What Are the Best Career Paths After Management Consulting?

Management consulting is a great way to gain valuable experience and skills, but eventually, most consultants move on to other career paths. There are a variety of options available for former consultants, including corporate management, banking and finance, public sector work, NGOs, start-ups and independent consulting. Nonprofits often seek out consultants for their expertise in areas such as strategy development, international expansion or growth, or project management. Program managers have a strong sense of ownership and serve as a project point of contact for the rest of the organization.

Product analysts measure product adoption and usage and create reports to give visibility to internal stakeholders, such as product managers, business operations, and executives. Product marketing is essentially the business part of product launches, a complement to product and engineering teams. Strategic Finance (StratFin) is similar to corporate strategy in that the team handles important, high-visibility projects for a company's leaders. Chief of Staff (CoS) roles are even more variable than a BizOps role; it not only depends on the company, but it also depends on the leader you report to. Entering a corporate job with consulting expertise can often allow you to enter at a higher level than you could otherwise.

Depending on the company you join, you are likely to enjoy a lifestyle longer than 9 to 5 (as opposed to office hours of 9 to 5). Corporate strategy associates are assigned to a handful of projects with time slots and they are implemented in any function or team in the company. Business Operations (BizOps) associates need to wear many more hats, shifting the context between high-level and low-level problems. They are tasked with taking care of the problem and the end-to-end solution. As a management consultant, you have likely acquired a wide range of skills that are useful in different industries and roles.

Consulting can provide excellent exit opportunities, so it's important to consider how to leverage your professional capital to make a greater impact when you leave. If you intend to pursue a career in management consulting, you may want to know that one of the most exciting aspects of this industry is your exit opportunities, life after consulting. Operations consulting firms are said to be hybrids between management consulting and more typical consulting firms. Despite tempting six-figure salary figures, almost everyone left management consulting at some point. As candidates and hiring managers, we have been through countless interviews and know the tricks of the trade.

Former management consultants have a wide range of prestigious and well-paying career paths available. It's important to consider your interests when deciding which career path is right for you. Consultants who enjoy “blue sky” strategy cases will be a good fit for the corporate strategy team. If you're interested in modeling, creating slides, and generally just an in-house consultant, this position is perfect. If you have done consulting work in the Office of Program Management (PMO) and enjoyed the ability to organize a project from start to finish, then this role is right for you.

Product managers can experiment with a variety of small functions to increase engagement; data scientists analyze data to truly discern the impact of new features. As former consultants move into corporate roles, they can enter financial operations or corporate finance in companies. They can also move into strategic positions in Global 500 companies. Consultants are sought for these corporate functions because of their research, project coordination, analysis and personnel management capabilities. One difference between consulting and other industries is that many master's degree programs in management are shorter. I have had friends who have become everything from surgeons to lawyers, all using the strong client management and problem solving skills they acquired as consultants.

Business Development (BD) has a strong relationship and pipeline management component that is more like a sales role. Ultimately, there are many options available for former consultants looking for their next career move.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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