VAULT CONSULTING 50 RANKING
There is just something about the #4 spot in the Vault Consulting 50. Last year, Booz Allen Hamilton knocked Deloitte out of it — a place it had held for three consecutive years. Now, The Bridgespan Group has returned the favor, swiping the #4 spot after ranking 15th just two years ago.
What’s behind the surge? Among employment factors, the firm ranked #1 for Diversity. On top of that, it enjoyed the 3rd-highest marks in Overall Business Outlook and Satisfaction. While the latter two only make up a combined 20% weight, The Bridgespan Group’s Prestige score — which carries a 30% weight — jumped from 39th to 18th. And it didn’t hurt that it ranked 5th for Promotion Policies either.
THE RISE OF BRIDGESPAN AND KEARNEY
Alas The Bridgespan Group is a nonprofit operating in the philanthropy space. Still, consultants tout competitive pay and access to Bain formal training as benefits. One Vault respondent positioned the firm’s appeal this way: “Smart people, grateful clients, working to maximize impact—and tons of great learning for new consultants along the way.” However, another boiled it down to perhaps its essence: shared mission.
“It is a privilege to be able to do work that I care deeply about, with colleague who also care deeply about social change.”
Another big winner was Kearney, which climbed seven spots to 8th. Strangely, Prestige had little to do with the firm’s success in this year’s Vault Consulting Year. Despite boosting its Prestige average from 5.115 to 6.093, Kearney only improved one spot to 15th in this measure. Instead, the firm’s workplace scores improved incrementally, led by being 6th for Internal Mobility and 9th for Level of Challenge. According to survey respondents, Kearney’s respectful atmosphere makes it a great place to work.
“The firm culture is the main reason I joined and have stayed for the past seven years,” explains one anonymous employee. “The firm creates a very collegial culture, and we treat each other like a family.”
Another factor is the firm’s flexibility. “Kearney really shines in the attention and level of support to consider life events (e.g., parenthood, personal time to recharge) in the career progression and timing,” adds another respondent. “I have five kids, so balancing work with family obligations is challenging at times. I continue to be amazed how the firm accommodates and helps me balance work and personal obligations.”
CLEARVIEW FACES UNCERTAINTY
L.E.K. Consulting also made a splash in this year’s ranking. After not participating last year, the firm returned to the 9th, spot, after ranking 18th and 14th the previous two years. Like Kearney, L.E.K. Consulting advanced just one spot in the Prestige ranking despite a .682 improvement in its score here. Overall, the firm ranked in the Top 10 in the all-important Compensation and Level of Challenge measures. In the consultant survey, one respondent noted that L.E.K. may be the only firm that considers its weeks to be six days long. Translation: “We almost never work on weekends.” Another appeal of L.E.K. is the work in general
“I joined seven years ago never expecting to stay this long. The teams, the clients, and the problems we work on in biopharma are second to none. I have worked on nearly all of the biggest biopharma issues of this century and find so much meaning in my work. The hours can be tough, but are worth it, and for my colleagues who disagreed they have all landed happily in biopharma and VC. Great opportunity and would take it again any day.”
The MBB weren’t the only mainstays in the Vault Consulting 50 this year. EY Parthenon, Oliver Wyman, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Putnam Associates kept their grip on elite status, even as Deloitte Consulting, Alvarez & Marsal, and Clearview Healthcare Partners all tumbled out of the Top 10. The latter’s downfall was particularly stunning.
Last year, Clearview Healthcare Partners ranked #1 in six categories (Firm Leadership, Innovation, Internal Mobility, Overall Business Outlook, Promotion Policies, and Travel Requirements) and #2 in 5 other categories (Formal Training, Informal Training, Interaction with Clients, Level of Challenge, and Relationships With Supervisors). It even cracked the Top 5 in 7 more categories. Chances are, it would’ve ranked among the MBB if it wasn’t unranked for Prestige. This year, it only ranked among the Top 5 in four categories (Firm Leadership, Formal Training, Innovation, and Overall Business Outlook). To add insult to injury, rivals finally gave it the 38th-best score for Prestige. One reason for Clearview’s stumbles involves growing pains as it adjusts to increasing demands.
“Employee morale is low among those in the analyst to senior consultant career stages who have at least 1 year of experience with the firm due to workload issues,” writes one respondent.
For the most part, this year’s Vault Consulting 50 represented progress for most consulting firms. Charles River Associates rose from 38th to 22nd, with Triangle Insights Group moving from 43rd to 29th and NERA Economic Consulting going from 41st to 31st. At the same time, the list contains several strong debuts and returns, including Arthur D. Little (19th), Analysis Group (21st), Back Bay Life Science Advisors (24th), and Kx Advisors (38th). By the same token, PwC dropped out of the Vault Consulting 50 altogether after ranking 9th last year, a phenomenon usually stemming from a lack of employee participation in the survey. GE Healthcare, which plummeted from 10th to 24th last year, is also missing from the 50-best.
Next Page: Firm Prestige Ranking