Coming from a business school education, I had learned quite a bit about the career path of management consulting. In the end, it was not a path that I took, an as an outsider looking in I often wondered “What’s it all about?”, and why are companies paying top dollar for consultants to come in?
So why are these consultants getting hired? Of course there are a number of logical reasons. The consultants may actually be providing ideas that improve businesses. Well, we can be quite sure of that. But, there are probably quite a few more reasons. One reason that I recently heard from a fortune 500 COO was that these management consultant firms also gave the c-level execs a bit of a CYA. If the new direction failed, they always had something to point to! ”Hey, Bain told us it was a good idea!”. There are also other reasons to be sure.
Freakonomics radio recently did an excellent job of covering the topic on their podcast, I Consult, Therefore I Am. I recommend a listen. They talk over the topic in full and also try to evaluate whether consultants are worth their pay grade.