My first day as a consultant was memorable, and made an indelible impression on me because I had no idea what was expected, or what I should be doing. Like most of us, I was quickly brought up to speed. However, I still reflect upon that moment of dread and doubt when in conversation with university students expressing an interest in management consulting.
Thankfully, there is now a more disciplined route into our profession, providing students entering the field with many options. This should provide comfort to those who wonder how the newest and future members of CMC-Canada are being grounded and trained to enter the management consulting industry.
Academic institutions are now able to offer a pathway to Canada’s consulting profession by formalizing a partnership with its certifying body, CMC-Canada.
An Informal Path - Led by Students
Several university students have approached CMC-Canada in the past few years to help establish a consulting club or society on their campus. Their intent is to increase awareness of the profession amongst the student body – or at least those who might be enrolled in the business programs of their school. Like many student volunteer groups, activity is highly variable depending upon the dedication and time availability of a few very dedicated individuals. A lot of goodwill may quickly evaporate if the mantle of leadership is not successfully handed over as student volunteers graduate. When active, such clubs provide a strong platform for students wishing to prepare for their entry into the profession.
A More Enduring Path for Students - Through Partnerships
CMC-Canada has developed a number of different types of relationships with Canadian academic institutions to allow for the use of the CMC brand in association with the relevant offerings in their respective programs. Here are several different types of arrangements between universities and CMC-Canada across the country:
- Accredited courses: Accredited management consulting courses are integrated into business programs, providing students with a head-start on the educational aspects of the CMC designation.
- Accredited program: A full management consulting program that meets all the education requirements of the CMC designation.
- Enhanced accredited offering: Offering an accredited course and a structured management consulting project for graduate student teams under faculty supervision and CMC mentoring, to be included as part of the experience requirements for the CMC designation.
Education and preparation for CMC certification allows students to offer more than their enthusiasm. They can demonstrate commitment to and an understanding of, the core processes of the management consulting profession – an attractive proposition to would-be employers for their entry level candidates. As a student works through the requirements, not only are they laying the groundwork for certification, they are making connections with members of the profession and thus, potential employers.
To have a university program qualify, the institution must meet certain requirements:
- CMC-Canada will accredit proposed courses using as a standard -- the proprietary courseware that underpins our certification process
- The instructor must be both a CMC and a CMC trained facilitator (if using our IP).
- Students may choose to become student members of the association.
What do universities find attractive about such arrangements and why are they willing to enter into formal arrangements with CMC-Canada to establish programming relevant to management consulting? What’s in it for them? There are several benefits that have been expressed by our partners as they establish and evolve such arrangements:
- Relevance: Connection and direct linkages to a profession and a mode of work that is of interest to a significant proportion of the business student population.
- Program integration: A sufficiently integrated generalist process that makes it possible for business academic programs to bring together all business disciplines.
- Exposure to industry experience: A relationship with the profession is typically augmented by industry participation in academic programs – a limited number of scholarships, program advisors, student mentoring, and in-class instruction.
We have agreements with the following schools:
St. Mary's University - Sobey School of Business
Royal Roads University - School of Business
University of Ottawa - Telfer School of Management
University of Alberta - Alberta School of Business
University of Waterloo - Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Centre
Queen's University - School of Business
Simon Fraser University – Beedie School of Business
McGill University, School of Continuing Studies
We are also working with several other universities and colleges across the country to include management consulting as part of their MBA and continuing educational programs. I know that many of our members find the university or college environment simulating and inspiring. If you are interested in paying forward your experiences, life lessons, and tricks of the trade, these programs offer a wonderful way to inspire young people to consider a profession that has given you so much.