The Big 4 management consulting firms are Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (Deloitte), KPMG International (KPMG), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young (EY). If you're applying to one of these firms, it's essential to understand how they differ when it comes to crafting a successful application. While the vast majority of the staff of the Big Four belong to divisions other than consulting, such as accounting and auditing, they still have a significant presence in the consulting industry. So what does this mean for you as an aspiring consultant?The Big Four need to recruit a much larger number of people a year to maintain their size, while the first three need a much smaller number of new recruits.
Most of the work that McKinsey, BCG and Bain consultants do for their clients focuses on major strategic issues related to general strategy, organization, marketing, operations, digital technology and M&A issues. The 4 large companies have strategic consulting practices, such as Strategy& at PwC, Parthenon at EY and Monitor at Deloitte, but this percentage represents a very small percentage of their total revenues. And these divisions are significantly smaller than any of the three major management consulting firms. They have often been created by acquiring boutique firms rather than growing organically.Consultants in this area of the business perform similar work to that of the 3 main ones.
The most notable work that the Big Four do probably lies in their transactional or transactional services practices. They combine the accounting and consulting experience of these firms to provide specialized advice to senior management on M&A opportunities. This is where the Big Four charge their highest fees.The 4 big consultants who work in their consulting practice typically spend more than 6 to 12 months working for the same client and, therefore, are integrated into the client's organization, similar to how the client's employees do. They tend to specialize in certain industries early in their career.
On the other hand, the three best consultants typically spend 2 to 4 months or less working for a client and rarely specialize in an industry until much later in their career. Their work is more varied, while the 4 big consultants tend to do more repetitive work due to their specialization.By joining one of the three best firms, you are indicating to future employers that you belong to a small, select group of the best talent available. This gives you better exit opportunities, such as moving to private equity or the top management of major companies. You can also expect faster career progression if you work at one of the 3 best firms.
The speed at which a new consultant can become a partner is usually faster in the top 3 firms (~9 years) than in the big 4 (~15 years or more).In general, there are more differences between the three major consulting firms and the four big consulting firms than it seems initially, and it's worth understanding the nuances to successfully apply to the firm that suits you best. McKinsey, BCG and Bain receive thousands of applications every year, more than one hundred per available position, in fact. For the best chance of being offered an interview, be sure to sign up for our free resume course.Each of the four large companies will have a diverse staff with different levels of experience to meet the needs of their customers. Overall, all four of the big firms provide auditing, assurance, consulting, financial advice, risk management and tax compliance services.
Each firm also helps with mergers, acquisitions, corporate restructuring, and forensic accounting. These three firms are also known as the Big Three Consulting Firms because they are the largest and most prestigious management consulting firms. However, the Big Four do carry out some strategy work, especially in the management consulting firms that they have acquired.Heritage: The roots of the Big Four lie in more than a century of accounting, while management consulting became a formal practice in the 1920s. In addition to auditing services, they offer tax, strategic and management consulting services, valuation, market research and assurance and legal advice.
As a result, big 4 consultants tend to work with middle management rather than with top management. These groups perform types of consulting work that are most similar to those done in traditional management consulting firms.Because implementation tends to be easier and less controversial than dictating a company's strategy, big four accounting firms tend to work more with middle management. Each network is independently owned and managed after having reached an agreement with other member firms to share the same name, brand and standards. In addition to management consulting services they provide technology consulting services; financial advisory services; and risk and compliance consulting services.Consulting work at big four accounting firms tends to focus on implementation such as helping a company establish a new process or technology or helping a company implement recommendations that other management consulting firms had previously made.
Management consulting has been an important area of investment for them and many have acquired management consulting firms.