List of Management Consulting Firms

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Management Consulting Firms

One of the preparatory activities to land a consulting job is to enumerate at least five firms you’d like to be a part of. This way, you’ll be able to focus your networking and research strategies towards your goal. To help you choose, we have a list of 50 well-recognized management consulting firms in this post.

What Is a Management Consulting Firm?

It is a business that aims to help organizations analyze their problems, develop solutions and improve their performance. It employs consultants that offer objective advice as a basis for strategic decisions, organizational management and market ventures. These consultants keep themselves abreast with industry best practices as they serve as main reference in generating recommendations from time to time. Please refer to this detailed job description of management consultants for more information.

List of Management Consulting Firms

We conducted extensive research and came up with a list of 50 renowned firms all over the world. We also provide a link to their website so you can dig up more details.

A.T. Kearney Chicago, IL Visit Website
Accenture New York, NY Visit Website
Alvarez & Marsal New York, NY Visit Website
Analysis Group, Inc. Boston, MA Visit Website
Bain & Company Boston, MA Visit Website
Bates White Washington, DC Visit Website
Booz & Company New York, NY Visit Website
Capgemini New York, NY Visit Website
Censeo Consulting Group Washington, DC Visit Website
Charles River Associates Boston, MA Visit Website
Cornerstone Research San Francisco, CA Visit Website
Dean & Company Vienna, VA Visit Website
Deloitte Consulting LLP New York, NY Visit Website
Easton Associates, LLC New York, NY Visit Website
Ernst & Young LLP (Consulting Practice) New York, NY Visit Website
FTI Consulting, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL Visit Website
Health Advances, LLC Weston, MA Visit Website
IBM Global Business Services Armonk, NY Visit Website
IQVIA Consulting Group New York, NY Visit Website
Jabian Consulting Atlanta, GA Visit Website
Kaiser Associates Washington, DC Visit Website
KPMG LLP (Consulting Practice) New York, NY Visit Website
L.E.K. Consulting Boston, MA Visit Website
McKinsey & Company New York, NY Visit Website
Mercer LLC New York, NY Visit Website
Milliman, Inc Seattle, WA Visit Website
Monitor Group Cambridge, MA Visit Website
Navigant Consulting, Inc. Chicago, IL Visit Website
NERA Economic Consulting New York, NY Visit Website
Novantas LLC New York, NY Visit Website
OC&C Strategy Consultants London, United Kingdom Visit Website
Oliver Wyman New York, NY Visit Website
Pearl Meyer & Partners, LLC New York, NY Visit Website
Point B Seattle, WA Visit Website
Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP (Consulting Practice) New York, NY Visit Website
PRTM (a PwC Company) Waltham, MA Visit Website
Putnam Associates Burlington, MA Visit Website
Quintiles Consulting Hawthorne, NY Visit Website
Simon-Kucher & Partners Cambridge, MA Visit Website
Stern Stewart & Co. New York, NY Visit Website
Strategic Decisions Group Palo Alto, CA Visit Website
Strategos Chicago, IL Visit Website
The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Boston, MA Visit Website
The Brattle Group Cambridge, MA Visit Website
The Cambridge Group Chicago, IL Visit Website
The Chartis Group New York, NY Visit Website
Triage Consulting Group San Francisco, CA Visit Website
Trinity Partners, LLC Waltham, MA Visit Website
West Monroe Partners Chicago, IL Visit Website
ZS Associates Evanston, IL Visit Website

If you desire to be part of any of the management consulting firms listed above, you should get to know the firm’s structure, services and its clients’ sectors.  If you visit their site, you’ll gain information on how the firm started, where their offices are, how the typical work day looks like, how they take care of employees and what they require. This may take time and effort but it’s a critical step to be able to effectively prepare a winning management consulting application.

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Management Consulting vs. Accounting

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Management Consulting Internships

Management consultants and accountants provide different services to the organization. However, both their contributions are vital to the regular operations and future decisions of top management.

Area of Concentration

The main responsibility of consultants is to resolve the business dilemma of their clients. To execute this, they analyze the scenario presented to them, along with the factors affecting it. This connotes going into the details of the market situation, the company’s financial status, competitors’ strategies and capability of human resources. The recommendations of consultants guide top management in making decisions related to their operations. Management consultants have diverse and dynamic role for they can settle any problem of a company, and they are sent to different sectors, too.

Accountants, on the other hand, focus on managing financial information. They maintain accounting records, develop company budget, process payable and receivables, audit financial documents and compute business taxes. Their records are considered crucial because they reveal the status of the company. They can tell whether the company is financially thriving or is doomed to bankruptcy. Many companies have their own accounting departments, but some just outsource accounting services to external providers.

Management consultants often use accounting documents and consult with accountants as they work on a project. These, among others, become part of the bases of their recommendations.

Significant Skills and Values

Management consultants are required to have critical thinking skills. They must view the scenario from different angles to encapsulate all factors. Breaking complex ideas into simple ones and integrating bits of information to get the entire picture help them understand the situation. Apart from these, they need to be determined enough to address their client’s needs. This may mean working overtime just to beat deadlines.

The most important value accountants must have is accuracy. They need to be meticulous with numbers to generate timely and precise reports for top management. Further, accountants must also hold on to honesty; otherwise, the system will be prone to corruption and fraud. Maintaining objectivity and avoiding conflict of interest are the other requirements.

Both management consultants and accountants must be very comfortable working with numbers since they’ll deal with figures every day. They must be proficient in using spreadsheets, as well. Possessing excellent communication and organizational skills is another qualification that backs them up in performing their responsibilities.

Educational Attainment

Management consultants can have different educational background, but it often is business-oriented or covers an MBA.

In the other field, professionals must have a degree in accounting. Those who take the licensure examination and become Certified Public Accountant get a better pay and more work opportunities. The license indicates they have reached a higher degree of technical expertise and professionalism.

