Top Consulting Firms

While it sometimes seems that everyone wants to get into McKinsey, it's worth noting that there are a number of top consulting firms that can give a career a real boost. While McKinsey, Bain, or BCG will probably provide the most powerful resume augmentation, every one of the 25 top consulting firms carries a blend of size and prestige that can take you places.

Below is a list of the 25 top consulting firms. While there's some room for debate as to who belongs in the final spots (varying based upon geography and specialization), there's a pretty good consensus on who belongs on top.

1) McKinsey & Company
Many regard McKinsey as the firm that started the whole strategy consulting industry. Headquartered in New York with 17,000 employees spread across almost 100 offices worldwide, they've got a level of prestige that makes them desired by graduates from top schools worldwide.

2) The Boston Consulting Group
BCG is headquartered in Boston, with over 70 offices and 4,500 employees. They do work similar to McKinsey and Bain and are known for having an approach that's slightly more academic, emphasizing thought leadership more than the other two.

3) Bain & Company
Bain is the final member of the MBB (McKinsey-BCG-Bain) prestige trio and it competes for the similar work from Corporate boards. Headquartered in Boston, with 5,000 employees, their number one priority is client financial results.

4) Strategy&
Strategy& was formed when Booz & Company joined the PwC network of firms.  Booz & Company was formerly known as Booz Allen Hamilton, but separated to take on commercial business and become independent of the US government practices that previously dominated Booz Allen Hamilton. Strategy& is headquartered in New York with over 3,000 employees spread across 61 offices.

5) Monitor Group
The legendary creator of Porter's Five Forces, Michael Porter, co-founded this consultancy in 1983. The Cambridge, MA-based consultancy has now grown to 1,500 employees across 29 offices. (Note: Monitor was acquired by Deloitte in November, 2012.)

6) Deloitte Consulting
Deloitte Consulting is a part of the Big Four audit firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. They consult in three key areas: human capital, strategy & operations, and technology. They have 15,000 employees in the consulting practice and are headquartered in New York with 50 offices worldwide.

7) Oliver Wyman
Oliver Wyman operates in over 50 cities with 3,000 employees. They draw on the expertise from other companies within their parent company, Marsh & McLennan. They're known for their financial capabilities and international acumen.

8.) Roland Berger
Unlike many top firms headquartered in the United States, Roland Berger touts its European heritage. Founded in Munich in 1967, they provide strategy consulting in 46 offices via over 2,000 employees.

9) L.E.K.
L.E.K. tackles questions of strategy with 900 employees in 20 offices. They were founded in London in 1983. They emphasize five main capabilities: Strategy, Shareholder Value Management, M&A Support, Operations & Organization, and Marketing & Sales.

10)  A.T. Kearney
Headquartered in Chicago, A.T. Kearney has a rich history tracing back to the days of McKinsey. The firm split from McKinsey in 1939 and has maintained a focus on operations, supply chain, and manufacturing.

11)  ZS Associates
Founded by Northwestern professors, ZS Associates was founded in Evanston, IL and has grown to over 20 offices around the world. They mostly tackle projects related to sales and marketing. They serve a variety of clients, but pharmaceuticals are still their bread and butter.

12) Accenture
Headquartered in New York, Accenture is the world's largest consulting firm, with revenues over $20 billion. It's primarily known for systems integration work, but they also have a small strategy consulting unit.

13) Capgemini
Headquartered in Paris, Capgemini serves clients in a wide variety of industries through outsourcing, IT, and management consulting projects. Their life sciences division is known to be particularly strong.

14) PricewaterhouseCoopers
Headquartered in New York, PWC's consulting arm addresses issues related to finance, operations, forensic accounting, organizational structure, crisis management, and IT. Their engagements and focus largely emerge from their roots as an accounting firm.

15) Parthenon-EY
Founded in 1991 by two former Bain consultants, The Parthenon Group combined with Ernst & Young LLP in 2014 to become Parthenon-EY.  It has 22 locations worldwide with 600 consultants, and is known for retaining a boutique firm culture with global reach.

