institute.
Contact the above-mentioned tertiary institutions and employers.
SA Institute of Management
P O Box 31828
Tel. (011) 836-5301 Fax: 086 6517 963
The SA Institute of Management Services
P O Box 693
Tel: (079) 497-9183 Fax: 086 558 7183