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The Truth About Management Consultant Travels

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Group of four leaders smiling on the background of the airplane

Management consultants are known not only for their prestigious role but for their numerous travel engagements. Travel seems to be one of the defining characteristics of consultants regardless of the firm they work for. Working as a consultant generally provides plenty of opportunities to travel, both locally and internationally.

However, many people have a lot misinformation about consulting travel. Here’s the truth about what it is like to travel as a consultant.

Consultants DO NOT Always Travel in Business Class Flights to Explore Continents Every Week

While yes, business class flights are provided for select projects and distances, it is not all the time. Consultants indeed fly business class but they also fly an equal number of economy flights. Also, international projects wherein you’ll need to traverse five different countries in the course of a week of two would be rather occasional. Most travels as a consultant are for domestic projects.

Consultants DO NOT Spend Months in the Farthest Flung Areas

This is the extreme opposite of being overly glamorous. Many people also think that consultants are often required to travel to far-flung areas. While yes, it is not impossible for a management consultant to find himself working in a city that has a few redeeming qualities, such would happen probably just once or twice throughout his career. Consultants work most of the time in large cities and developed countries.

You Will Also Work While Travelling

Yes, there would be time that you’ll need to create a PowerPoint presentation on a flight to make it to the crucial meeting, but it does not happen every single time. Consultants tend to spend part of flight time working only for international travel projects. Why? Because such projects have a higher level of pressure to succeed, both from the client and the firm. It is true that you’ll need to beat a few deadlines wherein you may have to rush from the airport to the client. But the key phrase “a few” must be highly considered.

Consultants DO HAVE a Choice about Where They Work

It is not true that consultants don’t have a choice when it comes to project location and selection. Client choice heavily depends on two things – consultant’s performance on previous projects and seniority. But that doesn’t mean that the mediocre-performing, junior-level consultants would be staffed on lower-interest projects in less-attractive locales. They too can sway staffing decisions in their favor. Staffing is done based on one’s background, interests, preferences and ability to build relationships with the firm’s management

NOT Everything Is Reimbursable

Flights, baggage fees, and travel insurance are reimbursable consulting travel expenses. However, finance charges are usually not reimbursable. Generally, firms will pay for it immediately so you won’t have to carry the cost on your credit card. As far as the airline and hotel upgrade fees, they are seldom reimbursable. Also, incidentals outside the normal meals are typically not covered. In terms of ground transportation, that is generally covered too. However, you should not expect a client to reimburse a limo service. That is just unreasonable, right?

Consultants DO NOT Effortlessly Rack up User Hotel Points/Miles to Enjoy Countless Free Vacations

Many people think that because consultants tend to travel a lot, they easily become Mr. Platinum, Gold, Diamond, Titanium or what have you. Many think that consulting travel means free upgrades on every flight, on every hotel room due to accumulated points of frequent travel. While yes, many consultants do rack up some serious points, it is because they have been in the industry longer than others. Consultants enjoying a certain “status” on every major airline or hotel chain are more likely the senior ones. So it’s really not effortless. And remember, such status won’t last forever. Once you quit consulting, you’ll not be able to enjoy such lifestyle.

Top Asia-Pacific Management Consulting Firms 2014

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Portrait of successful businessman and business team at office

A consulting firm’s reputation plays an important part in the company’s standing and success. Because of this, consulting applicants take a firm’s status and background into consideration during the early stages of recruitment.

For consultants in the Asia-Pacific region, working for a prestigious firm can solidify one’s position in the industry and create new career opportunities. Consulting companies are careful to protect their reputation, as this could also reflect poorly on the clients they work with on a regular basis.

Additionally, this is another reason why consulting recruiters are highly selective during the interview process, choosing only the charismatic few who can actively represent their firm.

Top 25 Most Prestigious Management Consulting Firms in Asia-Pacific

#1: McKinsey & Company Asia

McKinsey & Company dominates the global rankings as the best consulting firm in 2014. This is no different in the Asia-Pacific region, as the company opened its third branch in Mainland China in 2013. The consulting firm is able to effectively capitalize on the progressive nature of the region, as leading businesses look for innovative ways to compete in the global market. McKinsey & Company has a strong reputation with practices firing from all cylinders (from operations and strategy to business technology and finance).

#2: The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia

The Boston Consulting Group is a world-renowned firm that is well established in Asia-Pacific. The company has offices in major cities around the region, which was carefully planned to conveniently meet the needs of their clients. A number of successful consultants who came from the famous firm include Jeff Immelt (CEO- General Electric) and Indra Nooyi (CEO- Pepsi). The firm also offers a wide range of consulting services, along the lines of business growth and portfolio management.

#3: Bain & Company Asia

Third in the rankings is Bain & Company Asia. When it comes to prestige, this firm has extended its services to across the globe in hard-hitting sectors such as media and healthcare. The consulting firm made their intentions clear, when it comes to extending their services to the Asia-Pacific region, after opening their first office in Tokyo (1981). Currently, the company now has a total of 13 offices spread across Mainland China, India and SEA.

#4: Booz & Company Asia

Booz & Company Asia has a reputation for providing exceptional consulting services worldwide in the areas of aerospace, industrials and transportation. The company has vast experience working with key businesses and government ministries located in various parts of the globe. The firm has been under the watchful eye of professionals and the media in the past 2 years, as the company moves to elect a new CEO, Cesare Mainardi (April 2012); and as merger talks with PwC deepens (December 2013).

#5: A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific

Consultants in A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific have their minds set on growth. Released in June 2013, Vision 2020 is a project that aims to raise the firm’s status to new heights. The company plans to do this by rendering services related to analytics, operations, strategic IT and digital business.

#6: Oliver Wyman Asia

In May 2013, it was clear that Oliver Wyman was serious about their expansion in the Asia-Pacific Region. The firm welcomed a number of Partners (Anupam Sahay, Cliff Sheng and Samit Soni) to lead the practices in the area. The company also has several programs that allow consultants to work with non-profit organizations.

#7: Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Asia

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants is one of the first firms to make an impact in Asia-Pacific. The company has offices in the following cities in the region: Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo.

