Operations planning consultants assist companies and businesses with improving their overall performance. They need at least a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions and are expected to experience faster than average job growth through 2024, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Operations planning consultants help clients streamline their business practices. Consultants may specialize in various aspects of operations, ranging from information technology to logistics management, or have a broad, general expertise in an industry. Candidates for this career should have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in an area such as business or finance. Qualified individuals could pursue voluntary certifications.
|Required Education||A bachelor's degree in finance, business or logistics or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||14% (for management analysts)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$81,320 (for management analysts)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for an Operations Planning Consultant
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most operations planning consultants generally hold at least a bachelor's degree. Although most colleges and universities do not offer a consulting major, they do have programs in business, finance and logistics that provide a good foundation for entering the field. Additionally, collegiate consulting clubs, organizations and internships may provide prospective candidates with networking opportunities and work experience.
Some employers may prefer candidates with a master's in business administration (MBA). MBA programs typically last two years and include required classes in management, accounting and information systems. Students develop skills in modeling, strategy and project management. Additionally, many programs offer coordinated consulting opportunities with local businesses in which students may take on projects from initial stages to a final, formal presentation.
Career Information for an Operations Planning Consultant
Operations planning consultants use their educational, technical and analytical expertise to help clients improve business performance. Individual tasks may vary and include:
- Training clients on new products and services
- Reviewing processes, such as order management, and looking for ways to improve efficiency
- Analyzing potential new markets or business expansion strategies
- Providing solutions on a specific business problem like inventory management
- Advising on costs and benefits of potential ventures, such as implementing new technology
Salary and Outlook
According to the BLS, management analysts, including operations planning consultants, earned a median annual salary of $81,320 as of May 2015. The BLS projected that this occupational group would see a 14% job growth over the 2014-2024 decade.
Employees with bachelor's degrees may consider further education, such as an MBA, if they wish to advance. Some firms may offer financial assistance for higher education. Employees may also seek vendor industry certification. SAP (Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing) and SAS (Systems Applications Software) are examples of two vendors that offer certifications for several applications. Additionally, the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. (IMC USA) certifies qualified candidates as Certified Management Consultants (CMCs) who meet education, experience and testing requirements.
Operations planning consultants should earn at least a bachelor's degree, but a master's in business administration may be preferred by some employers. An MBA may be particularly important for those who are interested in career advancement. Management analysts, a broad career that includes operations planning consultants, earn a median salary of over $80,000 per year, according to the BLS.