We all know consultants exist but what do they actually do? Work in consulting involves providing external advice to organisations that require specialist expertise or an objective outside perspective on their business. Consulting is the identification and assessment of a problem or analysis of a specific area of an organisation, the reporting of findings and the formulations of recommendations for improvement.
Consultants are commonly called in for business improvement, change of management, information technology and long-term planning projects.
Consultancy can offer the choice of varied assignments, the ability to choose interesting work and the flexibility (within limits) of deciding when and where to work. The range of a consultants work can be broad and they can either focus on one particular area of work or cover multiple.
The Institute of Consulting have compiled a list of the different areas of consulting activity:
- Business strategy – a general business appraisal of a company.
- Manufacturing and business services – a review of the layout of a production department and productivity.
- Financial and management controls – profit planning, budget control and office reorganisation work.
- Human Resources – advising on personnel policy, job evaluation and industrial relations.
- Marketing – carrying out market research and business forecasting alongside training and organisation of sales departments and outlets.
- Environmental management – ecological and sociological studies for the encouragement of quality of lifestyle.
- Quality management – the setting of policy and strategy around customer satisfaction, performance measurement and people management.
- Information technology – the provision of software, systems, design and applications following hardware evaluations.
In essence, a consultant’s job is to advise a company on improvements that could be made to its business. However, the range of work in consultancy is extremely varied and consultants can be found in almost any business sector. The variety of work available ensures that a career in consultancy provides diverse and interesting opportunities to any hardworking graduate.
Take a look at the Inside Careers consultancy area to find out more about the areas of work in consultancy and read profiles from graduates and seniors who currently work in the profession.