Do You Need an MBA for Consulting? A Comprehensive Guide

An MBA is one of the most and lucrative popular post-graduate degrees for consultants. However, do you really need one? What are the benefits? Why would you pursue an MBA if you’re already a consultant? 

These questions are exactly what we’re going to answer today. We’re going to looking what an MBA does for a consultant, how it affects their pay, and how they can go about obtaining their MBA. For additional information from real people, join the conversation on the best MBA for consulting. Reddit often discusses the subject.

But first, let’s look into exactly what consulting is. 

What is Consulting? 

Consulting is a very loose term. So, it’s little wonder the exact definition depends on the context. However, consulting is essentially providing business advice and guidance on various business topics that range from marketing and IT to overall corporate strategy.

Consultants define problems and opportunities for a business and help plan implementation strategies and more across the company. 

How Does an MBA Help Consultants? 

An MBA is a post-graduate degree that gives you holistic management knowledge that stretches across an entire business. MBA graduates also learn and develop vital soft skills and leadership principles to prepare them for a top-down approach to business. Plus, MBA holders leave the program with a professional network and a diversified perspective on business as a whole. 

All of these are beneficial when you’re considering a career in consulting. 

Here’s a quick list of the things you’ll learn and gain from an MBA program, and how they directly help consultants: 

  • Strategic Thinking – If you’re going to help solve a business’s problems, you’ll need to be able to think strategically. MBA programs teach their students how to develop this skill to solve complex problems for themselves and the businesses that employ them.
  • Project Management – It’s one thing to tell a business they have a problem, but it’s another thing entirely to help them solve it. Project management skills empower consultants to advise their clients on the projects they undertake to improve their businesses.
  • Negotiation – Sometimes a consultant will face a conflicting situation that will require them to mediate a communication breakdown or another such complication. MBA programs provide students with entire courses dedicated to the art of negotiation.
  • Knowledge of Disruptive Trends – MBA programs will help you develop your knowledge of current trends and what to watch for in the future.
  • Communication – An MBA will strengthen your ability to work with and lead diverse teams by developing your communication and presentation skills.
  • Diverse Perspective – MBA graduates learn how to develop and draw from diverse perspectives to solve complex problems. This is an essential skill for any successful consultant.
  • Professional Network –   The key to consulting is building trust with your clients, and that means building a meaningful reputation and network. 

Why MBA for a Consulting Career?

And that list is only a few of the ways an MBA will benefit a consulting career.  As such, MBAs are remarkably useful to consultants as it builds on all of the necessary skills they will need. What’s more, an MBA will allow you to specialize further in your field with options to pursue concentrations, which we will cover in detail later on. 

Overall, an MBA provides a wide base of business knowledge that consultants can leverage throughout their career. You will also learn how to lead teams and consult with confidence, using strong communication and presentation skills.  

Quantic’s MBA program provides all of this and more. Consider joining our 17,057 students and Alumni that enjoy a 66% rate of 1st-year job promotion rate and an average 21% 1st-year salary increase. 

MBA Consulting Salary 

Speaking of salaries. There is a significant difference in pay for consultants with and without MBAs.

Here are the salary ranges of undergraduate and master’s hires compared to MBA hires at the top consulting firms:

  • Undergraduate Consultants: $77,000 – $100,000
  • MBA Consultants: $145,000 – $175,000
average consulting salary

Do You Need an MBA for Consulting? 

From what we have discussed thus far, you know that an MBA is not strictly necessary for a career in consulting. However, you also know of the benefits. An MBA provides a marked salary increase and the tools you need to be a better consultant.

However, as we just said, it’s not strictly necessary.

The people who would benefit the most from an MBA are those looking to work for the best consulting firms in the business. Even if you don’t land the job out of the gate, an MBA will build you up and get you started on the path. The increase in pay and marketable skills don’t hurt either. 

If you want to hear firsthand how Quantic’s MBA provides students with the tools to make a bigger impact with their existing skill set, check out this video. 

