MBA in Consulting Salary and Career Outlook

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An MBA in consulting is an excellent degree choice for those seeking to work in finance and business in a collaborative environment. Professionals with an MBA in consulting can obtain some of the best careers in business, nonprofit, and governmental bodies. Graduates can find themselves in lucrative positions with opportunities for growth. Management consultants, who often possess an MBA in consulting, earn an average salary of $87,428 per year. With experience these professionals can earn up to $122,108 or more per year, according to PayScale.

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What Is an MBA in Consulting?

Students pursuing MBA careers typically have excellent time management, communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. These programs build upon bachelor’s-level training in business, helping graduates become more competitive in the job market. A master’s in consulting also increases earning potential. The average salary in this area is $87,428 per year. Management consultants, marketing managers, and project managers are all examples of lucrative careers often requiring an MBA in consulting.

Master’s in consulting programs typically include courses in financial accounting, asset valuation, marketing management, organizational behavior, and business ethics. Online master’s in consulting programs may require degree-seekers to complete a capstone project that illustrates expertise in their specialty area, and knowledge gained throughout the program.

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What Can You Do With an MBA in Consulting?

  • Management Consultant

    These consultants help businesses improve their public images, management strategies, and productivity according to their specialty areas. Effective consultants possess strong business analysis, strategic planning, and project management skills. In many cases, strong public speaking and presentation skills to communicate their assessments of companies’ practices are also required. Daily tasks for consultants may include presenting research, and assisting clients through recommending business improvements. Management consultants with a master’s in consulting earn an average of $87,428 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 14% increase in employment by 2028.

  • Marketing Manager

    Marketing managers use market research to work collaboratively on merchandising and advertising campaigns. They monitor the progress of marketing campaigns and develop future strategies based on the results. These workers must possess strong organizational, time management, and strategic marketing skills. BLS projects that job numbers in this area will increase by 8% by 2028, or 3% faster than the expected growth of all other occupations in the U.S. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average salary of $64,960 per year.

  • Project Manager

    A project manager oversees all aspects of a business project. These professionals keep track of all elements of ongoing collaborative projects, work closely with and motivate coworkers, and ensure that all parties work toward the common goal. They must have excellent time management and leadership skills. They may also need to manage budgets and other resources relevant to a particular project. PayScale reports that the average project manager salary is $73,816 per year. BLS projects that management careers will grow by 7% by 2028.

  • Business Consultant

    These professionals specialize in a variety of areas, including data analysis, business strategies, and IT consulting. They often support the initial startup stages of new businesses. Business consultants can also help an existing business experiencing significant hardships. Ultimately, their goal is to use their expertise to teach employees how to improve their efficiency. Successful business consultants possess excellent leadership and communication skills. The average salary is comparable to other MBA careers at $73,630 per year. Degree-seekers can expect this job to grow about 7% by 2028.

  • Strategy Consultant

    Strategy consultants offer businesses logistics, statistics, and research to help short- and long-term business issues. They often develop management strategies and help coordinate and manage the implementation of any changes in a business’s day-to-day functions. Many strategy consultants possess a strong understanding of business finance and investment in addition to their analytical and problem-solving skills. These professionals typically receive employment through small businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and corporations. PayScale reports that strategy consultants earn an average salary of $90,697 per year.

Why Should You Get an Online MBA in Consulting?

While earning your MBA in consulting requires significant work, time, and expense, it is typically a worthwhile endeavor. Successful program completion can accelerate your career, and position you for some of the top jobs in the field. MBAcentral.org reports that some MBA students receive a ROI between 250-325%.

MBA programs generally develop essential core skills in management, business ethics, and analytics. A specialized MBA in consulting further diversifies and refines your skill set with training in risk management, human relations, organizational leadership, and effective communication.

Upon graduation, many MBA careers in consulting lead to average salaries from $59,000 to $143,000, according to PayScale. Depending on your level of work experience and area of expertise, MBA degree-holders enjoy upward mobility thanks to this specialized degree.

Online MBA in Consulting Salary

An online MBA in consulting opens the door to a variety of career tracks, some of which are quite lucrative. Entry-level careers in management consulting, for example, pay an average total compensation of $69,375 per year. Senior-level professionals in the same field enjoy an average compensation of $122,108 per year.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers bachelor’s degree holders in business administration earn an average starting salary of $57,133 per year. Comparatively, those with an MBA can earn approximately $84,580 per year. Professionals with master’s degrees possess a specialized skill set, allowing them to make more money and increase their chances for promotion.

Comparison of Average Annual Salary by Occupation and Degree Type
Occupation and Degree TypeAverage Annual Salary
Management Consultant (MBA)$97,000
Business Management (Bachelor’s)$63,000
Source:PayScale

FAQs About MBA in Consulting Careers

  • What certification should I get for management consulting?

    Professionals typically earn a certified management consultant certification through the Institute of Management Consultants (IMCUSA). This certification indicates that the professional meets today’s standards in business ethics, consulting competency, client and project management, technical competency, and business behaviors.

  • What jobs can I get with an MBA in Consulting?

    Professionals holding a master’s in consulting pursue exciting careers in business and management. Many degree-holders hold roles as management consultants, project managers, strategy consultants, marketing managers, and various leadership or administrative positions. Some professionals find niche careers based on their specialties, such as healthcare or retail sales.

