ghSMART Careers: Why It’s a Top Boutique Consulting Firm

ghSMART careers

Exploring ghSMART careers could be a “smart” choice if you want to be a consultant.

Consistently ranked among the top boutique consulting firms to work for, ghSMART is where you can grow your professional and leadership coaching skills and make impactful contributions to global clients.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What makes ghSMART a top boutique firm, including culture and values
  • What ghSMART careers look like
  • Career opportunities after working at ghSMART
  • 4 tips on launching ghSMART careers

Let’s get started!

What Does ghSMART Do?

ghSMART operates globally as a boutique leadership and management consulting firm. The firm focuses on advising executives and board members on the highest priority strategic issue: how to be an effective leader. 

ghSMART serves over a thousand clients across Fortune 500 companies, non-profit leaders, board members, as well as private equity investors. The CEO of UPS is a client.

ghSMART was founded in Chicago in 1995 by Geoff Smart, a Ph.D. who has written books about leadership, including Who, Leadocracy, and Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success

It has more than 175 consultants, operates in over 20 locations across the US, and has a location in London. Even though ghSMART has several locations around the country, that may be more of an organizational term than a physical location because most ghSMART consultants work remotely. 

What’s unique about ghSmart’s ownership structure is that all team members can buy ghSMART stock. The firm is 100% owned by employees. At most other firms, you won’t have the opportunity to own part of the firm until you have worked there for several years, are voted into the role of partner by current partners, and are invited to buy stock.

Type of Work You’ll Do in Your ghSMART Careers

Type of Work You’ll Do in Your ghSMART Career

ghSMART is unique because its advisory services combine significant leadership expertise and deep quantitative psychographic insights. The firm has invested in research and talent to set itself apart to be able to advise organizational leaders on how best to lead in their current situation. 

ghSmart’s advisory services are informed by over 27K leadership assessments, and the firm touts 98% client satisfaction over the last 10 years. 

ghSMART helps leaders answer three questions:

  • Do we have the right priorities? (only 24% of leaders do)
  • Do we have the right people in the team? (only 14% of leaders do)
  • Do we have the right relationships? (only 47% of leaders do)

ghSMART offers 3 solutions for clients: 

  1. Corporate Solutions
  2. Private Equity & Principal Investor Solutions
  3. Public and Social Sector Solutions

Corporate Solutions

ghSMART works with executives and boards to help them improve their personnel decisions. Some of their projects include succession planning, assessing the next layer of leaders for high-potential talent, and increasing the effectiveness of the board of directors. 

Sample project: A company hires ghSMART to help them fill a senior role. ghSMART consultants will work with the client to create a scorecard for success in that role and to evaluate candidates for that role. The scorecard will evaluate both the outcomes driven by that leader and the patterns of behavior demonstrated by that person.

What Type of Work You’ll Do in Your ghSMART Career

Private Equity & Principle Investor Solutions

ghSMART also advises investors in privately held companies to help ensure their portfolio companies have outstanding leadership. This work focuses on maximizing the value the investors may receive when exiting their investment. ghSMART believes having the right leaders is a big driver of exit value. 

Sample project: ghSMART works with clients to ensure new executives at portfolio companies have a successful transition. It is common for private equity investors to bring in new leadership to usher in eras of growth at portfolio companies. The program focuses on the first 6 months of a new executive and ensuring they have the right priorities, the right people in place, and the right relationships.

Public and Social Sector Solutions

ghSMART works with nonprofits and educational institutes to support leaders who drive global change. Their goal in supporting these organizations is to maximize social impact through talent and leadership. 

Sample project: ghSMART works with nonprofits to refine their people strategy for their board of directors. The goal is to align the organization’s strategy with the competencies of the directors.

ghSMART Culture

ghSMART’s values center around driving positive impact with people. The firm’s values are framed in much more personal language than most consulting organizations, which include:

  • When in doubt, lead: ghSMART consultants consider themselves pioneers serving leaders
  • Who matters: It truly matters to have the right person in the right job
  • Generosity and gratitude: ghSMART encourages both staff and colleagues to share their experiences and perspectives with generosity
  • Best you: The firm supports staff to bring their best selves to their roles with feedback and tools to perform at their best
  • Own the outcome: ghSMART consultants don’t finish their work until their clients have reached the desired outcome

ghSMART is highly rated by Vault on several factors and ranked #6 overall compared to other top consulting firms. The firm scored #1 for Compensation, Diversity, Selectivity, and Work-Life Balance.

ghSMART consultants are known to be very happy in their careers. Typically they are seasoned professionals, and these consultants are given a great deal of latitude to shape their work. 

ghSMART has a largely remote work environment. While this offers a lot of flexibility, some consultants cite that it can be difficult to connect with other consultants.

What does the Interview for the ghSMART careers look like

What Does the ghSMART Interview Look Like?

