List of Consulting Firms to Apply to in 2021:
If you are looking to learn which management consulting firms are out there, who they are looking to hire this year, and get an inside view into the culture of the firm…
Then this is the place for you.
What is Management Consulting and How Do I Become A Management Consultant?
On this page, we will assume you already know what management consulting is and understand the process of becoming a management consultant.
But if you are new to the process, refer to the online bootcamp or the resources below (if you don’t have access to the online bootcamp).
If you are ready to see what firms are out there and find the ones that you could see yourself working at, then let’s dive in.
What is a List of Top Consulting Firms?
If you spend any time on Google looking up names of consulting firms and lists, you will find various lists put out by Glassdoor, Vault, and others that mention the Top 25 or so Consulting Firms.
While those lists are great, our purpose for this page is not to rank the management consulting firms (what would you rank them by?), but to share with you a list of consulting firms that are hiring this year.
If you are an aspiring management consultant, we want to give you the best chance of becoming one by providing information on which firms are hiring, what locations they are hiring for, and what employees say about the work, culture, and lifestyle at the firm.
Since we work a lot with international students and expats who need sponsorship, we have a separate page (linked below) that we are updating with firms who are sponsoring H1Bs.
If you are curious about which firms are sponsoring this year, see the link to the resources below. In addition, if you want the list in Excel format so you can make your own edits, check out how to do that below.
Lastly, if find a firm that you are interested in applying to, but aren’t sure of the next steps, you can schedule a time to talk with a member of our team here.
What is or Counts as a Management Consulting Firm?
For our list, we only focus on firms that engage in strategy (or at least operational strategy) consulting, so you won’t find firms that focus entirely on IT consulting or branding/marketing consulting for example.
In addition, we are only including verified firms that have more than just “1 person” on LinkedIn who call themselves a management consulting firm.
Nothing wrong with being an independent consultant, but we want to focus on companies that have a history of hiring and a proven track record of success.
Below you will find a short description of each category of firms that you’ve probably seen in your research, “MBB”, “Big Four”, “Tiers 2”, and “Boutiques.” We’ll make it simple for you. In addition to listing the firms, we provide context to their grouping, and where you can go to find company reviews, job boards, and office locations.
Let’s get started with the most common name in management consulting that you might know (or will soon know) as “MBB.”
McKinsey, Bain, and BCG (also known as MBB)
When people think of creating a list of top consulting firms, they usually think of McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), also known as “MBB” after the first initial of each company.
Their renown comes from the fact that they are the most well-known strategy and management consulting firms in the world in terms of revenue (over $25B in 2019), prestige (see any list of their alumni), and the number of applicants each year (over 300,000).
MBB has year-round hiring for experienced hires (those who are out of school) and designated hiring cycles for students for full-time and internships.
You can find out more about McKinsey, Bain, and BCG here:
While McKinsey, Bain, and BCG do have the name recognition, it is important to know that they aren’t the only ideal consulting firms to work for when you are starting your career.
Many MBB alumni go on to start their own firms and thus carry the DNA of MBB in their training, development, and mentoring of new hires.
If your goal is to break into consulting, you will want to apply to more firms than just MBB.
Get your application noticed with these insider tricks from former McKinsey, Bain, and BCG Recruiting Managers.
Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG (also known as “The Big Four”)
The next group of management consulting firms people think of outside of MBB is usually Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG.
Together, they are known as the “Big Four.”
This name, Big Four, refers to their position in not only management consulting, but also in accounting.
But just because they aren’t mentioned first doesn’t mean they are small.
Each of these four firms, as a total of their individual services, actually dwarf MBB. For example, Deloitte alone brought in over $40B in revenue last year.
But besides their accounting practices, they also have growing consulting arms and are highly respected in the consulting world.
Based on reviews from employees as well as our community, taking a job at a Big Four firm is a great way to start a career in consulting.
Note that each Deloitte, PwC, and EY also have other consulting firms they’ve acquired under their network (e.g., EY-Parthenon) – we include those below in a later section.
Beyond MBB and the Big Four, there are more consulting firms worth considering and applying to which we cover next.
Tier 2s and Boutique Consulting Firms
If you search on Google, Quora, or other platforms you will hear the terms, “Tier 2 firms”, “Boutique firm”, or “Tier 3 firms” and will notice people use them differently and bucket firms in a variety of ways.
That is because no one has a clear definition of what these mean, since firms are evolving all the time, revenue numbers are private, and firms merge over time, making it even harder to distinguish if it is a “Tier 3” or a “Tier 2”.
For your own research and application purposes, we recommend just keeping it simple and considering them in a similar group outside of MBB and the Big Four.
These firms aren’t always “smaller” than the Big Four or MBB so don’t think of Tier 2s/Boutiques as small players.
For example, Accenture in 2019 brought in over $45B (more than the combined of MBB) across their 5 consulting practices (Accenture Consulting alone was estimated at $18B which is more than McKinsey).
You will find that Tier 2s and Boutique consulting firms also tend to specialize in a field so if you have a field you are interested in, you will be able to do more work in that space.
For example, L.E.K., Simon-Kucher & Partners, and ZS Associates specialize in life science and healthcare consulting which is attractive for candidates who want to work in those fields long-term.
Here, our team has put together a list of all the firms that are currently hiring this year.
Related Content and Additional Resources
Are We Missing Any Firms?
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