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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Graduation

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.

Harvard

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.

Stanford

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.

Columbia

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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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.

Traveling

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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Advantages of Having Consulting Experience for Your Own Startup

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Startup business concept

Many consultants leave consulting to build their own businesses. And why not? Entrepreneurship would not be a surprising exit path for consultants as their experience offers many advantages for entrepreneurs. They are generally equipped with the essential elements to start their own company.

Sophisticated Business Knowledge

You definitely need sophisticated knowledge when starting a business. As an entrepreneur you need to be competent in the main functional areas of a company, such as sales, marketing, finance, and operations, etc. You need to understand how to raise capital and how to find a business model that will work for you. You also need to be knowledgeable about the market you’re attempting to enter in order to deliver a good product or service to this market.

And these are just some of the most important knowledge one has to have to build a successful startup. Apparently, consultants are constantly exposed to complex business problems and help companies reach new growth targets. Therefore, they have the advantage of gaining sophisticated business knowledge across diverse industries. They pretty much understand the ins and outs of running a business.

Strong Startup Contacts

Apparently, consulting is an industry filled with entrepreneurial people. That means consultants have the luxury of strong professional networks that are essential in building your own startup. Perhaps, building valuable contacts during their years as a consultant would be the best benefit they can gain. It is because at the end of the day, it may all boil down to whom you know, rather than what you know, right?

Strong Skillset

As consultants learn about many different industries and businesses, they also hone the necessary skills to run a successful company. Their everyday lives basically involve rapid problem solving and business plan and analysis. That makes their problem solving decision-making and creative skills sharp. As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to come up with fresh ideas, and make a lot of good decisions in order to grow your company.

Creativity, problem solving and decision-making are skills that professionals from the consulting industry generally developed over time. That makes them ready to face their own business problems in the near future.

Key Traits and Characteristics

Successful entrepreneurs and consultants have a lot of traits and characteristics in common. Some of which are:

  • Leadership: Entrepreneurs need to lead and motivate others in order to deliver a certain vision. Consultants are very much used to managing different teams to achieve a common goal.
  • Interpersonal and communication: Consultants are known to be excellent communicators. In order to be a successful entrepreneur you need to be competent in all types of communication in order to sell your vision to potential clients, as well as to team members, and other people.
  • Negotiation: People with consulting experience generally have strong negotiation skills as they deal with different clients with different goals, requirements and personalities. An entrepreneur can certainly take advantage of this trait when negotiating prices and when resolving differences between staff.
  • Optimism and persistence: Consultants are generally known to be go-getters and achievers. And optimism and persistence are truly valuable assets for any entrepreneur, particularly during tough times.

Sufficient Capital and Finance Management

Consulting is known to be one lucrative industry. Competitive salaries and year-end bonuses offer an opportunity for consultants to save enough funds to build their own startup. As you know, you will need to have more than enough credit in order financial support your business.

Moreover, an entrepreneur needs to know how to cut costs and increase productivity. He must ensure proper finance management. For instance, there should be money allocated for current expenses and future investment. And someone with consulting experience has been advising other businesses on how to cut cost and increase revenue. So he can pretty much use their own advice when it’s time to run their own business.

Keep in mind that there’s no single path to entrepreneurial success. However, having a consulting experience can provide a great foundation for starting a business of your own. The steep learning curve in the management consulting industry may just help you equip yourself with the important tools.

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Top 25 Management Consulting Firms in 2014

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Choosing a target management consulting firm is one of the most important choices in order for applicants to have a long and rewarding career. With so many up and coming firms in the past decade alone, it may be difficult to pick one from the long list.

In this article, we have compiled the best management consulting firms to monitor in 2014 based on factors related to internal work culture, employee well-being, promotional qualities and status. This can provide individuals with a well rounded perspective and non-bias approach of the industry.

#1: McKinsey & Company

The first on the list is McKinsey & Company. The prestigious consulting firm currently serves over 90 percent of the leading 100 corporations globally. Despite the popularity of the company, their lists of clients are kept secret from the public. With roughly 100 stations or offices in 60 countries (and recent advancements in Mainland China), McKinsey & Company shows no signs of slowing down.

#2: Bain & Company

Not far from the top is Bain & Company. The consulting firm offers a wide range of specialties including Information Technology (IT), Private Equity and Strategy. On behalf of almost 75 percent of the equity capital worldwide, the company has successfully worked with over half of the Global 500. Big name clients such as Ford, Charles Schwab and Starbucks actively seek the advice of Bain & Company due to their reliable consulting services.

#3: The Boston Consulting Group Inc.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is considered to be one of the most successful private companies in the United States. Not to be mistaken for a local firm, BCG boasts 78 offices in 43 different countries. Notable leaders who came from BCG include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Indra Nooyi (Pepsi CEO) and Sally Blount (dean of the Kellogg School of Management).

#4: Booz & Company

Booz & Company received large amounts of attention from the media in 2013 due to the proposed merger with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The consulting firm provides its services to the following industries: automotive, energy and utilities, industrials and media and entertainment. The firm’s future still remains strong, with ongoing talks behind closed doors about the highly anticipated merger.

#5: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the companies on the list that goes beyond consulting. As a result, the firm is able to exceedingly meet the needs of their clients. When it comes to their services, PwC heavily focuses on human resources effectiveness, organizational strategy, and risk mitigation and crisis management.

