The Management Consulting Industry: An Overview

The management consulting industry is a global market that provides companies in various industries with solutions to their problems. It began to develop shortly after the emergence of management as a single business field in the late 19th century, along with the Industrial Revolution. The first management consultant was Arthur D., a professor at MIT, who founded his firm in the late 1890s. This firm originally specialized in technical research, but later became a general management consultant.

Edwin G. Booz, a graduate of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, founded Booz Allen Hamilton as a management consultant in 1914, and was the first to serve industry and government clients. Management consulting is one of the most sought after fields in the business world. It can be glamorous, with air travel, working on complex business problems, and exposure to high-level management. However, it is not for everyone.

Management consulting includes a wide range of activities, and many companies and their members often define these practices quite differently. One way to categorize activities is in terms of the professional's area of expertise (such as competitive analysis, corporate strategy, operations management or human resources).Client organizations often lack the knowledge they want to gain from the consultant, making it difficult to estimate when to hire consultants. The consulting industry has seen a gradual recovery in growth rate over the years, with a current trend towards clearer segmentation of management consulting firms. Many consultants aspire to a higher stage in the pyramid than most of their hires achieve. Competent diagnosis requires more than an examination of the company's external environment, technology and economics, and the behavior of non-management members of the organization.

Wise consultants learn that “resistance often indicates particularly important and otherwise unreachable sources of information.” As the process continues, managers naturally begin to implement corrective actions without having to wait for formal recommendations.

Management consulting firms

Stern Stewart, Marakon Associates and Alcar pioneered value-based management (VBM), or value management, in the 1980s. Top consulting firms continue to compete with investment banks and each other for top candidates from universities and business school programs across the country. Recently, a professor at the country's leading management school conducted a thorough study of the company and presented 100 pages of recommendations. Management consulting is the practice of selling consulting services to organizations to improve their performance or in some way to help achieve any type of organizational objectives. Frederick Winslow Taylor opened an independent practice in Philadelphia in 1893 and was focused on technical research during its early years.

Advancing the pyramid towards more ambitious purposes requires greater sophistication and skill in consulting processes and in managing the consultant-client relationship. While management consultants contribute to the formulation of policies and strategies, the Government tends to use them for strategic review and strategy implementation.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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