The easiest way to start a career in executive consulting is to have experience working at an executive level. This gives you the foundational knowledge to know the ins and outs of the executives that you will be working with as a consultant. In other cases, you may have experience as a consultant, but not specifically as an executive, so you’ll have the knowledge you need as a consultant and can learn about the needs of each executive situation you’re involved with.
Executive consulting can either lead to opening your own freelance consulting business or working as an executive consultant for a consulting company. If you choose to open your own executive consulting business, then you will need to contact the Secretary of State, or other appropriate government entity, for the area where you intend to establish the business to find out the specific steps required. You will also need to contact the county where the headquarters of the business will be to find out about any local licenses or ordinances you need to have or abide by.
If you intend to work in executive consulting with a company that already exists, then you need to search out firms that specialize in consulting for executives. Generally, these types of firms require that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in business, psychology or the industry area in which you will be consulting. For example, if you will be working with finance executive then the consulting firm may prefer that you have a degree in finance.
Some of these firms require previous experience. The experience may be in the industry or it may be as a consultant in general. Other executive consulting firms will train you according to the methods and techniques that they use with their clients, so they are not so worried about having experience.
Organizations and associations that cater to consultants also offer workshops, seminars, classes and opportunities to earn certifications. Enrolling in these educational courses, especially ones where you earn certifications, can help to set you apart from the other candidates that are applying with the executive consulting firm, or when a client is trying to choose between your own executive consulting business and one of your competitors.
You can scour job boards to see if there are any consulting positions open. Another option is to contact consulting firms and market yourself to them, even if there is not an open position posted.