Business Management Consulting - What They Do

Professionals in business management consulting occupations provide services to management such as analyzing the structure, operations, managerial methods or functions of an organization in order to propose, plan and implement improvements. They are employed by management consulting firms and throughout the public and private sectors or are self-employed.

Job duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Analyze and provide advice on the managerial methods and organization of a public or private sector establishment
  • Conduct research to determine efficiency and effectiveness of managerial policies and programs
  • Conduct assessments and propose improvements to methods, systems and procedures in areas such as operations, human resources, records management and communications
  • Conduct quality audits and develop quality management and quality assurance standards for ISO (International Organization for Standardization) registration
  • Provide guidance and support to businesses on regulatory policies and procedures; ensure internal compliance with regulatory requirements; and prepare submissions and filings with regulatory bodies
  • Plan the reorganization of the operations of an establishment
  • May supervise contracted researchers or clerical staff.

Job titles

  • health information management consultant
  • records management specialist
  • business methods analyst
  • management analyst
  • organizational analyst
  • business management consultant
  • consultant, organizational analysis
  • researcher, organization and methods
  • senior consultant, operations management
  • ISO consultant
Employment Requirements

This is what you typically need for the job:

  • A bachelor's degree or college diploma in business administration, commerce or a related discipline is usually required.
  • A graduate degree in business administration may be required.
  • Some establishments may require management consultants to be certified by a provincial management consulting association.
  • Certification as a quality auditor may be required for some occupations in this unit group.
  • Occupations in health information management consulting may require certification by the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA).

Essential Skills


  • Read handwritten notes from co-workers and colleagues, and short comments on forms such as fax cover sheets and invoices. (1)
  • May read warnings, directions for use and other text on product labels. For example, an advertising consultant may read the warnings on labels to determine whether products will cause allergic reactions. (1)
  • Read comments and other text on forms. For example, they read participants' comments on seminar and workshop evaluation forms and team members' comments on project specification forms. (2)
  • Read e-mail on a variety of topics from management, clients and project team members. For example, a management or advertising consultant may read e-mail from a client scheduling or confirming meeting arrangements, responding to questions or enquiring about the status or content of projects. (2)
  • Read business and trade publications such as Harvard Business Review, Les Affaires, How and Print. They read these publications to stay abreast of business events, industry trends and government policy and program priorities. They may also read trade publications to learn about new managerial and promotional methods, processes and strategies. (3)
  • Read instruction manuals, 'help' items and 'frequently asked question' entries when operating computers and peripheral equipment. For example, they may read project management software manuals and help items to review the steps needed to organize human resource, communication, marketing and financial data. (3)
  • Read business, marketing, communication and promotional strategies; annual and benchmark survey reports; quality, performance and environmental management standards; organizational objectives, policies and procedures; and other business, policy and regulatory documents. They read these documents to determine whether existing and proposed operations and methods conform to organizational objectives and industry standards. (4)
  • Read 'requests for proposals' for projects which involve helping clients plan, organize, manage, assess and improve their human resources, operations, communications and marketing. They read proposal requests to learn about the tasks, evaluation criteria, mandatory requirements and selection processes and to determine whether they have the necessary skills and resources to undertake the projects. (4)

Document use

  • Scan labels for a variety of data. For example, they scan labels on file folders to locate project names, dates and job numbers. (1)
  • Locate data in a variety of lists and tables. For example, they read lists of documents which must accompany their proposals for consulting projects. They scan schedules and resource allocation matrices to locate phases, activities, resources, milestones and deadlines of consulting projects. (2)
  • Locate data in a variety of forms. For example, they may review participants' feedback forms at the end of focus groups, conferences and other sessions which they facilitate. They search different sections of the forms to locate satisfaction ratings and other data. (3)
  • Study schematic drawings to understand the structures, systems and processes used by client organizations. For example, a management or advertising consultant may review a flow chart that depicts hierarchical chains of command. (3)
  • Complete forms to record project data. For example, consultants may collect and enter details such as subcontractors' phone and fax numbers, briefing dates and job docket numbers on project specification forms. (3)
  • Retrieve data from a number of graphs contained in textbooks, trade publications and consulting, business, survey, annual and other reports. For example, a promotions consultant may study graphs from various secondary market research sources to learn more about the demographic characteristics of the target market. (4)