#8: Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)

Considered to be as one of the top 5 consulting firms in the world, Deloitte has made its services known in the Asia-Pacific region by extending their practice in Vietnam, Guam, Papua New Guinea and Brunei. The company is primarily known for their expertise in restructuring, analytics and global mobility.

#9: Mercer Limited Asia

Mercer Limited Asia offers quality consulting services for a range of businesses. What makes them unique is the establishment of Mercer College, an educational hub that consists of workshops, classes and programs. The topics covered are areas that the company excels in professionally, such as merger and acquisitions, human resources organization, communications and leadership application.

#10: L.E.K. Consulting Asia

L.E.K. Consulting Asia has influenced businesses in the Asia-Pacific region in the following industries: aviation, retain, media, healthcare and biopharma. The company is one of the first firms to provide advice related to low-carbon strategies. Since then, the firm has gone out of their way to reach out to other consultants and professionals by implementing social programs such as the L.E.K. Advisor.

#11: Accenture Asia

Accenture’s practice in Asia has a track record of being reliable. With over 250,000 employees who oversee the daily operations of the company, Accenture is able to provide industry focused advice to leading businesses in the region. The firm offers key consulting services including Business Process Management, Finance and Enterprise Performance, International Development and Risk Management.

#12: KPMG (Asia Consulting Practice)

With their roots in accounting services, KMPG’s knowledge in financial risk management, internal audit, and compliance is highly effective for large companies in the Asia-Pacific region. However, it should be well noted that the company is not limited to such fields, as they are also well equipped to handle Business Intelligence and Analytics, Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory, and Post Merger Integration.

#13: EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Asia

EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice in the Asia-Pacific region addresses major concerns related to performance improvement, risk management and strategy. Although the services provided by the firm vary from region to region, their core lies in finance and supply chain operations.

#14: PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Asia (Consulting)

PricewaterhouseCoopers Asia has established themselves as a reputable consulting firm in Asia-Pacific. The company currently services over 80% of businesses found in the Fortune 500 list. Apart from exemplary consulting practices, the firm is also known for its auditing services.

#15: Capgemini Asia

Capgemini Asia provides essential consulting services ranging from Business Process Outsourcing and Application Lifecycle Services to Social Business and Supply Chain Management. The company led IDC MarketScape 2013, making them a sought after firm when it comes to IT services.

#16: IBM Global Services Asia

IBM’s move to acquire part of PwC in 2002 put the company in the right direction to boost their consulting services. Because of their background and firsthand experience in IT (infrastructure and software), many businesses in the relevant industry constantly seek out their professional advice.

#17: Arthur D. Little Asia

Known as one of the oldest consulting firms (started in 1886), Arthur D. Little has seen the economy and global trends change rapidly. In the past decade, the company has undergone internal restructuring to better serve its clients outside of North America.

#18: OC&C Strategy Consultants Asia

A consulting firm that focuses on strategy is OC&C Strategy Consultants Asia. The company’s core practice relies on the following areas: group strategy, transaction support, strategy realization and organization. OC&C offices in the Asia-Pacific region can be found in Hong Kong, Mumbai, New Delhi and Shanghai.

#19: Hay Group Asia

Hay Group Asia started a thorough study on the Chinese market in 2006 with hopes to enhance their business strategy advisory practice. As a result, the survey has helped lower risks for businesses that are looking to enter the crowded market.

#20: Nomura Research Institute Ltd. Asia

Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI) is a firm based in Tokyo, which focuses their practice on consulting and IT-related services. Their consulting services include human resources strategies, corporate governance, and business strategies and development.

#21: Oracle Consulting Asia

Mostly known for their software and web development services, Oracle has been experiencing steady growth due to their consulting branch. The company’s success in Asia-Pacific is widely recognized, as they now have more employees in the region compared to their main offices in North and South America.

#22: Mars & Co Asia

Similar to OC&C, Mars & Co Asia devotes their consulting practice to strategy. The company is highly selective of their clients and reaches out to businesses in the Asia-Pacific region through their offices in Tokyo and Shanghai.

#23: NERA Economic Consulting Asia

NERA Economic Consulting Asia renders advice related to economic analysis and reports. This allows the company to create effective strategies for businesses that are concerned about their competition and sustainability in the global market.

#24: Towers Watson Asia

After the merger between Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt Worldwide to form Towers Watson, the firm now offers notable consulting services in the field of insurance, finance and tax guidance.

#25: Aon Hewitt Asia

Aon Hewitt started as an insurance firm and quickly grew their consulting services in the areas of human resources and outsourcing. The company first started their Asia-Pacific expansion in India, and moved on to cover other major countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan.

Heavy Expansion in the Asia-Pacific Region

While companies in Asia-Pacific reposition themselves to become leading competitors in the global market, the more we may see consulting firms establish offices in the region.  Lastly, this may also play a role in the firm’s reputation in rendering advice that can set a company apart from mediocre players.

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Georgetown Graduate Student Consulting Group

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Consulting Clubs

The Graduate Student Consulting Group of Georgetown University aims to assist their members in securing a position in management consulting firms by equipping them with the necessary knowledge, connections and expertise.

Consulting Day

This is one of the annual activities hosted by the club. It provides a venue for participating students, alumni and professors to explore different types of consulting career paths. Representatives from different firms, such as Booz & Company and Deloitte, come to introduce their firm and talk about the industry. In this activity, students can also network with key people to expedite the process of getting an entry level job.

Links to Resources

The club’s website can be considered a hub of significant management consulting resources. It has links to sites that provide intensive background on the ins and outs of the industry. It has also a collection of links to professional associations, case interview resources and big consulting firms. With the gathered information, it is easier for users to make their job search.

Consulting Trek

Another interesting activity of the club is a trip to various firms in New York, Washington and other cities. The purpose of this event is to provide members with more information, exposure and networking opportunities.

Layoffs, Firings and Consultants

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Tearing the contracts

About the author: Lew Sauder is the co-author of The Reluctant Mentor and author of Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting.  He has been a consultant with top-tier and boutique consulting firms for seventeen years.  Lew can be reached at

Civil war general William Tecumseh Sherman is famous for saying “War is hell”. As one who has never engaged in battle, I can only imagine how true that is.

