“Here’s how to build a successful and sustainable management consulting career – and why it’s a profession for the current moment.”
It’s likely that the current pace of change will ever be slower than it is today. This is the new normal. For those looking to launch their professional careers, or exploring a mid-career shift into management consulting, the opportunities and pathways have never been more numerous – or more exciting.
Management consultants help organizations solve problems, improve performance, create value and maximize growth. At Level5 Strategy, we work as business partners supporting our clients on their growth and transformational journey, building tailored solutions designed to enhance market performance, achieve their growth aspirations and seize the competitive advantage in their chosen industry and market. We do this across sectors and functions. It’s a need that public sector organizations, governments, SMEs, enterprises, and high-growth start-ups all rely on to successfully navigate transformations, leverage opportunities and solve industry challenges.
Management consulting is a career filled with opportunities to learn about new sectors and businesses, and work closely with dedicated and smart teams from all over the world on challenging problems and in high-impact moments.
And the demand for these skills remains strong. For management consultants and analysts, the rate of job growth in 2022 is expected to grow by 14% (much faster and higher than the average).
Together, the three of us have 52 years in consulting – although we took different routes into the profession. We have hired and mentored hundreds of consultants across their careers and these are our top insights on planning for and building a successful consulting career.
Learn To Love Change:
As one Level5 client, the current CEO of a crown corporation recently shared, “it’s essential to intentionally recruit people comfortable with change and uncertainty and then create an internal culture which fosters their ability to find and capitalize on the opportunities in flux.”
Like our clients, we are also increasingly looking at how to adjust our recruiting criteria to increase the value and weight placed on experiences that speak to the candidate’s ability to be comfortable with and embrace an accelerated pace of change. This means being able to handle projects with constantly shifting scopes, clients dealing with rapidly shifting market conditions, accelerated timelines and rapidly evolving stakeholder demands.
For prospective clients, cultivating the emotional and mental tools to be able to thrive in this environment is essential.
There’s No One (Right) Pathway Forward
Traditionally, business administration, finance, accounting, economics or marketing were the accepted pathways into management consulting – but this is no longer the case, and this development is one of the most exciting components of the profession.
Today, management consulting brings together people with a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives and expertise. At Level5 Strategy, we are hiring graduates with a broad range of academic experience (including bioscience, engineering, English, and technology among them). This is also true for mid-career professionals. Our team at Level5 has come into consulting as a result of academic and sector expertise, operational experience and after having been entrepreneurs and founders of other businesses. This broad range of backgrounds brings an incredible diversity of thought and perspective to our clients, enhancing creativity and our ability to find new impact opportunities.
Be Clear on Culture
Consulting firms come in many forms. There are the well-known global firms (McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte and KPMG), boutique firms that focus on specific industries (such as health care) and midsize consulting firms like Level5 that have unique skills, tools and processes, but intentionally keep their size small and their cultures more personal.
Never before have organizations within the same sector varied so much when it comes to culture – from office policies to social values and importantly, expectations of what success should look like and how it is rewarded. To build a sustainable and fulfilling career, it’s essential to spend time researching and understanding what you are looking for from the work culture. This choice will influence how you work, when and with who – and what it means for your professional development and personal life.
At Level5 Strategy, our competitive advantage is our people, and their well-being is the foundation of our culture. It shapes how we work, train and collaborate. From new recruits to experienced teammates, our approach to professional development is action-orientated. We are looking for people who want to be part of building our business and shaping our brand – all while growing their careers and experience. We want to retain people who are inspired by our vision and we look for people who take a long-term perspective on client growth and performance and most importantly, their professional relationships.
If you might be interested in exploring life at Level5, we’re always looking for strong talent across all levels of the firm and invite you to get in touch. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to this page to submit your resume or inquiries here.