Management analysts, also known as management consultants, scrutinize the way businesses and organizations operate and develop new strategies to help businesses reach their goals. In for-profit companies, management analysts may devise ways to increase financial returns, while in nonprofits, the goal may be to improve efficiency or the delivery of services. Many are consultants, either self-employed or working for larger management services firms.
Management analysts have a variety of roles and functions, depending on the nature and size of the business employing them. A management analyst might be hired to restructure a department after a merger, manage vendor relationships for a manufacturing facility, pinpoint areas of inefficiency in administration or communications in a healthcare organization, refine sales and marketing strategies for a technology company, or review city or government community or public education programs. Many management analysts specialize in a particular field, such as healthcare, real estate, finance, or technology or in business focuses, like human resources, information systems, or marketing.
Despite the specific role or position, most management analysts share common duties, including participating in task forces and surveys; analyzing and improving administrative, information technology, or other operational systems; negotiating and implementing changes in policy or procedures; recommending reviews and improvements; identifying inconsistencies or deficiencies in organizational structure or function; and presenting these findings and plans for changes to employees and other professionals.
Private and public organizations typically hire management analysts by soliciting proposals from several firms or consultants and choosing the one that best addresses their needs, taking into account financial resources and timeline. The analyst then reviews the organization’s information, including details about its employees, structure, mission, and industry relationships and then develops a plan and submits it to the client. In some cases, management analysts may continue to work with the organization to implement those plans.
Management analysts require strong mathematical, organizational, and problem-solving skills; attention to detail; tact; and a flair for communication and working in teams. Additionally, management analysts must be fluent with sophisticated software programs that help them compile and review information from many sources within an organization.
Most management analysts work 40 hours or more per week in an office setting, with overtime and travel often necessary to meet with clients and meet deadlines.
Education, Training, and Essential Skills
A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, management, business, economics, statistics, marketing, computer science, or engineering is required for management analysts, with advanced degrees preferred by some employers.
Analysts with bachelor’s degrees often start in lower-level positions until they have gained sufficient work experience. For higher-level positions, employers increasingly look for candidates with master’s degrees or a combination of formal education and strong work experience. Most management analysts refresh their skills regularly by taking professional development courses or by attending conferences in their field.
Advancement and Professional Development Opportunities
Management analysts often advance from entry-level or subordinate positions. Newly-hired analysts often spend several years taking on more projects and responsibility, gaining promotions along with experience. Analysts with significant experience can purse advanced degrees and acquire a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation to increase their competitive edge. Seasoned management analysts can also become independent consultants, gaining the freedom to choose their clients and increase their income.
Outlook and Income
Overall, the employment rate for management analysts is expected to grow by 24% over the next decade, driven by changes in regulations and information technology and increases in more complex businesses that need help managing and improving their structure and efficiency. Management analysts with master’s degrees and knowledge of green business, information systems, electronic commerce, international business, and recession recovery strategies, coupled with good public relations and sales skills, will have the best prospects.
Annual median salaries for management analysts are about $75,000, with the highest median above $134,000 and the lowest below $42,000. The highest median salaries are associated with positions in the federal executive branch, management, scientific and technical services, companies and enterprises, and computer systems and design. Management analysts employed by state governments earn lower rates. Management analysts who are not self-employed enjoy additional benefits and perquisites like health and life insurance, retirement plans, travel reimbursement, profit-sharing, and bonuses.