I have to believe that the business world equivalent of hell is terminating someone’s employment.

When you relieve an employee of their duties, it usually comes under one of two broad categories.  The person is fired for cause: Perhaps they were caught being unethical or, after efforts to improve their performance, they have proven to be incapable of performing their job. While firing someone for unethical activity may not be easy, it is probably the least difficult way of letting someone go.

Firing someone for incompetence is a little more difficult.  There may have been an attitude that you had to deal with from the employee, but it may have been someone who tried hard and just couldn’t cut it.

The second category of letting an employee go is through layoff. Anyone who has been in the marketplace over the past six or seven years has almost certainly had experience with this type of layoff.

Layoffs occur when an organization has over-hired staff in the anticipation of an increased or continued need for productivity. Market situations changed causing the organization to have too much staff, or at least too much skill in a low demand area.

The economic recovery has been a slow and jagged upward climb.  Any manager who was involved in layoffs from the “great recession” is certain to be hesitant to aggressively hire back loads of staff.

After experiencing the difficult and life changing face-to-face conversations, the resulting fallout of morale issues and the monetary cost from an HR perspective, a manager will make her next hiring decision with great caution.

Many organizations have turned to consulting as an alternative to manage their staffing needs. A basic core of full-time employees is usually needed in most organizations for knowledge retention. For any additional needs, organizations have found that consulting provides the nimbleness to meet their needs in many ways.

Business Advisory Services

Businesses have found that turning to management consulting firms provides industry insights to anticipate market needs and develop strategies that provide them with readiness to market changes instead of being reactive to them.  This allows them to change their staffing practices before they overload with skills that will soon be redundant.

Project Teams

Having a more proactive strategy allows an organization to define and prioritize the efforts that make the most sense for their long-term sustainability. Rather than staffing full-time employees for these projects, they can contract with consulting firms to provide the knowledge and experience to manage the project, implement the initiative and train up their existing full-time staff successfully.  When the project is complete, the team leaves as expected, without career interruptions, morale issues or severance packages. The next project team, with their own specialized skills can come in for the next project.

Staff Augmentation

There are times when an organization simply needs a surgical strike.  They have a temporary need for a consultant/contractor to fill a skills gap for a specific or indefinite period of time.  A temporary computer programmer or even a temporary CFO, contracted until a full-time employee can be hired is an excellent opportunity for both the organization and the individual.

Workers are joining the consulting ranks in record numbers.  This phenomenon is largely driven by demand created by organizations who have found consulting to be an excellent approach to reducing the risk of reductions in force. It is also a great opportunity for knowledge workers to join the consulting industry and learn what consulting is all about.

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What Is the Future of Management Consulting?

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Management consulting has come a long way in the past century. Some of the largest consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company established their services during this period.

Since then, the growth of these service-oriented companies has accelerated at the same rate as their clients. With an overall average of 10% growth per annum, the billion-dollar industry is showing no signs of slowing down. Today, we are seeing the top firms opening branches in cities where up and coming companies flourish such as Shenzhen and Beijing.

Symbiosis Relationship

It is important to take note that management consultants have also extended their roles in leading companies as CEOs and members of the board. The consulting network is a tightly knit web of high-level consultants, ex-consultants and their clients, which are composed of the higher levels of management.

Large companies are always on the lookout for new strategies, whether it’s to increase sales, lower operational costs, or for restructuring. Moreover, when faced with a high-risk decision, many companies (that can afford it) rely on the advice of management consultants for a fresh perspective and a solution.

Contrary to popular belief, not all firms are in direct competition with each other. Some large consulting firms rely on others to work on projects that carry over due to an overload of assignments. As a result, both firms benefit from this agreement and trade off.

Symbiosis Growth

As mentioned earlier, the growth of the consulting industry heavily relies on the growth of large companies. They are both directly related to each other. Due to these highly competitive markets, big brands are always on the lookout for new strategies.

One of the problems with finding new strategies is that a new perspective is needed. A senior staff who has been with the company for over 10 years may have a difficult time seeing the negative aspects of the business, as he or she might have already been accustomed to working around them. Furthermore, long-time members of the staff have a personal attachment to the company and their peers, making it hard to make and implement new strategies that could harm their personal relationships.

These types of companies heavily rely on the advice rendered from management consultants. The more they earn, the larger the company gets the higher the risks.

To make an even clearer point, notable companies don’t just avail of a consulting firm’s services once. Often times, they have their “go to” firm that is familiar with the in and outs of their company. It’s not rare for a company to request for more than one project at one time. The frequency may also vary depending on the yearly events of the company. The board may request for the services of a management consultant during the yearly budget cuts, or strategy decision work. Because of this, consultants will continue to be in demand in the future.

The Rise of New Sectors

New industries are slowly on the rise. The Information Technology (IT) is a relatively new industry. These days, IT consultants are sought after due to the boom in the technology industry. The same can be said for industries related to medical science, online security and online businesses. These new sectors are in need of a new breed of consultants with relevant backgrounds.

What this could also mean is that other academic backgrounds may prove to be an asset for individuals who want to be consultants for these new industries. Marek Ranis, a management consultant for 14 years with experience in Fortune 500 technology companies, explains this further in an article he wrote:

“First, I think that the “generalist consultant” model is no longer viable. Consulting firms that want to succeed must offer subject matter expertise, not just visions. This presents a challenge to the traditional consulting model of hiring bright people and throwing them at projects as they come. Specialization is a difficult thing to obtain at large consulting houses that are obsessed with chargeability. On the other hand, boutique firms with deep expertise seem to be doing well, especially if they partner with other firms that fill in the gaps.”

We can also say that industries that are not as popular as they once were may also affect the number of consultants that specialize in the specific field. In the middle of the spectrum, we may see consultants that specialize in a particular part of operations or strategy, such as HR consultants or social media marketing consultants where before it was unheard of.

