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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please look over the responses to FAQ below. If you do not find what you are looking for in our site or in the responses below, use the FAQ inquiry form at the bottom of this page to ask IMC leadership, committees, or staff. We will research your inquiry and provide a response within 10 business days.

The Organization





The Organization

What is The Institute of Management Consultants?

IMC USA is the certifying body and professional association for individual management consultants and management consulting firms in the US. Our mission is to promote excellence and ethics in management consulting through certification, education and professional resources.

When did IMC USA begin?

We were chartered in 1968 as an educational corporation in New York State.

Why was IMC USA formed?

The Institute was created to support the professional competence and ethics of individual management consultants, and foster professionalism among consultants. Ultimately, we encourage members to learn from each other, improve their ability to provide effective counsel to their clients, and contribute to the profession and their communities.

Are you an advocacy group?

IMC USA is organized as a 501(c)(6), a "business league" devoted to the improvement of business conditions of the profession of management consulting. We are a professional association; and are not engaged in any regular business typically carried on by a commercial consulting firm. Trade associations and professional associations are considered to be business leagues.

Is IMC USA a networking organization or lead share group?

As a certifying body and professional association, IMC USA is focused on the development of technical competencies and ethics of the profession of management consulting through membership and professional development of all consultants. As part of this activity, IMC has formed geographic chapters and communities of practice where members may team with other members to serve clients or contribute to their communities through pro bono activities. Many experienced members have come to rely on their IMC network both to give and get consulting assignments they could not fulfill on their own. Although IMC is not primarily a lead sharing organization, the visibility that comes from active participation in IMC activities does lead to more requests for consulting services by other members and clients.

Do I have to be a member to attend IMC USA events?

Most IMC events are open to the public, as are many professional development resources on this website. As a benefit of membership, prices for most events and offerings from our affiliates are reduced for members, and admission is restricted to members for other events. Our events calendar and online store listings indicate member pricing and which events are member only.

What kind of events does IMC USA host?

We host regular professional development events, distance learning through the IMC USA Academy for Professional Development, national conferences, chapter-sponsored pro bono activities, and online communities of practice.

Are there organizations like IMC USA in other countries?

Yes, IMC USA is a charter member of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI), which now has Institutes in more than forty countries, including Canada, UK, Germany, South Africa, India, Japan, Jordan, China and Russia. See for more information. Each IMC maintains its own governance, certification process and professional development activities, the certification standards are equivalent across the globe. Although professional consultants and firms may join any IMC, they must be certified in their country of residence or, if their country has no IMC, a nearby country.

Who can participate on the committees?

Any Professional or Certified Member of IMC USA is eligible to participate on our committees. Some committees are open to any member who applies to join and others are by invitation or election. See the individual committee requirements in the committees page.

What are Communities of Practice?

IMC facilitates discussion and collaboration among professional consultants for selected industries (e.g., manufacturing, biotechnology, transportation), consulting specialties (e.g., strategy, process improvement, HR) and client types (e.g., small business, family business). Members may elect to start and moderate communities of practice. Each community has available to it a separate section of the IMC USA website with capabilities to host discussion forums, resource libraries, wikis, and event calendars, and can even syndicate their content.


Who are IMC USA members?

Any individual or firm who has been engaged in the practice of management consulting for at least a year is eligible to become a Professional Member. A Professional Members who meets the international standards set by ICMCI is eligible to become a Certified Member. IMC members span the range of experience, disciplines, industries and geography. Our members range from new solo practitioners to partners in large firms with 40 years of experience, are young and old, are located both in the US and overseas, and work in almost every discipline, industry and client type.

What is the value of membership?

Membership is what you make of it, like a gym membership. Your access to IMC resources and the capabilities of membership are an opportunity to get smart, get known and get business. Those members who actively participate in professional development, networking, speaking and community activities are well known by and know other members. These are ready resources when a need arises for expertise, teaming partners, referral and consultation, plus some interesting and enjoyable friendships. IMC also makes available access to and special pricing for educational and business resources for consultants through our strategic partners and affiliates, use of which far exceeds the cost of membership. Ultimately, the value of membership is demonstrating to yourself and to your clients that you are committed to the profession of management consulting and to excellence and ethics in its practice.

What are the different types of Membership?

IMC USA has seven categories of membership:

  • Professional - our primary entry point for membership, requiring at least one year of experience in consulting and a commitment to consulting as your primary profession.
  • Young Professional - entry-level membership category for potential management consultants or early stage practicing consultants who are unable to meet the criteria for Professional Member category.
  • Certified - Professional Members who meet international standards of experience, client satisfaction, demonstrated competence and commitment to ethics, as well as passing oral and written examinations and a panel interview quality for certification. All member are bound by the IMC USA Code of Ethics and its enforcement procedures.
  • Student - individuals who are full-time undergraduate or graduate students not deriving income from consulting. These members do not have voting rights.
  • Affiliate - professional service providers who are not primarily practicing management consultants but who provide products or services to consultants.These members do not have voting rights.
  • Emeritus Members - long time Certified Members who are semi-retired or fully retired from consulting.
  • Retired Professional- long time Professional members who are fully retired from consulting.
  • Firm Member - Management consulting firms with a minimum of five (5) consultants who are professional or certified members of IMC USA.   
  • ICMCI Affiliate- Members of other Institutes may join IMC USA and receive the benefits of belonging. These members do not have voting rights.