[Embed Video]

How an MBA Helps You Prepare for Consulting 

As we discussed before, when you pursue an MBA, you gain more than just a broader understanding of how a business functions. It prepares consultants with the skills to improve their trust and credibility among their clients. What’s more, you gain a network of similarly minded and ambitious fellow alumni to reach out to throughout your professional career. 

MBA vs JD for Consulting 

For some who enter consulting, they’re torn between pursuing an MBA or JD for their career. Not everyone can pursue both. That’s why we’re going to take a quick look at who should pursue one over the other.

An MBA prepares you for consulting in business. This includes management, entrepreneurship, and business consulting. It is broad reaching and flexible. 

A JD, on the other hand, should be pursued only by those who wish to focus on legal consultation. Management consultants with JDs use legal knowledge to help their clients. Contrast this with the MBA’s holistic business approach which does not include this legal component. 

Is an MBA Worth it for People Already in Consulting? 

Even if you’re already a consultant with multiple years of experience, an MBA will still be worth it for you. Only those with more than 10 years of experience would need to stop to consider the returns.

As an established consultant, there are many benefits an MBA can provide. 

One is the networking opportunities. Pursuing an MBA will allow you to revitalize or expand your network. This will expand your reach and reputation in the professional world. 

Another is your opportunity to update your knowledge. Business is constantly changing. A consultant absolutely needs to stay up to date with the latest developments. Pursuing an MBA will allow you to do exactly that, and prepare you with the skills to stay on the edge of new developments in business.

And last, and certainly not least, an MBA can lead to a meaningful boost in your salary. 

What MBA Concentration is Best for Consulting 

The beauty of an MBA program is the diversity of concentrations. Each allows a student to focus on the niche part of the industry they wish to pursue. This specialization is appealing to employers and useful to students. 

Here are some of the best MBA concentrations for consultants.

  • Corporate Strategy – A concentration in corporate strategy helps you discover how companies create value, develop portfolios and work with other organizations. This provides consultants with an excellent background in inter-business dealings.
  • Entrepreneurship – The entrepreneurship concentration teaches you how to build a company from the ground up. As a consultant, this gives you valuable insight to help start-ups and venture capital
  • General Management – This middle-of-the-road concentration gives you a broad overview of business functions, focusing on finance, leadership, and data analysis. 
  • International Management – Enterprises today are more global than they’ve ever been, and the international business community is becoming more connected every day. An MBA in International management equips you with the knowledge to consult for worldwide enterprises.
  • Project Management – As we mentioned before, consultants should know how to implement the advice they give their clients. As such, a concentration in project management allows you to aid in organizational efficiency for industries such as information technology, construction, and manufacturing.

What Consulting Firms Look for Post-MBA

Unless you already worked as a consultant before you got your degree, post-MBA is the time to start looking for a position. Consulting firms are looking for candidates with certain qualities, and these can vary between companies. These include leadership, initiative, and communication. You will have developed these skills during your MBA program. 

Do Consulting Firms Pay for MBA?

Many of the top consulting firms pay for their employee’s MBAs. In fact, this is one of the best ways to earn an MBA without any cost to yourself. MBA holders are considered valuable and worthy investments in many firms.

Here are a few firms that offer sponsorship options:

  • Deloitte
  • PwC
  • KPMG
  • McKinsey

It is important to note that most firms, such as EY-Parthenon, do not sponsor MBAs. However, if your company is among them, you still have options.

If your company doesn’t offer MBA sponsorship, you’ll have to build a case. Consider the revenue of your company, the education of leadership, and what an MBA holder would bring to the team. Compile this information, find a program that provides the skills that meet your company’s needs, and prepare a training request letter.

With a convincing pitch, you may well find your employer amicable to paying for your MBA. 

Even then, Quantic’s MBA program offers tuition assistance and even tuition reimbursement for the right candidates. 

Quantic – The Best MBA Program for Consulting!

Consider Quantic when pursuing an MBA for consulting. We offer a unique and innovative MBA program that provides the student with a mobile-first active learning experience. What’s more, Quantic sparks a connection with fellow professionals with a network-first approach to build a meaningful network.

Quantic provides everything in an MBA that a consultant could ever need.

So, sign up with Quantic today to begin your MBA and become a better consultant. 


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