#6: Oliver Wyman

Part of the Marsh & McLennan Companies, Oliver Wyman is known for working with big brands and global affiliates. The consulting firm extends their practice to the following sectors: Communications, Media & Technology, Health & Life Sciences, Business Transformation and Retail & Consumer Products.

#7: Deloitte Consulting LLP

Deloitte Consulting has several branches spread across the world. The company assists businesses in effective branding through making an impact, and forming strategies. Deloitte has won a handful of notable awards such as Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Best Places to Launch a Career.

#8: The Parthenon Group

The Parthenon Group is a consulting firm that focuses on business strategy and organization. With a total of 250 consultants in major cities such as San Francisco, London and Mumbai, the tightly knit company is able to supersede the expectations of today’s leading industries.

#9: A.T. Kearney

One of the oldest management consulting firm on the list is A.T. Kearney. Established by Andrew Thomas Kearney in the 1930s, the company has developed its practice to address CEO-related issues. The industries A.T. Kearney’s services fall under are the following: Financial Institutions, Aerospace & Defense, Metals and Mining, and Public Sector.

#10: Accenture

With over 257,000 employees worldwide, Accenture drives its services in the field of Information Technology. A large part of the consulting firm’s success is their ability to provide effective advice on the following uncommon practices: Cloud Service, Smart Grid, Talent and Organizational Performance, and Business Process Management.

#11: Analysis Group Inc.

As the name of the firm suggests, the Analysis Group greatly incorporates the use of analytics into their practice. The company’s main focuses are financial, economic and business organization and strategy.

#12: L.E.K. Consulting

L.E.K. Consulting is a management consulting firm that has a wide range of clients from aviation and travel, to biopharma and life sciences. Strategy is the foundation of the company’s consulting practice. The company promotes both social and environmental responsibility through a series of programs and charitable projects.

#13: Charles River Associates

Another Boston-based consulting firm to make it on the list is Charles River Associates. Providing services in the fields of Auctions and Competitive Bidding, Organization and Performance Improvement, and International Arbitration, the company continues to solidify its place as a dependable firm.

#14: Insight Sourcing Group

Insight Sourcing Group is a fast, up and coming consulting firm that is driven by consultants from other leading companies such as McKinsey and Accenture. The organization is strong in the fields of procurement and strategic sourcing. Increasing the value of businesses is the primary motive of the company by providing solutions related to cost optimization.

#15: ClearView Healthcare Partners

In the medical and health industry, ClearView Healthcare Partners is one of the few firms that concentrate on biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Because of the small window of specialization, many companies in the field rely on the consulting firm’s advice to stay ahead.

#16: Cornerstone Research

Over the years, Cornerstone Research has been a sought after consulting firm for litigation-related advice. The company works with top level law firms in order to assist them in immense legal cases. Lawyers who are unable to properly analyze data beyond their expertise and knowledge have been known to seek out the assistance of the consulting firm. These issues are often related to economics, business or financial matters.

#17: Alvarez & Marsal

Alvarez & Marsal is an established consulting firm that sets their sights on service-oriented companies. A large aspect of the company’s practice is set on improving performance, as well as private equity services. Other departments that the consulting firm is known for include the following: Global Forensic and Dispute Services, Tax Advisory Services, Executive Benefits Consulting, and Transaction Advisory.

#18: The Cambridge Group

The Cambridge Group takes on a different perspective to address today’s common concerns related to business profitability. One of their key concepts is the theory of “demand and supply” not vice versa. This point of view provides their clients with a unique angle to address competitive markets and formulate effective strategies.

#19: Censeo Consulting Group

Censeo Consulting Group takes a non-traditional approach towards consulting by applying their own methodologies. Such methods include common consulting principles related to strategy, specialization and operational growth. The company is known to tackle supply chain concerns in a wide range of industries.

#20: The Chartis Group

Another management consulting firm that has a reputation in (but is not limited to) the medical field is The Chartis Group. Most of the company’s clients are established in San Francisco, Boston and Chicago and New York. Their client portfolio contains 81 percent of the U.S. News honor roll hospitals.

#21: Strategic Decisions Group

Strategic Decisions Group targets CEOs, directors and business owners in making critical decisions and leadership techniques. This also includes risk management and organizational strategies. The company can be found across the globe in capital driven countries.

#22: Point B

Point B is a cost effective management consulting firm that eliminates the need for seeking the advice of consultants from halfway across the globe. Their range of practice includes some of the following: Mergers and Acquisitions, Retail and Consumer Products, Public and Social Sector, and Financial Services.

#23: KPMG LLP

KPMG LLP provides consulting services related to tax, audit and advisory. The company is better known to be composed of a network of independent firms. Because of the solid exposure of the firm, their advisory services are extensive, which incorporates the following areas: Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory, Transformational Program Management, IT Advisory in Risk Consulting, and Mergers and Acquisitions Tax.

#24: Mercer LLC

Mercer LLC services mid-level clients who own companies in the Fortune 1000 and FTSE 100. Part of the consulting firm’s drive composes of investments, from decisions to monitoring. The company works with motivated businesses that are eager to accommodate to the competitive requirements of their respective industry.

