The first global profession

Management consultancy may be a late-comer to the ranks of the professions but it is the first that is now universally defined across the world.

Compare our situation with that of the accountants, with a plethora of awarding bodies and qualifications in the UK, let alone internationally.We should take considerable pride in the IMC’s role in making this a reality.

Some 15 or so years ago the UK IMC pioneered the formation of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) (, which is the overall policy body for all 30 national institutes. The Council comprises trustees appointed by the national bodies and also elects an executive committee. Currently from the UK IMC, Barry Curnow FCMC is deputy chairman and I myself am one of a number of UK trustees.

It was the Canadian Institute that led ICMCI to move from promoting the concept of a common standard for the qualification, to introducing and building an identifiable global brand, the Certified Management Consultant (CMCTM) across all the institutes. It also led a successful campaign to register the name and logo by whatever means was available across the world. This all preceded the ICMCI Bi-annual Congress in September last year in Amsterdam. The standards working group within ICMCI also presented that Congress with a recommendation made by Barry Curnow that all the institutes move rapidly to both a common brand and a common assessment method based on the UK competency model. The proposal was universally welcomed and adopted.

Even more notable for the UK was a parallel proposal to adopt the principles of the Certified Management Consultancy Practices concept in all the member institutes. This scheme recognises audited practices as centres of excellence in consultant training, assessment and development by awarding internally the CMC qualification. Again this was adopted unanimously.

This is a tremendous credit to the thought leadership of the Institute and the profession in the UK. But what does it mean for our members?

Not only is the CMC qualification externally validated by ICMCI but it is also recognised in most developed countries around the world-all of the EU, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, and South Africa. The next stage is to explore transnational institute membership, to allow UK consultants overseas to continue to engage with the profession locally. This is of particular interest to global Certified Practices, such as Shell Services International, which have a considerable consultancy workforce abroad.

And by the close link between the assessment procedure and the competency model, we have also effectively rejoined the consultants in the large practices to the niche firms and the specialists in a unified profession.

The CMC qualification is transportable, and, as far as we can tell, management consultancy is the first profession to achieve this landmark of universal worldwide conformance and recognition.

We are also helped in our continuing lifelong learning to know that the competencies we need to maintain and develop are internationally agreed.

There is now a considerable body of opinion that sees the demands that industry place on the skills, knowledge and behaviours of qualified management consultants to be those espoused by IMC. We in the Institute are informing major buyers of consultancy services of this advance in professionalism and our members also assist the Institute, and above all themselves, by informing their world of our significantly improved professional standing.

The UK Institute is inclusive of all “flavours” of management consultancy and of all stakeholders in our profession. The CMC competence model underpins that concept. We recognise that as the commercial world and our clients change, so must we. ICMCI brings a much wider diversity of cultures and commercial societies to the understanding of what is required of a management consultant. We in the UK can only benefit from learning and developing our understanding of what is required. To steal a phrase from Salman Rushdie, “Out of mixture comes newness”. In our profession, which above all others is concerned with change, we now have the mechanisms worldwide to ensure that our professional qualification has impact, credibility and relevance.

To find out more about the CMC qualification, IMC membership or the Certified Management Consultancy Practice Scheme, call us on freephone number 0800 31 80 30, or fax back the form below.

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