A Comprehensive Guide to the Top 10 Consulting Firms

The Big Three or MBB refers to the name given colloquially to three major strategic consulting firms: McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Bain & Company (Bain). They are considered to be the most prestigious firms in the management consulting industry, with McKinsey being the largest in terms of employees and BCG leading in revenue, followed by Bain (26%). While it may seem like everyone wants to join MBB, there are several other major consulting firms that can give a real boost to a professional career. McKinsey is widely considered to be one of the best options for developing a high-powered career.

It has an academic culture focused on continuous improvement, where intellectual rigor and factual analysis skills are vital components of success. Feedback is frequent and expected across the organization, and entrepreneurs who don't need concrete, rigorously enforced rules tend to thrive. Diversity at McKinsey is affected to some extent by the preference for candidates from target universities, such as Oxford, Harvard, Stanford or Yale. Many older candidates started at companies such as Goldman Sachs or Procter & Gamble.

The work-life balance is comparable to that of BCG or McKinsey, with schedules that can be long and trips being a weekly reality. Oliver Wyman is another top consulting firm that offers great learning and networking opportunities. It has a fun, collegial environment in the lower categories, helping new staff adapt quickly to strenuous responsibilities right from the start. However, consultants must work hard to get noticed.

Employees praise Oliver Wyman's diversity policies, with a global staffing model allowing for geographical flexibility and great exposure to other cultures. Oliver Wyman focuses growth on a performance-based model that highly values past experience and current performance compared to time spent in a given position. Mentoring and workflow leadership positions are available as soon as two years after graduation. Work-life balance may be affected at Booz Allen Hamilton due to their focus on federal consulting.

Consultants don't have to travel as much as they do at other consulting firms, but other factors such as deadlines, billable hour targets and demanding customers are similar. Employee satisfaction with Booz Allen Hamilton has varied over the years due to important strategic moves and high-level decisions. About 75% of Glassdoor's respondents recommend it, but some have complained that pay is becoming less competitive. Booz Allen Hamilton demonstrates a commitment to inclusion comparable to that of market leaders, including inclusive and non-traditional hiring, extending benefits to domestic partners and adoptive parents, frequent reporting on diversity achievements and affinity groups. In this post, we take an in-depth look at the top ten consulting firms ranked by annual revenue.

While McKinsey, BCG and Bain benefit from a strong reputation, their overall consulting businesses are relatively small compared to some of the implementation heavyweights such as Deloitte and Accenture. Large firms such as Deloitte and PWC also have businesses not related to consulting (such as accounting services, auditing, 26% risk etc.) that increase their total revenues. Accenture draws on its deep technology expertise in many projects including strategic transformation, system integration and implementation. At the beginning of the McKinsey interview process, candidates will participate in an evaluation called “Solve” - McKinsey's digital evaluation game (formerly called “McKinsey Problem Solving Test”). Headquartered in Boston, BCG is one of the world's leading management consulting firms founded in 1963 with a focus on strategic consulting where they developed innovative frameworks such as the matrix of participation in growth. In conclusion, while McKinsey, BCG and Bain get a lot of love they don't take all the revenue - there are several other major consulting firms that can give a real boost to a professional career.

Each of these top consulting firms has a combination of size and prestige that can take you everywhere - it's just important to consider which one best suits your needs.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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