Bad Economy Equals Good Economy for Consulting Firms

A bad global economy doesn’t hurt everyone. Employment companies and recruitment agencies have experienced an increase in customers due to the number of unemployed workers. The sad reality is that because more people are getting sick due to lack of personal funds for medicine, proper food and water, and shelter during bad weather, the medical industry is not greatly affected by the dips in the market.

The same can be said for the management consultant industry. Businesses that are affected by the struggling economy need to do something different. If they don’t, they could risk shutting down their company. Their target market could still be the same, but without the same buying power, a drastic new plan may be needed.

This is when a management consultant comes to the rescue. Large companies that may not be used to losing money are in a state of panic. They may have tried everything, but nothing is working. One of the last resorts would be to restructure and cut down on employees or close offices in countries where business is at an all-time low.

Cost reduction, strategies related to turnaround, and merging (with the intention to save) are specialties that are needed during these times. Consulting firms that specialize in growth strategies, research and development may find that some companies are not looking for these types of services.

Shifting Trends

Because of the exponential growth of the online world, trends come and go at an alarming rate. The predictability of viral videos is impossible to calculate. Companies can experience a sudden growth in sales in one month, and the complete opposite in the next.

A great example of this is cloud storage. 7 years ago, companies such as Dropbox (estimated value of 8 billion USD), Box, YouSendIt, and SkyDrive did not exist. The entire cloud storage market wasn’t around. They might’ve been under development, but were not open to consumers. Fast forward to today, companies such as P&G, BMW and Pepsi rely on this technology to run their businesses.

Where is cloud storage headed to in the next 5 years? That we don’t exactly know. Developers are constantly making sure that they have the next best feature or update. Management consultants also play an essential role in cloud storage companies, making sure that their actions are low-risk.

The rate at which businesses can succeed and fail is fairly high. Because of this, they may have to invest in the services of a management consulting firm to ensure that their next move is calculated and profitable.

Freelance Consultants Are Here to Stay

Not all companies can afford to hire a consultant from a reputable firm. If they had the budget before, they may not have it in the future. Moreover, consulting firms that bundle their services into large expensive packages may drive businesses that need their services to look elsewhere. After all, some companies say that most of what they are paying for is the “name” of the firm they want to work with. Additionally, information is becoming more and more accessible, which means that the need for a consultant to do extensive research may be lower.

Currently, we are seeing an increase in freelance consultants. The great thing is that distinguishable freelance consultants usually come from a well-known firm, for a fraction of the price. It’s a win-win situation, freelance consultants earn more because they pocket all of the service fees, and businesses are happy to pay the substantially lower price for the same quality service.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, the future of management consulting looks bright and stable. As the “Big 3” consulting firms expand to new cities with growing economies, the more we can be sure that the industry is here to stay. Specialization is becoming more of a requirement than a bonus. As businesses struggle to cope with trends, the more consulting firms will continue to bring in new clients.

Lastly, the management consulting industry has adapted to the current economy in a number of ways. The increase in freelance consultants can be beneficial for everyone in the industry due to lower fees, increase in competition (between firms and freelance consultants) and the growth of companies, which is an essential factor in the future of the management consulting.


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Which Career Is Suited for You, Management Consulting or Investment Banking?

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Management consulting and investment banking are popular career paths for individuals who are looking for a progressive and rewarding profession.

For those that are unfamiliar with the two industries, it is important to take note that there are some similarities. But there are also important differences. In order to understand how management consulting and investment banking are different, below highlights each field thoroughly with key points on each of the industry’s general lifestyle, compensation, benefits and type of services offered.

Management Consulting

Management consulting is an industry that renders expert advice and solutions for businesses. Some of these advices could be related to operations, restructuring or merging. Additionally, clients may choose to seek the services of a consultant when launching a new product or when faced with decisions with potential risks.

Hiring a management consultant can be costly. Therefore, large or reputable companies usually make up a consulting firm’s client database. These days, the age of “general” consultants is slowly diminishing. Consultants have begun to form specializations depending on the type of projects they have experience in, or based on academic background.

Currently, consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company, Bain and BCG are the front-runners of the industry. With branches all over the world and focus in all larger industries and in the important functional areas, these firms have set the benchmark for other management consulting firms to meet.

A Closer Look at the Lifestyle

Even in the preparation stages, management consulting is demanding, highly competitive and busy. Often times, consultants are relied on to patch up or boost the current condition of the business. With that in mind, consultants are under a lot of pressure and work more than the usual 40 hours, with work carrying over through the weekends and some holidays.

Traveling is an aspect of the job that many consultants dislike. Frequent long trips, flight delays, adjusting to new time zones and busy airports can add stress to a consultant’s lifestyle. Management consultants usually work in teams; therefore, it is essential to have above average social skills. Client management is an aspect of the job that consultants are expected to carry out. This could mean spending time with a client during one’s free time such as dinner or a short weekend trip.

The turnover rate in management consulting firms is relatively low. Many professionals consider the rewards of the job to outweigh the arduous workload. High compensation and above par benefits are common, even for entry-level consultants (compared to other entry level positions in other industries). Depending on the firm, management consulting generally has consistent promotional value. This is due to the fact that the criteria to become a management consultant are very strict.

Furthermore, those who are not able to cope with the job scope often switch careers. Having a foundation as a consultant opens many doors for other careers, primarily within management and strategic positions. Management consultants rely on their network throughout their career, from landing a consulting job to exit strategies (to other consulting firms or careers).

Meeting the Requirements

Due to the competitive nature of the field, it is essential for prospective consultants to have great resumes. The right organizations and internships can also boost the qualifications of an individual who is aiming for an entry-level position after graduation. Those that transfer from another industry are not exempted from the academic criteria and are often subject to more scrutiny and questions during the application process due to the lack of relevant experience and background.

Investment Banking

Investment banking is a financial service provided with the objective to create capital for individuals or businesses. This can be done through the modes of equity securities or debts. Additionally, investment bankers also render advice for real-time market strategies in order to minimize risks and maximize the return on investments.

