Darden | Mr. Education Consulting
GRE 326, GPA 3.58
Tepper | Mr. Leadership Developement
GMAT 740, GPA 3.77
Columbia | Mr. NYC Native
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Ms. Athlete Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Unrealistic Ambitions
GMAT 710, GPA 2.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Over-Experienced
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
HEC Paris | Mr. Indian Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 2.1
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Worldwide
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Mr. LatAm Indian Trader
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. MBB to PE
GMAT 740, GPA 3.98
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. MBB Aspirant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Soldier Boy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Harvard | Ms. Finance
GMAT 760, GPA 3.48
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Angel Investor
GMAT 700, GPA 3.20
Rice Jones | Mr. ToastMasters Treasurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. MBB Private Equity
GMAT TBD (target 720+), GPA 4.0
Said Business School | Ms. Creative Planner
GMAT 690, GPA 3.81 / 5.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Wedding Music Business
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 Auditor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Software PE
GMAT 760, GPA 3.45

In Consulting, Which B-School Is No. 1?

Which business school is number one in sending MBAs into the consulting industry? Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, according to a new survey of more than 4,500 consultants by Vault.com. Harvard Business School, whose case study teaching method was made for consulting, is second. Chicago, Wharton, and Michigan round out the top five, says Vault.

But is Kellogg really number one?  Probably not. It’s far more likely that Harvard would have gotten the nod if prestigious McKinsey & Co. had participated in the survey. McKinsey has been one of Harvard’s top three employers for decades and also recruits more MBAs from top business schools than any other firm. Yet, Vault concedes that only 20 McKinsey consultants answered their survey through LinkedIn.

Among the Class of 2009, for example, McKinsey hired 50 MBAs from Wharton, 46 from Columbia, 26 from Kellogg, 23 from Chicago, 21 from London, 15 from Berkeley, and 10 from Michigan. Though Harvard does not report these statistics, it is estimated that McKinsey hired as many as 100 Harvard MBAs alone in 2009. So the consulting giant’s absence from the Vault survey raises significant credibility issues with the results. Concedes Carolyn Wise, Vault’s senior education editor: “McKinsey is a feeder of students for Harvard and a very strong employer of Harvard MBAs.”

In contrast, Boston Consulting Group hired 31 MBAs from Wharton’s Class of 2009, 23 from Kellogg, 21 from Columbia, 10 from London, nine from Chicago, five from Michigan, and four from Berkeley. Bain, another prestige strategic consulting firm, carted away 20 Columbia MBAs, 19 from Kellogg, 18 from Wharton, 16 from Chicago, 10 from Michigan, and six from London.

Vault also crunched its numbers by major cities and regions of the U.S. In Silicon Valley, for example, Stanford was number one, followed by Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, MIT’s Sloan School and then, surprisingly, by Michigan’s Ross School of Business. In the southwest, Emory’s Goizueta School of Business tied with Harvard for having the most MBAs employed in consulting. “Emory is extremely strong in Atlanta and Charlotte,” says Wise.  “It really dominates which is something you may know, but it is astounding that they are not a more prominent, national school. That is true for both the business and the law schools.”

The most significant conclusion? Wise says it’s the fact that the top 10 schools produce the lion’s share of consultants. “It was a ski slope-style curve,” she adds. “After the top 10 to 14 schools, it really dropped off. The biggest takeaway for me is the rush toward the most elite business schools. Degrees from lower-tiered MBA programs do not have the value they used to. If you want a job at a top consulting firm, you need to focus on the most elite school you can get into.”

One thing to keep in mind while looking at these lists: Vault did not adjust for the size of the MBA program, even though its ranking is merely derived from the total number of MBAs in consulting from each school. So Dartmouth, MIT, and Stanford, whose annual output of elite MBAs is on the lower side, does not do as well as the larger schools, such as Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago, and Columbia.

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Vault’s Top Ten Schools for Consulting
1. Northwestern (Kellogg)
2. Harvard Business School
3. Chicago (Booth)
4. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
5. Michigan (Ross)
6. Columbia
7. Duke (Fuqua)
8. MIT (Sloan)
9. Stanford
10. New York University (Stern)

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Vault’s Top B-Schools for Consulting in New York
1. Harvard Business School
2. Columbia
3. New York University (Stern)
4. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
5. Northwestern University (Kellogg)

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Vault’s Top B-Schools for Consulting in Boston
1. Harvard Business School
2. MIT (Sloan)
3. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
4. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
5. Chicago (Booth)

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Vault’s Top B-Schools for Consulting in Atlanta
1. Emory (Goizueta)
2. Harvard Business School
3. Duke University (Fuqua)
4. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
5. UNC (Kenan-Flagler), Virginia (Darden)

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Vault’s Top B-Schools for Consulting in Washington, D.C.
1. Virginia (Darden)
2. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
3. Northwestern (Kellogg)
4. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
4. Georgetown (McDonough)
4. Harvard Business School

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About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.