  • Write short comments on project tracking and specification forms. (1)
  • Write e-mail to project team members, subcontractors and clients to remind them of delivery dates, provide direction, ask for information and respond to enquiries. (1)
  • Write minutes of project team, individual interview and focus group meetings. They summarize discussions, record decisions made and note items that require follow-up to ensure parties share a common understanding of what was said. (2)
  • May write short papers for co-workers and colleagues when they return from training courses and conferences. They summarize course and conference contents, and identify topics which are relevant to clients' organizations and current projects. (2)
  • May prepare standards, regulatory codes, procedures and guidelines to assist client organizations with operations control and quality, performance and environmental management. They establish the rules clients' employees have to follow and steps to take to accomplish job tasks. They must be explicit and precise to reduce ambiguity and the possibility of misinterpretation. (3)
  • Write lengthy proposals for projects. They must address clients' key needs and convey complex concepts in an effective manner. They gather and select technical descriptions from multiple sources and rewrite them for non-technical audiences. For example, a promotion consultant may prepare a proposal for the development of an advertising campaign. A management consultant may write a bid to help an international corporation define its positioning and growth strategy, analyze its competition and manage organizational change. (4)
  • Write project reports at various stages of their consulting mandates. In these reports, they describe project backgrounds, objectives and methodologies, discuss findings and offer conclusions and recommendations. They write primarily for client organizations, but they may also edit and rewrite reports so that they can be easily understood by their own managers. For example, a management consultant may report on the effectiveness and efficiency of a company's managerial methods, policies, processes, procedures, work flows, systems and programs, and propose improvements. (4)


Money Math

  • Calculate travel claim amounts. They calculate reimbursements for use of personal vehicles at per kilometre rates and add amounts for accommodation, meals and other expenses. (2)
  • Calculate purchase order and invoice amounts. They calculate line amounts, taxes and totals on purchase orders for office equipment and supplies. When preparing invoices, they multiply numbers of days worked by daily rates, add costs of printing, courier services, proofreading and other subcontracted work, calculate applicable taxes and total amounts. (3)

Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math

  • Determine the lowest price among competing tenders for goods and services. For example, a senior management consultant may determine the lowest price among competing contractors of survey designs, implementations and analysis work. He may have to perform comparative analyses of data submitted by a large number of companies and self-employed consultants. (3)
  • Prepare and monitor schedules and budgets for large, multi-phased corporate reorganization projects and promotional campaigns. They must ensure that expenditures remain within budgeted amounts and activities are progressing on schedule. They may have to adjust schedules and change budget line items because of unexpected events and unforeseen problems. For example, a promotion consultant may prepare and monitor complex schedules and budgets of national projects involving print, radio and television advertisements in both official languages. (4)

Measurement and Calculation Math

  • Measure the duration of tasks using timers and stopwatches. For example, a work study analyst may time tasks performed by kitchen staff in a fast food chain. (1)
  • Measure images, documents and packaging using rulers and onscreen measuring tools. For example, an advertising campaign manager may measure mock-ups of brochures to ensure they fit custom packaging and display holders. (2)
  • Calculate quantities of products and services to purchase. For example, a promotion consultant may calculate the number of lines or size of space to purchase when placing an advertisement in a newspaper. (2)
  • Calculate room sizes when assisting clients with accommodation reviews. They measure scale distances on floor plans, convert them to actual distances and calculate areas and perimeters of offices and meeting rooms. (3)

Data Analysis Math

  • Calculate numbers of interviews and focus groups required to adequately represent the distributions of target groups by organizational size, industry or geography. For example, a management consultant may determine the number of interviews and focus groups needed to collect the perceptions of corporate users on the quality of services received from a large financial institution. (3)
  • Compare organizational performance to industry competitors using data from annual reports and other sources. For example, a management consultant may compare performance data to published benchmarks and generate descriptive statistics such as percentage distributions, averages and standard deviations to describe organizational health. (4)
  • May calculate optimum inventory levels to allow efficient utilization of materials and resources in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade establishments. For example, an operations management consultant may calculate the minimum amount of stock required in each store of a retail chain to ensure adequate consumer service while minimizing costs. He may have to use advanced mathematical models and algorithms for this analysis. (5)
  • May identify optimal measurement strategies, potential sources of bias and methodological techniques to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of operational and promotional programs. They may collect and analyze data on variables such as cost, duration, resource use and numbers of customers served or reached. They may also perform statistical significance tests on analysis results. For example, they may design and implement time and work study experiments to help clients obtain International Organization for Standards' certification, improve their operations and reduce costs. (5)