#25: Kaiser Associates

Last on the list is Kaiser Associates, a management consulting firm that incorporates fact driven strategy and methodologies. Businesses who are entering a new market or are keen to improve operations or internal strategies seek the advice of the company. The firm has a total of 100 consultants, but caters to a number of high profile clients worldwide. Their services include businesses in the following related sectors: Consumer Packaged Goods, Public Sector, Financial Services and Payments, and Telecommunications.

Wrap Up

2014 looks to be a bright year for the consulting industry, as new firms such as The Parthenon Group and Insight Sourcing Group emerge as strong contenders in the list. The “Big 4” consulting firms still continue to dominate the rankings, taking the industry to new heights.

Reference

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Best Strategy Consulting Firms

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business people

Vault.com, a career website has released a list of 2014’s best strategy consulting firms. The ranking was based on a survey among consultants. Participants were asked to rank the consultancies in several areas of business focus. However, to establish fairness, they were allowed to vote for their own firm.

Here are the top 10 Best Strategy Consulting Firms in 2014:

#1: McKinsey & Company

Still claiming the first spot is McKinsey & Company. This privately owned management consulting firm has always been considered to be one of the most prestigious companies in its industry. They have a wide range of specialties – from commodities and natural resources to entertainment and technology. This reputable firm also claims to serve more than 80% of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies list, and majority of the 100 largest U.S. based companies. The firm also funds the McKinsey Global Institute, a research group dedicated to studying economic trends around the world.

#2: The Boston Consulting Group, Inc.

Climbing up a notch is the firm founded by Bruce D. Henderson in 1963 – BCG. It boasts around 5,000 consultants in 78 offices across 43 different countries. According to Forbes Magazine, this world renowned firm ranks as one of America’s Largest Private Companies.

In 1998, they established the Strategy Institute, a research organization that concentrates on the strategic challenges that affect both business and society. Among the most popular concepts developed by BCG are the experience curve, time-based competition, disease management, richness versus reach, trading up and trading down and globality.

#3: Bain & Company

Sliding down to the third spot is last year’s second pick, Bain & Company. This reputable company is known to be one of the Big 3 in consulting, along with McKinsey and BCG. And its chairman, Orit Gadiesh, has been named by Forbes magazine as one of the “The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World” four times.

The firm boasts around 5,400 consultants and claims to work with more than two-thirds of the Global 500, as well as with thousands of esteemed regional and local organizations. They currently operate in 50 offices in 32 countries. They serve a wide range of clients – from economic and industry sector, to healthcare and alternative energy. They also have an ongoing collaboration with The Bridgespan Group, the world’s leading non-profit consultancy established by Bain in 2000.

#4: Booz & Company

Still in fourth spot is the company founded by Edwin Booz in 1914. This reputable firm is one of the oldest consultancies in the world. They are known for their revolutionary ideas and credit itself with concepts such as human capital, product life cycle, supply chain management, and organizational DNA.

Since its founding, Booz has always given heavy emphasis on research. They regularly publish reports as well as a quarterly magazine to help promote their leading research.

#5: Deloitte Consulting LLP

Deloitte Consulting is divided into three service areas: Human Capital, Strategy and Operations, and Technology. They serve clients in many different industries, such as healthcare and life sciences, energy and resources, financial services consumer and industrial products, technology, and telecommunications.

The firm consistently ranks well in the great employer lists, like the Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For, Consulting magazine’s Best Firms to Work For, as well as Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Best Places to Launch a Career.

#6: Accenture

Accenture is primarily recognized as a technology consultant and systems integrator. This global management consulting pioneered systems integration and business integration. Today this renowned technology services and outsourcing company, has more than 266,000 professionals in more than 120 countries.

#7: EY (Ernst & Young) LLP Consulting Practice

Although Ernst & Young grabbed the seventh spot in the best strategy consulting firms, it is important to note that they have no “consulting” department. However, they do have an “advisory” unit, a term they adopted after the $11 billion sale of its original consulting unit to Capgemini.

#8: Oliver Wyman and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) LLP (Consulting Practice)

Tied at number eight are Oliver Wyman and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Oliver Wyman also offers consulting services to a wide range of industries, such as automotive, aviation, communications, media, financial services, industrial products and services, health, and retail and consumer products. They claim to serve more than 80% of the world’s largest 100 financial institutions as well as numerous Fortune 1000 companies. They are also known to produce reports on the state of various industries. Oliver Wyman also conducts annual research with the World Economic Forum and Marsh & McLennan on global risks.

On the other hand, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP boasts 72 offices across the US. They claim to serve 81% of the companies on the Fortune 500. Their advisory services focus on management, technology and risk consulting.

#9: IBM Global Business Services

Landing at the ninth spot is IBM GBS. Their practice areas are basically divided into two: business consulting and systems integration, and application management services.

#10: L.E.K. Consulting

Grabbing the last spot on the top 10 best strategy consulting firms is L.E.K Consulting. This reputable company was founded in 1983 and offers five major competences to its clients: strategy, operations and organizational development, shareholder value management, marketing and sales consulting and mergers and acquisitions. They now operate 22 offices across continents. They also maintain a blog called the L.E.K. Advisor, written by current L.E.K. consultants, that tackles information about the company and the consulting profession.