  • Is an MBA in consulting a better choice than a master's degree in consulting?

    One degree is not better than the other. There are differences in the required courses and training. Some MBA programs offer more practical experience, allowing students to gain more hands-on business experience than master’s in consulting programs. The master’s in consulting builds students’ theoretical understanding of this particular area of the field.

  • What are the differences between an MBA in business consulting and an MBA in marketing?

    The master’s degree in marketing helps professionals prepare for careers in advertising and marketing. They work to promote products and services with nuanced campaigns. In contrast, MBA in business consulting degree-holders work to improve new and existing business’ financial and operational processes, helping them grow and become more profitable.

Interview With an Expert

Paige Arnof-Fenn

Founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls

Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder and CEO of global marketing and branding firm Mavens & Moguls in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her clients include Microsoft, The New York Times Company, Colgate, venture-backed startups, and nonprofit organizations. She graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. Paige is a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes.

  • Why did you choose to earn an MBA? Is it something you were always interested in?

    My first job out of college was on Wall Street as a financial analyst at an investment bank. I knew early on I would not stay beyond my two-year commitment. I was good at the job and was paid well, but I did not enjoy the work. I knew I wanted to be in business, but I had no idea where to go next so I applied to get an MBA as soon as my job ended. My father had an MBA so I knew it would be good to have on my resume and would also allow me to spend my summer doing an internship in another type of business outside of finance. My MBA gave me the skills, confidence, and network for a better career path so, for me, it was a great decision.

  • What was the job search like after completing your MBA?

    I interviewed on campus and, because I had done a summer internship between my first and second year, I was fortunate to get an offer from them for after graduation so I could really focus my job search on finding the best fit for me and my interests. There was a recession in the early ’90s when I graduated so I ended up deciding my offer from the summer was, in fact, the best opportunity, so I took the job.

  • What are some crucial skills that you acquired through your MBA program?

    My MBA taught me how to make decisions without all the data and build the confidence to pivot as new information became available. I learned how to present my ideas in a compelling and succinct way and to speak up. Working in teams successfully is also an important skill I had to master in my program as much of business requires motivating and inspiring others toward a common goal.

  • What jobs have you had in the consulting field? Which did you prefer the most, and why?

    I have played many roles, from salesperson bringing in the clients to team lead as the relationship manager to subject matter expert delivering the work. I enjoy the variety of being able to wear many hats. Consulting is great because you never get bored and are always learning. You get to apply the knowledge from one category to another so it is a lot of fun.

  • What qualities make someone successful in a consulting role?

    It helps to be curious and ask lots of questions, be a good listener, and have a strong work ethic. Since projects are done in teams, having a good sense of humor makes you fun to work with too.

  • What advice would you give to students who are considering earning an MBA and pursuing a consulting career?

    Take the GMAT while you are still in college since you are already in test-taking mode; the scores stay on file for a few years. Order the applications and think about the essays before you are under a deadline so you can be thinking about how to position yourself when the time is right. Find mentors who have MBAs and network with people who can tell you about their careers. See if you can get an internship while you are in college to test drive the type of work and culture of the firm to make sure it is a good fit. Talk to a professor to see if you could do a consulting project for credit for a class to get experience. They usually have great contacts through former students.

  • Any final thoughts for us?

    I did a full-time MBA program, but there are also executive MBA programs you can do on nights and weekends if you cannot afford the time or expense, and some companies will help pay for it too if you like the job you are in. Wherever you apply, check to see how engaged the alumni network is; they can be a huge source of value once you get your degree.

Professional Organizations for Consulting

Professional and academic organizations are useful resources for students and seasoned professionals alike. These organizations provide useful networking opportunities both in person and online. They can also be helpful for students looking for internships and jobs. Professional organizations are typically membership-based and offer their members exclusive access to valuable online materials, career coaching, and other helpful resources.

American Management Association

AMA members take advantage of online seminars, members-only surveys, exclusive quarterly research papers, and a subscription to the quarterly journal. The association offers small business, individual, and student membership plans. The student plan allows members to receive preferred member pricing for all paid seminars, access to podcasts and special events, and exclusive online articles.

The Society of Professional Consultants

SPC offers a variety of networking opportunities, professional mentorship, and online resources for professionals and entrepreneurs in consulting. Members receive access to monthly newsletters, and a free consultant referral service. The society holds regular in-person meetings approximately once a month at various locations in Massachusetts.

Institute of Management Consultants

IMCUSA boasts over 64,000 professional consultants and 8,200 certified management consultant members. Membership gains 24/7 access to the association’s online resources, including specially designed courses, Interactive webinars, expert mentorship, and an online chat room.

National Association of Women Business Owners

Founded in 1975, NAWBO is a membership organization that represents women entrepreneurs in any industry. The association features regional chapters across the country, serving as an information bureau and networking resource. Its largest event is its annual national conference.

Project Management Institute

PMI boasts over 500,000 members worldwide and features at least 300 local chapters. Members enjoy online networking tools, including peer mentorship opportunities and professional development courses. Those participating in their local chapter can network with like-minded business professionals and students.

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Advertisement OnlineMBA.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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