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What is Operations Consulting? Why is it so Sought After?

Operations Consulting is basically helping improve, through providing advice and implementing it, the value chain of an organization. Thus, overall functioning, culture, and growth of an organization are positively impacted through such consulting services.
One engaged in Operations Consulting is expected to recommend the best yet the most cost-effective solutions to improve different areas of functioning – processes, procurement, marketing, supply chain, finance, among others. The intent is always to optimize the activities being performed – such that targets are achieved in a more time-efficient and cost-efficient fashion. Thus, optimizations and transformations at both process and organizational level are aided by Operations Consultants. The range and scope of projects undertaken by Operations Consultants, by necessity, vary widely.
In the sought-after, larger Field of Consulting, Operations Consulting occupies a prominent spot, aimed as it is towards bettering the very functioning of a body. The field is expected to register more growth in the coming years as individuals and businesses become more competitive and ambitious.

Qualifications for a Career in Operations Consulting
Management, IT, and data analysis skills are crucial, and so, education centering on acquiring these is necessary. These can be obtained during undergraduate or graduate study.

While it is definitely possible to gain the required learning through a suitable undergraduate program and refine the skills gained through practical, hands-on experience so as to be enabled to get into this career, most employers prefer candidates with Master’s qualification. Since high responsibilities, and hold over business dynamics and organizational functioning rule the position, a graduate management degree, with focus on operations consulting, is seen as a suitable foundation upon which to build a career in Operations Consulting.

Though not necessary, certifications definitely help through providing insights and giving a boost to one’s profile by showcasing one’s commitment to the chosen track. With the right qualifications in place, success in the field comes nearer to being grasped.

Skills for a Career in Operations Consulting
As do all other types of consulting, Operations Consulting requires one to possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Abilities at strategic thinking and sound decision-making are important for arriving at the best-suited solutions to the problems afflicting an organization, and at processes designed to make offerings and functioning better. The decision-making often requires collection and analysis of data, and well though-out plans. A streak of creativity and skill at innovation can also come in handy.

But planning and strategizing are never sufficient for a consulting role. The client needs to be convinced of the suggestion being offered so that the go-ahead for implementation is obtained. In view of this, skills at convincing and negotiating assume importance. Even if the task is just to express or explain the recommendation, communication and interpersonal skills play an important role. One must have the ability to connect with people from varied educational, professional, and cultural backgrounds, and form bonds that make possible lasting relationships. For one offering Operations Consulting services independently, networking skills also become necessary.

Since operations are to be improved, it goes without saying that a lot of functional and industry knowledge is necessary; only then can informed decisions be taken. Learning skills that help quickly assimilate new information help remain updated about new trends.

Hierarchy in Operations Consulting Career
JPractical experience that gives real-life exposure to organizational functioning and understanding of a wide range and type of operations are important before Operations Consulting is taken on. The starting point usually is assistance in smooth running of operations through employment of acquired skills and knowledge during pursued studies.
As experience is gained and skills sharpened, more responsibilities fall in one’s share. While in middle-level of this career track, there is answerability to those higher on the ladder, there are also opportunities to lead certain people and tasks. Such exposure lays the track for future growth. This level requires more of analysis and consultancy experience that aids to the repertoire of one’s knowledge.
With experience, greater responsibilities and more complex work can be handled. A top level position requires a great amount of involvement in the organization’s working, and so great charge of ensuring success. Nomenclature for principal Operations Consultants varies across organizations, and exact positions are dependent on the individual’s skill set and experience.
Continuing experience opens doors for opportunities focusing even more on strategies – their design and implementation – and so, provided the right skills and experience are there, the future in the career is shining.

Pros of a Career in Operations Consulting
If wide-ranging knowledge and experience excite one, this career option is quite suitable. For any individual seeking a dynamic professional life, this offers an exciting possibility. Not only are the issues dealt with quite varied in their range and scope, but also the individuals whom one associates with bring along much variety in terms of their own experiences and personalities. Some projects may require travel too. Travelling will provide greater exposure and variety, and add to one’s perspectives.
Through such wide exposure, one gets to hone one’s perspectives and outlooks on issues in business and management, and such perspectives and outlooks aid beyond the strictly professional domain as well.
The results one achieves are measurable – one can see one’s efforts playing out positively, and bringing benefit to one’s organization or client. Seeing one’s success lends satisfaction, gives greater confidence, and inspires for better work and more personal as well as professional development.

Cons of a Career in Operations Consulting
The dynamism, the challenges, and the travelling may not be enjoyed by all or may not be enjoyed at such scale. There is a lot of pressure to perform as positions bestow great responsibility, and there is a substantial amount of answerability as well to the organization or client.
The hours of work are long, and the dealing with people can become stressful. While the consultant thinks of and designs plans and strategies, there are some set standards of professional behavior expected of and accepted from one engaged in Consulting.

Who is a Career in Operations Consulting good for?
The right skills and attributes, and the mindset to focus on the pros, sidelining the cons, of Operations Consulting can help one get far on this track. But before this career is taken up, an honest assessment is required to ascertain whether this rewarding yet challenging part is the most suited to one’s attitude and aspirations.

Best Companies for a Career in Operations Consulting

• Accenture
• Deloitte Consulting LLP
• The Boston Consulting Group, Inc.
• IBM Global Services
• EY (Ernst & Young) LLP Consulting Practice
• KPMG LLP
• Bain & Company
• McKinsey & Company
• A.T. Kearney
• Capgemini

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