The term strategic advisor is somewhat nebulous and not necessarily clearly defined in the business world. Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, for example, took a position in March 2011 as a strategic advisor with a firm known for its advisory work in entrepreneurial circles. Strategic advisors are, in essence, business consultants who work in various specialties.
The field of advisory services is fast growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in the field of management, scientific and technical consulting services is expected to grow by 83 percent from 2008 to 2018. The bureau expects competition for jobs to be fierce despite the availability of jobs. Lucrative compensation packages are expected to be a driving force behind this growth.
The qualifications for strategic advisors vary based on what type of consulting services they provide. One primary qualification is expertise. Strategic advisors tend to have significant experience and education in their respective fields. Much of the training they receive is on-the-job training, but most strategic advisors bring a wealth of experience. Those that have bachelor's degrees tend to start out in research positions, while those with graduate-level degrees typically start as entry-level consultants and progress through the ranks to positions of greater responsibility.
The work conducted by strategic advisors is twofold. On the one hand, the strategic advisor conducts advanced research and learns as much about his clients as possible in order to provide detailed and helpful advice. On the other hand, the strategic advisor meets and consults with clients about their business endeavors and any possible changes to run their businesses more efficiently and profitably. For strategic advisors working in the entrepreneurial field, research and consultation revolves around feasibility. Entrepreneurs obtain advice from strategic advisors to find out whether they should move forward with a business venture and, if so, how.
The potentially lucrative nature of the job of strategic advisor makes it an attractive option for those with the expertise. According to the BLS, general and operations managers in the strategic advisory field in 2008 made a median of $62.69 per hour. Management analysts made $39.26 per hour, while business operations specialists pulled in $27.99. These were the three highest-paying consultation fields in strategic advising.