Which are the best consulting firms to work for? Vault ranks the top consulting firms around the world in 2023, including the likes of the Big Three alongside EY-Parthenon and Kearney
So where can you reap all the benefits of a top consulting career? Which are the best consulting firms to work for?
Each year, careers platform, Vault (Firsthand), surveys thousands of consultants working for reputable firms in the industry. With their insights, Vault compiles a list of the best consulting firms to work for.
The list is broken down into various factors. According to Vault, over 40% of those aspiring to launch a high-flying career in consulting named work place culture as the most important factor in an employer. Therefore, this is considered second, with firm prestige the primary criteria. The ranking also takes into consideration employee satisfaction, compensation, work-life balance, and level of challenge.
Here are Vault’s top 25 consulting firms to work for in 2023.
Best Consulting Firms To Work For: Vault Ranking
25. OC&C Strategy Consultants
This global consulting firm knows a thing or two about management of corporations—whether multinational or national. The London-based firm has offices in global locations such as New York, Paris, and Hong Kong, and offers expertise in private equity across investment and acquisition strategy.
The firm’s strategic expertise is gradually becoming more recognized across the Atlantic, with its New York location continuing to hire at a speedy pace—an indication of growth in the US market.
OC&C ranks as the sixth best consulting firm for international opportunities and seventh best consulting firm for benefits, according to Vault.
In the survey, insiders at the firm compared the firm’s culture to that of a boutique trying to grow in the market. “We have the structure and capabilities of a larger organization while providing ample opportunities for junior staff to have their thoughts heard by the most senior members of the client team, as in a start-up.”
24. The Brattle Group
If you’re looking for advice on complex economic, regulatory, and financial queries then look no further than The Brattle Group. The Boston-based firm works with a range of clients including finance, healthcare, media, and sports and its advice is tailor-made for each sector.
The company is known for its ability to nurture talent, offering mentoring and support for career learners. The firm ranks 18th in the 2023 Vault Rankings for Best Consulting Firms for Formal Training.
One survey respondent from The Brattle Group told Vault: “A job that will challenge you with high intensity moments but will reward you with opportunities for personal, professional, and relational growth.”
23. Arthur D. Little
This firm is something of a household name in the consulting sphere. With headquarters in Boston, Arthur D. Little has firmly made its mark in the US market. There is still much more room for the organization to grow, however, and its emphasis on innovation, strategy, and transformation is helping this well-established firm continue to go from strength to strength.
Employees at the firm told Vault that this is a company that isn’t just interested in innovation in the services it offers but upper management also look for talent who bolster Arthur D. Little’s innovative vision.
22. ClearView Healthcare Partners
Just like its moniker, this firm has a crystal-clear vision about what it wants to be known as: a robust consulting firm that provides expert advice within the life sciences field.
The boutique firm ranks fifth among Vault’s Best Consulting Firms for Health Sciences Consulting and ranks among the top ten for Best Consulting Firms for Formal Training.
Consultants at ClearView can artfully bridge the gap between medical and scientific knowledge and business issues, advising clients on specialist areas such as diagnostics, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
21. Back Bay Life Science Advisors
Joining the crop of consulting firms with headquarters in Boston is Back Bay Life Science Advisors: a boutique with expertise in life science strategy, investment banking, pharma, medtech, and more.
From advising on drug development to franchising and mergers and acquisitions (M&A)—this consulting firm answers all needs within the life sciences field.
As the third Best Consulting Firm for Work/Life balance in the 2023 Vault Rankings, it’s far from all work and no play for Back Bay employees.
One insider told Vault: “Investing in interpersonal relationships is firmly rooted in Back Bay’s culture, which takes the form of frequent office-wide outings, office lunches, and informal hanging-out outside of the office.”
READ: The Highest Paying Boutique Consulting Firms
20. Kaiser Associates
This global consulting firm was founded on the basis of ‘fact-based’ strategy, and it’s stayed true to this mission ever since.
Headquartered in Washington, DC with offices in London, Kaiser Associates offers wide-ranging consulting services to clients including top private equity firms and US government bodies.
As the firm works within a variety of sectors, Kaiser consultants are expected to be knowledgeable across multiple business and strategy areas. This can be both advantageous and challenging for employees.
One insider told Vault: “Even at the entry-level position, Kaiser provides employees with a great deal of responsibility, so new hires must be ready to dive headfirst into accomplishing tasks and adding value to their project teams.”
19. Simon-Kucher & Partners
Boasting offices across the globe, this global pricing, sales, and marketing consulting firm helps companies boost profit and revenue by offering advice on cost-cutting and monetizing products.
Simon-Kucher & Partners is a great firm if you’re looking to launch a truly international career as employees can enjoy six-month rotations at the firm’s various locations. It’s no surprise then that the firm ranks fifth for international opportunities.