16) IBM
Headquartered in Armonk, New York, IBM backs up their technological consulting with a robust suite of computing-related products and services. Engagements can range from application management to business analytics to developing and rolling out a customized solution enterprise-wide.

17) Ernst & Young
Headquartered in London, E&Y's consulting function provides advisory and insurance services for clients across all industries. A Big Four audit firm, E&Y has particular expertise in operational risk and compliance issues.

18) Towers Watson
Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Towers Watson (formed by the 2010 merger of Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt Worldwide) provides human resources, risk management, and reinsurance consulting from its 72 offices worldwide.

19) KPMG
Headquartered in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, KPMG's management consulting group tackles four key areas: Business Effectiveness, Financial Management, People and Change, and IT. KPMG is primarily a tax and audit firm, and another set of services between accounting and traditional management consulting. These services include Risk Consulting and Transactions & Restructuring.

20) Mercer
Headquartered in New York, Mercer is another member of the Marsh & McLennan family. They have over 19,000 employees operating in 40 cities across the world. Mercer focuses on human resources issues such as compensation, benefits, communication, and change management.

21) Aon Hewitt
Headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois, Hewitt is a leader in benefits consulting. Previously independenty operated, Hewitt was acquired by Aon in July 2010. Aon Hewitt consulting also works on engagements related to talent management, communications, and the people side of M&A.

22) Huron Consulting Group
With 14 offices growing out of Chicago, Huron assists a variety of clients but has some specialization within education, healthcare, and life sciences. Huron's functional specialties include litigation, restructuring, and turnaround.

23)  Alvarez & Marsal
When companies get in a real mess, New York-based Alvarez & Marsal's professionals from 41 offices often parachute in to provide corporate turnaround and restructuring services. Sometimes Alvarez and Marsal provide detailed forensic accounting services to enable companies to re-list on stock exchanges. Other times, A&M will provide a CFO on an interim basis to straighten things out on the ground.

24) Hay Group
Headquartered in Philadelphia, the Hay Group's teams from 86 offices provide a wide array of solutions to human resource challenges, from retention to training to motivation.

25) Altran
Headquartered in Paris, Altran is a leader in technology and high technology innovation consulting throughout Europe. They have approximately 15,000 consultants operating within 20 countries.

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35 comments… add one
  • Rory Feb 5, 2013, 5:10 am

    Would Everest Group not make to your list of Top 25? Or is it too focussed in its area?

    • Victor Cheng Feb 7, 2013, 3:04 pm


      After the top 10, there’s not much consensus on the top 11-50. In addition, the majority of firms after the top 10 tend to be specialized either by type of work, by region, or by industry.


  • Salman Apr 6, 2013, 3:23 pm


    In terms of Deloitte Consulting. Do you believe the acquisition of Monitor Group will yield movement in its current ranking?


    • Victor Cheng Apr 10, 2013, 5:07 pm


      I think it’s too early to tell, but I don’t think it will change the rankings by much. Frankly, clients don’t really look at rankings.


  • Muthuraama Krishnan Apr 24, 2013, 5:04 am

    Considering IBM’s strong technology background, do you think they can compete in strategy industry in near future?
    – Muthu

    • Victor Cheng Apr 24, 2013, 12:21 pm


      I didn’t even realize IBM was trying to compete in the strategy industry. I think they will have a difficult time competing in the short run. Their culture and mentality is totally different than a strategy firm.


  • Prakash Raj Jun 9, 2013, 11:45 am


    I wasn’t aware the other Big 4 aside from Deloitte (PwC, KPMG, E&Y) had consulting divisions. Is this something recent does this list refer to their Advisory arms of the company?

    – Prakash

    • G S Nov 26, 2013, 1:54 pm


      The Big 4 mostly got out of consulting after the big scandals like Enron. Some new US laws made the business difficult and there were questions of the Big 4 being able to audit independently and still provide consulting services. Deloitte was the only one that stayed in, and their consulting has become a great asset. The others are all getting back in as fast as possible. KPMG’s Advisory branch is indeed their consulting side – they’ve just rebranded it.