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Top Management Consulting Publications You Should Read

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Management Consulting Publications

No matter what industry you’re in, reading is one of the best ways to stay updated, connected and educated. In management consulting, these come in the form of journals, credible online forums and books (to name a few).

With so much information circulating both online and offline, it can be very easy to get carried away with sourcing out the right books or content that you need. It is important to find a relevant and reliable source for your management consulting knowledge. An example of a dependable source is one that consultants frequently mention, reference or comment on (for online reads).

Finding great consulting sources can not only expand your views and knowledge of the industry, but also provide you topics to talk about during networking, or during an interview. Your colleagues and superiors may also find your insight useful in current events that are related to the consulting industry. We have sorted out and carefully selected the best management consulting reads that can help you prepare for your upcoming career.

Perspective on McKinsey

Over the years, McKinsey & Company has published their own set of books that they take pride in. Some of these books they provide for candidates who pass their standards during the interview process, which serves as an introduction during their employment at the top level firm.

One of these books is Perspective on McKinsey by Marvin Bower. The content of the book provides a complete overview of McKinsey, from the company’s history to how the firm is shaping large companies on a global scale. This is a great read for anyone who is serious about breaking into the management consulting industry. You will know how high to set your standards and what type of consultant it takes to perform at painstaking competitive levels. Perspective on McKinsey can be found in Amazon.

Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy is a book that was written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of Blue Ocean Institute. The book provides key insights on 150 business strategies over the span of 100 years across 30 popular industries. The general concept that the writers are trying to promote is that instead of going head to head with your competition, move out to open markets; or in most cases, create your own. There are a number of analytics and frameworks to take note of in the book that has helped leading companies add value to their business.

Examples are provided with each framework such as The Six Paths Framework, which is designed to minimize the risks related to expansion and planning. The opposite of the blue ocean (open, uncongested market), is the red ocean, which is a representation of all the markets that are present today. An example of a blue ocean market that is slowly turning into a red ocean market is cloud data and 3D printing. Companies that lead both industries today have provided consumers with an entirely new product that did not exist prior to their release.

The book received loads of criticism from analysts, saying that the book relies heavily on the first-mover advantage theory, disregarding other aspects such as competitive advantage, capabilities and resources. Despite the positive and negative feedback that the book received, there is no arguing that the strategies that are mentioned works, as it is backed up by research and hard data.

The information found in the book is considered to be reliable for those who need in depth information about business frameworks and successful strategies. Because of this, many consultants, especially those who specialize in strategy consulting, consider Blue Ocean Strategy as a great read and tool for creating opportunities for their future clients.

Case In Point

Case in Point, written by Marc P. Cosentino, is a book some, including The Wall Street Journal, consider as the “MBA Bible”. As you might have guessed by the title, the book is all about consulting case interviews. Case in Point serves as a complete guide for case interviews. The book also covers the Ivy Case System, which can help readers formulate answers for highly complex cases. For those who are looking for a book that can also teach application, this is a notable place to start. The book includes 40 strategy cases to work on, which also serves as examples. The strategy cases found in the book can be used for practice during consulting case interviews, as well as MBA programs.

The book does go through revisions, and several editions have already been released. The writer’s insight on the case interview process can remove the dreadful feeling of being overwhelmed by the steps in preparation. Instead, the writer encourages consulting applicants to take on the case interview as a medium to showcase their talents and potential as a qualified candidate for the vacant position.

For those who don’t know Marc P. Cosentino, he is considered to be the top authority for case interview-related topics. He has over 24 years of experience as a coach for applicants who come from prestigious universities and MBA programs. Many high-caliber MBA consulting clubs such as Wharton, Harvard Business School, as well as top consulting firms, regularly purchase the book by bulk for their members and staff.

Case in Point is one of those books that you can’t go wrong in purchasing. If you’re interested in other books that Marc P. Cosentino wrote, you may also wish to look into the following publications: The Harvard Guide to Investment Banking, The Harvard Guide to Consulting and The Harvard Guide to Case Interviews.

The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World

The Lords of Strategy was written by business journalist, Walter Kiechel. The book highlights the foundation and birth of corporate strategy. This information can give prospective consultants a clear view of the 1960s, where businesses started turning to key variable such as costs, competition and consumers when formulating successful strategies. Perhaps the most valuable insight that the book provides are the revealing accounts of the four individuals who are considered to be the inventors of corporate strategy; namely Bruce Henderson (founder of Boston Consulting Group), Fred Gluck (McKinsey & Company’s Managing Director), Bill Bain (founder of Bain & Company), and Michael Porter of Harvard Business School.

For applicants who keep asking “why” when it comes to formulating consulting strategies for their upcoming interview, The Lords of Strategy can provide the answers they are looking for. The book takes on a straightforward approach at how the corporate world was revolutionized into what it has become today.

Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time

Pitch Perfect was written by Bill McGowan, a leading advisor for tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox and Salesforce.com. It deals with communication (both verbal and nonverbal), message delivery and overcoming pitfalls. Because consulting is such a communication driven industry, it is wise to touch up on one’s presentation, delivery and vocabulary skills. Presentations are a large part of a consultant’s career, whether it’s a presentation for an important client, or a presentation for superiors and other colleagues. This skill can set you apart from a consultant who is filled with impressive head knowledge, but lacks communication and presentation skills to back it up.

