Consultant Job Titles & What They Mean | My Consulting Offer

Consultant Job Titles
Picture of Jo Randall
Jo Randall

former UK-based McKinsey and Bain recruiter

Have you noticed that the top consulting firms all use similar consulting job titles? What is the difference between an Analyst vs. an Associate?

Confusing? Yes!

In this article, we’ll provide:

  • Descriptions for what consultants do throughout different stages of their career (regardless of their consulting job titles!)
  • A cheat sheet to compare the consultant job titles at McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and other top firms
  • A list of resources to help you apply for the right consultant job titles and land an offer at your dream firm

Let’s get started!

What Do Different Consulting Job Titles Mean

A job in consulting rewards you with a very transparent and meritocratic career trajectory. Whatever your entry point, you can be assured that, if you perform well and enjoy the role, there’s a promising future ahead.

Consulting firms do most of their hiring at the junior levels, attracting undergraduates, postgraduates, MBA students, and those with a few years of industry experience. This is typically their first step into the world of consulting.

At these levels, roles are focused on analyzing data and drawing insights to contribute to solving client problems. Junior roles such as analyst, associate consultant, associate, and consultant can be confusing and don’t communicate what’s involved in the work. Although the role titles differ across firms, they are similar in their responsibilities and activities involved and follow very similar paths for progression.

At the more senior levels, roles are more managerial, so titles such as engagement manager, project leader, principal, partner, and director, are most common. At these senior levels, you will oversee the problem-solving and take a larger role in client management, not focus on crunching the numbers.

Senior consultants are hired with more years of industry experience. They usually have deep expertise in their field, existing leadership skills, experience growing a client base, or prior consulting experience. They can step into their role and have an immediate impact on the firm. In some consulting firms, you can only be promoted internally into these senior roles.

“No two days are the same” really does apply in consulting. Having an understanding of the key responsibilities of each role is helpful if you’re wondering whether consulting is the right career for you or if you want to know what activities you might be doing day-to-day.

Consultant Job Titles for Junior Levels:

Discussing consultant job titles

Analyst, Business Analyst, Associate, or Associate Consultant

If you’re applying as an undergraduate, a master’s student, or a recent graduate, you’ll join at the analyst or associate consultant level. This is the start of the consulting career ladder.

Firms want to see that you have a strong academic record, relevant skills gained from holding positions of responsibility within on-campus clubs and societies and from work experience, and a desire to continue learning. They also recruit from a variety of backgrounds, with no focus on specific degrees. There are exceptions to this if you are recruiting for a specialized firm, such as a healthcare consulting firm. In our article, The Best Major for Consulting, you can learn more about how different degrees can prepare you for consulting.

At this stage, you’ll be learning the ropes, so lots of in-depth training will be provided before you’re staffed on a project. From the beginning, you’ll become a key member of the teams you work with.

As a member of a team of 3 to 6 other consultants, you’ll be given ownership of a component of the project. Analyzing data, testing hypotheses, interviewing stakeholders, and presenting your findings to the rest of the team or the client are the most common activities. All of which contributes to the team’s purpose of taking ambiguous problems from the client and working together to create solutions that the client can act on. You may also be involved in supporting the implementation of these solutions.

You’ll be working across multiple industries and business functions, gaining broad experiences to develop your ability to apply problem-solving skills in a variety of situations.


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Consultant Job Titles for MBAs, Ph.D.s, & Promoted Junior Consultants:

Associate, Senior Associate, Consultant, or Senior Consultant

As a Ph.D. candidate, MBA student, or an experienced professional with a few years of experience, you’ll likely fit into the consultant or associate-level role. Junior consultants are also promoted to these roles (either directly or after they return to school for an advanced degree).

Firms still want to see a strong academic record when hiring for these roles. They’re also looking for how else you’ve gained relevant skills, how quickly you’ve progressed in your current or former career, and in which areas you have developed expertise.

Again, as a new hire, you’ll receive lots of training to ensure you’re set up for success for your first and ongoing projects.

When you join at this level, you’ll be taking on more responsibility by managing more complex elements of the projects you’re working on. You might also be conducting expert interviews and running client workshops to generate and test ideas. You will start to lead more junior members of the team as you progress.

Consultant Job Titles for Senior Levels:

Manager, Engagement Manager, or Project Leader

At this level, you’ll be leading client interactions, liaising with senior leadership, and managing the team and day-to-day delivery of the project. You’ll also provide your industry or functional expertise to best serve the client.

Senior Manager, Associate Partner, or Principal

By this point, you may be covering several projects in a specific industry group or function. You’ll provide your input on the team’s findings and recommendations before they’re presented to the clients and ensure communication with clients is on the right track.

Partner or Senior Executive

You’ll take overall responsibility for managing client expectations, project deliverables, and recommendations. You’ll also be developing client relationships, new and existing. Your contribution to the office and firm as a leader will be showcased through external conferences and articles as well as taking a leadership role within the office, such as recruitment.

Director or Senior Partner

As the main contact for the C-Suite of each client, you’ll be diving into the details to rescue your team if there are any emergencies, and being both proactive and reactive to the potential of additional projects.

A Cheat Sheet for Understanding Consulting Job Titles

Below is a table showing some of the larger consulting firms’ typical career paths and main hiring levels. This is a guide on how to compare different consultant job titles across different consulting firms.

It’s important to note that the entry-level may vary depending on the location, as education systems and requirements can differ across regions.

*Experienced professionals can be appropriate for either of these positions. Typically the senior-level position will be appropriate if you have 3 or more years of experience.

Resources to Help You Apply to Consulting Firms

To understand more about what a career in consulting looks like and to read through a breakdown of a case interview and how to solve one, take a look at our article, What Is Consulting & What Do Consultants Do?

If you’ve decided you would like to work in consulting but you’re not sure which area of consulting you’d like to work in, our article, Types of Consulting Firms, will help. We discuss the main categories of consulting, how strategy consulting differs from other types of consulting, and why strategy consulting might be a good fit for you.

You can read more about the consulting career progression and its timelines by reading our article on The Consulting Career Path. It’ll help you better understand how to get promoted through different consultant job titles.

 In addition to the diverse work opportunities and accelerated career growth, another appeal of consulting is the potential for competitive salaries. Our article, Management Consulting Salaries, provides an overview of current consulting salaries at the key hiring levels across various firms.

Once you’ve decided that consulting is the right fit for you and have narrowed down your options for potential firms to apply to, make sure you are well-prepared for the consulting application and interview process. Our article on The Consulting Interview Process will walk you through the stages of the process and give you insightful tips from recruiters who have worked at McKinsey, Bain, and BCG on how you can land that dream offer.

– – – – –

In this article, we’ve covered:

  • Insights into the work consultants do at different consultant job titles
  • An explanation of the different consulting job titles and career progression at McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and other top firms
  • Helpful resources to help you understand more about a career in consulting and how to navigate the process to land the right consulting job titles

Other people searching for information on the top 5 consulting firms found the following pages helpful:

Still have questions?

 If you have more questions about different consultant job titles, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s recruiters will answer them.

Help with Your Consulting Application

Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for info on careers in consulting. My Consulting Offer has helped 89.6% of the people we’ve worked with to get a job in management consulting. We want you to be successful in your consulting interviews too. For example, here is how Misha was able to get his offer from BCG.


Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 89.6% of our clients pass the case interview.

1 thought on “Consultant Job Titles & What They Mean | My Consulting Offer”

  1. Hello, I would like to know the appropriate job titles for entry level, intermediate and mid-level roles as management systems consultant.


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