Build Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities and Get Certified

As a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) myself, I understand the immense value consultants bring to organizations. Having served dozens of internal and external clients across 30 industries, I found my journey greatly enriched by joining the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA). There, I discovered the QuickStart program, which became instrumental in my becoming a certified consultant in 2021.

The path to becoming a CMC involves a unique blend of education, training, and experience. While formal education via college, university, or graduate school establishes a strong foundation, ongoing training programs further refine the skills needed to excel in the field. Let’s explore how various educational avenues can empower aspiring and seasoned consultants alike.

Building the Foundation: Education and Business Acumen

Many routes lead to a successful consulting career. Formal education provides the cornerstone for many consultants with a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, finance, or a related field. A Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) or a specialized Master’s program may enhance one’s competitiveness, particularly for top consulting firms. However, other education, such as military service or on-the-job training, can give management consultants the business acumen they require to fulfill requirements. According to the latest certification guidelines from CMC-Global (the 44-country international organization to which IMC USA belongs), a CMC requires a bachelor’s degree or at least five years of experience as a consultant to management or as an internal consultant.

Continuous Learning: Training Programs and Professional Development

Formal education lays the groundwork, but a consultant’s learning never truly ends. IMC USA offers a variety of training programs, including the QuickStart program in which I participated and the fundamentals course, Mastering Management Consulting (MMC). These programs address specific consulting competencies, including project management, communication skills, setting up consulting agreements, and using problem-solving techniques. 

Additionally, the International Standards Organization ISO 20700 assessment allows consultants to compare their business to best practices for managing consulting engagements and ensuring ethical and professional conduct with an international standard of quality. Consultants can increase their expertise and support their CMC application by completing IMC’s Mastering Management Consulting (MMC) program, a seminar-style course based on the Competence Framework that undergirds the CMC.

Beyond dedicated consulting programs, consider expanding your knowledge base through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), in-person workshops, and industry conferences. Staying abreast of the latest trends through business publications and relevant online resources can also help management consultants help their clients with the latest information.

Learning from the Masters: Books and Industry Leaders

Theoretical knowledge is only one part of the equation. Management consultants can gain valuable insights by studying the work of industry veterans. Books like “Flawless Consulting” by Peter Block, “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek, and “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss offer practical guidance on client engagement, persuasive communication, and negotiation strategies. Understanding business fundamentals with titles like “Marketing Made Simple” by Al Ries and Jack Trout can also provide a solid foundation.

Ethical Intelligence: The Moral Compass of Consulting

Beyond technical skills, an essential aspect of consulting is ethical conduct. IMC USA and CMC-Global have a robust Code of Ethics for management consultants. As a part of the CMC certification process, candidates are expected to understand and adhere to the ethical principles of that code. Books like “Ethical Intelligence” by Dr. Bruce Weinstein emphasize the crucial role of ethical leadership and decision-making within the consulting profession. Remember, consultants act as trusted advisors, and upholding the highest ethical standards is paramount to building lasting client relationships and maintaining a stellar reputation.

The Power of Community and Network

Connecting with fellow consultants at IMC USA significantly enhanced my journey. Learning from their experiences, sharing best practices, and participating in discussions all contribute to professional growth. The QuickStart program offers cohorts of professionals with whom you learn and work. Building a strong network within the consulting community fosters collaboration and opens doors to new opportunities.

The CMC Designation: A Hallmark of Excellence

The Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation represents a globally recognized mark of distinction. This rigorous certification process, overseen by IMC USA and CMC-Global, validates a consultant’s knowledge, skills, and commitment to ethical practices. Successfully navigating the application, written exam, and experienced-based interview requires thorough preparation. Programs like QuickStart and MMC can significantly enhance your confidence and equip you with the tools to approach the certification process with greater self-efficacy.

Invest in Yourself: A Continuous Journey

The journey of a successful management consultant is one of continuous learning and development. By actively pursuing education, training, and networking opportunities, you equip yourself with a powerful arsenal of knowledge and skills. Remember, the path to becoming a CMC is an investment in your professional growth and a commitment to excellence in the field of management consulting.

Accelerate your consulting practice with QuickStart and MMC Training On-Demand.

IMC USA invites you to learn the essentials of consulting, gain valuable insights into the client perspective, and join a valuable peer group of like-minded consultants. These dynamic courses are now available on-demand for maximum convenience. Learn more today!