The book essentially elaborates that being the smartest person in the room can only get you so far. The author’s tips about the Principles of Persuasion are easy to pick up, practice, apply and eventually master. Pitch Perfect not only expounds on saying the right thing, but it also goes above and beyond to provide advice on the right timing as well when it comes to message delivery.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

The Goal has been around for almost 30 years. Business consultant, Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt, wrote the book and has been noted as a credible model for systems management. The book highlights the Theory of Constraints and overcoming bottleneck-related problems. Since its 4th revision, the publication includes several business cases, which highlights strategic capacity planning and the constraints of management.

Unlike other consulting books, this book was written in a story-telling manner. The main character, Alex Rogo, is an owner of a manufacturing plant that is doomed to fail. Eventually, he meets a number of people who teaches him the fundaments of strategy, profitability and productivity. It may not sound appealing to some readers, but this book is being circulated in top level business schools.

If you are looking for a different approach to learning, besides the usual bullet point facts and studies, The Goal may be what you’re looking for. The book not only shines light on concerns related to systems management, but also solutions in addressing key factors that can help minimize the risks that today’s companies are facing on a regular basis.

To conclude, these books are not only a great read, but can also equip consulting applicants with the right skills, knowledge and wisdom in preparing for the recruitment process.

Learn More

Are you looking for a complete management consulting guide for your preparation needs? We offer a top tier management consulting job guide for applicants who are keen on addressing the key issues related to their upcoming consulting interview. The very useful guide highlights how to write an attention-grabbing cover letter and resume, as well as employment preparation exams. The essential skills you need for a successful interview are also featured in the guide. Download your copy today!

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Top 10 Management Consulting Firms in Europe in 2014

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business team

If you are interested in consulting and are currently based in Europe, you might want to know Vault.com’s (a career website) list of the top consultancies to work for Europe for 2014. As usual, the survey only involved consultants who are currently employed at reputable companies in the industry.

The ranking was based on the combined score of a firm’s overall prestige score with other several factors such as satisfaction, firm culture, compensation, work-life balance, overall business outlook, and promotion policies.

Here’s the list of Vault’s top 10 consulting firms in Europe in 2014.

#1: McKinsey & Company Europe

McKinsey & Company remains unshakeable at no.1. This privately owned management consulting firm also grabbed the first spot for the best consultancy to work for last year, making it perhaps the most prestigious company of its kind. With regard to range of those specialties, they serve almost everything from commodities and natural resources to media and technology. The firm also claims to advise roughly 90 of the top 100 corporations worldwide.

McKinsey professionals also produce works of business scholarship. They have the McKinsey Quarterly, their official journal for tackling issues of management, strategy and finance. The world-renowned firm also operates the McKinsey Global Institute, a research group focused on critical economic trends across continents.

#2: Bain & Company Europe

Since it was founded in 1973, Bain remains to be one of the leading consulting firms all over the world. They now have 50 offices in 32 countries. The firm boasts around 5,400 consultants who help global leaders make the big decisions. This esteemed company has worked with more than two-thirds of the Global 500, as well as with hundreds of non-profits and private equity funds.

Bain was also the very first consulting firm to work with private equity firms. Moreover, they are known for doing extensive pro bono and low bono work, particularly for pressing social issues such as global development and education. They work with Endeavor Global, Teach for America, and Students for these matters.

#3: Booz & Company Europe

Moving up a notch is the company founded by Edwin Booz in 1914. This firm is considered one of the oldest consultancies in the world. The company credits itself for coming up with some revolutionary ideas such as the human capital in the 1940s, the product life cycle in the 1950s, supply chain management in the 1980s, smart customization in the 1990s and, the organizational DNA and Capabilities-Driven strategy.

The highly regarded firm also continues to give heavy importance on research. They regularly publish reports, books, quarterly magazine, and even produce podcasted online talk shows on mergers and acquisitions.

#4: Oliver Wyman Europe

Also climbing up a notch in the list of top 10 best consultancies in Europe to work for is Oliver Wyman. This management consulting business has more than 3,000 consultants in over 50 cities spread across 25 countries.

The firm claims to provide consulting services to numerous Global 1000 companies, as well as to many of the world’s largest financial institutions of Fortune 1000 companies. Oliver Wyman also provides pro-bono consulting services for some non-profit organizations.

#5: Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe

Falling two spots from the list is the largest consulting firm to have emerged from Europe. This global strategy consulting does the bulk of its business in Europe. They have 26 of their 51 offices worldwide in the said continent.

In Europe, they cover pretty much the most important markets. They provide service not only to the traditional large markets such as France, Germany and the UK, but to mid-sized markets such as Portugal and Turkey, and smaller markets including Baltics and Croatia. This renowned company has also been involved in many landmark projects in Eastern European countries.

#6: OC&C Strategy Consultants Europe

Retaining the sixth spot is the firm founded by Chris Outram in London in 1987. Most of its services still concentrate in Europe. However, they have been trying to build a stronger presence in the U.S. One of the steps they took to acquire greater access to the American market is merging with Boston-based Callidon Group in 2007.

OC&C takes particular pride in its consumer goods expertise. They are known to provide solutions in these three sections: growth stakes, profitability issues and category management.

