Do you have to be smart to be a management consultant?

I totally agree with Guennael and Sidi. You don't need to be a genius or even that smart to be a consultant. The truth is that most tasks only require you to have a. The truth is that most tasks only require you to have a basic level of intelligence and ability to think in a structured way, along with hard work.

It can mean a lot of different things, but it seems to boil down to knowledge, intelligence, and thinking. Using the brutal analogy of the parts of a computer, your consultants must have a good hard drive, a CPU and a good operating system. For me, an intelligent consultant can really analyze the problem. They know how to separate problems, research, talk to customers, lead teams and, ultimately, seek solutions through hypothesis-based thinking.

Even if they don't know the answer today, they know HOW to arrive at a reliable answer soon. There is some truth in the stereotype that bankers are great salespeople and consultants are nerds, but only up to a point. Consultants tend to be “more nerdy”, as they are often extremely intellectual. Most consultants have a very good understanding of general knowledge, but also of more specific knowledge.

When you're a consultant, it's not unusual to engage in a discussion on unrelated scientific topics with a colleague. While management consulting is interchangeable with the concept of counseling, it is actually different from the professions of coaching and executive training. To reiterate, management consulting work often requires extended trips, a lot of time with clients, and even a lot of additional time to process and analyze the work, even when you're not with the clients. You're smart enough for this, but you might be missing some ideas, some tools, some mental concepts of what's required.

Education and experience requirements vary depending on the level of management consulting at which you work or seek to occupy. I have always been impressed and almost a little intimidated by the degree of intelligence, speed of thinking and ability to analyze complex concepts that can be observed in consultants at elite firms (MBB). However, the university degree requirement is a more important factor in traditional consulting organizations, where the official job is that of a specialized management consultant or a strategy consultant. The required skill set varies depending on different industries and the specific client base that a particular management consulting firm targets and works with.

If your goal is to develop a successful career in management consulting, I recommend that you improve your education, experience, and skills to align with what I have detailed above.

Management consultants

have the opportunity to work with senior teams and top executives in organizations, and this helps cultivate strong relationships and build a support network. While I focused here on the most common management consulting jobs, where a degree tends to be a minimum requirement, it should be noted that not all consulting jobs require a college degree. I don't know if this is due to the broad categories of consultants, to professional trajectories, often ambiguous and varied, or to the lack of defined competencies within the profession, but people often have difficulty understanding what management consultants do.

In order to maintain a competitive and differentiated advantage, this methodology is usually patented and serves as a guide that management consultants adhere to when carrying out evaluations, performing analyses, diagnosing problems, testing hypotheses, intervening and making recommendations and providing monitoring services to customers effectively. This is why a complete profile as a consultant is needed: if it were only about cognitive intelligence, companies could offer huge salary packages to the best graduates of the most difficult doctoral programs at universities around the world. Whether it's because of my own experiences in management consulting or because of the success or lack of it of the people I've worked with or hired, it's very clear that the mentality that one has for this type of work is fundamental. And the questions never surprise me because, while management consulting is an extremely demanding career choice, it's also very rewarding.


Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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