Another aspect of the job scope of an investment banker is assistance in mergers, restructuring and acquisitions.  Like management consulting, investment banking has evolved to suit the needs of its clients by providing other services related to proprietary trading and asset management.

There are different divisions within an investment banking company. The Investment Banking Division (IBD) deals with industry coverage sectors such as public finance, media, financial institutions and technology, while product coverage sectors primarily specialize in equity, mergers and acquisitions. Both divisions work together depending on the requirements and needs of a client.

Trading is a large part of a role of an investment banker. This usually includes purchasing and selling products in the financial sector. In order to maximize the return of each trade, this part of investment banking is divided into several parts or specific departments. A basic sales team focuses on orders and trading, while others work on structuring, the details and clauses of each product to bring in higher returns.

Analysts and Risk Management

Research plays a big part in the investment banking industry. This may include research in the global economy (macroeconomics), credit and fixed earnings. Based on the studies done by analysts, investment bankers are able to advise their clients on which trades to execute at a given moment or timeframe.

A chunk of an investment banker’s role is risk management, which can help solidify the advice being rendered. This can be related to credit, forecasting and market activities. Because of this, it is common for investment banking companies to hold or facilitate mergers between two high-capital companies. Reputable companies such as J.P. Morgan and Barclays provide additional financial services that make them well rounded. This includes restructuring, hedge funds, and legal and operational risk.

Similarities in Lifestyle and Benefits

The professional lifestyle of an investment banker is very similar compared to a management consultant. An investment banker on average works more and usually more than 70 hours per week. One should take note that not all of this time is devoted to work. Many investment bankers make it clear that some of the time is spent on transportation, client dinners, etc.

Compensation is another similar factor that these two industries have in common. The investment banking industry has been known to provide consistent benefits with above average compensation rates. Bonuses, annually and quarterly (depending on the position and company), are also common. However, investment bankers feel that they work for every cent of their salary, as most confess to sacrificing their personal lifestyle for the purpose of career development.

Due to the competitive nature of both sectors, the type of characteristics and personality of individuals present in the industry are generally the same. Social and career driven professionals populate the fields, as well as extroverts. Skills such as mental math, data analysis and spreadsheet composition are other assets that are needed in both professions.

Client Services and Networking

Because both industries are client and service oriented, networking plays a vital role in the success of both management consultants and investment bankers. Besides the closely-knit alumni, colleagues and associates, many rely on diverse connections to overcome career related obstacles. This can be beneficial for individuals in both fields who want to shift in each other’s respective industries.

The Fork on a Road

Where does management consulting separate from investment banking and vice versa? For the answer, we look at why companies seek out the services of these two fields.

As mentioned earlier, businesses that require the services of a management consultant are usually in a compromising situation. Consultants are brought in to shine light and implement new strategies with hopes to turnaround the direction the business is heading towards. When a company faces new problems due to unpredictable trends and shifts in the market, a management consultant can help provide effective solutions.

On the other hand, investment bankers are used by successful businesses that are looking for alternatives in boosting profits or increasing market value. Based on the two comparisons, one industry (management consulting) deals with more patchwork and new strategies, while investment banking is more suitable for individuals who want to “push the envelope” when it comes to growth, acquisitions and mergers.

To Each His Own

In conclusion, the basic skills and requirements needed for investment banking and management consulting are nearly the same. The compensation and demanding lifestyle are also almost identical. However, when it comes to which part of the company’s needs you want to meet; they are very different. It is essential to highlight that there are times when advice from both fields is needed by a company such as mergers and legal matters.

For individuals who want to deal with strictly the financial aspect of a company’s growth, it is recommended to go into investment banking. If forming strategies, reducing operational costs and restructuring are your ideas of an engaging profession; then management consulting could be what you’re looking for.

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Top 10 MBA Programs in the U.S.

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Master of Business Administration, or better known as MBA, can catapult a consultant’s career and set it in a more progressive direction. In the competitive industry, a MBA from the right university can solidify a consultant’s presence in a firm.

Broader Knowledge, Higher Rewards

Why do consultants choose to go back for an MBA? Is a BA from a reputable university and relevant work experience from a top tier firm a strong enough foundation? For those who are considering higher positions in the consulting industry, it is recommended to get a MBA. Doing so can easily raise one’s professional status and make him or her more suitable for top positions such as senior or partner.

It is no secret that top consulting firms encourage their employees to attain a higher degree of education. In fact, many firms have programs wherein they pay for the consultant’s tuition, given that they go back to the company after graduating and stay for a specific amount of years. This isn’t a bad deal at all, considering that a MBA program can easily run up to $100K. Furthermore, a consultant who chooses to take up the offer has a stable job to go back to, usually with higher compensation due to the MBA.

Besides higher rewards, a MBA can equip a consultant with updated knowledge in order to stay competitive in the industry. Often times, this is a problem for professionals who get stuck or “rusty” from being complacent.

In order to prevent this, many consultants attend seminars, gatherings and expos to stay at the forefront of the sector. Another way of doing this is by getting a MBA. One can easily build new connections, as well as get a fresh perspective on what the consulting industry needs in order to stay sustainable.

Even for former or ex-consultants, a MBA can open up new options for exit strategies outside of the industry. The significance of a MBA is proof that a professional has put in his or her hard work and can be trusted to take on senior positions with complex tasks.

Top 10 MBA Programs You Need to Know About

It is no surprise that prestigious universities offer some of the top MBA programs in the U.S. These are also the same universities that high caliber consulting firms are interested in. In most cases, firms have a direct link with the university and have a history of alumni who have studied in the school and moved on to higher success.

