It's no secret that management consulting is a demanding job. Working long hours is often part of the job description, and it can be difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. But just how many hours do management consultants work each week? At the high end, MBAs who work for investment banking firm Goldman Sachs claim to work an average of 86 hours a week. On the other hand, MBAs who work for Microsoft and Apple average 44 and 52 hours a week respectively.
According to TransparentCareer, the average number of hours accumulated by an MBA in its first year of employment is 54 hours a week, almost two additional days of work beyond the old 40-hour work week. At big global consulting firms, such as McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Co., it's not uncommon for consultants to work 60-70 hour weeks. Bain's numbers may be lower because the company adopts a “home office” system to reduce all travel time. At least 13 well-known firms that employ MBAs, from Barclays to KPMG, workweeks of more than 60 hours are common.
It's important to note that consulting has almost no downtime, meaning you'll rarely be able to take a 30-minute break for coffee, make important phone calls, or go to the drugstore to buy the deodorant you need. That's why now more than ever, consulting firms are making a massive effort to retain people by addressing lifestyle issues. It's very interesting to work on these projects because in 2 weeks you dedicate yourself to whatever you're doing, but it's not a rhythm you want to maintain for too long. However, according to Dalton, more and more job seekers are discovering the benefits of joining these niche consulting firms.
As an example of why these smaller niche firms are succeeding, a senior consultant from The Cambridge Group said: “I feel very fortunate to have found TCG. Plus, your main goal as a management consultant is to do a great job, but in the end it's all about making your customers happy. One of the possible explanations for this is the significantly higher daily rates (sometimes exponentially higher) than those of other consulting firms, requiring the project team to meet high standards within short time frames on very complex issues. When TransparentCareer combined compensation and hours to get the effective hourly wage by industry, the wage undoubtedly justified those long nights and weekends of work. Overall, it's clear that management consultants often have demanding schedules and long working hours. However, with the right attitude and ambition, it can be an incredibly rewarding career path.