Every MBB firm is elite. McKinsey, Bain, and the Boston Consulting Group – you can’t go wrong with any of them. Their lavish pay and benefits enable them to attract top talent. And their deep connections and all-around expertise cover every industry. At an MBB firm, consultants aren’t just mastering the best practices, they’re creating them.
That doesn’t mean you won’t find differences among the Big Three. Be it culture, perks, or training, each firm sets different priorities. When it comes to the big picture, Bain & Company stands apart – again. For the third consecutive year, Bain & Company ranked as the #1 consulting firm in the world according to the Vault Consulting 50 from Firsthand – regarded as the gold standard for evaluating consulting firms. In a survey of 16,000 practicing consultants across North America, Bainies were bullish on their Compensation, Culture, and Long-Term Outlook. On top of that, Bain posted the second-highest employee satisfaction rate too.
BCG KNOCKS DOWN MCKINSEY
The Boston Consulting Group finished as this year’s runner-up in the Vault Consulting 50, earning the highest marks of any firm in areas like Benefits, Leadership, and Health and Wellness. BCG’s peers also rated them as the top consulting firm in nine practice areas. McKinsey & Company rounded out the top three, posting lower average scores in every Quality of Work and Life measure. Still, McKinsey maintains a decisive advantage in one area. When it comes to Prestige, McKinsey & Company continues to set the bar.
Of course, the Vault Consulting 50 surveys focus on far more than the MBB. EY Parthenon continued its steady climb to 4th, knocking The Bridgespan Group down a notch. In a more volatile year than normal, goSMART & Company, Analysis Group, and Alvarez & Marsal jumped into the Top 10, displacing Putnam Associates, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Oliver Wyman along the way.
Overall, the Vault Consulting 50 reflects just how closely consultants view their firms. Aside from the MBB and EY Parthenon, you’ll find that just .5 of a point separates the #5 firm (Bridgespan Group) from the one that comes in 20th (Kaiser Associates). Even more, less than a point separates 33 different firms – a testament to how competitive the market has become for talent.
WHAT MATTERS MOST TO CONSULTANTS
This year’s results, which were released on February 8th, represent the 17th year of the Vault Consulting 50. The ranking is produced by Firsthand, a market intelligence platform that provides employee reviews, conducts coaching, and produces rankings across industries like banking and law. This fall, Firsthand surveyed consultants from over a hundred top firms. Using a scale ranging from 1 to 10 – where 10 is the highest possible score – Firsthand had consultants evaluate their own firm across 19 Quality of Work and Life dimensions and 6 Diversity measures. Using this same scale, consultants rated the peer firms for Prestige.
For the overall ranking, the Vault Consulting 50 applies a weighted formula, which has remained consistent in recent years. A 30% weight is conferred to the Prestige category. Another 30% is split equally between Firm Culture and Satisfaction. At the same time, Compensation, Work-Life Balance, and Level of Challenge each received a 10% weight. The remaining weight is given to Business Outlook (5%) and Promotion Policy (5%). Along with its trademark Vault Consulting 50, Firsthand also publishes separate rankings for Prestige, Boutique Firms and Practice Areas.
These rankings are designed to measure what matters most to consultants. In a surprise, Firsthand notes that Culture – not Prestige – is the biggest priority for consultants. 40% of consultants ranked Culture as the most important factor in choosing a firm – with Practice Strength, Work-Life Balance, Prestige, and Compensation also making the list. At the same time, Firsthand reports that Satisfaction and Career Progress are garnering increasing attention from consultants. As a result, Firsthand also reports the scores of each Work and Life dimension separately. That way, prospective consultants can assess firms based on their priorities. At the same time, Firsthand supplies historical data, which enables current and prospective consultants to identify which firms may be rising or receding over time.
Click on the links below for in-depth analysis and ranking tables for each area of the Vault Consulting 50.
WHY BAIN & COMPANY RANKED #1 (Analysis)
WHY THE BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP RANKED #2 (Analysis)
WHY MCKINSEY & COMPANY RANKED #3 (Analysis)
VAULT CONSULTING 50 RANKING (Analysis Plus Table)
FIRM PRESTIGE RANKING (Analysis Plus Table)
BOUTIQUE FIRM RANKING (Analysis Plus Table)
BAIN-MCKINSEY-BCG HISTORICAL COMPARISON (Compensation, Training, Management, Outlook, etc.)
QUALITY OF EMPLOYMENT AND LIFE RANKINGS ((Benefits, Leadership, Work-Life Balance, Etc.)
DIVERSITY (Women, LGBTQ+, Military, etc.)
PRACTICE AREA RANKINGS (Energy, Finance, Management, Strategy, etc.)
HISTORICAL VAULT CONSULTING 50 SCORES (Analysis Plus Table)
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