At its core, management consulting is a field that has to do with solving challenging business problems for clients. Generally, consultants help the client
- Define their problem
- Conduct analysis to better understand the problem
- Provide recommendations to address the problems
- And sometimes even help implement their recommendation for the client
Let’s understand this with an example. Imagine your favourite food delivery company wants to improve delivery times so they can deliver food to customers like you within 10 minutes. Naturally, this is a challenging problem that involves many aspects –
- How do we deliver food today, and what are the problem areas?
- How can I adjust my operations feed to address these problem areas?
- How can I think about implementation – stakeholder management, communication, etc.?
To answer these kinds of questions, such companies may hire a consultant like a McKinsey or BCG or Bain, who may have expertise in the operations space, and can help them address such issues. But these problems are not limited to operations, and can include a variety of fields. If this food delivery company wants to enter a new market, then they need to develop a market launch strategy. For this, they may want to understand –
- Should we go and purchase some other food delivery company over there, or building everything from scratch?
- What kinds of customers exist in this market (high order value, low frequency etc.) and whom shall we cater to?
- What kinds of restaurants exist in this market (large food enterprises, small mom-and-pop food stalls)?
- Whom shall we have on our platform?
For these kind of problems again, consulting companies can go and help their clients.
At the end of the day, consultants are solving problems across a different set of SECTORS, FUNCTIONS, and they are providing that strategic support from an outside-in perspective, and provide advice on how they can improve their strategy.
McKinsey, BCG, Bain are not the only companies in the “Management Consulting” Industry. There are quite a few other firms. Refer to the image below.