What is Management Consulting?

The field of management consulting is a somewhat narrowed grouping in the larger dimension of consulting in general. Management consulting covers a wide range of services provided to a manager, senior manager, owner or board of a corporation, not-for-profit organization, a government department, crown corporation or agency, and other types of organizations..

Classically, management consulting includes:

  • the sharing of knowledge and resources in various areas of managerial practice;
  • provision of project management;
  • analysis of books and ledgers, operational processes procedures plus the overall business; 
  • training of clients to improve their skills in management/leadership; 
  • support in the implementation of new technology or operational systems; 
  • hands-on computer coding, development of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, and/or website development; 
  • writing of materials to be distributed to managers and other employees;
  • advice about human resources policies and procedures, change management transformations, and culture shift;
  • how best to enter new marketplaces, competition assessment and paths to differentiation; 
  • development of marketing and social media campaigns;
  • facilitation of strategic thinking, business planning and budgeting;
  • and many other services.

Many management consulting firms have developed unique and/or proprietary methodologies to improve organizational performance. They sell these time-proven and often leading practices to advance an organization. Individual consultants may provide management consulting services based upon academic study, personal research and developed excellence, or significant personal experience and expertise as senior managers and/or board members.

Often you will see firms and/or individuals have particular expertise in certain areas of management consulting. These areas might include:

  • Financial Management, Investment and Asset Restructuring
  • Strategic Thinking & Planning
  • Market Differentiation & Marketing
  • Technology Systems, Software, Artificial Intelligence & Training
  • Human Resources, Leadership/Management Development, Performance Management
  • Recruitment and Outplacement
  • Customer Service and Hospitality
  • Operational Data Measurement & Analytics, Process Efficiency/Six Sigma/Quality Improvement
  • Branding, Social Media, Government/Media/Public Relations
  • Innovation & Creativity Facilitation
  • Engineering Design, Monitoring & Improvement
  • Environmental Designs, Assessment & Monitoring
  • Board Governance

However, just because someone provides support and services in one of the areas above, it does not necessarily make them a management consultant. What makes you a management consultant, is when you apply the services above, add context/expertise to advance the client organization – and this leads to the achievement of strategic goals and measures of success.