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3. Management Consultant
Management Consultant
Soderland loves the challenge of being a consultant.
Top 100 rank: 3
Sector: Consulting

What they do: Advise companies on how to grow the business or battle a problem. Economic upheaval is forcing many firms to rethink strategies, creating a need for advisers on everything from pricing and operations to cost-cutting and sales growth. Information technology consulting is one of the fastest-growing areas, as is helping companies explore international markets.

What's to like: Teamwork, project variety, and the satisfaction that comes from solving tough problems. "I love the challenge of a company saying, ‘We want to grow revenues by 20%. How can we do that?' " says Sukanya Soderland, 32, of Oliver Wyman in Boston.

Michael Sherman, 37, of The Boston Consulting Group in Dallas likes that "you get training in a couple years that would take a decade in a corporate setting." Big consulting firms such as McKinsey & Co. may offer higher salaries, boutique firms tend to be more specialized.

What's not to like: Grueling travel schedules, late hours, and punishing deadlines.

Requirements: Just about anybody can claim the title (nearly a third are self-employed), but an MBA coupled with experience inside firms in your field gives you an edge. Nowadays many laid-off managers are finding that their industry knowledge and access to insiders translates well to consulting.

Do Management Consultants have great jobs, or what?
Management Consultant stats
Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$117,000
Top pay $209,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
24%
Total jobs
(current)
50,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction B
Job security B
Future growth A
Benefit to society C
Low stress D
Flexibility B
From the November 2010 issue
Notes: All pay data from PayScale.com. Median pay is for an experienced worker (at least two to seven years in the field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile. Job growth is estimated for 2008-18. Total current employment level is estimated number of people working in each specific job

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and MONEY research
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MONEY and compensation experts PayScale.com used Bureau of Labor Statistics growth forecasts for 7,000 jobs, and identified industries with the biggest increases in jobs requiring bachelor’s degrees. Ranked them by 2008-18 growth and pay. More

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