Management Analyst Career Path: Skills, Education and Experience

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A management analyst reviews data on his computer with a colleague.

A common difficulty companies have is high employee turnover rates due to poor employee management. According to Gallup, only about 21% of employees feel that they’re managed in a motivating way, and only 34% of managers can name their employees’ strengths. These high turnover rates point to a problem in the company’s management structure. Employee turnover leads to increased training costs, a higher risk of legal liability in new hires, inconsistent workflow and low overall morale.

High turnover rates and poor management point to the need for experts to consult and problem-solve with the struggling company. Management analysts help companies to address these and similar organizational and managerial problems. A management analyst career path involves working with various clients across the commercial, financial, industrial and governmental sectors to improve the efficiency of businesses.

A management analyst may specialize in one area of business analysis, but all management analyst careers require a few critical skills, such as those taught in the Online Master of Science in Business Analytics from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Skills such as quantitative modeling, infrastructure management, data mining and business strategy are taught throughout the curriculum so graduates emerge with the confidence to make suggestions to company leaders.

Earning an Advanced Education

Many management analysts have an undergraduate degree in business or finance that provides them with a foundational knowledge of how a business runs and operates. Job experience in adjacent fields, such as business management and human resources (HR), may also help to support a management analyst career path.

While a majority of management analysts may have a bachelor’s degree in an applicable field, companies increasingly require that analysts have a master’s in business analytics. Maryland Smith offers an online master’s in business analytics program that provides students with advanced skills, deeper knowledge and the potential to earn a higher salary in a competitive position. The program teaches students advanced technical skills, such as data mining, understanding programming languages, and industry-specific analytics, preparing them to consult on a business in any industry. If aspiring analysts have a sense of what industries they’d like to enter, the Online MSBA offers application tracks which enables them to take courses that benefit their careers.

Attaining a Certified Management Consultant Certification

It’s helpful for management analysts to receive their Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification. The Institute of Management Consultants USA offers this certification at three levels: basic, experienced and management. The basic level requires a bachelor’s degree, at least three years of work experience, and a written and oral exam. The experienced and management levels require more relevant work experience and completion of more challenging exams. In the consulting world, the CMC credential represents a badge of experience and competence that may also lead to more competitive salaries and projects with bigger clients.

Obtaining In-Demand Skills

A career path in management analysis requires a wealth of diverse skills ranging from interpersonal (strong communication and presentation skills) to technical (an understanding of information technology (IT) software or data modeling). These skills are taught in graduate programs or learned on the job before entering a career as a management analyst.

Professional and Technical Expertise

A management analyst’s career inherently involves creative problem-solving abilities: Every client presents unique challenges to be solved. If a management analyst provides consulting services to a bank, they’ll need an understanding of financial modeling software, such as Quantrix, Maplesoft and Modano, to analyze data, recognize trends, make forecasts and create portfolios.

Because management analysts must analyze large volumes of data, basic skills in data visualization and data organization are critical. An understanding of data organization software using web crawlers is helpful, as it will enable an analyst to compile and structure data for further analysis, instead of performing it manually. A web crawler reads large volumes of data and divides it into categories. Some examples of web crawlers are Octoparse, Import.io and WebHarvy.

Data visualization, whether through presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote or data visualization tools such as Tableau and Google Charts  is also important, as consultants must understand how to clearly and convincingly present complicated data in simple terms to clients. For consultants who specialize in particular industries, further supplemental skills may be necessary. For example, if a consultant specializes in health care, an understanding of the health sector and insurance policies may be necessary.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

A career path in management analysis is as dependent on soft skills as on technical skills. Because the data with which management analysts work with can prove highly technical, they need solid communication skills to help stakeholders, other managers and their employees to understand its relevance and application. For example, if a cybersecurity issue arises in the email software that a company’s employees use, the management analyst will need to communicate the IT risk to the company’s management while also communicating preventive solutions and the risks of phishing scams to a manager in the HR department. A management analyst must also use diplomacy and tact to manage various client relationships, particularly in situations in which they must interview staff.

Gaining Valuable Job Experience

Because consulting requires an understanding of business structures and management, it’s beneficial for a management analyst to have job experience in the industry before starting this career, even at the entry or internship level.

  • Internships. Internships and entry-level jobs are helpful ways to immerse oneself in the management consulting world before taking on larger responsibilities. While studying to receive an undergraduate or a master’s degree, students should research consulting firms they wish to work for and inquire about internship opportunities.Internships enable students to form important relationships with mentors and colleagues in companies that may hire or refer them in the future. An internship in management consulting provides valuable opportunities to help with a team of management analysts, enabling an aspiring analyst to learn the ropes in a low-risk situation. Many large corporations also offer “externships,” a one- to two-week program in which an intern directly shadows a management consultant to gain practical experience.
  • Business experience. A management analysis consultant has the option to specialize in almost any part of business. For example, an accounting or a finance career provides a crucial background in revenue and may help in detecting financial problems for clients later on. Likewise, market research analysts study market conditions to understand the profit of a product or service. Because market research analysts regularly collect, analyze and present large amounts of data to clients, this career is also a useful precursor to potential management analysts.
  • Relationships. Building professional relationships is critical in the industry because analysts are often referred to new clients by previous clients. Maintaining professional relationships by keeping in touch with former colleagues and clients may also lead to new opportunities. A good way to network is to attend industry events and conferences. In these situations, it’s important that a management analyst market themselves as an effective consultant and partner to leave a positive impression that may lead to new opportunities.

The Future of Management Analysts

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of management analysts to grow by 14% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the projected national average for the same time period. The number of fast-growing, lucrative startups that will require management analysts add to the already high demand for them across all industries. There will likely be a high demand for IT consultants in the future as businesses will need to regularly update IT software and implement tighter cybersecurity measures. The BLS also projects a larger need for management analysts in health care, as the industry is facing higher costs because of an aging population.

Start your career in management consulting by earning an online Master of Science in Business Analytics from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Students can graduate in less than 20 months with the skills they need to stand out in a competitive job pool. A master’s degree in business analytics can mean stronger job security and the development of skills that transfer across industries. Kick-start your future and emerge with the confidence to excel in the industry.

 

Recommended Readings:

What Is an MSBA (Masters of Science in Business Analytics?)

What Is a Management Analyst? Using Data Analytics to Improve Organizations

What Is It Like to Be a Data Analyst?

 

Sources:

Houston Chronicle, “Job Description of Business Management Consultants”

Gallup, “How Managers Can Excel By Coaching Their Employees.”

PayScale, Average Management Analyst Salary The Guardian, “What Does a Management Consultant Do, Exactly?” The Muse, “This Is What Being a Management Consultant Actually Means”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Management Analysts