The ghSMART interview process is more burdensome than the interview process at other firms. 

The candidate selection process incorporates elements of the strategy work that ghSMART performs with clients. The goal is that once you’ve been through the interview process, you will know what it’s like to be in the shoes of ghSmart’s clients. 

The ghSMART interview process includes:

  1. Intro call to learn more about the role and for the screener to confirm your info
  2. Screening interviews with a recruiter to go deeper into your background and what you’re looking for
  3. A case study interview with a ghSMART consultant
  4. The ghSMART Assessment, an in-depth look at your prior experiences 
  5. Peer interviews
  6. Reference interviews

ghSMART is unique in that they want to really understand you and your own awareness of your positive qualities and development opportunities. The firm uses the ghSMART Assessment to learn about you.

This assessment will last about 4 hours with 1 ghSMART consultant. You will start by discussing your early years, including your family and education. 

Most of the discussion will focus on your professional experiences, the leaders you’ve worked with, and the leadership insights you’ve garnered from those experiences.

Successfully Passing the ghSMART Interview

You are technically not required to prepare for this discussion, but you will likely perform better if you spend some time reflecting on your past professional experiences, including: 

  • The key elements of your role
  • The accomplishments you are most proud of in that role, and what you delivered to achieve them
  • What you learned from your mistakes
  • Key leaders, managers, clients, or other stakeholders you worked with
  • Your motivations during your time in that role and why you moved on

Once you’ve completed the interview process and are invited to move on, you will have the opportunity to speak with 5 to 8 additional consultants at ghSMART, including the president.

If you are starting to apply for ghSMART careers, check out Our Ultimate Guide to Case Interview Prep for more resources and Case Interview Coaching: Benefits of One-on-One Support if you need to brush up on your consulting skills fast.


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

What is the Career Path for ghSMART Careers?

Overall ghSMART Career Path

Consultants at ghSMART cite that the career progression and compensation are very transparent and it’s clear exactly how you move from one level to the next and how much compensation you will earn each year. 

The firm has explicit training, mentorship, direct coaching, and clear scorecards to evaluate consultants. 

The firm has a unique compensation model – the more you work, the more you earn. Consultants have the freedom to choose when they are in a phase where they want to work more or when they need a break. 

Since ghSMART does not recruit right out of undergrad or MBA programs, there are no analyst or associate positions. 

Career progression at ghSMART looks like this: 

  • Entry-level roles: 
    • Principal – consultants with significant experience (10+ years) prior to ghSMART
    • Researcher: Ph.D. in psychology or similar fields
  • Senior Principal
  • Partner
  • Senior Partner

The time it takes to progress from one role to the next depends on prior experience and the number of hours you work. We’ve seen examples of ghSMART consultants moving from principal to senior principal in a year or 2, but it generally takes more time to rise to associate partner.

Career Opportunities After Working at ghSMART

If you decide to leave ghSMART, you could pursue a wide range of opportunities. Some consultants go on to lead organizations as CEOs or Chief Human Resource Officers. Many other consultants also establish their own consulting firms or join major consulting firms.

What is the Career Path for ghSMART Careers?

4 Tips to Ace a ghSMART Interview

1. Learn About ghSMART’s Approach to Leadership

If you’re passionate about leadership coaching, you should definitely read at least one of the books written by the founder of ghSMART. If you’ve read his books, like Who, you will demonstrate that you’re interested in understanding the firm’s approach and will be better prepared to answer questions in your interviews.

2. Prepare For The ghSMART Assessment

Take time before the assessment to recall and write down details from your previous roles. Then reflect on some of the best and most challenging experiences you had in those roles. You will be surprised at the memories you can surface and how they might support your story of why you would be a great fit at ghSMART.

Preparation for Acing a ghSMART Interview

3. Practice For The Case Interview… Even If You’re an Experienced Consultant

There is typically only one case interview as part of the ghSMART interview process, so you only have one chance to really nail your case. Since most of the candidates pursuing ghSMART careers are experienced hires, you are expected to be great at case interviews. 

Don’t anticipate that you can just jump right into a case interview if you haven’t done them in a while. Review the various types of cases. Then practice to make a great impression and solve the case!

4. Reflect On The Leaders You Admire and Know Why

Getting a job at ghSMART is very competitive, and you want to stand out. Be sure to show how interested you are in leadership development by siting the impact of some influential leaders. Think about what personal attributes made those leaders successful and how that manifested in the company’s success.

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In this article, we’ve covered:

  • Why ghSMART careers are highly sought after 
  • What work looks like as a ghSMART consultant
  • Exit opportunities if you leave ghSMART
  • 4 pieces of advice to ace your ghSMART interview

Still have questions?

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

Other people prepping for ghSMART found the following pages helpful:

Help with Your Consulting Application

Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for information on ghSMART careers. 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 Katrina was able to get her offer from Boutique Legal Firm.


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

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