The goal of a strategist is to help companies differentiate themselves from their competitors for the long term by providing unique value to their customers. Strategists collect, review, and analyze information about a company’s performance in the context of its competitors, market, customer base, and company resources and capabilities. They make recommendations to management to improve company performance (such as finding ways to prevent competitor imitation, identifying new areas of growth, increasing efficiency, or changing organizational structure) and work with management to implement these changes. Strategists work as managers, consultants, or corporate strategists.
Students who graduate with a strategy emphasis often work as consultants, research analysts, product managers, investment bankers, or operations managers. About 10 percent of strategy program graduates place in top strategy consulting firms, such as McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, or Boston Consulting Group. About a third place in other professional services firms (consulting, private equity), such as Accenture, Aon Consulting, Audax Group, CRA Associates, Deloitte Consulting, Goldman Sachs, or PwC. Another third enter internal analyst or consultant roles at major corporations. The remainder enter startup companies on entrepreneurial management teams or pursue other interests.
As industry and government organizations increasingly rely on strategy expertise to improve their performance, employment of strategists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2016. The growth of international businesses has also contributed to an increase in demand for strategists, particularly those with a comprehensive knowledge of international business and foreign cultures and languages.