    • GS Nov 26, 2013, 2:01 pm

      E&Y, PwC and KPMG all mostly got out of consulting after the big scandals in the 90’s and early 00’s. Deloitte stayed in and has built up their business nicely. Now the other 3 are diving back in to catch up (hence PwC’s recent purchase Booz & Co.) Also you are correct on KPMG. Advisory is just a rebranding of their consulting arm.

      • Kaeni Mar 19, 2014, 12:53 am

        Are you serious? PwC acquired Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, PRTM, Ant’s Eye View, BGT, and more recently Booz & Co. Right now, I would say that they have overtaken Deloitte in terms of their consulting presence.

        With Deloitte’s existing consulting practice and their acquisition of the Monitor Group, both of these guys are well into consulting.

        And while not particularly large, both KPMG and E&Y also have non-trivial presence in consulting.

  • Michael Dec 8, 2013, 11:02 am

    Hi Victor.

    First of all, thank you for all your ressources, it’s been helping me a lot.

    Secondly, I wanted to have your opinion on Arthur D little? Do you consider it a top management consulting firm?


    • Victor Cheng Dec 15, 2013, 12:45 pm


      I don’t consider Arthur D Little in the top 10. It’s never mentioned in the same sentence as McKinsey, Bain, BCG. Interestingly though it is one of the oldest firms around and some credit it with founding the management consulting industry. I don’t know much about ADL and would encourage you to continue your own research.


  • Richard Jan 7, 2014, 1:57 pm

    Hi Victor,

    If someone were to receive offers from the consulting divisions of PwC, Deloitte and KPMG for a London-based position, which would you advise them to take, based on current market trends and recent events surrounding respective acquistions? I note, for example, that Booz continues to operate under its own branding, at least for now.

    Best wishes,

    • Victor Cheng Jan 15, 2014, 4:32 pm


      I don’t know those three firm well enough to draw a significant distinction to recommend one over another. At the prestige level, they are in a similar bracket — with probably a slight edge to Deloitte depending on which group you’re in (aka the old Monitor). It’s like asking whether one should join McKinsey, Bain or BCG in a particular city. It depends on the people you meet, the mix of industries those office serve more so than brand name.


  • Simran Jan 5, 2015, 1:04 am

    Hi All,

    Pleasure to e-meet you.
    I need your help in finding a way to help my best friend in finding an appropriate job in this field. He has around 11+ yrs of relevant experience, worked as a Director of a renowned consulting firm, but now eager to find more challenging opportunity in the industry. Can someone suggest me …..

    • Eric Feb 4, 2015, 5:14 pm


      What is your friend’s name and where is he/she located?

  • Rajeev Veluswamy Apr 7, 2015, 6:41 am


    I’m not sure if this would be the right forum to talk on this. But I have an inquiry related to consulting companies, thought posting here would help.

    I am looking for techniques/ways to improve the relationship between the companies with its suppliers (Deloitte, PwC, McKinsey etc.) in different consulting engagements, Different ways to measure the value realized out of these relationships in business environment.

    Anyone who can share insights out of their experience with these consulting companies? like what type of contracting terms, SLA’s, governance team, tools, processes etc would facilitate a company in measuring the performance of these consulting companies and finally measuring the value generated out of the relationship.

    -Rajeev Veluswamy

  • Eric Jul 13, 2015, 9:29 pm

    Hey Victor,

    I’m doing some research on risk and compliance groups and I was wondering if you knew or could point me in the right direction to what the tier 2 and 3 insurance (risk, compliance, governance) consulting firms are?

    Thanks so much.


    • Victor Cheng Jul 14, 2015, 3:09 am


      Unfortunately I don’t have any experience in the risk / compliance consulting area.


      • Amin Assi Aug 25, 2016, 5:00 am

        Mr Cheng,
        Any idea which of the major 25 firms would be best suited in matters of curbing state administration corruption?
        I have a major project in the Middle East.