What is a Certification?

Certification is a recognition of accomplishment in consulting professionalism and ethics according to international standards. The Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification does not make you a successful consultant; it is recognition that you have the capabilities and knowledge to become successful. Certification also does not mean your learning and growing is complete. A Professional Member may apply for certification and join the 10,000 CMCs worldwide who have demonstrated experience (at least 3 years of progressive management responsibility for consulting engagements), client satisfaction (at least 5 client evaluations), knowledge of consulting skills and behaviors and adhering our code of ethics (oral and written examination on both), and general consulting capability (panel interview with senior consultants). There is a modest fee for certification and CMCs must renew their certification every three years by demonstrating continued professional development, ethics training, and continued practice of management consulting engagements. For more information, go to How To Become Certified.

How do I become a member?

Any individual who is committed to management consulting as a profession may apply for membership and, if accepted, is entitled to the benefits and privileges of their type of membership. The value of membership is fully realized when a member actively participates in his or her professional community through chapter activities or through communities of practice.

What other fees apply to participating in IMC USA?

While some activities hosted by IMC USA have associated registration fees, there is no financial obligation to IMC USA beyond annual membership dues.

How do I join a local chapter?

Membership in IMC USA is held at the national organization. Members may affiliate with any chapter they wish, or remain an At Large member, for no additional cost. Also, Members and registered site users may affiliate with any of the virtual Communities of Practice that are not restricted to members. If you are a member and are not listed as affiliated with a Chapter, or wish to change your affiliation, please click the Contact Us link at the top of this page.

If I join IMC USA mid-year, do I have to pay the full annual dues?

IMC USA membership is on a calendar-year basis but you can join at any time, with dues prorated during the second and third quarter of the year.

When I join, does my company become a member too?

No, unless you join as a firm member with five or more consultants.


Do you have to be a member of IMC USA to become a CMC?

Yes. As of January 2000 in order to maintain CMC® status, an individual must be a member of IMC USA.

How long does it take to become certified?

Certification requires both documentation of your experience, submission of evaluations from five of your clients, and written and oral ethics examinations, a panel interview and a final review. The process to compile documentation, schedule and complete the examinations, and pass the final review can be completed in about 90 days.

Will I need to recertify to maintain the CMC designation?

Yes. IMC USA has implemented a Certification Renewal program. Every CMC® must apply for renewal every three years from their initial election date. CMCs must reach a minimum of 30 points in the categories of education, work experience, outreach and ethics. For more information, go to Certification Renewal.


Does the Code of Ethics apply to me if I am not Certified?

All IMC USA members are required to attest annually in writing that they will abide by the Code of Ethics and the Protocol for Enforcement. This applies equally to all Certified Members, Professional Members, Affiliated Members and Student Members.

What are the penalties for Code of Ethics violation?

Following due process of investigation and a finding of fact, the IMC USA Ethics Committee may elect to reject the allegation as groundless or, if the allegation proves valid, privately or publicly censure the member, revoke his or her certification, or temporarily or permanently expel a member. IMC USA has an Ethics Policy that includes Rules of Procedure for Enforcement.


How do I stop getting notified every time members update their profiles or post a photo?

You may be receiving messages/notices about other members when they change any contents of their membership. You have total control over these notifications. Please sign in and go to "My Preferences" under your Manage My Membership area on the right side of any subpage.

To eliminate messages that people are not specifically sending to you, clear all check boxes except 1. "Email me when someone applies for an opening I have posted" (if you never post a position, you will never get an email), 2. "Email me when I receive a connection invite" (someone is specifically interested in connecting with you, which you can accept or reject), and 3. "Email me when new messages arrive" (also someone who specifically wants to contact you, you may also want to check the 30-day notice box). Other check boxes are provided for Facebook participants who may want to be informed about activities of their colleagues.

Why, when I print a page, do the outside frames print on one page and the inside frame on another?

When you print, please be sure that you click the "print page" link in the top right navigation bar. This function removes the the website framework and only prints the content of the web page you are on. This should prevent the content from "rolling over." However, please note this may not be true for all printers. There is no universal HTML print tag so we cannot guarantee that pages will print as desired on every type of printer and print setup. Also, we cannot control how many pages lengthwise, a web page will use to print. This is dependent on how lengthy the page content is and where the printer decides to place the page break.

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