Numerical Estimation

  • Estimate times and intervals using past experience as a guide. For example, they estimate the number of hours which should be assigned to various project tasks and time intervals needed to obtain contract approval and feedback on project deliverables. (3)

Oral communication

  • May talk to suppliers about technical specifications, price quotes, service options and delivery times for materials, equipment and supplies. (1)
  • Interact with junior consultants and subcontractors to provide directions, coordinate project tasks and help resolve difficulties in obtaining data and satisfying client demands. They may assign new tasks, review completed ones and enquire about the status of ongoing work. (2)
  • Discuss organizational needs, project proposals, priorities, schedules and progress with project managers and clients, and obtain guidance, recommendations and approvals. They may also negotiate project deadlines and budgets, assess satisfaction with services provided and identify opportunities for other consulting work. (2)
  • Attend meetings with co-workers and project team members to share information about clients, projects, competitors and consulting resources, celebrate successes and discuss a range of business topics. At these meetings, they may present methodologies they have designed, standards, control tools and procedures developed and reports written. (3)
  • Present project results and recommendations to clients. For example, they may outline proposed positioning, growth, communication, promotional and operational strategies, and explain the findings of quality audits. Because organizational and behavioural concepts may be unfamiliar to many people, professionals in business services to management must often increase the knowledge base of their clients. (4)
  • Conduct interview and focus group sessions with a variety of individuals and groups. For example, management consultants may conduct interviews and focus groups to collect customers' views on the quality, timeliness and relevance of services and products and to elicit suggestions for improvements. Promotion consultants may conduct focus groups to assess advertising messages and product packaging, identify the best advertising media and generate new promotional ideas. They organize and interpret ideas from focus groups to coherently present information gained to decision makers. (4)
  • Teach co-workers and employees from client organizations about new managerial and promotional methods, policies, procedures, systems and programs. They teach the rules to follow and steps to take when carrying out tasks. They present case scenarios, explain applicable methods and procedures, demonstrate tasks, facilitate discussions and question trainees to ascertain their understanding of policies, systems and programs. They have to gain the trainees' trust and encourage their active involvement in the learning process. (4)


Problem Solving

  • Realize that project deadlines will be missed because of delays in obtaining important data. They meet project managers and clients to outline the reasons for delays and negotiate new deadlines. (2)
  • Are unable to complete job tasks because office equipment is not working properly. For example, a consultant cannot deliver a proposal because the office printer is not working. The consultant refers to the user manual to troubleshoot the equipment. (2)
  • Find that key members of their project teams cannot attend important upcoming meetings. If they cannot modify meeting arrangements, they organize telephone conferences so that all members can participate in discussions. (2)
  • Read draft reports that do not meet quality standards for content or writing style. They forward detailed comments and suggestions to writers and determine deadlines for submission of second drafts. They then review to verify that all corrections have been made, and depending on their quality, may ask for additional changes, accept as they are or reject them. (3)

Decision Making

  • Select tasks to assign to junior consultants and subcontractors on their project teams. They consider their individual knowledge, skills, strengths, weaknesses, work experiences, interests and availabilities. (2)
  • Choose graph types to illustrate findings from project data analyses. They consider the strengths and limitations of each graph type for displaying particular types of data, messages they want to emphasize and level of technical expertise of their audiences. (2)
  • Decide to bid on specific management or promotion consulting projects. They review 'requests for proposals', identify project tasks and requirements, and bid only on projects for which they have the necessary skills and resources. (3)
  • Choose methods, times, locations and durations of training employees who will have to implement promotional campaigns and organizational changes. They may have to study the cost and feasibility of several different options for each and consider the need to replace workers during training. They often find that past decisions provide only limited guidance since training needs are rarely the same. (3)