18. Publicis Sapient
An expert in the digital consulting field, Boston native Publicis Sapient shows no signs of slowing down. Ranking fourth for innovation in the 2023 Vault Rankings, employees at the firm can expect to experience diverse challenges, varied work, and opportunities to work at the forefront of digital transformation.
Clients include companies across financial services, the public sector, media, hospitality, and energy.
One insider told Vault: “It’s tough to find a firm with more high-end digital transformation/strategy work where you’ll be treated and paid better.”
17. The Keystone Group
A consulting firm that offers clients key advice for growth strategy, M&A, operational improvement, and more, is bound to be successful.
The Keystone Group, which houses headquarters in the Windy City of Chicago, is a boutique with an ambitious outlook: to make a difference. The 40-employee firm has high hopes for the next few years, intending to become a smaller mid-size firm while upholding the strong company culture.
The firm ranks first for firm culture, which is likely a result of its training opportunities, breadth of roles, and supportive network of employees. This drive for a positive environment goes beyond the confines of the office—Keystone funds trips to build homes for those in need and organizes fundraisers for underprivileged children.
16. Cornerstone Research
If you’re looking to work in economic and financial consulting and have an interest in law, US and UK-based Cornerstone Research could be the firm to start your consulting journey.
As a Cornerstone consultant, you could be involved in commercial litigation and regulatory proceedings while working alongside leading law firms. As testament to the demand for the firm’s expertise, employees can expect generous compensation packages, ranking eighth for compensation according to Vault.
If you’re looking for a company that doesn’t require a lengthy commute, you’re in luck—Cornerstone employees often work from home. This doesn’t always equal a good work/life balance, however, as one insider summarized: “Positive work environment with interesting projects but long hours.”
15. The Cambridge Group, LLC
Coming in at 15th is boutique strategy firm, The Cambridge Group. The consultancy offers services that include marketing strategy, pricing, and go-to-market activation but employees can get involved in a variety of projects at the Chicago-based firm.
For those looking to make a foray into a small consulting firm without experiencing long hours and burn-out, employee responses about the Cambridge Group may offer some reassurance.
One employee said: “Prestigious clients, fun, growth-oriented work, great culture…why work for any other firm?”
READ: Consulting Salaries For MBA & Master’s Graduates
14. Deloitte Consulting LLP
You’d have to search hard to find someone who wasn’t familiar with Deloitte. One of the Big Four accounting and professional services firms housing expertise in audit, tax, risk, and financial advisory, Deloitte is more than just a strong brand name.
In the US alone, Deloitte made almost $28 billion in revenue in 2022, with roughly half of this earned by its consulting business.
There are around 415,000 employees globally so Deloitte isn’t a firm for you if you’re looking for an intimate work culture. Still, the career opportunities attached to working for this consulting behemoth can outweigh any potential drawbacks for ambitious employees. One insider told Vault: “The sky is the limit”.
The firm is also increasing its commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
13. Roland Berger
The only European native consulting firm with an international presence, Roland Berger operates with the idea that sustainable, economic, environmental, and social change must be addressed on a global scale. Vault notes that the firm is currently experiencing growth within the US.
In 2008, the firm set up the Roland Berger Foundation to promote human rights and dignity throughout the world. It’s no surprise than that the firm champions diversity.
One employee says there is, “[a} very strong LGBTQ+ community. Lots of effort around growing Women@RB, especially in the US. Firm is VERY diverse when it comes to international backgrounds.”
12. PwC Advisory/Strategy&
A division of Big Four professional services firm, PwC Advisory/Strategy& works with clients to strategize all areas of their business from operations to technology to product and service innovation. The firm defines its corporate responsibility goals as working with clients to align economic growth, social progress and environmental sustainability.
PwC works with 84% of the Fortune Global 500 in 151 countries around the world.
Specializing in pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting, Putnam is a highly recession-proof consulting firm, according to Vault. Headquartered in Boston, the firm also has offices in London, France, and Japan, among others.
Vault also says that employees can expect a thorough on-boarding and training process as well as ample opportunities to secure a promotion.
One employee says of the firm, “the pace of learning through both formal and informal training is one of the best aspects of Putnam. Putnam takes promotions seriously and focuses more on the person’s capabilities rather than just timing.”
10. Alvarez & Marsal
Alvarez & Marsal is known for end-of-life services for failing companies as well as its M&A practice. The firm can be found in more than 70 locations around the world.
According to Vault, Alvarez & Marsal is on an upward spiral having thrived throughout the pandemic.
Despite having a lower base salary than competitors in the industry, employees tell Vault that the bonuses definitely make up for it. “The bonus structure is excellent for employees with high utilization and strong contributions to practice development,” says one insider.
Another also reveals that the salary progression is also very quick from the initial base salary.
9. Analysis Group
Analysis Group specializes in economic and litigation consulting. Some of the services consultants at the firm provide involve quantifying the impact of disease on the economy, or developing corporate strategy. The firm operates across 14 offices across the globe.
