The MBA Consultancy Elective

This page tells you about the course I teach at Cardiff and answers some questions that are frequently put to me by students.

Why should I be interested in consultancy?

Consultancy is the #1 career option for MBA students and is one of the highest paid jobs you can enter.  The career gives you incredibly varied experience, seeing problems dozens of times that most managers will only see once. This is why ex-consultants are in such high demand for executive positions in multi-nationals. The industry now brings in 300bn and revenues have increased by 10,000% since 1980.

But I don’t want to become a consultant…..

Even if you don’t end up becoming a consultant, you will probably end up managing or working with consultants as they are involved in many major projects and changes in industry, government and even charities. Also, many companies are increasingly training their staff in acting like consultants: seeing work as a series of projects and often setting up internal consultancies to overcome business problems.

What will the course give me……?

The course is very practical. It is based around real-life cases, has a number of senior guest speakers and will provide you with a number of templates for becoming an effective consultant. The course also involves talks from a number of senior speakers from the industry. The assignment usually involves undertaking a consultancy project, often with a ‘live’ company.

Will it help me get a job in the industry?

Yes. For two reasons. First, it will provide you with the knowledge to talk confidently in an interview about the industry: trends, niches and challenges. Second, the course explicitly focuses on consultancy careers. To this end, you will be taught how to manage a ‘case interview’, how to pass a ‘behavioural interview’ and what an excellent CV looks like. The course also involves a talk from one of Europe’s largest recruiters of consultants and access to a database of small, niche consultancies.

What types of things will I study?

You will be taught

(1) about the consulting industry: trends, background and challenges

(2) How to engage clients: defining problems, selling, writing proposals and managing relationships

(3) Managing a project: project management, risks and communication

(4) Running a consultancy: how to make it profitable, managing knowledge and people

(5) The dark side of consultancy: corruption, conflicts of interest and ethics

(6) Consultancy tools: how to solve problems, consultancy methods and techniques

(7) Careers: how to find a job, how to win a job, how to develop your career

What electives should I take with consultancy?

Whatever you enjoy most. Recruiters, outside finance, generally aren’t that interested in what electives you’ve done. They’re interested in the skills you have and what you have achieved. So, do what you enjoy most.

What about the assignment?!

I aim to give you as much choice as possible with the assignment. You can do it in groups or individually (though it is marked individually). You can do a real live case, an assignment, a quantitative analysis or some desk-research. I normally give you the option so you can play to your strengths.

Is the course any good?

The course is the most popular elective on the MBA and has been so since it started in 2007. It also gets some of the highest feedback of any business school course, which considering it typically attracts 140 students, is a good indication. The feedback scores for last year were:

The Lecturer….. School Average Joe O’Mahoney
….is good at explaining things 5.8 out of 7 6.5 out of 7
….has made the subject interesting 5.6 out of 7 6.5 out of 7
….has provided sufficient advice and guidance on the module 5.6 out of 7 6.6 out of 7
….overall is an effective teacher 5.7 out of 7 6.5 out of 7

If you have any other questions, please contact me here.