An Online MBA Specializing in Strategy and Consulting

The MBA concentration in Strategy and Consulting prepares students for careers in consulting and corporate strategy.

With a focus on experiential learning, students develop foundational and specialized skills that can position them for success, including:

  • Strategic management and leadership
  • Fact-based analysis
  • Team collaboration and problem solving
  • Action-oriented communication

“Not only did re-acclimating to academia help prepare me for the case study interview at Deloitte, but the material we were covering in class that very week was tailor-made for the problem described in my interview. I was able to apply both marketing and analytic concepts to break the case down.”

Scott Forsgren, Class of 2020
Senior Consultant, Deloitte

Career Outlook in Strategy and Consulting

The job outlook for consultants is promising. As businesses continue to evolve alongside new technologies and ideas, skilled consultants and strategy professionals are in high demand to help businesses become more efficient.

This demand has helped drive more consulting jobs and increased salaries for consulting experts.

Strategy and Consulting Job Market

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the consulting field will grow much faster than average from 2018 to 2028.

876,300

Number of jobs in 20181

14%

Projected industry growth by 20282

$83,610

Median annual salary in 20183

Salary Overview in Consulting

In 2018, the median annual salary for management analysts was $83,610—and the top 10% of all management analysts earned upwards of $152,760 annually.4

Analysts and consultants who work for consulting firms (versus those who are self-employed) often receive a yearly bonus in addition to their base salaries.

Business consultant salaries depend on:

  • Whether the consultant is self-employed or employed by a firm
  • The size, scope and reputation of their firm and client base
  • The consultant’s level of experience and intended career progression

Career Paths in Consulting

Students who earn an MBA with a focus in strategy and consulting develop the skills to thrive in a number of consulting and internal strategy roles, including:

Generalist Consultants

These individuals help businesses in a wide range of fields improve big-picture processes, such as project management, team communication and operational efficiency.

Specialist Consultants

These consultants develop expertise in a specialized field and act as mentors to businesses looking to gain a competitive edge in their industry.

Managers/Directors of Corporate Strategy

These individuals typically work with numerous departments within an organization, helping to devise strategy or implement change.

Freelance Consultants

These professionals may consult for businesses full or part time and can often consult for multiple clients concurrently.

Boutique Consulting Firm Owners

These entrepreneurs develop and manage teams of business consultants that assist small businesses in accomplishing specified goals.

Common consulting roles and titles include:

  • Business Analyst
  • Research Associate
  • Consultant
  • Senior Consultant
  • Senior Associate
  • Engagement Manager
  • Engagement Director
  • Associate Partner
  • Partner
  • Managing Director
  • Change Management Consultant
  • Implementation Consultant
  • Consulting Advisor

Consulting career paths vary by firm, and they depend on a candidate’s experience level, subject matter expertise, educational background and interests.

Below are a few examples of the tiers a consultant might expect to encounter as they advance in a firm:

Entry-Level and Early Career Opportunities

Candidates with an undergraduate degree are best suited to entry-level consulting roles (e.g., business analyst, junior consultant), while those with graduate degrees and more work experience are can pursue more advanced roles (e.g., senior associate).

Analysts and associates are often responsible for a specific workstream on a given project, which gives them an opportunity to hone their skills and adjust to their firm’s culture and management style.

Mid-Level Consulting Positions

Once consultants gain experience in associate or analyst positions, they can aspire to roles that require more leadership and people management prowess (e.g., engagement manager).

Consultants at this level may work with multiple clients and projects at one time, navigating the lines between day-to-day project leadership, big-picture strategic thinking and client relationship management.

Senior Management Roles

Firm leaders (e.g., associate partners, full partners and principals) are responsible for identifying and securing new clients and business opportunities.

These professionals play an important role in shaping the direction of the firm as a whole. In addition, they oversee multiple ongoing projects—where they may lean in to provide high-level direction—and maintain strong relationships with existing clients.