The universities mentioned below are the currently the top 10 MBA programs in the United States:

1. Harvard Considered to have the best MBA program in the U.S. due to a progressive curriculum and successful alumnus.
2. Stanford Noted for having a strict GPA average and a long history of consultants who graduated from the university’s MBA program.
3. University of Chicago- Booth One of the highest average for return of investment in MBA graduates.
4. University of Pennsylvania- Wharton Hub for women who are looking to expand their professional career through the school’s MBA program.
5. Northwestern- Kellogg Strict admissions and an upcoming refurbished MBA curriculum under Dean Sally Blount.
6. MIT Sloan Updated MBA program with case studies and frameworks, ideal for consultants.
7. Columbia New MBA curriculum expected to roll out in 2015 to include strategies for financial crisis.
8. Dartmouth- Tuck The university’s MBA program is known for quality connections and alumnus who pump funds back into the school.
9. Duke- Fuqua Notable alumnus from the MBA program includes Apple CEO Tim Cook.
10. UC Berkley- Haas Comprehensive MBA curriculum, which includes business analytics and critical problem solving.


When it comes to quality education, Harvard continues to set the standard for other universities to follow, including their MBA program. With an acceptance rate of 11.8%, getting into Harvard can be difficult without a strong foundation. Ideally, those who want to proceed with their MBA at Harvard may need to rely on strong connections and relevant experience with a notable consulting firm. It is important to take note that Harvard has been actively promoting their business programs to women who want to meet their professional career goals. As a result, 41% of enrollees in Harvard Business School are women.


Not far from the leader, Stanford also offers an outstanding MBA program for aspiring consultants. Their acceptance rate is very strict, coming in at 6.8%. Located in Silicon Valley, the campus continues to churn out successful business-minded individuals. Maintaining a high GPA is one of the main priorities for many students. 3.73 is the current average GPA for first year-MBA students.

University of Chicago- Booth

University of Chicago- Booth has been developing their MBA program for many years. Now they are currently listed in the top 10 U.S. business schools. Their standard for GMAT scores is at 730, which is the same has Harvard Business School.

Does University of Chicago- Booth’s MBA program match other reputable universities? It’s clear that the answer is yes, as the graduates have reported a very high return-on-investment ranking after completion. This means that the MBA curriculum is applicable to the current global industry standards. For consultants, this is essential for keeping up with new strategies and trends.

University of Pennsylvania- Wharton

University of Pennsylvania- Wharton’s MBA program primarily focuses on finance, compared to other universities that have shifted towards entrepreneurship and technology. Because of this, the school has been given a bad reputation. Before joining the bandwagon, a closer look at the statistics of the university’s MBA program will tell you a different story. 97.8% of graduates received job offers in less than 3 months after completion. Moreover, the average salaries of graduates from the university have increased to $125,000. To drive the point even further, the school has a higher percentage of women- even higher than Harvard and Stanford, which is ideal for today’s standards of equality.

Northwestern- Kellogg

A university currently known for its rapid expansion, Northwestern- Kellogg has set its sights on a new MBA program. University Dean, Sally Blount, has set a $350 million capital campaign to accelerate the school’s business curriculums. Consultants who have their eyes set on this school, should consider that the school has updated its admissions, making it harder for applicants to complete the process.

MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan’s MBA curriculum actively meets the needs of consultants. Individuals can expect to immerse themselves in case studies, group projects and interactive programs with top leaders. There are still core subjects during the first semester for the groundwork, but the rest is mostly application. MIT Sloan’s hands-on approach works well for consultants who are constantly questioning if what they teach in school is really applicable in their industry. The answer is really yes, if they came from MIT Sloan.


Another top university that is also updating its MBA curriculum is Columbia. An updated MBA program, which is set roll out in 2015, will highlight tough strategies related to the financial crisis that the global economy faces today. For consultants, this can be very rewarding knowledge, especially for those who specialize in budget reduction and restructuring. Taking a different route to MIT Sloan’s approach, Columbia will include more in depth discussions and shine light on the technical aspects of business administration and management.

Dartmouth- Tuck

In consulting, where a tightly knit network can boost one’s career, going through an MBA program can easily double your connections. This is what Dartmouth-Tuck is known for. With over 70% of its alumnus providing monetary funding to the school, a consultant may find several opportunities while getting one’s MBA. The university’s acceptance rate is 20.8%, which is at the same level as the highly competitive schools mentioned above.

Duke- Fuqua

Duke- Fuqua is slowly making its way up the list for top MBA programs. Part of what the university is good at is matching its MBA graduates with top companies. World-class executives such as Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) who also took part in the MBA program that Duke- Fuqua offers are a prime example of the type of professionals the university produces.

UC Berkley- Haas

UC Berkley- Hass is known for handpicking selective individuals for their MBA program. The new curriculum, which was updated almost 2 years ago, leans toward the development of key skills such as leadership and communications. They also take an analytical approach, as they provide subjects related to critical problem solving. Consultants who are able to get into UC Berkley- Haas’s MBA program can benefit from a well-versed curriculum.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, consultants who are looking for new ways to increase their value in the industry should consider pursuing a MBA. As top consulting firms continue to promote the higher form of education to their employees, it is a big clue on the type of credentials they are looking for during the recruitment process. As mentioned earlier, a MBA is a strong foundation for a consultant’s career.

It is important to take note that those who take up a consulting firm’s offer to take part in the MBA program (with a fully paid tuition and X amount of years with the company after graduation) should be prepared to commit at least 4-6 years, minimum. In this case, individuals who are using consulting as a stepping stone towards other career opportunities, the MBA program might prove to be a hindrance rather than a boost.

A closer look at the MBA programs that top universities offer, and you may notice that not all curriculum is the same. Therefore, it is important to get advice from peers, other consultants and mentors in order to make sure you get the most out of your selected university. Lastly, whether you use your own hard earned money, or are privileged enough to work for a consulting firm that is willing to cover the tuition, a MBA is considered to be a great investment.

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What Is a Typical Day in the Life of a Management Consultant Like?

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Smiling successful young businessman

Contrary to popular belief, there is more to a management consultant’s work than attending meetings and making presentations. Behind the scenes, the job of a consultant is highly competitive and equally rewarding.

A consultant’s typical day is very demanding. In most cases, their day does not end when most professionals clock out for work. Furthermore, many consultants sacrifice their sleep and weekends when there are loads of tasks that need to be done.

