Management consultants help organizations analyze and solve some of their most challenging business problems. These problems are typically ill-defined and cross-functional, with several critical unknowns. There is either too little or too much data. Client personnel frequently hold conflicting views on the situation. And there’s simply not enough time or resources to chisel the perfect solution. 

How do successful consultants navigate this complex terrain, engagement after engagement? They deploy an established set of structured problem-solving, communication, and influencing skills that help them bring clarity and structure to the business problem, swiftly develop a relevant fact base, identify the appropriate solution and gain organizational buy-in.

This course exposes students to a suite of consulting skills. The emphasis is on developing structured problem-solving skills, with additional focus given to communication and influencing skills.

The concepts from the course are broadly applicable across business functions and across industries. Therefore the course does not exclusively target students who are seeking a position in consulting, but as well those that plan to hold strategic planning or business development positions in corporations, or more generally those who are interested in practicing strategy formulation, including future entrepreneurs.

 The course has been developed to avoid any overlap with the MBA Career Center's initiatives regarding consulting and is independent from these initiatives. 

This Specialization course builds on a number of MBA courses, in particular the strategy backbone, corporate finance, business economics, management accounting and control, fundamentals in project management, communications skills. It will provide an opportunity for students to apply the concepts and tools presented in these courses and integrate them while “doing strategy” as it happens in real life.

The content of this course is, for a large part, inspired by the internal training newly recruited consultants go through when they join leading management-consulting firms. 

Learning outcomes

The course teaches students how to:

  • Establish an understanding with a client on the need for a consulting engagement on a specific topic, and the appropriate approach and resources to be deployed;
  • Define the scope of a consulting engagement;
  • Break up a complicated problem into logical pieces that can be individually addressed;
  • Efficiently gather the right data to build a relevant fact base;
  • Extract information effectively from internal and external experts;
  • Synthesize information to drive key conclusions;
  • Use (a sample of) analytical tools frequently used  in the field of corporate and business strategy;
  • Develop specific recommendations that provide the highest value to the client among feasible alternatives;
  • Present recommendations and conclusions in a persuasive manner to gain buy-in;
  • Influence others effectively using a range of ethical tactics;
  • Develop trust-based relationships with clients.