Consultants are hired on a project-by-project basis to solve a problem, usually as a small team. Management/Strategy Firm consultants and Contract Research Organization (CRO) consultants are the two main categories. Management/Strategy Firm consultants are more business-oriented and have business training in the form of an MBA degree or related coursework. These consultants analyze existing problems within a company and develop a strategy to solve them and improve company performance. On the other hand, CRO consultants are more research focused and often contracted for services related to clinical studies and trials. Whether at a Management/Strategy Firm or CRO, consultants can be responsible for handling a range of projects that require broad-based to specialized-knowledge. Depending on the location of clientele, consultants may be expected to travel extensively, where they may work away Mon-Thurs and from a home-based office on Friday. The day-to-day also differs greatly depending on the size of the consulting firm. Small firms often specialize in a specific topic while larger firms, such as BCG, will place consultants on projects where they are needed. Consultants usually work 40-70 hours a week and earn $50K-150K per year with a $10-50K annual bonus depending on the firm and MBA status.
Strong critical thinking and problem solving skills
Understanding of business strategy, marketing, or product/service development
Ability to quickly learn about diverse topics
Good at working in small teams
Types of positions
Management/Strategy Firm consultant
Contract Research Organization (CRO) consultant
Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries
Research institutions and universities
Business Coursework: the type of consulting you are interested in will determine what coursework will be most useful. MBAs are not required to get into consulting, but can be useful.
Internships: the best way to see if consulting is right for you is to try it. Working part-time as a consultant through the APDCC can also open up doors for jobs after graduation.
Informational Interviews: talking with local consultants and recruiters will give you a good idea of what the career is like and how to be competitive for entry-level positions.
Practice Interviews: in general consulting interviews include case studies. Practicing these types of questions will strengthen your interview skills.
Transferable Post-Doc: some consultants are hired to apply their science skill set to an R&D project (CRO consultants). Having ~3 years postdoctoral experience in a highly transferable field, such as medical devices, pharmacology, pre-clinical/clinical research, or biologics can help qualify you for entry-level consulting positions in that specific topic.
Twin Cities Companies
CG3 consulting: http://cg3consulting.com/
Integrated Project Management: http://www.ipmcinc.com/industries/life-sciences/
Magellan Medical Technology Consultants: http://magellanmed.com/
Emerson Consultants: http://www.emersonconsultants.com/
Advanced professional degree consulting club:
Medical Industry Leadership Institute (MILI) coursework:http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/faculty-research/medical-industry-leadership-institute
MIN-Corps seminars and courses:
Technological Leadership Institute seminars and courses:
Medical Industry Leadership Institute (MILI) student association:
Sample Case Studies:
Boston Consulting Group: