Category: Excedea family
Author: Jana Tserkasina
Want to become a good management consultant? Start by reading these 7 books
A management consultant is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Whereas others can study a chosen industry and then deepening their skills over a long time, management consultants have to be able to dive very deeply into an industry and problem within a short time. And then they repeat it, often in new industries and cases, again and again. As e.g. an Excedea consultant you need to be smart and quick, be able to jump from a real estate case in Sweden, to a stainless steel case on growth in Russia and forward to an online education company willing to find new clients in Asia. And all that within half a year without the blink of an eye. And this is only when we talk about the teams delivering the management consulting projects. If you want to excel further and go into sales (and that would be a typical management consultant career path), you would need to combine deep analytic skills with being an excellent communicator and salesperson.
Management consulting is also one of the most rewarding careers on the planet. You get to meet the CEOs of stock-listed companies and discuss their strategic plans, to travel around the world, to see how different companies operate and what issues they face, and to develop your own no BS and goal-oriented approach that you will be using your whole life, also later if you choose to jump away from consulting into a specific industry. In the best case, you also get the flexibility and the right to decide when and where you do your job. Responsibility + Flexibility = Freedom has been one of Excedea’s key principles since day one – we can choose the work hours and location the way we prefer.
Being a good management consultant requires a good base training, but above all, it requires training on the job in a lot of cases and life-long studying and constant learning on key topics, which are relevant cross-industry. Some skills are more important than others, in order to become a management consulting professional. We have made a list of the most important capabilities.
1. Being structured in thinking, speaking and writing
A management consultant knows how to write an email that would give the needed result and how to structure the speech so that the listeners would get value from it. All-time classics on this topic would be The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto and Say It With Presentations by Gene Zelazny – two books helping you to express yourself like a professional.
2. Having critical thinking and prioritising
What are the most important for this project and this client right now? Which sales channel to prioritise in this case? What sales partner should the client concentrate on now? As we know, 20% of activities bring 80% or results, as said in the book The 80/20 Individual by Richard Koch. So crystallizing this important 20 % from all the activities is a very important skill for a management consultant to have.
3. Making decisions in case of uncertainty/complex situations
Management consulting projects require a quick understanding of the companies’ business logic and efficient decision making. Decision Making for Dummies by Dawna Jones gives you a step-by-step manual on how to simplify your decision-making process in business environments that are becoming increasingly complex with each day.
4. Staying curious
In order to understand different businesses, management consultants need to always stay inquisitive. You need to understand exactly how the companies function, what is important for the decision makers, ask „why“ and „so what“, and look for the ultimate reasons behind thigs. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner is a fun read that fascinates and warms up your appetite for curiosity.
5. Enjoying the job
It is impossible to be a professional if you hate your job. Management consultancy is both a very exciting and at the same time very challenging job to be in and undoubtedly does not suit everyone. But management consulting is so versatile that one can within this job choose multiple activities that bring joy. Design Your Life by Bill Burnett and Chris Evans is a book that helps you build your dream job based on what you have now and enjoy it as much as possible, and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell will tell you how to become exceptional in what you are doing and enjoy it even more.
Management consulting is not an easy industry to be in – you need to be smart, quick, work hard, and be well informed. But with the right training and attitude, you will be able to do it. We hope you enjoy these books and implement the interesting ideas you get from them in your career.
If you are interested in management consulting as a career or whether you are a well-seasoned professional looking for new challenges, you can follow our career opportunities here. You can also contact us directly.