Consultants are people hired by companies to give advice about how to do stuff. There are many kinds of consultants out there; for instance, "technical consultants" give advice on technological issues and "financial consultants" give advice about money. But the biggest branch of consulting is called "management consulting."

Management consultants are typically organized into teams, specifically chosen for a given project. A "project" is a job that the team is hired for by an external firm. The team is constructed internally by the consulting firm, and it is made up of a mix of experienced and novice consultants. The average team consists of three to six people, depending on the job specifications and the clients' needs. The clients' problems are all unique, and hence the length of a given assignment varies by project (typical project lengths range from a few weeks to many months).

How does a consultant go about solving a problem? There are all kinds of tasks that the team tackles in order to solve the problem, including:

  • Employee interviews
  • Computer analyses and projections
  • Industry/competitor comparisons
  • Historical trend research
  • Market research

and anything else that would allow the team to attack the problem from all angles. Consultants generally don't have a technical background, but learn from experience within a firm (they are usually hired right out of college or grad school).

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW get a job in a consulting firm?