Management Consulting – A New Opportunity for Business Analysts, but is it for me?

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A new and exciting opportunity for experienced Senior Business Analysts

As a Senior Business Analyst, I’ve spent a lot of time in my career wondering, “What’s next?” I enjoy the unique challenges and opportunities that come from being a BA, including being able to work both with business and technical teams, and be an essential part of helping teams to both define the big picture and capture the technical details of how we are going to bring this big picture to life.

However, like a lot of BA’s, I often find myself thinking about whether I will need to change careers to advance in my career and take on a leadership role. Some of the possible career changes I’ve considered include project management, product management, people management and joining the business in management. Like many BAs, I want to stay with the BA career path, but see a ceiling on the responsibilities and rewards that come with it.

There is something exciting happening in the market place that presents some exciting answers for BA’s who are looking for a new challenge. This role is particularly interesting for BA’s who have adapted best practices to their strengths and are looking for a greater degree of independence and responsibility.

The field of Management Consulting has started to define a role specific for Senior BAs, which presents an avenue perhaps not all of us have looked at for BA career growth. This role may be best suited for Senior BAs who are experienced, know how to communicate with business leadership and are looking for something new.


What does Business Analysis have to do with Management Consulting?

  When you really think about it, it is surprising that it has taken this long for Senior Business Analyst to become a Management Consulting role. The demand for business analysts arose both from within Management Consulting and from the market. The core BA skills are also key skills for Management Consulting pursuits. These include skills such as:

What does Business Analysis have to do with Management Consulting?• Facilitating business decisions
• The ability to communicate and build relationships with business stakeholders
• Defining business goals in a format that are easily understood by a variety of audiences including developers, testing, and business.

In the market place, research and analysis of business data and architecting large scale business systems have become key challenges that BAs can help with. Put these both together and the ideal role to serve these needs is best served by an experienced Senior BA.


Can you provide a real example from the market place?

This year, Point B Inc, an employee owned Management Consulting Company expanded its practice to include the Senior Business Analyst role in its Seattle Market. Point B is an employee owned company with practices in several markets that helps organizations form, execute and thrive. Point B saw the benefits experienced BA Leaders could provide its practice as a "no brainer". Point B defined the Senior Business Analyst role as not a step into a Management Consulting role, but is respected as its own Career Path with specific responsibilities. Dale Roth, Senior Director and Practice Manager for Senior Business Analysis at Point B describes the particular experience required for the role and the value that Senior BA’s bring to Management Consulting:

“Our clients come to us for our ability to successfully lead and execute on their most critical initiatives, and this typically begins by everyone having a clear understanding of the business problems to be solved. Our SBAs are not only capable of working with our clients to define, capture, and document business requirements at the front-end of a project, but they are skilled at working with the project team to support and confirm delivery of end results that meet those requirements and achieve the desired outcomes. While the goals of some BAs stop at producing documentation, our SBAs are focused on understanding the business problems our clients are trying to solve and delivering real results that meet their business objectives and exceed their expectations.”


I'm an experienced Business Analyst and am interested in a change, but how do I know if this role is for me?

  Management Consulting is not for everyone, and there are some elements of the Senior BA role in role in this field that can challenge even the most experienced BA's. For this role, you not only need proven experience, but to be confident in your abilities.

Management Consulting is not for everyone, and there are some elements of the Senior BA role in role in this field that can challenge even the most experienced BA's.  If the following list sounds like you, you may be interested in Management Consulting:

• You are comfortable in the role of the expert
• You have solid experience both in business analysis and in business
• You have the ability to communicate with all levels of management, including business leaders
• You are able to work independently and also lead groups
• You are successful in environments where the answers are not clear cut – you can think on your feet and step up to challenges that arise

There are also challenges specific to being a Management Consulting BA. BA’s in Management Consulting may need to be flexible to move between different engagements, some which might not have ideal commutes. Management Consulting will appeal to the BA’s who thrive on experiencing different industries and enjoy adapting quickly to new environments. This may not be an ideal role for the BA who likes the comfort and security of slowing growing a reputation at one company for many years. It will suit the BA’s who are skilled with making new relationships and prove their value early on in their engagements. It is a challenging role, but also comes with many rewards.


What are the benefits of working in Management Consulting as a BA?

This role is truly for BAs who want to continue to grow and mature their career in the business analyst path. It provides the opportunity to challenge your skills working with more senior business leaders, and the independence and creativity to draw on your experience to solve the problems the best way you know how. The ability to work on a variety of different programs with a variety of different clients can also be a strong draw for those seeking something new.

The rewards can be great. Management Consulting BAs have a unique opportunity to grow their networks and careers. Few industries are focused on network growth as Management Consulting and few provide as many opportunities to work with leaders across numerous companies. Many Management Consultant companies also provide unique incentives for problem solving with business leaders in the BA's network and growing the business relationship between the Management Consulting Company and clients. As a Management Consultant, you are considered an expert in your field, which can open doors for writing and speaking engagements. And perhaps most appealing, is that in Management Consulting pursuits, you are more likely to work on large scale and strategic projects that matter.

Are you a Senior BA who is looking for a new challenge? The Management Consulting BA role may be for you.

 

Author: Alan Smith, Senior Business Analyst at Point B Management Consultants 

Alan has 13 years of technology experience working in consulting and IT operations. Alan has lead requirements definitions for projects in several different industries including Insurance, Finance, Telecommunications, IT and Digital Entertainment. Alan is experienced with project definition, business analysis, project management, requirements facilitation and analysis, quality assurance and testing. Alan specializes in Agile methodology, including XP, Scrum and Lean. Alan holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Therapy from Loyola University Chicago. Alan is passionate about building strong client relationships, and showing his clients how their engaged involvement during requirements definition will make their projects successful.












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