Where Top MBAs Work In Consulting

by John A. Byrne on

consultantSo you want an MBA degree to get into management consulting. Or perhaps you’re hoping the credential will allow you to move from your second-tier firm to M/B/B (MBA code for the big three global players in strategy consulting: McKinsey, Bain & Boston Consulting Group).

Obviously, you’ll need to target business schools that routinely send graduates to the firms for which you want to work. Looking at a school’s latest employment report is certainly a start. But we’ve done something better. Poets&Quants has dug through the database of LinkedIn member profiles to find out how many MBAs from the Top 25 schools work at the leading consulting companies.

Though hardly definitive, searches of LinkedIn’s database provide a fascinating and fairly accurate glimpse at what you could call the “market penetration” of a school’s MBAs in any one firm. Sure, not everyone has a profile on LinkedIn, though people who fail to list with the world’s number one professional network are certainly in the minority at this point. It’s also possible that LinkedIn’s search algorithm could be slightly askew and count undergraduate business majors from schools such as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, which both have large undergrad programs.


In any case, we think the results are worth a look–and we think you’ll find them quite compelling. According to LinkedIn, more than 2,400 Top Ten MBAs work at McKinsey & Co. alone. Some 573, or nearly 17%, come from Harvard Business School. Nine of the Top 25 B-schools in the U.S. currently have more than 100 MBAs employed by McKinsey.

Wharton is next with 381 MBAs, followed by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School with 353, Columbia Business School, with 257, and the University of Chicago’s Booth School, with 227. If you want to work for McKinsey, then, Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia and Booth should be at the top of your target list. They are big schools that graduate a lot of MBAs each year, and the consulting firms can’t seem to get enough of their graduates.

Can’t get into those prestige schools? Then try for the next group of elite smaller schools that boast the most McKinsey-employed MBAs: MIT Sloan (203, Stanford (180), Dartmouth Tuck (99), UC-Berkeley’s Haas School (88), or Duke’s Fuqua School of Business (82).


McKinsey employs more MBAs than any other consulting firm in the world. When you count up the MBAs from the Top 25 schools, the number comes to 3,015. The next closest consulting competitor is Deloitte Consulting with 3,086 MBAs aboard, according to LinkedIn data. The Boston Consulting Group has more than 1,870, while Bain & Co. has 1,433 graduates from the Top 25 business schools in the U.S.

One undeniable takeaway is that in general the higher the rank of a school, the more likely that its graduates will work for a truly elite consulting outfit. As you look at schools that rank further down the list of the Top 25, you’ll notice that fewer and fewer of their grads work at McKinsey, Bain, or BCG. There are only three Washington University MBAs at McKinsey, according to LinkedIn.

Of course, you could also adjust these numbers for school size or living alumni, but that seems beside the point. If you’re keen to work in an organization and see a critical mass of MBAs in it from certain schools, it’s a pretty good bet that an MBA from one of those schools is your ticket to ride into a brand name consultancy.


Our analysis yields several surprises. Deloitte has the highest number of employees from UT-Austin (410), even more than Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business (363) and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (326), though we suspect that LinkedIn’s search engine is counting some business undergrads in those totals. The consulting firm with the smallest number of graduates from the Top 25 schools is A.T. Kearney, with roughly 300, according to LinkedIn.

By the way, if you want a deep dive into the numbers for any one school, just click on the school name in the following table to see the largest employers overall as well as breakdowns on where each school’s MBAs live and what industries they are in.

(See following page for our table on the Top 25 schools)

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  • easyframe

    Done similar analyze about 3 years ago.

    posted by title of “Which MBA Will Open The Door to McKinsey, BCG and Bain?”

  • Deciding Student

    In your opinion which is a better school for MC, Fuqua or Ross?

    Thank you.

  • MC


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