#7: A.T. Kearney Europe

This company with humble beginnings now has an unquestionable global reach. They now have offices in about 40 countries worldwide, having around 2,300 consultants. They claim to concentrate on what they call “CEO-agenda concerns”. These concerns include merger, growth and IT strategies, supply chain management, innovation and complexity management, as well as enterprise services transformation.

A.T. Kearney also launched its Vision 2020 to colleagues globally in June 2013. One of their visions is to be the “first choice in providing immediate impact and growing advantage for our clients, our people, and the societies in which we live”.

#8: Simon-Kucher & Partners Europe

Bouncing back to the eight spot is the firm founded by marketing expert, Professor Hermann Simon, in Germany in 1985. Its founder is known as a worldwide leader in pricing consulting. The firm claims to help its clients maximize profits by providing them with tools and recommendations for proper product pricing.

They provide services for 8 of the 10 best-selling drugs in the world, as well as for leaders in consumer products, technology and financial services. Aside from pricing, this esteemed company also assists clients with regard to marketing and sales, and in developing corporate strategies.

#9: Frontier Economics Ltd.

Frontier (Europe) was founded in 1999. They currently employ around 124 consultants across its European offices. This microeconomics consultancy provides economic advice to both public and private sectors. They cater a wide range of industries including energy, environment, financial services, healthcare, media, retailing, transport, and many more.

#10: L.E.K. Consulting Europe

The tenth spot goes to a strategy consulting firm founded in London in 1983. They currently operate in 22 offices around the world. In Europe, they claim to have specialty in a number of major industries, such as aerospace and defense, biopharma and life sciences, energy and private equity, retail and consumer products, industrial products and services, media and entertainment, and transport.

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Top Management Consulting Firms in Europe

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Discussing results

Management consulting firms based in Europe must rely on their knowledge and experience in providing services to a wide range of business concerns in the region. Due to the recent economic developments in the past 5 years, numerous businesses in Europe are looking for strategies to sustain consistent growth.

In these situations, it is either small businesses that fail to get off the ground or large companies that are unable to meet their projections that are deeply affected by the events that have taken place in the European market. Because of this, it is becoming common for businesses to turn to top consulting firms for a change of pace.

To better cater to the needs of struggling businesses in the region, consulting companies have begun hiring experts and leaders from key industries to supplement the demand for their services.

Economic Consulting

Top consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company have seen the European economy transform into what it is today. Not all businesses are affected by the flux of the market, which means that firms must be versatile in providing solutions to an assortment problem, even in specific practices. Economic consulting in Europe deals with complex decision making while applying micro and macroeconomics.

Top 10 Firms for Economic Consulting (Europe)

  1. McKinsey & Company Europe
  2. NERA Economic Consulting Europe
  3. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  4. Bain & Company Europe
  5. RBB Economics
  6. Frontier Economics Ltd.
  7. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) International Ltd.
  8. Oliver Wyman Europe
  9. EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Europe
  10. Oxera

Energy Consulting

Businesses that provide energy-related services are faced with concerns related to technology, government policies, and operations. Consulting firms who specialize in energy apply their knowledge in supply and demand, fuel sourcing, pricing and financing in order to address the problems that many companies in the field have. Furthermore, dealing with strict environmental laws and the media is part of the practice that is highly sensitive and is often a roadblock that requires new perspectives and strategies.

Top 10 Firms for Energy Consulting (Europe)

  1. McKinsey & Company Europe
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  3. Bain & Company Europe
  4. Booz & Company Europe
  5. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe
  6. A.T. Kearney Europe
  7. NERA Economic Consulting Europe
  8. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) International Ltd.
  9. Arthur D. Little Europe
  10. Accenture Europe

Financial Consulting

Management consultants practice in providing financial advice to companies with problems in organization, private equity, merger and acquisition, performance, and growth. Due to the monetary risks involved when working with financial companies, consulting firms usually have a team of crisis management experts and advisors readily available to look over their high profile projects and clients.

Top 10 Firms for Financial Consulting (Europe)

  1. McKinsey & Company Europe
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  3. Oliver Wyman Europe
  4. Bain & Company Europe
  5. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) International Ltd.
  6. Deloitte (European Consulting Practice)
  7. KPMG (Europe Consulting Practice)
  8. EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Europe
  9. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe
  10. Booz & Company Europe

Health Care Consulting

The health care industry has always been (and will continue to be) under scrutiny by the public and media. Consumers can easily feel changes in pharmaceutical pricing and delivery systems due to the necessity of health care products. As a result, consulting firms have been rapidly expanding their practice in this area. Medical technology is another aspect of the practice that many large businesses invest in, with hopes to lead the industry through the research and development of new products, while adhering to tight regulations set by the FDA.

Top 10 Firms for Health Care Consulting (Europe)

  1. McKinsey & Company Europe
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  3. Bain & Company Europe
  4. IMS Consulting Group Europe
  5. ZS Associates Europe
  6. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe
  7. Booz & Company Europe
  8. Deloitte (European Consulting Practice)
  9. L.E.K. Consulting Europe
  10. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) International Ltd.

Human Resources Consulting

A productive workforce is always behind every successful business. For large companies who have offices and stores spread across the world, mismanagement of staff can lead to losses and scandals. Consulting firms who are experts in human resources deal with the application of recruitment and organizational strategies.

