Who is the Best Management Consulting Firm?

When your supply chain is in need of transformation and you don't know where to turn, many business leaders turn to McKinsey & Company. The 96-year-old consulting firm is the standard of reference for business leaders, according to Forbes' inaugural ranking of the best management consulting firms in the world. While McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain & Company (Bain) are the three major strategic consulting firms, there are several other major consulting firms that can provide a great boost to a professional career. McKinsey employees have excellent learning and networking opportunities, but they tend to have an intense lifestyle with lots of travel, face-to-face commitments, and long hours.

If you're interested in a career with a lot of travel, this might be a good place for you. McKinsey is widely considered to be one of the best options for developing a high-powered career. Due to their competitive environment, there is sometimes a high turnover among young consultants. However, those who persevere are rewarded with great opportunities.

McKinsey is the definition of competitive. It has an academic culture focused on continuous improvement. Intellectual rigor and factual analysis skills are vital components of success, as is a positive attitude with an optimistic approach. Feedback is frequent and expected across the organization.

Entrepreneurs who don't need concrete, rigorously enforced rules tend to thrive at McKinsey. 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 Boston Consulting Group or McKinsey.

Schedules, although flexible, can be long, and trips are a weekly reality. The schedule and workload can be unpredictable depending on the needs of individual commitments. Oliver Wyman continues to grow with a lot of exciting global perspectives. Work-life balance may be affected as a result of the consulting firm's success.

Their focus on financial services can make the work environment intense. More than 90% of employees surveyed on Glassdoor would recommend Oliver Wyman to their friends; 98% approve of the CEO. Consultants praise the “intelligent”, realistic and “genuine” workforce, which creates a collaborative and supportive atmosphere. Oliver Wyman is considered to have 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. A global staffing model allows for geographical flexibility and great exposure to other cultures that are not emphasized elsewhere. 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. An advanced degree is not required and the consultant lacks the typical “up or down” pressure. Work-life balance is relatively strong 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. However, other factors such as deadlines, billable hour targets and demanding customers are similar to those of the competition.

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 as wages are lower at income levels. 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. Deloitte has some turnover and morale issues due to its challenging work culture but it is also promoted as one of the leading consulting firms for rapid professional growth. Deloitte stands out for its unconventional environment with a young and vibrant community; the emphasis is on teamwork rather than internal competition.

Expectations are high and analyses can be quite detailed requiring high academic performance on the part of all collaborators; a strong work ethic, multidisciplinary structure and meritocratic approach lead to rapid development. Deloitte was recently named one of the best workplaces for women; they have long advocated inclusion as a partial solution to business challenges such as billing, productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction. Deloitte's professional development includes an industry-standard set of six functions with a dedication of 2-3 years per level; lower levels at Deloitte tend to have very low turnover relative to industry average. At the beginning of the McKinsey interview process candidates will participate in an evaluation called “Solve” McKinsey's digital evaluation game (formerly called “Predictive Reasoning Test”).

First-tier consulting firms are collectively known as MBB which stands for McKinsey BCG and Bain; these three companies are the most prestigious management consulting firms to work for.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

Certified pizza specialist. Incurable food evangelist. Tv advocate. Amateur travel lover. Hardcore pizza practitioner.