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Marketing Strategy: Do you Need an MBA for Strategy Consulting?

Whenever a company embarks on a project that requires specialized expertise and experience that it lacks in-house, it often seeks guidance from outside consultants – usually at a high cost. There is no doubt that management consultants are among the highest earners in the business.

While an MBA is not necessary to become a consultant, it can offer a number of advantages. A management consultant position at a major consulting firm like McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, or Bain & Company may not be feasible without an MBA.

In addition, an MBA can serve as a valuable tool for anyone planning to start their own consulting firm in the field of marketing, finance, operations, technology, or a related field. Through the completion of an accredited MBA program, you may be able to develop the skills and experience you need to succeed. Having an MBA also provides clients with the impression that you have a high level of expertise in your field.

MBAs for Consulting: Why Should You Get One?

It is likely that you will interact with a wide range of clients as a consultant. In order to succeed in this position, you will need a combination of management, analytical, and interpersonal skills. An MBA program can assist you in developing both the hard and soft skills necessary to succeed in the consulting field.

A person must be able to demonstrate leadership, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. Additionally, MBA programs offer opportunities to develop skills in strategy, analytics, operations management, marketing, economics, finance, technology, international business, and risk management. You may also choose a concentration or specialization. An MBA with a concentration may be preferred by consulting firms over an MBA with a general concentration. In some business schools, specializations in consulting or management consulting are available, but these programs are relatively rare.

The majority of MBA graduates who enter consulting do so after earning an MBA with a concentration in strategic management, project management, global management, product management, organizational management, marketing, information technology, or business management. The majority of these concentrations include coursework specifically related to consulting.

Pros of Getting an MBA in Consulting

  • Earning an MBA can give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs right out of graduate school. As reported in the 2020-2021 Best B-Schools Covid-19 Online Learning Survey, MBA graduates who entered consulting after completing programs at Dartmouth, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford earned a median annual salary of $165,000.
  • For MBA graduates who wish to work for major consulting firms, on-campus recruiting programs are particularly effective. The management consulting industry is highly coveted by MBA students, and there is fierce competition for available positions.
  • Through on-campus recruiting, you are able to bypass traditional job searching where hundreds of other applicants are competing for the same position.
  • A business school can provide you with the opportunity to network by hosting consulting clubs and organizations. During the conference, you will be able to hear from guest speakers and learn more about the industry.
  • It is possible for you to apply your expertise to a variety of industries and business sectors. An MBA can make the transition to a different career much easier if you decide to do so in the future.
  • In most MBA programs, leadership, collaboration, and communication skills are emphasized. As a member of a cross-functional team, you must be able to draw upon these skills when working with clients of different backgrounds, job functions, and industries.
  • It is possible to gain valuable experience through MBA programs that allow students to work directly with companies on consulting projects.
  • Many of the nation’s top business schools offer online MBA programs. While pursuing a degree, you may be able to continue working.
  • An MBA program provides you with the opportunity to establish relationships with students, faculty, and business leaders. Having connections with alumni of a business school can be particularly beneficial when seeking consulting opportunities.
  • A number of management consulting firms will assist you in paying for your continuing education if you are a high performer.

Cons of Getting an MBA in Consulting

  • If you do not intend to work for a top management consulting firm, an MBA is not a requirement for entering the consulting field. You may be able to demonstrate your expertise as a consultant after a few years of work experience in your field.
  • If you do not attend a top business school, your chances of landing a consulting job through on-campus recruiting may be reduced.
  • It takes a significant amount of time and financial resources to complete an MBA. A certificate in consulting or a closely related field may be a better way for you to build your skills and credibility if you have already entered the consulting field with a bachelor’s degree.
  • In order to attend graduate school full-time, you may have to put your professional career on hold while you pursue your degree.
  • A degree in business administration does not guarantee you a position as a consultant. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are prepared for the process, even though business schools prepare you for it.


The following questions should be asked by every prospective MBA. The good news is that you are not alone in this struggle! Frequently, we get asked this question here at Management Consulted, and it is an important one to answer. During the decision-making process, it is important to conduct due diligence.

The last thing you want is to be halfway through, encountering the time crunch, costs, and other challenges involved in getting your MBA, and wondering if you made the right decision. This is the moment when you want to know if there is a reason for taking time off and returning to school.

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