More than a badge of honour: how chartered is transforming management consulting

Nicholas Fox, MCA President and Partner and Head of Government at KPMG UK reflects on what the chartered programme means to him, and his vision for the programme’s future.

The Chartered Management Consultant (ChMC) award is a significant milestone in any consultant’s career and represents a certain level of expertise and credibility, as well as a commitment to excellence.

Since the introduction of ChMC in 2021, many of the UK’s consulting firms have started helping their people through the accreditation process.

As the consulting industry evolves, chartered accreditation becomes increasingly important, not only for individual consultants but also for the profession.

After nearly three decades as a management consultant, achieving the ChMC award was a true milestone moment in my career.

Not only did it give me a formal recognition of my expertise and credibility with an independent accreditation, but it also gave me a chance to pause and reflect on my career in detail .

I’m not alone either. ChMC is quickly becoming a hallmark of excellence in our industry and signifies the highest standards of professionalism and expertise.

As President of the MCA, a career consultant who cares about our profession, and someone who has gone through the process recently, it’s important to me to encourage others to pursue the accreditation.

Who can become chartered?

The journey towards chartered status starts early for some, with my own firm, KPMG, offering automatic enrolment in a five-year programme for those starting out in consulting.

But it’s not just newcomers who are encouraged to become chartered; experienced consultants at all levels can  participate in this pursuit of excellence.

What does it involve?

The route to chartered differs depending on your experience.  It may be through completing client work and achieving qualifications via a structured programme, while more experienced professionals can take part in a formal interview about their experience and reflections on their career. The MCA is there to help offer guidance in this regard.

Whatever the pathway, committing to the chartered programme offers formal recognition of your skills that you can be proud of and that your clients will recognise and value.

Why should consultants consider becoming chartered?

For those starting out in consulting, there really is no better way to develop skills and grow. Working along a structured path towards a symbol of quality and credibility so early in a career is invaluable and sets consultants up for a career full of opportunity.

For more experienced consultants, simply taking the time to reflect on your career is a worthwhile exercise, and I found it surprisingly useful. Gathering evidence from my career to meet ChMC criteria helped me understand my value as a consultant, boosting my professional credibility and bringing new depth to my interactions with clients and colleagues.

Beyond our own professional development, pursuing chartered status helps reshape perceptions of consultancy as a respected and impactful profession and can inspire younger generations to see consultancy as a dynamic and fulfilling career path.

What does the future hold for consulting?

Being a consultant with ChMC accreditation is currently a mark of distinction and highlights those who have shown dedication to professionalism and excellence. While it may not be a requirement yet, imagining a future where clients opt to work with chartered consultants is not unrealistic and should be the long-term goal we work towards as an industry.

With only a small proportion of the UK’s consultants currently chartered, there’s still ground to cover, but the number of Chartered consultants are growing steadily, month on month.

As cohorts of newly chartered consultants emerge alongside experienced practitioners embracing the journey, we move closer to a tipping point. I believe that in five to ten years, the consulting landscape will be notably different, with chartered status firmly established as an essential credential.

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I fully support the pursuit of chartered status for all consultants. It’s more than just a badge of honour; it’s a testament to our shared commitment to excellence and progress, representing our industry in a positive way.

Please do get in touch with the MCA to learn more about the support available to you or your organisation if you’re interested in finding out more.

Find out more about the Chartered Management Consultant Award.