Management Consultants have pretty much developed their own way of communicating among themselves and with their clients.

They use their own terms and phrases for effective, better and easier communication. If you are not familiar with them, it can be difficult to keep up. You can call it the consultancy glossary.

These are simple words, abbreviations and keywords you’re bound to come across if you intend to embark on a career in management consulting.

Here’s a start.

1. As-is and to-be: These are basically a consultant’s way of saying “the way you do things now”, and “the way things will be done after we’ve completed our job” respectively.

2. AOB – Acronym for “Any Other Business”, a phrase referring to topics not listed in the meeting agenda but that attendees would like to discuss after the main concerns have been covered.

3. Big Four – Refers to Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young, and KPMG, the four largest international companies offering accounting and professional services.

4. Buckets: Another way to say “categories” or “groups” when talking about a project—and another needlessly consultant-specific term.

5. Boiling the ocean: This simply means doing a lot of analysis.

6. Close the Loop: This phrase is commonly used during meetings, and it means ending a topic or an issue with everyone in agreement. It is utilized to confirm a solution or an idea that has been thoroughly explored.

7. EBITDA – Abbreviation for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization, an indicator of a company’s operational profitability.

8. Gantt chart: Popular project management tool that illustrates a project schedule with start/finish dates and deliverables, which can be updated to show progress as the project moves forward. Responsible for 67% of an organisation’s printing budget.

9. Independent Professionals (IPs): Highly skilled self-employed individuals specialised in a particular field of work that work on engagements for different clients for a limited period of time.

10. KPI – Acronym for Key Performance Indicators, a set of measurable goals or objectives that signify satisfactory performance if achieved.

11. Leverage: Probably one of the most commonly used words used in the consultancy world. Leverage basically means gaining an advantage over something without a corresponding increase in consumption of resources  (use efficiently) Consultants love it and use it in different business contexts.

13. Peeling the onion: Doing deeper and deeper analysis.

13. Sandwich method – A three-step feedback method that starts by reviewing sound points of the project or idea presented, followed by corrective comments, and ends with praise. This approach serves to soften the impact of the criticism.

14. SME: It means “subject matter expert” and it refers to someone who has extensive, specific knowledge and expertise into a particular area of business. This is usually the go-to person and your personal hero within the company.

15. Scope Creep: Also known as function creep, this term refers to subtle and uncontrolled changes in the requirements of the project, often leading to longer project duration. This negative occurrence usually happens when the project is improperly defined or documented.

16. MECE: An acronym for “Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive,” which means that your solutions and data should have no gaps or overlaps.

17. Top-tier: Normally refers to the three biggest and most prestigious management consulting firms incl. McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company.