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#982: Knowledge of Statistics is Critical for Consultants

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, February 9, 2009
How important is knowing statistics for a consultant, especially if their specialty is not in process management or technical consulting?

Statistics is often misunderstood as the province of "technical" consultants. On the contrary, every consultant should have a solid working knowledge of basic descriptive and inferential statistics. Regardless of your specialty or discipline, your ability to interpret client data, make inferences about information you collect and evaluate, and to clearly communicate you recommendations all benefits from statistics.

Most consulting firm interview cases involve an analytical problem that may not require statistics but do require a feeling for numbers. We should always have a sense of magnitude, direction and units of any number that describe our client's situation or operations. Even if you are in HR, training, or other "people" discipline, numbers are still an important way to understand performance appraisal trends, interpret survey results, or predict the probability your recommendations will have the desired effects.

Tip: If you haven't been actively using statistics or are uncomfortable with numbers, now is the time to spruce up your numeracy skills. Two classic books on the importance of everyone to have solid math and statistical skills are How to Lie With Statistics and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper. For a slightly more directed look at statistics, look online for "basic business statistics"

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  education  professional development  statistics 

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