What MBAs Earn At Top Consulting Firms in 2019

McKinseyites hamming it up after work.


Impressed? Just wait until you get a load of the MBA perks. Worried about tuition? Accenture is happy to help out, covering $80,000 in tuition. For those interns who return to Deloitte S&O, the company will cover their second year tuition. A.T. Kearney and Bain will each chip in $8K to a consultant’s 401K – and BCG will raise you to $10,260, Then again, ECG Management Consultants pays $14,950 into each retirement account. That pales in comparison to L.E.K., which makes a hard-to-beat $30,000 contribution into retirement and profit sharing per consultant.

That doesn’t count regular pay, where the highest bases are reported by Parthenon-EY hires at $170K to start. The next rung begins with a $165K base, which includes MBAs from McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and AlixPartners. The latter also earmarks the highest performance bonus at $60K, with OC&C ($50K) and Strategy& ($49.5K) also falling on the generous side. Then again, Accenture Strategy dangles a $30K performance bonus for all first year employees out an MBA program, with another $15K budgeted for “top performers.”

When it comes to signing bonuses, Accenture Strategy is equally competitive, with a $25K bonus plus an additional $17.5K for returning interns. L.E.K. offers a similar package: $25K for every MBA and another $25K for interns who come back. Alas, KPMG just makes it simple: up to $35K when you sign the dotted line.


Of course, Management Consulted is careful to point out that these packages come with caveats. For one, performance bonuses are generally only conferred to the top 5%-10% of consultants. “Average performers often receive bonuses closer to half of the maximum amount, while poor performers typically only receive a small bonus if any,” the report notes. “Also, firms that pay overtime may choose not to offer a performance bonus.” Many packages, particularly from MBB, are also tendered with little room for negotiation.

The report adds that firms like L.E.K. pay bonus out in increments over years. Not surprisingly, pay is often tagged to nation, with American consultants often raking in better packages due to competition from finance and tech firms. Cost of living is another factor, where consultants in metros like New York City and San Francisco will be paid a little more to cover the costs.

While the competition is still fierce for consulting talent, Le Roux admits that firms are relying on a proven formula to land their choice candidates. “[It is] many of the same elements: firm-to-firm, they focus on culture, lifestyle, and work process differences. In consulting vs. non-consulting firms, consulting firms push analytics insights training, career acceleration, C-level impact, and the power of the lifetime network.”

The career and pay progression in consulting doesn’t hurt, either. According to the report, MBAs can expect a 10%-20% annual increase in base pay and performance bonus each year. What’s more, consultants enjoy big jumps in pay with each career step, which often come in 2-3 year increments (with Management Consulted citing the move from associate to consultant at BCG, which is accompanied by a doubling of base salary).

What does this mean in real numbers for MBAs? After notching a promotion to manager after 2-3 years, base pay rises to the $190K-$210K range, which is accompanied by an $80K-$120K bonus. After the 4-5 year mark, MBAs can make associate principal, a rank with $230K-$300K in base pay and bonuses pegged from $110K-$200K. As a junior partner – a step that’s an option after 6-8 years – pay balloons to $320K-$400K. This is also a time when bonus ($300K-$500K) can actually eclipse base. After a decade or more, a senior partner can pull down a cool million a year between base ($400K-$600K) and bonus ($500K).

Alas, few consultants make it to senior partner, Management Consulted observes, due to the up-or-out nature of the industry. Still, the report found that MBAs who left consulting still received a 12%-20% bump in pay. However, that doesn’t mean consulting doesn’t have drawbacks – aside from the long hours and travel, that is. Notably, financial services pays more, with tech firms becoming increasingly competitive in this space. While consulting remains on solid ground, MBAs can expect the tech industry to pose a greater allure when it comes to stability.

“Consulting still offers an incredible starting or re-starting point to any career – the value proposition has remained unchanged,” adds Le Roux. “However, lifestyle competition from tech firms (you’re home more with tech firms) – and no stock compensation from consulting firms – mean that more MBAs in particular are jumping into tech right away rather than consulting first and tech later.”

Want to know how much you’re worth? Check out the data below.

Page 3: Differences in undergrad and MBA pay between 2018 and 2019. 

Page 4: A look at how undergrad and MBA pay has changed over the past four years. 

Page 5: Internship Pay.

Page 6: Detailed pay data by firm for MBAs. 

Page 7: Detailed pay data by firm for undergrads.