MBA Jobs: What is “Consulting”?

An MBA, or a Masters in Business Administration, is considered by many to be one of the most prestigious degrees offered by the academic community. Graduates, be them from an online MBA program or Wharton Business School are likely to be highly capable and ambitious individuals determined to weather the recession in comfort.

And 2012 is another good year for MBA graduates – recruitment at business schools for full-time positions has increased by 70% compared with the rates of recruitment in 2011. Salaries are up, recruitment projections are up, but the big question is: what in the world are you planning on doing? Consulting might be the right avenue to choose.

Consulting is a very general job description. That’s part what makes it such an interesting and flexible career. A consultant, by definition, is someone temporarily hired by a company or an individual to address and propose solutions to problems. Most consultants fresh out of school can start in and switch to any number of fields, from technological consultants, management consultants, and strategic consultants, among others. Consulting can be an incredibly exciting career, if you pick the right field for your interests. You can set your own hours, and have the opportunity to travel almost every week, depending on where you are needed.

For brevity, we’ll group some of the more specialized consulting options into more general categories. According to Entrepreneur, some of the most popular fields to enter as a consultant are business, accounting, technology, and human resources.

Accounting consultants help a company with their financial needs. This can be audits on utility bills or information about tax breaks. Accounting consultants can provide the quickest return on investment: with the right business plans, companies can pay the least amount of taxes possible.

Advertising consultants can help design ad campaigns, write a marketing plan, or communicate with the press. Frequently, they participate in the editorial needs to the company. Consultants in advertising need to know the ins and outs of publicity: how can you improve bad PR? How can you make your company a household name? An advertising consultant is the first person to ask.

Particularly in today’s tech-driven world, the ability to remain on the cutting edge is integral to a company’s success. And the best way to stay on top of new developments in the tech field is to hire someone with extensive knowledge about it – computer consulting helps fine tune a company’s software, hardware, and everything else they need to remain competitive in the market.

Human resource consultants help companies with career counseling, recruitment (or as it’s commonly known, “headhunting”), insurance, and the necessary management tasks from sexual harassment prevention to scheduling vacation time. If you’re hoping to find employment after graduation right away, consider an academic course load focusing on management consulting and Chinese: there is huge demand from Chinese markets for internationally trained managers.

Your choice of MBA program is hugely influential in your likelihood of recruitment from top consulting firms, like Bain and McKinsey. Firms such as these choose from the cream of the crop and actively recruit at the top 10 MBA programs. If you’re considering starting an MBA, or you’ve already begun a program and are considering what your choices are for specialization, looking into consulting may be a head start on a promising future.

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