What should we do in a certain situation? This is the question posed to consultants who operate as experts in their particular business discipline. Companies approach consultants for advice on how they can perform better in a number of different ways. The main job of a consultant is to advise the client on a particular strategic or operational topic and help the firm find a decisive solution to a problem, or choose their positioning strategy. Many organizations contact consulting firms to improve their processes, define a strategy or assess their current position. Consultants are supposed to focus on the problems the client has brought to them, analyse the possible scenarios, their cost, their potential outcomes, and figure out what changes need to be made to improve profitability and growth of firms. Recommendations and solutions are based on industry structure expertise and extensive research – consultants have to be extremely thorough in their approach to data collection so they don’t miss important market issues or trends.
As Uganda’s economy has grown, the competition in the market has been heating up. Companies are therefore looking to consultancy firms to help improve their competitiveness to try and stay abreast of the competition. Consulting takes place in a number of business areas including Marketing, Sales, Finance, HR and more. Job roles exist both in small and much larger organisations. The larger firms often provide expertise over a huge range of areas. Smaller firms also exist, often operating on the basis of knowledge in a particular market or business niche.
What are the main consulting job roles?
As discussed, consulting vacancies exist in a number of areas. Given that extensive knowledge is required for jobs in the sector, it is common to specialise into one of the following job roles:
Strategist – focused on the strategy of the company and how it can position itself competitively.
Human Resources – examines the people in the organisation and the job roles that the company has. HR consultants provide advice on how performance can be improved from the HR side and how to improve recruitment to bring in the right people.
IT / Digital – one of the newest areas of consulting, this is focused both on the computing systems and networks used by an organisation, but they can also provide expertise on emerging technologies and consumer technology trends.
Financial – certified with degrees in finance, commerce, or economics, these consultants help companies improve performance through financial means. They give advice on budgeting, controlling, investment and cost cutting. When performance is poor or the financial outlook of the economy is poor, companies often look to balance a fall in profits through streamlining to reduce their costs.
Marketing – brand development, marketing campaigns, advertising, and sales, are the forte of marketing consultants who provide advice on developing and sustaining a coherent marketing message.
Operations – providing advice on supply-chain management and operational components are extremely useful in helping companies gain increased efficiency and develop their value chain.
What do I need to work in consultancy?
Employers look for candidates with degree level qualifications in business or related fields. The particular field will depend upon the type of consulting job role. For senior positions, an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) is often required, in addition to extensive experience.
For success in a consulting job in Uganda, you need to have several key skills. Excellent analytical skills is essential in establishing underlying market trends and establishing a sustainable competitive advantage. Communication skills are very important in communicating with clients. Thorough knowledge of the industry or sector that you’re working in is also essential. Clients come to you because of your expertise, so you really have to know your stuff.
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