Top 50 Consulting Firms To Work For In 2023


EY Parthenon’s climb has been eerily quiet and slowly deliberate. A fixture in the Top 10, EY-Parthenon was so easy to miss. This year, the firm inched up to the point where it couldn’t be ignored – 4th place, just below the MBB.

Looking at the numbers, it is easy to see why EY-Parthenon continues to gain strength. When it comes to Prestige – carrying 30% of the Vault Consulting 50’s weight, EY-Parthenon has added two points since 2018, including over .30 of a point in the past year alone. Along with ranking 5th for Prestige, EY-Parthenon also appears in the Top 10 in four Work and Life dimensions, topping out at 5th in Health and Wellness.


In many ways, EY-Parthenon is hard to overlook. After all, it is home to nearly 8,000 consultants across 120 offices globally. Vault dubs it a “boutique firm culture [with] big firm capabilities.” A strategy consulting firm best known for its work in private equity, mergers & acquisitions, and life sciences, EY-Parthenon has adopted a philosophy of hiring “smart, nice, and driven” people. These people are the main reason why one consultant surveyed by Vault has remained with the firm for nearly two decades.

“The culture of no ego, supportive mentorship, and colleagues who truly care about you as a person while operating at an incredibly high level of performance is unmatched. Every day I feel challenged by my work, learn from my teams, feel personally fulfilled by providing mentorship to others, receive mentorship myself, and operate in a group of people I truly consider to be my friends and not just my colleagues.”

Another advantage? The firm operates under the Ernst & Young umbrella, which allowss it to tap into a wide range of resources and expertise. “The practice is diverse and there are a variety of projects sold across all sectors,” adds another Vault survey respondent. “Where one area slows down as a reaction to the market, others thrive. We continue to be busy and have the right sized population that we don’t have excess people so it’s a good place to work and be productive. We consistently discuss our performance against plan and are realistic about market and industry trends.”


EY-Parthenon also pushed the Bridgespan Group down to the 5th spot. At the same time, ghSMART & Company and The Analysis Group each clawed their way into the Top 10 after ranking 15th and 21st last year respectively. By the same token, Kearney and L. E. K. Consulting each moved up a spot to 7th and 8th respectively.  Alvarez & Marsal also returned to the Top 10. These firms displaced Booz Allen Hamilton and Oliver Wyman, Top 10 mainstays that declined to participate in the most recent consultant survey. The same is true of KPMG, which ranked 20th last year.

Looking for a consulting firm to watch in the future? Start with Publicis Sapient, which climbed 25 spots to 18th – all while improving its overall score by nearly .80 of a point in just one year. Employing nearly 20,000 people, Publicis Sapient is a top digital strategy firm that ranked among the most innovative firms on the Vault Consulting 50 list. The firm focuses on the long-term with each digital transformation project. As one consultant notes, Publicis Sapient looks beyond a tool or implementation to “drive specific business outcomes and evolve products, services, and experiences over time so that the business can be ever relevant.” Even more, the firm earns plaudits for its leaders’ transparency, with one consultant explaining that “it is refreshing to be ‘brought into the room’.”

Another consultant, however, offers a different take on Publicis Sapient’s appeal. “It’s tough to find a firm with more high-end digital transformation/strategy work where you’ll be treated and paid better.”


The Brattle Group and Kenway Consulting each gained 13 spots in this year’s Vault Consulting 50. Blue Matter Consulting also continued its bipolar streak, bouncing from 19th to 45th to now 33rd over the past three years. While the Poirier Group rose 9 spots, it actually produced the second-biggest gain in overall score, improving by .620 of a point since 2022. In contrast, Charles River Associates each fell 8 spots, half of the -16 spot drop suffered by the Ignyte Group.

This year’s splashiest debut? That’d be PwC, which crashed the ranking at 12th (though it made the Top 10 for three consecutive years before going unranked due to participation last year). Altman Solon, a tech and media boutique, also joined the fun at 29th. That said, several fixtures tumbled out of the Vault Consulting 50 this year, including the Triangle Insights Group, Mercer, and Trinity Partners.

ghSMART and Publicis Sapient may be firms to watch, but there are several trends impacting consulting. Notably, there is a growing hunger for digital support and integration services, along with the never-ending clash between lost cost and down-and-dirty one-off engagements versus high value, long-term partnerships. Kaitlin McManus, the editor at, has also observed firms becoming more public in their thought leadership.

“We’re seeing is consulting firms of all sizes and types have been putting out high-quality thought leadership pieces, trends reports, and research. This thought leadership can be applied to businesses of all sizes as well as to readers’ personal lives. For example, we’ve seen great pieces on everything from the psychology of effective leaders to how businesses can reduce the amount of time people spend waiting in line. And with the many outlets available to share findings and experiences—LinkedIn, Medium, blogs, podcasts, etc.—ideas can be appreciated and implemented faster than ever before.”

For consultants themselves, pay is better than ever. As McManus empahsizes, the real advantage to pursuing consulting is the range of careers that practitioners can pursue. “Consultants are often asked to work on challenges that companies can’t figure out on their own, which means consultants get the chance to work on many highly interesting, challenging, timely issues. The intellectual stimulation that consultants can get from their work is incredible. Consultants also can direct their career paths to specialize in problems of a certain type or industry (pricing or health care, for example), or can strive towards a more generalist model and approach issues of all kinds. Consulting is an industry that lets people direct their own career paths in ways that are simply not available in many other industries.”


Next Page: Firm Prestige Ranking

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