The term business consultant invariably conjures up an image of Armani-suited, keen, sharp business dealers. You normally associate them with success, poise and self-reliance. They excel in the art of making your business their business and being great at it. So then I am sure your next question would be how to become a business consultant? Well being a business consultant is ultimately an amalgamation of several factors which together can make you a competent consultant.
They help you transform your business models and improve the efficiency rate of your organization in the most cost-effective manner. So it is very simple to deduce then that if you want to understand how to become a business consultant, it is necessary to possess some skill sets. The most prominent ones amongst them include
- Strong organizational abilities
- Team building capabilities and make a team perform efficiently
- Strong vision and ability to make strategic calls
- Look at creating long term solutions
- Curiosity and a will to learn and stay updated on latest trends
- Achieve a balance between cost efficiency and quality excellence
- Create an overall consciousness about business processes
Therefore as you can understand very well the question how to become a business consultant also includes key inputs about personality development as it does about academic excellence.
Academic Requirement to Become a Business Consultant
Education forms a key requirement for excellence in the most professions. The journey of how to become a business consultant is no exception. Once you finish your high school, it is a good idea to pursue a course in business management. This could be either as a special course or a workshop. Even if your high school does not offer any specific course, you can always look to join a supplementary course in a nearby community college also. As an aspiring business consultant, the high school is a good time to get an educational counselor to guide you on the way forward as well. They can guide you on how to get your preparation done and what subjects to choose to optimize your potential.
You could even look at joining a school club that is related to business and business development like the ‘Future Business Leaders of America’ or something similar. This kind of association will enable you to develop a keen understanding of businesses early on if you are keen to become a business consultant. Additionally, you can even start a business related club on your own. The advantage is this kind of club often creates a group of like minded individuals, and you can even continue this through college and enhance your network going forward. Getting the bachelor’s degree in business or business management is the most important step to further your dreams of becoming a business consultant.
It is an absolute necessity. Though you might have some companies who would hire you without a degree, it won’t enable you to make a strong foundation that is important for your future success. Try to participate in the school’s business related clubs actively and establish proper rapport with your teachers. The bachelor’s degree is not just important by itself; it also enables you to go for an MBA. Almost any business consultant you might think of in today’s world invariably has an MBA, and this is not possible without the bachelor’s degree. Therefore this bachelor’s degree serves the dual purpose of enhancing your knowledge gates and opening the doors of future excellence.
That leads us to the obvious pit-stop in your journey to how to become a business consultant. The MBA degree often creates the pivot point for future excellence. It gives you a specialization for the kind of business consulting that you might want to pursue going forward. The MBA allows you to develop your skills in areas like
- Sales management
- IT systems
- Organizational skills
- Corporate ethics
This kind of specialty also enables you to further concentrate on your interest area. In your pursuit of how to become a business consultant, this MBA degree will further enable you to approach the various avenues of consultancy with greater aplomb.
Why Is The MBA Degree So Important?
Well, this is not a necessity in your journey towards how to become a business consultant; it surely opens the doors to better success and surely helps you stand out in a large group. Moreover, a masters in business administration further enhances your expertise in your chosen area of specialization. This also ensures that your approach ceases to be less generalized and more focus. In future, as you try to make your mark as a better consultant, this surely makes a huge difference and can often prove to be your USP.
Another major advantage of the MBA degree is it helps you approach many business houses for internships, creates a community of like-minded fellows and establish rapport with some of the best brains in business management. In short, in many ways apart from the academic advantage, it puts you in an advantageous position in the networking front too. Therefore, when you approach big businesses for openings, later on, the connection established during these early years make a lot of difference. The MBA degree also helps you bring in the perfect balance between the academic training and practical exposure that you need for becoming efficient and competent business consultants going forward.
Experience Counts a Lot
So now that you have the academic armory to further your journey of how to become a business consultant, the next most important front to tackle is the experience. Yes, indeed experience and exposure to ground realities is that key element in your training process that helps you gauge the real challenges ahead. It prepares you not just for the theoretical requirements but also helps you customize your consultancy as per the client’s requirement. In short in the real business world, every firm even in the same sector might be facing different challenges and only a well experienced business consultant can help them navigate better.
Also as you gain more experience in your chosen field, you enhance the opportunity to get bigger promotion and land with better opportunities. So whether you work for a large consulting firm or have an independent practice as an independent business consultant, experience always helps you to become better professional.
Moreover, it also enhances your promotion opportunity and gets exposure to different types of experiences overall. As you all know very well, achieving greater success is always a key motivation while you pursue a specific career and greater success invariably also means better monetary success as well.
