Where Top MBAs Work In Consulting

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)

  • doodoodoo


    Crudely assuming for the sake of argument that these nine firms largely represent the universe of consulting firms at which Top 25 MBA grads work, and imperfections in the underlying data notwithstanding, another way to look at the table is to sum up the raw numbers in each row and calculate what percent of that sum each column of that row represents. The resulting figure roughly answers the question “Of students from this particular school interested and able to land a job in management consulting, what percent end up at this particular firm?”

    Going a step further and summing up the percentages of students who land at MBB from each school, then sorting in descending order, one finds a story that is somewhat obscured by the raw numbers. Stanford leads the pack, placing 75% of its aspiring consultants into MBB, followed by Harvard at 65%, Tuck at 63%, MIT at 60%, and Wharton at 53%. No other schools place more than half of their would-be consultants into the Big Three.

  • MC


  • Deciding Student

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

    Thank you.

  • easyframe

    Done similar analyze about 3 years ago.

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

  • 2cents

    Agreed on the point, though you do realize CBS doesn’t have 1200 students/class right?

  • JohnAByrne

    That is absolutely true. I like absolute numbers, to be honest, because the reader can make his or her own adjustments. The other missing piece is how many MBA grads actually want to work for a given company or in an industry. That is another reason why I like the raw and unadjusted numbers, however imperfect they may be.

  • rk29

    could be the undergrad count but booz is also a big place – and though it may not be a target, other companies target Kelley and consultants regularly jump to other firms

  • serge

    I know for a fact that U Texas has way more than 2 MBAs working at M/B/B. Makes me wonder how far off all the other numbers are.

  • Galquim

    Good analysis from a US perspective. Worldwide INSEAD is actually the biggest source of MBA recruiting for McKinsey, BCG and Bain (usually ahead even of Harvard but at least on the same level).

  • Jon

    Recruiting for consulting–especially MBB–is quite binary. A school either recruiters there or not.

    So if one is accepted to both Ross and HBS, going to one over the other won’t make it more likely that they get a job at MBB.

    Of course, the knowledge gained, power of the career services office, and other hard-to-measure qualitative aspects of the schools could come in to play. But in the end, a candidate choosing one school over another in the top 10 doesn’t put them at a disadvantage.

    Of course, the reason more from HBS go to MBB is because they have higher GMAT scores and GPAs along with more impressive work experience and leadership skills. It is this that gets them the job at MBB, not the school itself.

  • Jon

    I wonder how the search was conducted. Unless one analyzed job profiles, the total could would those in non-client facing roles, such as IT, HR, and other support functions.

  • JP

    umm…that last paragraph is pretty inaccurate…that information is available only for Harvard. Should I assume that the rest are soon (or late) to come?
    Also, this research, while marginally interesting, is pretty much useless. Like other posts mentioned before, what would be useful would be to see a proportion of graduates on a year-by-year basis are accepted by which firm. Stanford and Sloan classes are less than half the size of the likes of Harvard and Wharton. And well if Wharton undergrads are included then this whole thing is just a waste of time.

  • InformedConsultant

    Booz used to bee part of Booz Allen Hamilton(headquartered) in DC area. The two later split, so I presume that since Georgetown is in DC some folks went over to Booz after the two split up.

  • currently recruiting..

    Another misleading aspect of this analysis is that it doesnt take into account the size of each school. Obviously there are going to be larger #s of consultants at each firm from CBS or Harvard. But if you want to go to one of these firms, what chance would you have from each school. For example, if Bain takes 13 from Tuck and 15 from CBS, yes CBS took more, but you’d have a much better chance coming from Tuck (13/280 vs. 15/1200).

  • IvoryTower

    This doesn’t make sense. Schools aren’t designated as consulting or finance powerhouses just because so many of the students there are trying to get into the industries. They’re designated as such because they have the resources, alumni, and demanding classes that puts students on a trajectory to those jobs.

    It would be foolish to go to NYU, which is a finance powerhouse, because you think it would be easier to get into Consulting. Obviously Stanford is a different animal because the school could place it’s students in any industry but like Byrne alluded to, how many people could seriously consider Stanford given it’s acceptance rate?

  • samsonite

    bwahahaha. Of course! Just go to Stanford if you want a good job!!! How did I not see this??!?!!

  • Re: Boozey

    It’s probably counting all the PwC people, haha

  • boozey

    Same with Georgetown. Are you sure you’re not looking at Booz Allen?

  • boozey

    Some numbers seem to be way off. Booz doesn’t hire from Indiana. It’s a non-target school. In my 7-year Booz career, I haven’t come across a single Kelley alum. It certainly doesn’t have 72.

  • nailed it

    If you want to get into consulting, just go to Stanford, lol. Your name says it all – duh. I think we can assume that if you are good enough to get into Stanford you are good enough to get into consulting if you want to. If Stanford graduates 800 people next year who want to be consultants, I’m pretty sure 700+ of them could make that happen, and that has nothing to do w/ supply and demand

  • k

    This should be adjusted for total # of consultants. Big 4 accounting firms are substantially larger in terms of #. %’s are more appropriate.

  • AfricanWizard

    Good Evening John, when is Kreisberg’s handicapping series resuming???

  • JohnAByrne

    That’s certainly one way to look at the analysis. Of course, Stanford only accepts 7% of its applicants so that is a strategy accessible to very few prospective students. MIT also is one of the most selective business schools in the world as well.

  • duh

    What a misleading analysis. You’re arguing that schools that supply the most consultants are the ones to aim for. What students should actually aim for are schools where supply is limited and demand is high. For example, Stanford has an anti-consulting culture, and sends fewer into consulting, but has top-tier students who are sought after by consultancies. So it’s more logical to argue that someone interested in consulting should go to Stanford or MIT, where recruiters are interested in students but there is less competition/interest for these jobs on the students’ end.