Top 10 Firms for Human Resources Consulting (Europe)

  1. Mercer Limited Europe
  2. Hay Group Europe
  3. Kienbaum Consultants International GmbH
  4. Towers Watson Europe
  5. McKinsey & Company Europe
  6. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  7. Aon Hewitt Europe
  8. Bain & Company Europe
  9. Deloitte (European Consulting Practice)
  10. The Hackett Group, Inc. Europe

IT Operations Consulting

In the past 20 years, information technology has progressed into a highly competitive and complex industry. In order to meet the demands of vendors and other businesses that rely on updated products, IT companies have to be as thorough as possible. IT operations is a specific consulting practice that primarily revolves around boosting company performance.

Top 10 Firms for IT Operations Consulting (Europe)

  1. Accenture Europe
  2. IBM Global Services Europe
  3. Capgemini Europe
  4. Infosys Consulting Inc. Europe
  5. Deloitte (European Consulting Practice)
  6. BearingPoint
  7. Tata Consultancy Services Europe
  8. Atos Origin Europe
  9. McKinsey & Company Europe
  10. KPMG (Europe Consulting Practice)

IT Strategy Consulting

Information technology faces many challenges in the European market, as most of the services and products being offered are new and territories, uncharted. Leading companies must also make the most of their products by repackaging to various vendors worldwide. IT strategy consulting works with businesses that are looking for innovative ways to implement strategies related to cloud integration, cost reduction and organization.

Top 10 Firms for IT Strategy Consulting (Europe)

  1. Accenture Europe
  2. IBM Global Services Europe
  3. Capgemini Europe
  4. McKinsey & Company Europe
  5. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  6. Infosys Consulting Inc. Europe
  7. BearingPoint
  8. Deloitte (European Consulting Practice)
  9. Gartner, Inc. Europe
  10. Atos Origin Europe

Management Consulting

Management consulting in Europe has become in demand due to the state of the general economy (though some regions still continue to prosper). Advice related to mergers and acquisitions, sustainability, risk management and cost reduction have been highly sought after by numerous companies.

Top 10 Firms for Management Consulting (Europe)

  1. McKinsey & Company Europe
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  3. Bain & Company Europe
  4. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe
  5. Booz & Company Europe
  6. Oliver Wyman Europe
  7. A.T. Kearney Europe
  8. Accenture Europe
  9. Deloitte (European Consulting Practice)
  10. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) International Ltd.

Operations Consulting

Consulting firms that specialize in operations are interested in boosting the performance of their client’s business. This can be done by implementing new strategies and ideas. This practice also deals with cost effective solutions to increase profitability. Consultants must also provide an effective plan of execution as part of their solution to raising the efficiency levels of the company.

Top 10 Firms for Operations Consulting (Europe)

  1. McKinsey & Company Europe
  2. Accenture Europe
  3. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  4. Bain & Company Europe
  5. A.T. Kearney Europe
  6. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe
  7. Booz & Company Europe
  8. Deloitte (European Consulting Practice)
  9. Porsche Consulting GmbH
  10. Capgemini Europe

Retail Consulting

The retail industry is extremely competitive, as large companies struggle to keep up with new trends. Furthermore, consumer behavior has become unpredictable over the years due to online and mobile shopping. As a result, businesses seek the advice of experienced consulting firms in order to make the most out of the big changes in the industry. Retail consulting also deals with product placement, advertising, and CRO (for online strategies).

Top 10 Firms for Retail Consulting (Europe)

  1. McKinsey & Company Europe
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  3. Bain & Company Europe
  4. OC&C Strategy Consultants Europe
  5. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe
  6. Simon-Kucher & Partners Europe
  7. Booz & Company Europe
  8. Oliver Wyman Europe
  9. A.T. Kearney Europe
  10. Deloitte (European Consulting Practice)

Strategy Consulting

An effective strategy can set a business apart from its competitors. This form of high-level practice works with business owners and CEOs in brainstorming new plans based on analytics, trends and competition. Consultants are usually brought in to address a number of concerns such as cash flow, returns and expansion. In the European market, precise strategies are required in order for businesses to make the most out of their time and resources. Risk management advisors may also work with consultants to formulate and execute plans in a more predictable manner.

Top 10 Firms for Strategy Consulting (Europe)

  1. McKinsey & Company Europe
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe
  3. Bain & Company Europe
  4. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe
  5. Booz & Company Europe
  6. Oliver Wyman Europe
  7. A.T. Kearney Europe
  8. OC&C Strategy Consultants Europe
  9. L.E.K. Consulting Europe
  10. Arthur D. Little Europe

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Most Prestigious Management Consulting Firms

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Consultant and customer looking at statistics

Consulting is known to be a prestigious industry. However, when it comes to prestige, not all consultancies are created equal. Vault.com, a career website, has released a list of the most prestigious firms today.

They conducted a survey among consultants wherein the participants were asked to rate prestige of consulting firms on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest score. However, to observe fairness, respondents were not permitted to rate their own firm and were only asked to rate those firms with which they are familiar with.

Based on the perceived prestige by consulting professionals, here are the latest rankings of the most prestigious firms for 2014.

