BOUTIQUE FIRM RANKING
Smaller in size and scope, boutique firms can provide specialized expertise that can compete with any generalist firm. For consultants, they provide a platform to focus exclusively on their passions with clients who share their interests and values. At the same time, boutiques often require fewer hours and less travel.
Such differences also demand a different methodology to measure their effectiveness. That’s why Vault has tweaked the weights for its boutique-specific ranking. One big difference: it removes Prestige altogether, as this tends to measure awareness as much as quality. In its place, it boosts the weight of Firm Culture ad Satisfaction. Previously 15%, their weights climb to 25% and 20% respectively. Work-Life Balance’s weight doubles to 20%, as does Business Outlook to 10%. Compensation (10%), Level of Challenge (10%), and Promotion Policies (5%) carry the same weight.
This year, ghSMART & Company held onto the top spot for boutiques. A Chicago-based firm specializing in management assessment, ghSMART actually outpointed all consulting firms in two workforce measures: Interaction with Clients and Level of Challenge. It also finished as the runner-up in Compensation and Work-Life Balance (and 3rd for Hours and Selectivity).
“We are a virtual firm so all work from home,” writes one survey-taker. “After well over a decade in a large consulting firm where we worked in office, coming to ghSMART shows me that we can do higher quality, meaningful work, all while being able to have a healthy home life. It’s been life changing. I get to work with some of the largest companies in the world, offering a tremendous amount of impact, from home.”
In a bit of a surprise, The Bridgespan Group finished 2nd to ghSMART despite ranking 4th in the Vault Consulting 50. The reason is simple: Prestige was taken out of the equation, where Bridgespan ranked 18th and ghSMART didn’t crack the Top 50. The Potomac Point Group jumped four spots to #3, followed by DeciBio Consulting and Putnam Associates (which ranked 1st just three years ago). By the same token, several firms dropped substantially, led by Clearview Healthcare Partners. Ranked 2nd last year, Clearview tumbled to 19th. Blue Matter Consulting, last year’s #5, plunged all the way to #28.
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