  • Paul Aug 27, 2015, 7:33 pm

    a couple of the firms you listed above were insurance consulting firm – specifically AON and Mercer – they are employee benefits consultants… with your experience for helping people prep for case interviews… how would you format their typical scenarios

    They typically provide the company name (which has their healthcare cost information on the department of labor portal.. so you can see their costs over the years)

    and they say something like… this company doesn’t like their benefits platform, and is considering doing a alternative way to manage their costs… what can you do to increase their benefits division while maintain costs?

  • Cloud Sep 13, 2015, 2:07 pm

    I am going to start working with IBM consulting. My ultimate goal is to work with MBB. My question to Victor is how should I approach in IBM (practice area like business analytics/ SCM/risk management)that can lead me to MBB??

    • Victor Cheng Sep 14, 2015, 9:06 am

      The only proven path from a place like IBM to MBBis first through a top 5 MBA program. If you’ve already attended business school or some other similar graduate school, there isn’t much of a proven path from IBM to MBB.

      The top 3 firms typically do not make lateral from other consulting firms that aren’t top 3.


  • Carter Feb 7, 2016, 12:06 am

    Hi Victor:

    I’m confused by the relationship between Strategy&, and Booz Allen Hamilton. I would have expected to see Booz Allen Hamilton on this list, but is it accounted for in the Strategy& ranking, even though that is a PwC branch?


    • Eugene Apr 12, 2016, 7:47 am

      Hi Carter,

      Strategy&, formerly Booz & Company and now part of PwC, has long been independent/separate from Booz Allen Hamilton.

      Booz Allen Hamilton and Booz & Co split way back in 2008, with BAH taking the federal business and Booz & Co taking the commercial business.

      So, Booz Allen Hamilton is not on this list, while Strategy& (Booz & Co) is on the list.

  • Will Feb 25, 2016, 8:51 pm

    Hi Victor,
    It is interesting that Parthenon didn’t make your list. The 25-year old firm was founded by 2 former Bain consultants and has 600 consultants in 22 offices and is ranked #15 in


    • Tom Sep 20, 2016, 4:35 pm

      Hi Will,

      Parthenon is part of the EY consulting network I think. Strategy& is acquired really as EY’s strategy arm.

  • Sofia Mar 6, 2016, 3:06 pm

    I recently finished an exective mba and would target consultancy companies more into the People & organizational development side. Any good recommendations besides the one´s mentioned?

  • Sohaib Anwar Oct 8, 2016, 1:10 am

    Hi Victor,

    Thanks for putting in all this information. Could you also specify which among the following consulting groups are strongly advising clients on corporate sustainability? Issues linked up with climate change and associated business strategies? I am seeking opportunities to work in sustainability industry so trying to streamline those consulting groups that have stronger portfolios on this.

    Your insight would be valuable.


    • Corina Jan 7, 2018, 8:10 am

      Dear Sohaib,

      I am very interested in sustainability consulting as well. Do you happen to have any insights on which consulting firms have a strong focus on that?

      I’d highly appreciate a response.

  • Nicolas Nov 21, 2016, 5:40 pm

    Dear Contact,

    I would like to know about consulting companies that specialize on matters related to the public or NGO sectors (different to McKinsey).

    Best Regards,


  • Alexander May 17, 2017, 2:16 pm

    Hey there Victor,

    Would it be possible to receive an updated list? This list is from 5 years ago and I was wondering if there was movement.

    I will be interning at IBM this summer in the GBS section and would like to know where I stand ranking wise, because I would like to consider possible consulting career trajectories. Ideally, I would like to go MBB, and currently have a 3.7 GPA at a state school.



  • Steve smith Jul 7, 2017, 12:06 am

    Need a little help, I have 18 years experience in sales & marketing…founded a successful social media marketing company and now I’m looking to join a management consulting firm. I joined Global Resources as a Senior Business Analyst just to get a feel for working in consulting…any specific recommendation as to which consulting agency & position to approach?

  • Steve smith Jul 7, 2017, 12:08 am

    I’m based in Los Angeles btw

  • Alex Yang Oct 18, 2017, 11:30 pm

    Hi Victor,

    As an undergraduate who received offers from Deloitte S&O, Oliver Wyman, and PwC Advisory, which firm would you say is the most “prestigious” of the 3 with the best b-school placement?


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