Consulting is rapidly becoming one of the most popular first destinations for recent business graduates. In 2018, some 21.5% of Wharton School graduates entered consulting immediately after graduation — more than any other industry besides financial services. In 2016, Boston Consulting Group scooped up more Wharton grads than any other company. The next year, McKinsey and Company led the way in hiring the most Wharton grads. And while Goldman Sachs was back on top in 2018, McKinsey followed again in second. At Michigan’s Ross School of Business, 18.2% of graduates went into consulting — again, only second to financial services. Consulting is also the second-most popular destination for Virginia McIntire School of Commerce graduates, where 32% went into consulting positions in 2018 — up from 29% the year before.
With consulting being so popular — and so many firms to pick from — it’s imperative to know just what you’re getting into as a recent graduate. For the past decade, Vault, a career insights platform, has been ranking the best consulting firms to work for based on surveys of current employees. And for the second year in a row, McKinsey and Company tops the list of this year’s top consulting firms. McKinsey has basically always been at the top of the list, debuting in second place in 2011 when Vault first began ranking consulting firms. Following McKinsey is Boston Consulting Group, which flip-flopped positions with Bain & Co. After Bain, Deloitte came in fourth and Oliver Wyman rounded out the top five in the same positions the firms were in last year.
While the top five firms remained largely unchanged compared to last year, Booz Allen Hamilton made a massive leap, jumping 15 spots into sixth place this year. Over a century old, the Washington D.C.-headquartered firm has over 80 offices around the globe. GE Healthcare Partners also made a big jump, moving up five positions to finish 10th.
RANKING BASED MAINLY ON FIRM PRESTIGE, CULTURE, AND EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION
Vault ranks the firms based on how they perform in eight different areas including prestige, culture, satisfaction, compensation, work/life balance, level of challenge, overall business outlook, and promotion policies. The survey is open to consultants employed at “reputable” firms in the industry. For quality of life, consultants are only able to review their own firms. For prestige and other “practice area rankings,” respondents are only able to rate competitor firms. Prestige was given the heaviest weight, accounting for 30% of a firm’s score. The next highest category is firm culture and satisfaction — each weighted by 15%.
Losing the most ground in the rankings this year within the top 25 was Roland Berger, which dropped seven places compared to last year. Putnam Group and The Bridgespan Group each lost six spots compared to last year, dropping both firms out of the top 10 and into 12th and 15th, respectively.
Nearly half of the firms in the top 25 were not ranked in 2011 when the ranking debuted. Of those that were in the original ranking, Accenture and Putnam Associates have made the largest gains — Accenture moving up 21 spots and Putnam Associates moving up 18 places, despite falling six spots from last year to this year. Accenture also actually dropped one spot from last year to this year. Despite losing four spots from 2019 to 2020, L.E.K. Consulting has also made big gains over the past decade, climbing 17 spots to 18th this year. Losing the most ground over the past decade is Analysis Group, which fell 13 spots since 2011.
For an in-depth look at Vault consulting data, click here.