Critical Thinking

  • Assess the satisfaction of participants with focus group and training sessions conducted. At the end of sessions, they facilitate feedback discussions. They may also determine assessment criteria and distribute evaluation forms to be completed by participants. (3)
  • Evaluate the completeness and clarity of standards, regulatory codes, procedures and other documents written to assist client organizations in operations, quality, performance and environmental management. They ensure that crucial information has not been omitted and wording is not open to misinterpretation. (3)
  • Evaluate the performance of junior consultants and subcontractors on their project teams. As part of the assessments, they determine the extent to which consultants and subcontractors have achieved their various project tasks and adhered to plans, schedules and timelines. Their conclusions may lead to recommendations for new project assignments and further training. (3)
  • Assess the effectiveness of advertising messages and media, product packaging and other promotional tools in reaching new or current customers' spending thresholds. For example, promotion consultants may analyze the content and cadence of proposed advertising messages. They may conduct focus group meetings to evaluate the messages' emotional appeal to target markets and also gather information about competitors' messages for comparisons. (4)
  • Lead teams which evaluate the ability of organizations to fulfill mandates. They determine evaluation variables which may include employees' skills and performance, knowledge transfer, management frameworks, logic models, reporting relationships, work flows and organizational objectives and benchmarks using information from similar organizations. They collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on these variables. They write reports, in which they describe evaluation methodologies, discuss findings, offer conclusions and recommend changes to clients' business methods, policies, processes, procedures, systems and programs. (4)

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Professionals in business services to management work in dynamic environments with many conflicting demands on their time. Their work is team oriented so they must integrate their own tasks and work schedules with those of many consultants, subcontractors and clients to address project objectives. Their ability to work on several projects at the same time and manage priorities is critical to their jobs. Delays in getting contracts signed or receiving essential project information, pressures from project managers and clients, equipment breakdowns and other emergencies force them to frequently reorganize job tasks. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Professionals in business services to management play a central role in organizing, planning, scheduling and monitoring the activities of project teams and contribute to the long-term and strategic planning of public and private sector organizations. They may be responsible for assigning tasks to junior consultants, subcontractors and clerical staff. (3)

Significant Use of Memory

  • Remember security codes to access computers and networks.
  • Remember the names, specialization areas, interests and concerns of the many consultants, subcontractors and clients to save time, facilitate communication, develop positive relationships and build trust.

Finding Information

  • Find information about past consulting projects by searching reports, files and archives. (2)
  • Find information about potential clients, subcontractors and competitors by searching their websites, visiting their premises and interviewing colleagues who know them. (3)
  • Find information to address client needs and project objectives by conducting extensive literature searches. They must analyze, synthesize and integrate information from a wide range of sources, including the Internet, to assess business environments and develop innovative strategies. (4)

Digital technology

  • Use communication software. For example, they may create and maintain distribution lists, receive and send e-mail and attachments to clients, colleagues and project team. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they may perform keyword searches to get information about clients, competitors, business associations and potential subcontractors from websites. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, they create lengthy proposals and project reports using programs such as Word. They supplement text with imported graphs, illustrations and spreadsheet. They use formatting features such as page numbering, heading levels, indices, footnotes and columns. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, they may use photo editing software such as Photoshop to view marketing materials. They may also create slide shows using presentation software such as PowerPoint. In order to develop effective presentations for management and clients and to illustrate project progress, they may import graphs, logos and other scanned images, flowcharts, business process layouts, word processing files and spreadsheet files. (3)
  • Use databases. For example, they may use programs such as Access to create and modify project tracking databases, and store and retrieve data on clients, sales and reports. (3)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, they use programs such as Excel to create scheduling and budgeting spreadsheets, and monitor progress of project activities and tasks. They also use spreadsheets to analyze human resource, production, communication and market research data, perform calculations and generate graphs. (3)
  • Use other computer and software applications. For example, they may use project management software such as Project to schedule activities and organize information related to labour, materials and equipment costs. (3)
  • Use statistical analysis software. For example, they may use software like SAS or SPSS to analyze performance, productivity, inventory, supply, cost and quality data, identify patterns in data, plot functions and calculate summary measures such as means, medians, standard deviations and confidence intervals. (4)

Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Professionals in business services to management coordinate and integrate job tasks with project teams comprising clients, subcontractors and other consultants. They work closely with clients to assess needs, collect information, define consulting mandates and monitor the progress of projects. They prepare proposals, identify project objectives, develop plans and presentations, analyze information, and write reports in conjunction with team members. They may supervise and train junior consultants, subcontractors and clerical staff who assist them. (3)

Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is an integral part of the job of professionals in business services to management. They are expected to keep abreast of what is happening in the business community and further their knowledge of managerial and promotional methods, processes, technologies and strategies. On a day-to-day basis, they acquire new learning by discussing projects with co-workers and colleagues, browsing the Internet and reading newspapers, trade publications, manuals and reports on standards, objectives, policies and procedures. They also attend conferences, seminars, symposia, trade shows, workshops and courses on topics relevant to their consulting areas. They may be required by their employers to develop their own learning plans. (3)