Most consultants are already prepared for the hectic professional lifestyle (more on this later). However, over time the work can take its toll without proper breaks or care. Below goes in depth about the various tasks that management consultants face on a regular basis.

Junior Analysts

Junior analysts or associates spend most of their time supporting the project manager and partner. More often than not, this is spent taking gathering relevant, sufficient data and research. Although the task sounds menial, it is an essential step in the consulting process. Without the right supporting information, the client could encounter heavy unforeseen risks in the future.

Research isn’t as simple as browsing the Internet for background information. Junior analysts are sometimes required to dig into the company archive, or look for specific data at the request of the project manager. If they have to interview employees within the client’s company, they must workout a schedule to get the task done.

Another part of the research that can be time consuming is data analysis. By the time the gathered information reaches the project manager or head consultant, it is usually compiled and arranged. Irrelevant data is tossed and hidden. Therefore, sifting through piles of information must be done thoroughly to make sure that nothing is missed.

A junior analyst’s day doesn’t stop at collecting data. He or she also works on power point slides, which again are key in every successful presentation. This part of an associate’s day may not be exactly spent inside the office. This could be done during off hours, at home, or in a café. In most cases, a consultant slowly builds a presentation whenever there is free time throughout the day.

Meetings and Problem Solving Sessions

Holding meetings with clients for interviews and data extraction can take up a large part of a consultant’s day. This time isn’t all that productive. Taking the client’s or interviewee’s schedule into consideration, a consultant could spend a bit of time in the day waiting for scheduled appointments, and rescheduling to make ends meet (if needed). During this waiting period, a consultant is multi-tasking and using the time wisely by working on other tasks for the day. It is important to remember that a client’s workday usually ends at normal office hours (around 5:00 pm). As a result, consultants are forced to work around their schedule and spend their own personal tasks either before or after normal office hours.

It’s no secret that consultants work in teams. Task allocation is a big factor that makes them highly effective in their line of work. A vital part in a consultant’s day is spent with his or her team, making sure everything is in order. Because everyone in the team is immersed in his or her own daily tasks, finding time to make this happen can be frustrating.

If a consultant is “stuck” or having a difficult time finding solutions to key concerns, other members of the team can pitch in to help. From another aspect, extracting new insights on how to fix problems is another reason why daily meetings are held regularly. Project managers who guide the other consultants in problem solving and critical thinking oversee such meetings.

After Office Hours

As mentioned earlier, a client’s time is limited. Hence, a consultant must maximize the small window of time they have with their client. This means that meetings are priority over tasks that can be done when the client is not available. After office hours, a consultant is limited in sources when it comes to collecting information from key individuals, offices and offline archives.

During this time, a consultant looks over the work that was completed in the day and plans for the next steps to come. As simple as this sounds, a consultant must take previous components and connect the information to the new data gathered. If the new information is in conflict with the tasks scheduled out for the week, then it’s back to the drawing board.

After office hours is also spent cleaning up data. Ideally, presentations, information and graphs submitted to a consultant are cleaned up nicely. This is not the case all the time, as everyone else on the team or in the firm is also busy with other tasks. If the employee roster submitted (for example) is missing half of the list, a consultant may need to go back and rectify this issue. Small changes to a presentation such as alignment or missing facts are additional tasks that a consultant must look over during this time.

Networking During Off Hours

A large part of a consultant career relies on networking. It is important to take note that not all of this is done during office hours. The difficult aspect of networking for consultants is making time to socialize and attend events. Moreover, mustering up the energy to be sharp during such networking sessions can be discouraging after a long work week.

Building connections doesn’t stop with other fellow consultants in the industry. Some clients prefer to discuss findings over dinner or over a drink in a lounge. Consultants would need to set time aside for such meetings outside the office and ensure that they cater to the preferences of the client.

Alternatively, some consultants choose to do their networking online. This means using social media to stay in touch with their connections. An advantage of maintaining one’s network online is that it can be done anywhere. Popular professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn have their own application, which allows professionals to tend to their network in between meetings, before going to sleep, or while waiting for a delayed flight.


When a consultant has to travel to see the client or carry out tasks, their schedule heavily relies on multi-tasking. The time spent sitting inside a terminal or airport lobby is devoted to preparation for meetings and checking for updates. This is because the window that a consultant has with a client is constricted, especially if one has to travel far to reach the office. With that being said, one is forced to make the most out of the commitment by prioritizing time with the client and the company.

A consultant will, in most cases, wake up from the hotel and go directly to the client’s office. Time will be spent speaking to members of the staff, conducting interviews and presenting findings. After the day is over, the consultant goes back to the hotel and reports to the firm, and prepares for the rest of the day or week, depending on how long he or she will be in the client’s general location.

What About Personal Time?

Pockets of personal time away from work to go to the gym, spend time with family or even do the groceries, are very scarce in the life of busy consultants. With 12 hour work days, consultants usually make time for personal commitments either all at once at the end of the week, or little by little on a daily basis.

One of the biggest complaints that consultants have about their line of work is lack of personal time. As a result, many hit a point where their personal life has been compromised so much that they feel that it is a reason to leave the industry or switch careers. Because a consultant’s daily schedule is never constant, consistently making time for a specific commitment on a weekly or monthly basis can be nearly impossible.

Many consultants who have been in the industry for a while rely on flexible time and commitments to maintain the balance of life and work. While this hectic lifestyle may not sound appealing, many feel that the rewards of high compensation, benefits and a fulfilling career are worth the time, effort and hard work.

To conclude, there is no “typical” day for consultants. Unlike in other professions where days become predictable and monotonous, consulting is the exact opposite of those types of careers. Based on the details of a consultant’s daily tasks, time management is extremely important due to outside factors such as client’s schedules and the output of other team members.

In general, a consultant spends large amounts of time in meetings with clients and analyzing data. Priority becomes a factor when traveling and managing professional commitments, including family, networking and health. While it is possible to become accustomed to the hectic lifestyle of a consultant, it is a better idea to bring in balance to prevent stress and burnouts.

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