Go For a Certification
Remember that competition in the corporate world is intense in general. As a result, the rush is always about getting and most and the maximum mileage from the ever quarter. This essentially means that you must be absolutely well geared on all fronts to take on competition with ease. So when you consider this aspect in your journey of how to become a business consultant, one great aspect would be how to do better?
So you have all the necessary academic qualifications, you have gotten the experience front covered as well but what more can you do? Well, certification is the next most important avenue for you. This again is not a necessary requirement but always a desirable one. Some employers tend to give extra mileage to all those who apply for it and prefer candidates who have these certifications. In many ways, it is an enhanced reflection of a candidate’s commitment to excellence as well.
1) Some of the key certifications that you could pursue towards becoming better business consultants include certification from IMC or the Institute of Management Consultants USA. This is not a simple certification. Interested business consultants are interviewed by the IMC, and they also need to pass an exam that is based on the IMC’s code of ethics.
2) Another interesting and extremely meaningful certification would be from the International Institute of Business Analysis. They offer certification in business analysis and a much sought after professional credential. Of course, it is needless to mention that this certification needs a significant amount of experience as business analysts too. Business analysis by extension is a key aspect of business consultancy. Your ability to analyze efficiently often can be the key to advice efficiently. It can, therefore, be said that all in all a candidate’s commitment and will to excel is well borne out by these series of certifications.
Keep Your Goal in Mind
Often in life, the targets we set up for ourselves and the goals that we strive to achieve are impacted by the experiences and the aspirations that we might have. As a result, it is important to always remind yourself of what you want to achieve as a business consultant, and the ‘why you want to become a business consultant’ is often as important as how to become a business consultant. This target setting and goal often plays a crucial role in helping you also design the business strategies that you make for your clients in a specific manner and give them a unique brand experience.
After all, this is a personalized and customized approach that not even the best business textbooks will help you understand. This is something you can create on your own, and this improvisation will hold you in good stead. Often this motivation and goal that helped you to become a business consultant will also help you navigate through the tough roads and challenges that you will come across through the course of your journey as a business consultant.
Develop Skill Sets
It is needless to mention that a business consultant will command respect only when they are able to get something valuable on the platter for their clients. If they only suggest some standard elements, then no client will want to trust their business with that kind of consultant. Therefore in that context, it becomes extremely important that you learn to develop and continuously upgrade your skills in your tryst to become a business consultant who is the best. This will enhance both the rate of deliverables from you as well as the overall success that you want to achieve from your profession.
So, whether it is in terms of creating a business plan or writing down a marketing strategy or even your coaching skills, it never hurts to work a little extra on each of these and more. What they go on to do is improve the overall rate of success that you can achieve from these and therefore give you the confidence to take up greater challenges. Additionally, you must remember that when you have a good command on certain skills, it gives you more power to take up new projects. Often these skills also reflect your commitment to excel, and that is reassuring to any client interested in hiring you.
Need For Customized Solution
In your tryst to understand how to become a business consultant who is successful, it becomes extremely material to bring in a level of personalization to your trade. That does not happen overnight, and neither is it possible through any specific certification. It only happens when you spend time with your client on every single project, understand the problem points and then look to providing a solution that can bring in long standing gains. This, therefore in many ways, also a great tool to fashion your working style and thus build a customized brand for you going forward.
Pay Outlook for Business Consultant
As you continue your journey towards understanding how to become a business consultant, it is also important to understand the overall salary structure for consultants. This also helps you in comparing and creating parameters of contrast that can help you decide for or against this profession. A basic business consultant with a bachelor’s degree can earn anywhere between $60,000 and $90,000. With every additional degree, you can expect a northward movement in the salary structure, and a MBA business consultant with enough experience can easily get a $100,000 billing rate annually.
Of course, this amount keeps increasing or decreasing as per job profile and the city and sector that a business consultant is based in. Typically you would see an IT business consultant in NY earn a lot more than what a manufacturing sector business consultant will earn in say Idaho.
All in all, it can be safely said that as a business consultant, you can easily gear up for a challenging and extremely satisfying profession. It gives you the opportunity to test boundaries, acquire new skills and give wings to your aspirations. Of course, in terms of skill sets you need to acquire a multitude of these, and there is absolute need to stay updated on each of these. It is this alone that can help you gain better and more sustained success in your chosen profession. Therefore in your journey of how to become a business consultant, it is important to understand you have to lead a team and it is not possible to achieve this type of success without first learning to excel. In many ways, you are like a teacher guiding a class to excellence. It sure helps that the pay structure is also at par with the top paying professions available.