Business Process Consultant: Job Description and Education Requirements

Business process consultants provide analysis and advice to improve an organization's productivity, usually by refining strategy or infrastructure. Consulting firms can offer general business services or specialize in a specific aspect of business. A bachelor's degree in a business-related program is typically required to gain consulting work.

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Business Process Consultant Description

Consultants are hired on a project basis, often in teams, for everything from high-level strategy recommendations for new companies to procedure refinement and hiring for established organizations. The consulting process starts with data gathering and research to identify problems. Consultants analyze the data, develop possible solutions, and make a recommendation to the client.

General consulting firms offer advice on essential business strategies, such as operational structure, financial planning, and asset management. Small consulting firms may specialize in one aspect of business, like marketing, or a specific industry, such as engineering.

A common entry-level position for consultants is as analysts who gather the data necessary to make a strategic recommendation. Their duties can include observation of existing operations, interviews, surveys, and general industry research. A project lead or manager will lead the data analysis and brainstorming and present a recommendation to the client.

Education Requirements for Business Process Consultants

Undergraduate Education

Business process consultants must possess strong analytical skills, creativity, and communication skills to persuade clients to take their proposed course of action. Generally, consultants are either trained by their firms or are transitioning out of a business management position. In either case, completion of a bachelor's degree program is preferred. Business, economics, statistics, and marketing degree programs are common. Those looking toward a career in a technical field may benefit from computer science or engineering programs.

Graduate Education

A Master of Business Administration will be advantageous to a job seeker, especially among private industry. Some firms may even hire graduates as analysts or trainees and assist them with continuing their education. Those with MBAs or records of experience are typically candidates for managerial positions and partnerships at consulting firms.

Certification

Though certification is not a requirement of most firms, many professional organizations offer certification programs that can enhance a resume by ensuring a consultant's knowledge and skills are up-to-date. The Institute of Management Consultants USA offers a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation earned through the completion of an educational program that also involves submission of client reviews, interviews, and an exam. Certifications also exist for different methodologies, such as Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of management analysts such as business process consultants is projected to grow by 22% between 2010 and 2020. The median salary earned by such analysts was reported by the BLS as $78,600 in May 2012. Those providing management, scientific, and technical consulting services earned an average of $100,370 a year in 2012, per the same source.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics