Top 25 Strategy Consulting Firms

There are thousands of consulting firms worldwide, serving every possible industry and specializing in every conceivable niche and functional expertise. As a result, “What are the best strategy consulting firms?” is not an easy question to answer. There is no one metric to decide whether a consulting firm is “the best”. However, most candidates care about employee experience, functional specialisation, career track and business outlook. 

When “top consulting firms” are mentioned, almost everyone imagines McKinsey, BCG and Bain – the “Big Three” consulting firms with the highest prestige. However, in the shadows of the MBB firms stand many excellent consultancies, both as service providers and employers.

Strategy consulting firms can be divided into many groups, according to size, prestige, as well as areas of specialisation. Among the top consulting firms, the most notable groups are:

  • MBB / Big 3: MBB stands for McKinsey, BCG and Bain – the three most prestigious strategy consulting firms in the world. Each of these firms charge a premium for their services, with projects sold for millions of dollars. They maintain the highest standards in quality of work and pay the highest salaries for consultants.

  • Tier 2 Firms: These firms are large, global consultancies, working with large multinational corporations. They differ from MBB in prestige and a lower price of projects. Some famous names in this segment are Roland Berger, Oliver Wyman and Kearney.

  • Big 4 Consulting Practices: This group includes the strategy consulting divisions of the Big 4 accounting firms – Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG, many of which were established through acquisitions (e.g., PwC's acquisition of Booz & Co, and its rebranding as Strategy&). These divisions are the largest consulting firms in the world, revenue-wise. However, their projects tend to cost even less than those of Tier 2 firms.

  • Boutique Consulting Firms: A boutique consultancy is a generic term for small, specialised and localised firms, which often can have significant prestige in their area of expertise. These firms generally employ just a few hundred employees and take on smaller projects than their larger counterparts. Salaries and benefits vary a lot,  but some can pay even better than the top tier firms to attract the best talent.

Below we compiled our list of the top 25 consultancies (ordered alphabetically), taking into account size, global reach, prestige and employee satisfaction, as evaluated by Vault's ranking of the best consultancies to work for. Search for current vacancies here

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Alvarez & Marsal 

Alvarez & Marsal is a privately owned company and a global leader in professional services with 5,000 employees and 65 offices worldwide. Since the founding of Alvarez & Marsal in 1983, many government entities and investors have consulted the company, whenever they see a need to complement their conventional approaches to effect change. The company has continued to grow through strategic acquisitions, organic growth, new hires in the market, and organic growth, which have enabled it to provide first-class services to its clients.

Rank

11

Employees

5,000

Locations

65 + offices in 25+ countries worldwide

Bain & Company

Bain & Company is a global consultancy firm with 12,000 employees and 59 offices in 37 countries. Since its founding in 1973, it has measured its success by its clients' success and proudly maintains the highest level of client advocacy in the industry. Among Bain’s customers are such prestigious names as De Beers, Ford, Charles Schwab, Starbucks, Del Monte, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rank

1

Employees

12,000

Offices

59 offices in 37 countries

Blue Matter Consulting LLC

Blue Matter is a company that specializes in life sciences consultancy. The company was founded in 2012 and has 5 offices in Europe and the US. Blue Matter collaborates with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to maximize value for their clients. Their work entails pre-launch and launching products. Besides, it works in a wide array of therapeutic areas and has developed rare disease and oncology capabilities. The company services include: commercial strategy, launch strategy management, organizational design and development and in-line products.

Rank

19

Employees

120

Offices

5 offices in the US and Europe

Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group is among the largest consultancies in the world.  The company has 21,000 employees and 90 offices in over 50 countries. Since its founding in 1963, it has partnered with both business and society leaders, enabling them to tackle their most critical challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. It holds the notion that firms must blend human and digital capabilities for them to succeed. Boston Consulting Group has worked with influential and large companies such as, McCormick & Co., Panasonic Corp, Whirlpool, Pepsi, and Boston Beer.

Rank

2

Employees

21,000

Offices

90+ offices in 50 countries

Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen was founded in 1914 during World War 1 to offer an outside perspective to help corporations and people succeed. The company employs more than 27,000 employees and has 80 offices in 10 countries. Nearly 96% of generated revenue comes from federal governments. The company has offered advice on significant events in the United States, such as the advancement of the space programme, e.g., Apollo 11 moon launch in 1969, design of the Hubble telescope in 1990, the expansion of the naval fleet, and securement of loans for Chrysler in the 80s.

Rank

4

Employees

27,000

Offices

80 offices in 10 countries

ClearView HealthCare Partners

ClearView is a boutique consulting firm that focuses on life sciences strategy. The company was founded in 2007, and since then, it has grown exponentially. It employs 300 employees in 3 offices. The company has its operations in the United States and mainly focuses on: pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, and biotechnology.

Rank

7

Employees

300

Offices

Newton, MA, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA

Charles River Associates

Charles River Associates (CRA) is a multinational firm specializing in management consulting, financial and economic consulting services. The company was founded in 1965 and has 826 employees and 21 offices in 10 countries. The company offers its clients advice on financial and economic matters regarding regulatory proceedings and litigation and guides corporations in critical aspects of strategies and performance. Its clients include local, state, federal government agencies, private and public utilities, and trade associations.

Rank

38

Employees

826

Offices

21 offices in 10 countries

Cornerstone Research

Cornerstone Research was founded in 1989 and works with top-tier law firms. It helps attorneys with commercial litigtion across variety of industries, including: telecoms, finance, manufacturing, government and high-tech. The firm offers expert witnesses, economic and financial modelling and regulatory advice. The firm employs 775 employees, mostly in the US, and in London.

Rank

18

Employees

775

Offices

8 offices in the US, and the UK

Deloitte Consulting LLP

Deloitte is a multinational corporation specializing in risk and financial advisory services, tax consulting, and audit assurance. It was founded in 1845 and has since employed 50,000 employees in the US alone. The US branch has more than 110 locations in the US. Deloitte works with companies from all industries. It helps them deliver measuring and lasting results to gain public trust in capital markets and motivate them to see challenges from a new perspective.

Rank

8

Employees

50,000

Offices

110+ US locations

 EY- Parthenon

EY- Parthenon was founded in 1991 and mainly focuses on strategy consultancy. The company employs over 6,500 professionals in over 50 offices worldwide. Clients that work with the company comprise Global 1000 corporations, non-profits, healthcare, education, and private equity clients. It provides advice to organizations and business leaders, and C-Suite in multiple sectors of the economy.

Rank

5

Employees

6,500

Offices

50 offices worldwide

 Kearney

Kearney was founded in 1926 by Andrew Thomas. Since its inception, it has offered advisory services to a variety of organizations. It is a global leader in management consultancy and has employed over 3,600 people in more than 40 countries. Besides the government and non-profit organizations, more than 75% of Fortune Global 500 are its clients.  Andrew Thomas tracks industrial trends and releases its annual Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) every two years. The reports give details on retail trends and opportunities in developing markets globally, further outlining factors that fuel the cities' success and competitiveness.

Rank

15

Employees

3,600

Offices

Offices in 40 countries, HQ in Chicago, IL

Kaiser Associates

Kaiser Associates is one of the best consulting firms. Since its founding  in 1981 the company has developed a global footprint in strategy consultancy. The company has offices in Washington DC, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, and London and has 100 employees. The company offers a superior consulting experience to its clients and boosts support from its entrepreneurial culture and strong leadership. In recent years, Kaiser Associates has heavily invested in individual professional development, formal and informal training, and talent management with a view of supporting growth initiatives.

Rank

21

Employees

100

Offices

4 offices

 Keystone Group

Keystone Group was founded in 1991 to serve distribution and manufacturing clients. It is located in Chicago and has another office in Atlanta. The company has 35 employees, and mainly focuses on four main areas: operation improvement, profitable growth strategy, integrating mergers and acquisitions, and cash flow improvements. Many of its clients are manufacturing and distribution companies.

Rank

13

Employees

35

Offices

2 offices

KPMG LLP (Advisory)

KPMG is a U.S based firm that provides professional services in audit, tax, and advisory services. The company has more than 219,000 employees in 147 countries across the globe. KPMG company is a separate and legal entity. Their services can classified in three categories: Management consulting, which includes technology enablement, customer & operations corporate services, deal advisory; second is Strategy consulting that includes: transaction services, restructuring, and corporate finance. Risk is the third category and includes: risk and compliance services, internal audit, forensic, IT advisory, and financial risk management.

Rank

16

Employees

219,000

Offices

147 countries

 McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company was founded in 1926. It is known for maintaining secrecy about the clients who engage them.  The company focuses on technological, operational, organizational, and strategic issues. The firm aims to do what is best for the client's business, and the company aims to do what is best for the client's business.  McKinsey & Company has 30,000 employees and 146 offices across 69 countries.

Rank

3

Employees

30,000

Offices

146 offices across 69 countries

Mercer LLC

Mercer LLC company believes that brighter futures are built through redefining work, unlocking health and wellbeing, and reshaping retirement and investment outcomes. The company employs over 25,000 workers in 44 countries and has 130 offices worldwide. It is an industry leader in areas of strategy, risk, and people.

Rank

33

Employees

25,000

Offices

130 offices in 44 countries

OC&C Strategy Consultants

OC&C was founded by Chris Outram in 1987 and employs 500 employees in 14 offices across 11 countries. The company's primary focus is solving strategic issues affecting its clients based on competitors' realities, customers, and market. OC&C works for clients in the transportation, telecommunication, technology, retail, equity, private, media, luxury, leisure. Infrastructure, consumer goods industries.

Rank

29

Employees

500

Offices

14 offices in 11 countries

Oliver Wyman

Marsh & McLennan Companies is the parent company of Oliver Wyman. The company provides professional services across 29 countries. This management consultancy group employes more than 4,000 professionals and has 60 offices located within major cities worldwide.  A significant number of the Fortune 1000 companies are Oliver Wyman's client. The firm offers consulting services in various sectors such as automotive, communication, defense, energy, media, and financial services.

Rank

6

Employees

4,000

Offices

60 offices in 29 countries

Putnam Associates

Putnam Associates was founded in 1988. Over the years, it has grown to become a premier strategy consulting firm. The company employs 150 employees and has 4 offices in the United States and England. The firm offers analytical services and strategic advice, helping clients with significant product and franchise cycle decisions. Clients include venture-backed biotech and some of the Fortune 500 companies.

Rank

10

Employees

150

Offices

4 offices in the UK and the US

PwC Advisory / Strategy&

PwC Advisory / Strategy& is a global consultancy firm that offers functional expertise across different industries, enabling clients to address complex and exciting business issues from strategy formulation to execution.  The company has 55,000 employees and 800 offices across 157 countries.

Rank

9

Employees

55,000

Offices

800 offices in 157 countries

 Roland Berger

Roland Berger was founded in Germany in 1967 and has since then established  a global footprint in the consultancy business. It employs 2,700 employees and has 52 offices in 35 countries. The company operates in North and South America, Middle East, and Africa. The company offers a variety of consulting services to large corporations in a diverse range of industries from travel and tourism, telecommunication, rail, public services, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, machinery, financial services, environmental technology, energy, construction, and chemical to consumer goods and automotive engineering.

Rank

20

Employees

2,700

Offices

52 offices in 35 countries

 Simon-Kucher & Partners

Simon-Kucher & Partners is a global consulting firm specializing in sales, pricing, marketing, and strategy. The firm was founded in 1985 and has 1,400 employees and 39 offices all over the world. The company provides advisory services to firms, helping them boost their businesses instead of cutting the expenses they incur.

Rank

28

Employees

1,400

Offices

39 offices globally

 The Bridgespan Group

The Bridgespan Group was founded in 1999 as a consultancy firm that provides consultancy services to philanthropic groups, NGOs, and non-profit organizations. The firm has 2 offices located in the U.S and has 289 employees. Bridgespan Group works with mission-driven leaders to change the lives of people in need.

Rank

12

Employees

289

Offices

2 offices in the US

The Cambridge Group

The Cambridge group company was founded in 1975 by a group of Economics professors. The company has 60 employees in the US. Over the years, the company has helped clients develop and execute strategies by understanding demand for goods. It works with clients in high technology, media, retail, financial services, and consumer goods.

Rank

17

Employees

60

Offices

Chicago, IL

The Chartis Group

The Chartis Group is a consultancy firm based in the United States aiming to improve healthcare services. Since its founding in 2001, the firm has set up 8 offices within the U.S with 507 employees.  The services and insights it provides support healthcare organizations in focusing on their missions and improving effectiveness, affordability access, and patient care effectiveness. Clients look for Chartis Group because of the model it uses to enable financial stability and growth in evolving health ecosystem and how it redefines the patient journey.

Rank

40

Employees

507

Offices

8 offices in the US

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