What is a Big 5 Consulting Firm?

The Big Five or MBB is a colloquial name given to the three largest strategy consulting firms in the management consulting industry. These firms are McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company. The Big Four, which represent nearly 40% of the industry, are PwC, Deloitte, EY, and KPMG. They are followed by McKinsey & Company and BCG, two US strategy giants.

Accenture was born as part of an agreement that required Andersen Consulting to change its name. The firm has invested heavily in its Parthenon-EY strategy team, resulting in an 11% increase in total revenues and gaining significant ground over its competitors. Accenture's services include consulting for non-profit organizations and philanthropists, support for leadership development and exchange of ideas, all with the aim of scaling social impact. The Big Four have been deeply committed to management consulting since the 1990s; in fact, when Enron collapsed in 2002, Arthur Andersen earned more from consulting services provided to that company than from auditing services.

McKinsey is also known for pioneering the hiring of advanced professionals with non-business degrees for its consulting teams. In general, the basis of their offerings is strategic consulting, but these companies offer surprisingly extensive services. Deloitte and PwC have separate strategy divisions called Strategy& and EY-Parthenon respectively. BCG is known as an innovative thought leader in the consulting industry with a strong focus on strategy.

Business skills, top talent, a wide geographical reach, along with technological capabilities, are attractive qualities of large consultancies. Consultants at McKinsey, BCG and Bain don't get paid much more than their Big 4 fellows when it comes to base salaries. Many of these firms have historical foundations in accounting but they have created excellent technology-based and general management consulting offerings.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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