Strategy Consulting vs. Management Consulting

Management consulting is a broad term that usually encompasses many functional subsets, including strategy consulting. Other subset examples:

  • Marketing and sales
  • Operations
  • Transformation
  • Analytics
  • Implementation
  • Mergers and acquisitions

The world’s largest management consulting firms must be able to offer breadth and expertise, as they often work with hundreds or even thousands of clients on projects that span functions, sectors and industries.

These big firms might compete with other big firms or smaller boutique firms that specialize in a particular subject matter (e.g., health care, public policy, energy).

Some clients will hire multiple consulting firms to address different types of issues within their organization. A single client may tap one firm to counter a specific operational challenge and simultaneously hire another firm for a high-level, strategy-driven initiative.

Important Consulting Capabilities

Consultants work in many different types of companies and environments, which means they need transferable skills that allow them to assess the needs of their clients.

Analytical skills

Consultants must be well-versed in fact-based analysis. They should also know how to translate large quantities of complex information, such as data sets and financial information, into actionable insights.

Creative problem solving

Consultants should understand how to identify and evaluate the challenges at the heart of a given project, and work together with team members to develop solutions that align with client needs.

Efficiency and time management

Consultants often work long hours and some travel on a regular basis. With such strict schedule constraints, consultants must be efficient when it comes to balancing priorities.

Communication and interpersonal abilities

Consultants must be able to effectively communicate solutions, questions and ideas to many different stakeholders, including team members, supervisors and clients.

Learn Where Consulting Can Take You

Request information today to connect with one of our dedicated Admissions Counselors and see if a career in consulting is right for you.

Request Information

Online Consulting Education at UNC Kenan-Flagler

We prepare online students for success in the field of consulting through:

  • Carefully curated consulting curriculum
  • Hands-on learning opportunities
  • Personalized career and leadership services
  • Connections with the UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni network

Strategy and Consulting Curriculum

The following strategy and consulting education courses are currently offered to MBA@UNC students.

Core Courses in Strategy and Consulting

  • Business Strategy
  • Business Communication

Suggested Electives

  • Business Modeling
  • Consulting Skills and Frameworks
  • Advanced Consulting Skills and Frameworks
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Information for Decision Making, Incentives and Strategy
  • Leading Diverse and Inclusive Organizations
  • Managing Innovation
  • Project Management
  • Student Teams Achieving Results (STAR)

Note: Course offerings and electives are subject to change.

Featured Faculty

Our Strategy and Consulting concentration is led by faculty members who have extensive experience with some of the world’s leading consulting firms.

Our faculty leverage their direct experience in consulting and advising to lead collaborative classes and design practical coursework exercises.

Steve Jones

Professor of the Practice of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Arvind Malhotra

Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Meet more faculty members

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Our experiential learning opportunities help students learn how to adapt quickly to different situations, personalities and challenges—an important skill for top consultants.

Student Teams Achieving Results (STAR)

The STAR program allows students to accrue consulting experience with leading corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Under the guidance of faculty advisors, students are tasked with developing comprehensive recommendations and actionable strategies.

Learn more about the STAR program

Summit Consulting Tracks

Each year, MBA@UNC holds quarterly Summits in major business hubs worldwide.

Consulting is offered in some Summits as an optional learning track in which students compete in a live case competition held over the course of a weekend.

Students develop the problem analysis framework used in the consulting world and work in small teams to present their recommendations to global business executives.

Learn more about Summits

Targeted Career Search Guidance

The Career and Leadership Services team works with students one-on-one to create an individualized career management strategy designed to maximize each student’s return on their investment.

Learn more about the Career and Leadership services available to students.

Student Success

MBA@UNC students have gone on to achieve success at some of the top consulting firms in the world, including:

  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
  • Accenture
  • Deloitte
  • PwC
  • CEB
  • IBM
  • IQVIA
  • Nordic
  • North Highland

Jump-Start Your Consulting Career at UNC

Request information today to learn how the online MBA program from UNC Kenan-Flagler can set you up for success in the growing field of consulting.