#1: McKinsey & Company

Still securing the top spot is the firm founded in 1926 by a CPA and management professor, James O. McKinsey. This privately owned management consulting firm has always been considered to be the most prestigious company in the industry.

The esteemed company was founded to give local companies sound financial and accounting advice. While McKinsey doesn’t really divulge the names of its clients, they claim to advise more than 80% of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies list. They also claim to serve around 90 of the top 100 corporations globally, has served five out of the ten largest foundations in the U.S.

As for the range of expertise, the firm has a diverse list of clients – from commodities and natural resources to media and modern technology.

Aside from providing advice, McKinsey professionals also produce works of business scholarship. They regularly publish reports and studies, and even have their own business journal called McKinsey Quarterly. They even have a blog (Voices on Society), which tackles issues related to global society, featuring commentaries of world experts, and their own consultants.

#2: The Boston Consulting Group, Inc.

Remaining at second place is the firm founded in 1963 by Bruce D. Henderson. BCG now boasts around 5,000 consultants in 78 offices in 43 countries. According to Forbes magazine, this reputable firm ranks as one of America’s Largest Private Companies. They claim to serve numerous clients from the world’s 500 largest companies. Although BCG is known worldwide for helping multinational corporations, they also cater midsized businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

As expected from a renowned firm, they have a wide range of specialties. However, one of the innovations that the firm is known for is its growth-share matrix.

BCG consultants often come from the best business schools, such as Harvard, INSEAD, Kellogg, Stanford and Wharton. But they also have consultants who don’t have a business background and hold degrees ranging from economics, biochemistry, engineering, psychology, to law.

#3: Bain & Company

Still clinging at the third spot is Bain & Company. Currently they maintain 50 offices in 32 countries. This world renowned consultancy work across numerous economic and industry sectors – from media to healthcare to technology and alternative energy. While the firm keeps their client list confidential, word has leaked about some of its biggest clients, such as Dell, Ford, Charles Schwab, Starbucks, and Del Monte.

Bain also takes pride to be the first consultancy to work with private equity firms. Some of the services they provide for such firms are fund strategy, sector screening and deal generation, portfolio company performance improvement and exit planning.

#4: Booz & Company

The company founded in by Edwin Booz in 1914 grabbed the fourth spot in the most prestigious firms today. This highly regarded firm is one of the oldest consultancies in the world. Originally, it was called The Business Research Service of the lone staffer Booz.

In terms of specialties, they have a wide range of industries – including automotive, consumer, energy and utilities, financial services, health, industrials, media, oil and gas, transportation, retail, and many more.

They are also credited for some of the most revolutionary ideas in the consulting industry, like the concepts of human capital, product life cycle, supply chain management, smart customization, and organizational DNA.

#5: Deloitte Consulting LLP

Claiming the fifth spot is one of the leading tech service providers worldwide – Deloitte Consulting. Industry analysts are consistently impressed by this firm’s portfolio of client support, from advisory services to implementation to operations assistance.

The esteemed organization caters majority of the companies on the Fortune 500. They are also regularly cited in prestigious publications’ lists, such as Consulting Magazine’s Best Firms to Work For, Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Best Places to Launch a Career.

#6: Booz Allen Hamilton

Jumping at the sixth spot is the Virginia-based consulting firm. Booz is known to be an indispensable advisor to the US federal government, especially in IT strategy and integration to several agencies.

In its 100 years of existence, this renowned firm has gone through some name changes such as Edwin G. Booz, Business Engineering Service; Edwin G. Booz Surveys; Edwin G. Booz and Fry Surveys; Booz, Fry, Allen & Hamilton; Booz, Allen & Hamilton; and now Booz Allen Hamilton.

#7: PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) LLP (Consulting Practice)

Sliding down a notch is PWC LLP. They are headquartered in New York and operate in 72 offices across the US. They also claim to serve 81% of the companies on the Fortune 500.

In terms of advisory services, this reputable organization focuses on management, technology and risk consulting. They also offer forensics services, such as anti-corruption/fraud, forensic investigations, and cyber security.

#8: EY (Ernst & Young) LLP Consulting Practice

Grabbing the eight spot is the U.S. member firm of Ernst & Young Global – Ernst & Young LLP. They boast over 40,000 professionals working with clients in diverse industries, including automotive, banking and capital markets, biotechnology, consumer products, media and entertainment, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, power and utilities, retail and wholesale, and technology and telecommunications.

EY also claim that they don’t “consult”, rather “advises” their client. In fact, there is no such thing as a “consulting” wing at their company. This move to adopt “advisory” instead of “consulting” happened after the sale of its original consulting unit to Capgemini.

#9: IBM Global Business Services

From being twelfth last year, IBM GBS bounces to the ninth spot this year. This huge organization employs more than 100,000 professionals across continents, and is divided into IBM’s consulting, systems integration and applications businesses.

They also maintain the IBM Institute for Business Value, a foundation dedicated to providing strategic insights to help clients realize on new profitable opportunities. Their consultants around the world help in conducting research and analysis across numerous functional disciplines, such as corporate strategy, customer relationship management, financial management, human capital management, and supply chain management.

#10: Accenture

Employing more than 266,000 professionals across 120 countries, Accenture is one of the most prestigious consultancies in the world today. This global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, delivers its services in several industry-focused operating groups, including media and technology, financial services, products, health and public service.

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