Certified Management Consultant® in Higher Education



Why Hire a Certified Management Consultant?


The Certified Management Consultant® (CMC®) designation is the Gold Standard that higher education executives should take into account when selecting a management consultant. Recognized in 47 nations across the globe including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, China, and many others, CMCs are recognized as experts in their profession; the Mark represents their achieving the highest standards of excellence and ethical practices as a professional consultant.


Why hiring a Certified Management Consultant is important for higher education executives

Hiring a Certified Management Consultant is particularly critical for higher education institutions. There are few if any, “barriers to entry” for anyone to start a consulting business – all it takes is for someone to print up a business card and hang out their consulting shingle. And just because someone has significant experience in higher education or even been a university president doesn’t ensure they have the qualifications to consult to higher education institutions – there are many consulting skills that someone must learn to be a professional consultant.


Qualifications of a higher education professional consultant

There are five areas a higher education consultant must master to be an expert consultant to colleges and universities; they are:

  • Market capability and knowledge of both the technical discipline in which they are consulting and higher education industry specialization

  • Higher education business understanding and external awareness

  • Consulting competencies, including managing client relationships, consulting process, and engagement management, consulting skills and tools, and practice management

  • Consulting skills and behaviors, including business acumen, project management, personal and professional growth, analytic and proactive thinking, emotional intelligence, and communications effectiveness

  • Professionalism and ethics


What is the CMC, and why is it important?

Earning of the CMC by a management consultant is no trivial matter; it can be likened to an attorney passing the Bar examination, an accountant receiving a CPA, or an engineer obtaining a PE license. Competency-based, a CMC candidate must submit to the most rigorous vetting process in the profession, which includes receiving satisfaction surveys from clients, taking in-depth examinations covering consulting competencies and ethics, and sitting for a panel interview by fellow CMCs.

Here are some of the requirements for earning the CMC®:

  • Experience: CMCs are required to be current consultants, not part-timers – and three of the past five years have been in delivering consulting services, e.g., higher education consulting, strategic planning, change management, board governance consulting, etc.

  • Education: CMCs are required to have at least a bachelor’s (4-year) degree, and higher education consultants who are CMCs all have an advanced or terminal degree in their areas of expertise.

  • References: Candidates must provide five satisfactory client evaluations from officers or executives of client organizations for whom they have provided consulting services, thus demonstrating excellence not only in their subject matter expertise but also in the critical consulting competencies, skills, and behaviors that a professional consultant must have.

  • Engagements: Candidates must provide at least three comprehensive written summaries of previous consulting engagements. These will be used as part of the oral examination of the certification process.

  • Competence: The certification process is competency-based, not based solely on a written test. Candidates must submit to a qualifying written examination followed by an oral examination with senior CMC® examiners, all of which are designed to show the candidate’s professional competence, currency, and experience as spelled out in IMC USA’s Competency Framework – CMC® Scheme. 

  • Ethics: Ethics is a very large part of the certification process, and both written and oral examinations on the IMC Code of Ethics and ethical aspects of consulting must be passed.


Accordingly, when you hire a consultant who has earned their CMC, you can be confident he or she has a history of excellent performance in delivering results to clients; has met world-class standards of competence, ethics, and client satisfaction; and has maintained this level of professionalism through education and periodic certification renewal.

Less than 1% of all consultants worldwide have achieved this level of excellence. For more information on the CMC, visit IMC USA at Institute of Management Consultants website.

Our CEO and Principal Consultant, Dr. Drumm McNaughton, is a Certified Management Consultant®. 

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