Vault describes Analysis Group as a “rare creature in the consulting world: a firm that is all but immune to the vagaries of the business cycle.”
Employees at the firm testify to being stimulated in their work. One says there is, “very diverse work and ability to rapidly advance and take on a range of responsibilities.”
8. L.E.K Consulting
Headquartered in Boston, L.E.K Consulting advises global companies from large private equity firms to startups. The firm also has a pro bono initiative for non-profits and charitable organizations. In 2008, L.E.K also became the first management consulting firm to achieve carbon neutrality in its global operations.
While the firm attempts to promote work-life balance with out-by-six and summer Friday policies, insiders highlight to Vault the struggle of long hours. One employee says, “some days can be brutal. When you’re in the throes of a bad three-day stint, it can be challenging.”
Global management consulting firm, Kearney, specializes in strategic operations, strategic transformation, digitization of legacy processes, rapid earning expansion, and M&A. The mid-sized firm works with more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500.
Kearney ensures the strength in its global outlook through its Global Business Policy Council—a board of CEOs and world leaders who meet regularly to discuss economic, social, technological and political issues.
Insiders at the firm also highlight diversity as a high priority. One employee says, there’s “genuine support and investment walking-the-walking in DEI.”
ghSMART consultants specialize in advising private equity investors, CEOs, Boards of Fortune 500 companies, and non-profits. The firms major offices are located in the US, UK, and Germany.
According to Vault, ghSMART consultants are free to live and work from anywhere, setting their own schedules and client engagements.
It’s no surprise then that employees boast a high-level of work life balance. One tells Vault, “at ghSMART, I have complete control over my work: how much I take on, when I do it, and where I sit while doing it.”
Vault also reveals that ghSMART operates a “work more, earn more” policy, allowing consultants to generate commission.
5. The Bridgespan Group
A social sector offshoot of Bain & Company, The Bridgespan Group is dedicated to fighting society’s toughest issues, such as poverty. The firm provides consulting services to non-profits, NGOS, and impact investors.
Whilst compensation is lower than the industry standard, employees at The Bridgespan Group are passionate about their impactful work in the non-profit sector.
One employee tells Vault, it is a “warm, supportive environment where I can apply my consulting toolkit to personally meaning, impact-oriented, mission-driven work.”
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EY-Parthenon is the strategy consulting sector of Big Four professional services firm, Ernst & Young. Among 700 offices worldwide, consultants advise business leaders across multiple sectors from finance to energy to tech.
According to Vault, EY-Parthenon has a more boutique organizational culture than one might expect. Employees highlight the inclusive environment, investment in professional growth, and management transparency.
While the training at the firm is consistent, insiders speak to Vault about the structured promotion opportunities for associates. One shares: “even if you are a top performer…EYP doesn’t really give you much opportunity to be promoted early at that level.”
Another employee says, “At the lower ranks, the vast majority of individuals will get promotes after the same amount of time has elapsed.”
Best Consulting Firms To Work For | Top 3
3. McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company is one of the Big Three management consulting firms with a mission to “speed up transition to sustainable and inclusive growth.”
McKinsey’s recently published Social Responsibility Report highlights its $2 billion commitment to social responsibility efforts and to achieving Net Zero by 2030.
According to Vault, employees highly value the firms’ working culture and global partnership. McKinsey doesn’t have a headquarters but operates with a ‘one-firm’ partnership model.
One employee says: “we can work anywhere, meet international friends, and solve global problems like no-one else. Collaboration is expected and incentivized.”
2. Boston Consulting Group
Global Big Three consulting firm Boston Consulting Group works with clients to build sustainable competitive advantage and drive social impact.
The firm has offices in more than 50 countries and works across a wide range of industries from education to technology and finance.
Vault credits BCG with having “everything going for it” and setting the benchmark on industry salaries.
One employee says of the compensation, “BCG has extremely high salaries with clear transparency into market factors driving increase. An average performer can make a considerable amount in bonuses, and the incentives are even greater for a top performer.”
1. Bain & Company
One of the Big Three consulting firms, Bain & Company is committed to making an impact. For 10 years, the firm plans to invest over $1 billion in pro bono services dedicated to tackling crucial challenges in education, racial equality, social justice, economic development, and the environment.
According to Vault, this impact is extended to the firm’s employees through a vast amount of family and wellness benefits, as well as industry-renowned training and development programs.
In 2022, Bain announced an ESG training program alongside top business schools including HEC Paris and MIT Sloan in order to upskill its consultants across the globe and integrate ESG into 100% of client work.
Employee satisfaction is clear. Feedback to Vault refers to the high emphasis on work-life balance, generous compensation, and dedication to career advancement.
Insiders at the firm note, however, that an ongoing area of improvement is in the firm’s diversity and inclusion. One employee told Vault, “Bain is working hard to promote D&I, but given the decentralized nature of the business, success can sometimes be hit-and-miss.”
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This article was written by Shannon Cook & Charlotte Brook