Your Guide to Management Consultant Certificate

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If you are thinking about becoming a management consultant, there sure are a lot of things to know before doing so. Becoming a management consultant can be a fantastic way to earn a great living while utilizing your already amazing skills and talents. With that being said, it is important to know how to set yourself apart from your competitors. Learning all of the things that a management consultant can do, how to become certified, as well as the types of certifications and processes will serve you immensely.

While it might be a thorough and possibly lengthy process, there are currently only 10,000 certified management consultants in the United States. So, becoming certified will certainly place you in a premier, select group of people if you are willing and able to do the necessary work.

What Does a Management Consultant Do?

The first step in becoming a successful management consultant is understanding what management consultants do. Because the term “consultant” can be so broad, even management consultants can sometimes find it difficult to tell people exactly what they do.

If you find that you have great skills at being a business person, then this particular career could be a great opportunity for you. To become a management consultant that can make a great living, you first need to see if you fit the right characteristics. Are you:

  • Motivated?
  • A self-starter?
  • Punctual?
  • A problem solver?
  • Able to think critically?
  • Willing to work until the job is done?

All of these are necessary for you to be a successful management consultant.

So, what does a management consultant actually do? A certified management consultant can do a variety of things, often wearing many hats, which can make it difficult to describe to other people. The easiest and most simplified way of describing it is assessing and solving problems for businesses in order to help them retain high-performing assets and see more profits.

This can come in many forms. Perhaps you have determined that you are really good at figuring out quicker, more efficient ways of doing things. You could be a management consultant that focuses on processes and procedures. A great perk of being a management consultant in this capacity is that you will get to work with the top people in the organization. This will help you build very high-level relationships with important people and ultimately help build your network, which leads to referrals, clout and more jobs helping more clients succeed.

Another big industry segment in management consulting that is booming right now is digital transformation. With the world becoming more and more dependent on technology, businesses must “get with the times” and try to become as paperless as possible. Often, they need help in figuring out a strategy to implement these new digital ways. It is in this way that a management consultant can make big bucks helping a business with something as crucial as their digital adaptation.

There are so many other things that a management consultant can do. These include help with any or all of the following:

  • Strategic leadership
  • Organization development
  • Human resources
  • Talent management
  • Risk management
  • Advertising
  • Mergers
  • Information technology
  • Organization design
  • Strategy
  • Reorganizations
  • Governance
  • Industry counsel
  • Finance
  • Organizational change management
  • Operations
  • Research and analysis on business issues as an unbiased third party
  • Project management

You can offer a combination of these, or specialize in one specific niche and become the leading expert if you so choose. Now, when someone asks you what you do, can you give them an educated answer?

What do You Need to Become a Certified Management Consultant?

Anyone can wake up one day and say they are a management consultant. And, with experience, they can still do a great job.

However, if you are applying for the job too and happen to have a certificate, you will most certainly have an advantage. Becoming a certified management consultant will allow you to utilize the prestigious designation of CMC next to your name, and for businesses that will be your potential clients, a certification confirms your education and experience. Clients can rest assured that they are in good hands, knowing you went through the time, effort, and cost of obtaining your certification.

We will discuss the different levels of certifications, but before you even consider applying to become certified, there are some basic qualifications you will need to meet.

  • You will need to have a minimum of 3 years of experience with direct consultancy work, either internal for an employer, or as an independent consultant. You will need to have a 4-year degree from an accredited college. Sometimes they will accept a combination of experience and other high-level education in the management consulting field.
  • References from at least 5 executives or officers from client organizations. So, be sure to get some positive feedback throughout your career.
  • You will need to have written discussions with a panel of 5 client assignments to apply for a designation.
  • The application process will consist of your written answer to a case study, and a presentation to a panel.
  • Passing a composed assessment and an oral audit. You should exhibit your expert skill, showcasing that you are current in your regions of specialization, that you have applied your experience, and that you have a comprehension of the administration counseling process.
  • An oral interview and written exam of the ethical aspects of consulting and the IMC Code of Ethics.

Different Types of Certifications

There are currently three levels of the CMC designation, or Certified Management Consultant designation. Let’s discuss each one and then you can determine which one fits your unique situation.

  1. Basic – The basic certification is meant for consultants who have a bit of experience internally or as an independent consultant, and who also have at least 3 to 9 years of experience in a consultant capacity. You must have a minimum of 5 client evaluations that are positive, as well as a Bachelor's Degree. If you do not have a degree, they will accept 5 years of work experience instead, with at least 3 being full-time, as long as you have had a very good education in the management consulting field. If you need more of the education portion, there are some management consultant courses available online. Finally, you must pass both a written and oral examination to earn the basic certification.
  2. Experienced – In addition to the requirements for the basic certification, the middle certification, or experienced certification, is for those consultants who have 10 or more years of experience in a consultant capacity. While you do still have to pass a written and oral exam, it may be easier given your background.
  3. Management – The management level of certifications is reserved for high-level managers that have over 20 years of experience, while also meeting the requirements of the basic level of certification.

Management Consultant Certifications Process

Now that you understand what a consultant does, what it takes to become a certified management consultant, and the different levels, let’s discuss how to start the process to become certified as a management consultant.

  1. Once you have determined that you have what it takes and you meet all of the requirements, you can start the process by submitting an application to the Institute of Management Consultants, who offer the best certifications for management consultants.
  2. With the application, you will need to submit supporting documentation and answer 15 questions, which includes 3 written engagement summaries, as well as contact information for several clients who would be willing to submit an online evaluation on your behalf.
  3. Once the application is submitted and all of your clients have completed their online reviews for you, you will take the Ethics and Consulting Competency portions of the online exam, which will take about 2 hours for both sections.
  4. Lastly, you will need to pass a peer review oral exam which is administered by 3 senior-level Certified Management Consultants. This peer review oral exam consists of four parts. You will present one of your engagements, you will answer questions on engagement management, you will answer ethics questions, and lastly, you will answer some questions about consulting core competencies.

As you can see, applying to become a Certified Management Consultant is a thorough yet rewarding process. This will make potential clients realize that you care about your education, and ultimately, about them and their business. Getting your management certification online can take less than two months from start to finish, as long as your client reviews are done in a timely fashion and you are able to take the necessary exams and reviews at that time.

If you are new to the management consultant world, it is a great idea to try to get a job internally with a company if you are not in a position to do so independently. In the event that you desire to assemble a fruitful profession in the management consulting world, it's a good idea that you improve your instruction, experience, and abilities to line up with what we have laid out above.

You might also find it helpful to engage with someone and practice prepping for the engagement case studies and interview process from the peer panel. This part of the application process for the CMC is usually weighed very heavily. With ample preparation, you can become certified as a management consultant and enjoy a fruitful and rewarding career helping others achieve massive success.