Top 50 Consulting Firms To Work For In 2024

mba rankings


Yes, Bain repeated and McKinsey retreated, but these headlines were hardly the most exciting parts of the 2024 Vault Consulting 50 Ranking. In many ways, this was the coming out party for Alvarez & Marsal and ghSMART & Company – and a warning that other boutiques like Aminad Consulting are waiting in the wings.

According to Maria Ho, head of research at Vault, Alvarez & Marsal certainly made an impression in 2024. “One firm to watch is Alvarez & Marsal, which jumped from No. 10 to No. 3 in the Consulting 50. The jump isn’t too surprising, as the firm is strong in turnaround and restructuring work and has taken on some high-profile engagements recently (for example, it advised the Swiss government after the failure of Credit Suisse). It’s also been expanding in other areas and practices.”


This year, Alvarez & Marsal’s score rose by 0.276 of a point, Just four years ago, it ranked 22nd with a 7.081 point average. In other words, the firm has moved up nearly a point in just a year. It ranked in the Top 5 in two key categories: Compensation and Business Outlook. Even more, it climbed from 17th to 20th in Prestige. Widening the lens, the firm’s Prestige rocketed from 3.897 to 5.949 since 2018. Bottom line: the word is getting out about Alvarez & Marsal.

In surveys with Vault, Alvarez & Marsal consultants describe the culture as “client-first” and “entrepreneurial” – a firm with “great access to the c-suite”, “interesting clients”, and “high employee morale.” One reason, says a consultant surveyed, is a sense of autonomy that’s different than other firms.

“Employees are given a high level of independence and leadership trusts employees at all levels to handle client interactions.”


ghSMART & Company, ranked as Vault’s top boutique firm in 2024, moved up to 4th. At the same time, Oliver Wyman returned to the Vault Consulting 50 after a year-long absence, ultimately snagging the 5th spot. Ranked 8th for Prestige, the firm operates in 60 cities across the globe. Still, the firm didn’t differentiate itself in the Work and Life categories, with its best performance coming in International Opportunities (13th). In surveys, however, culture is a recurring motif regarding the firm’s strengths. Notably, one respondent emphasized the amount of responsibility given to staff early on and the firm’s focus on teaching and growth. Another touted Oliver Wyman’s prospects in the coming years.

“Oliver Wyman is actively gaining market share since I’ve joined the firm. Most employees love the work environment and actively contribute to firm activities. OW positioning within the consulting industry is only getting better.”

Among the remainder of the Top 10, EY-Parthenon, Bridgespan Group, and Kearney each lost 2-3 spots. Their loss was the gain of Putnam Associates and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, which rose from 11th to 7th and 13th to 10th respectively – all while L.E.K. Consulting tumbled out of the Top 10 altogether.


The biggest gain? OC&C Strategy Consultants surged from 25th to 14th. Best known for Retail Consulting, OC&C ranked as the top firm for International Opportunities and 2nd for Business Outlook (and Top 5 in 5 other categories including Firm Culture and Firm Leadership). Despite being founded in 1987, the firm remains somewhat anonymous, not even cracking the Top 50 in Prestige despite its bona fides.

“We do interesting, intellectually stimulating work with a great group of people,” writes one consultant surveyed by Vault. “I have felt I can really open up and be myself around people in the firm. Compared to other consulting firms, all our work involves wrestling with thorny, complicated strategy problems. I am yet to have a project where I am not working on a challenging, complex workstream.”

Bates White Economic Consulting also made an impression this year, accelerating from 31st to 16th in the past year alone. The same can be said for Keystone Strategy, which jumped from 32nd to 17th thanks to its score improving by .178 of a point. By the same token, Charles River Associates climbed 10 spots to rank 20th. Similar gains were made by NERA Economic Consulting (37th to 21st), Epsilon (41st to 25th), ScottMadden (36th to 26th), and BPM Advisory (47th to 35th).


At the same time, 11 firms debuted in or returned to the Vault Consulting 50 in 2024.  The splashiest debut came from Aminad Consulting “Aminad ranked No. 2 last year in our Boutique Rankings and is still at No. 2 this year, explains Vault’s Maria Ho. They also ranked 1st in Business Outlook, which is actually not surprising given that it’s a turbulent economy and they focus on federal government clients/contracts, which could be viewed as more stable during a downturn.”

Like OC&C Aminad didn’t make the Top 50 for Prestige – 30% of the ranking weight – which held its ranking down overall. Along with Business Outlook, Aminad ranked 1st in Firm Leadership, Firm Culture, Relationships with Supervisors, Work-Life Balance, and Health & Wellness. The firm also finished 2nd in Hours in the Office and Satisfaction – and Top 5 in 5 other dimensions, including Compensation and Benefits. Such metrics reflect a firm where staff is committed to the mission, producing results for clients, and enjoying their personal lives.

“As a potential candidate, Aminad is not a place where you stay for a few years and move on,” explains one consultant surveyed by Vault. “The culture developed by leadership has built a workplace that can be tailored to any employee needs, working habits, etc. There is a reason why Aminad’s employee retention rate is so high.”

Aminad’s size – think fewer than 50 employees – also serves as an advantage according to a different survey-taker. “While the firm is small, the opportunities for growth are endless and the leadership will support your goals for your career by empowering you to own work and stretch outside of your comfort zone.”


More than that, Aminad consultants believe the future is only looking up. “The firm is expanding its client base to have a diverse book of work, and it has successfully done so over the last few years,” adds a third respondent. “Client satisfaction is high, allowing for renewal of existing work as well.”

Alongside Aminad, SciVida made a first-time appearance at 27th. Clarkston Consulting returned to the Top 50 at 29th after finishing 47th. Among other impressive debuts, you’ll find Heidrick and Struggles (30th), LifeSci Consultng (31st), Coherent Economics (37th), and Kepler Cannon (38th).

However, the fortune of some firms came at the misfortune of others. Kaiser Associates tumbled from 20th to 36th. Eagle Hill Consulting dropped from 28th to 37th, with Health Advances making a similar plunge (35th to 45th). That said, several big names – besides McKinsey – dropped off this year’s list. They include Deloitte Consulting, Simon-Kucher, Back Bay Life Sciences, and the Brattle Group. They join the ranks of firms that have fallen off the Vault 50 Consulting list in recent years, including Booz Allen Hamilton, KPMG, Accenture, Strategy&, and Gartner.

Next Page: Firm Prestige Ranking

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