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Consulting is the practice of helping organizations to improve their performance. This could include: creating strategy, process analysis, technology implementation, market entry, profitability enhancement, and/or operational improvement services. There are thousands of management consulting firms across the globe that work with the private and public sector.

A management consultant is a leader, professional, and a problem-solver. They can communicate impeccably, asking intentional questions and can collaborate dynamically with coworkers. One must be an expert in quantitative and qualitative data and also should be adaptive in a fast paced, quickly evolving environment.



Accenture is a technology consulting firm with a strategy consulting arm. The firm's footprint is massive, with an estimated 449,000 employees across the world. Accenture is especially great for aspiring consultants who value opportunities to learn about technology.

Accenture is ranked 8th in terms of prestige and is known to have a challenging work culture. Overtime is optional, but many consultants reportedly need to work the extra hours. In order to excel at Accenture, its consultants say networking is essential in order to land the best teams and projects.

Alvarez & Marsal

Alvarez & Marsal, also known as A&M, is a bankruptcy, turnaround, and restructuring firm made famous during the 2008 financial crisis, when it took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The firm is a premier player in the consulting world, with the reputation and compensation to boot. If rescuing distressed companies sounds like fun to you, A&M may just be the firm you've been looking for - providing great strategy, operations, and finance exposure.

Analysis Group, Inc.

Analysis Group is the world's premier economic consulting firm. What is economic consulting? This branch of consulting supports clients (mostly law firms and governments) with research and insight during litigation. If you're a numbers geek and econ whiz, Analysis Group offers you the chance to conduct economic analysis within an advisory function.

Bain & Co.

Bain rounds out the world's top three consulting firms. The company places a large emphasis on camaraderie and has the "frattiest" culture out of the Big 3. Bain currently employs over 8,000 across 50 offices worldwide, and the company generated an estimated $3.8 billion in revenue in 2017.

Though Bainees build strong relationships amongst their teams, consultants are still required to work long hours in return for interesting projects and excellent exit opportunities. The firm utilizes a local staffing model, meaning that projects are as near each local office as possible. Bain has also differentiated itself through its expertise in private equity through Bain Capital, made even more famous by its previous leader Mitt Romney. Bain earned a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign for 12 years and was named 'Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.'

Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is known as an innovative thought leader in the consulting industry with a strong focus on strategy. BCG has an intellectual culture that prioritizes creativity and academia. The firm has roughly 18,500 employees across 90 offices around the world. The company generated $7.5 billion in revenue in 2018.

BCG is consistently ranked as one of the best places to work even while demanding long hours out of its consultants. The firm offers unique programs to its top performers, such as the Strategy Lab and BCG Fellows program. BCG also offers several programs and internships that focus on diversity, one of the firm's core values. Consultants who leave BCG are provided with top notch exit opportunities across almost any industry.


Consulting is a very broad field with many areas of emphasis. The priorities and requirements of individual employers will vary significantly given the focus of their consulting activity.

In general, firms are likely to value candidates who offer enthusiasm and excitement about the field, high energy, the ability to work well on teams, effective interpersonal skills (especially the ability to listen well, but also strong writing and presentation skills, because each of these support the client interactions and sales functions), quantitative and analytical skills (including the ability to research and synthesize data), integrity, adaptability, and stamina (for those long work weeks and extensive travel). Creative problem solving, the ability to take initiative, and computer skills are typically relevant as well.

It is not necessary for candidates to be highly qualified in each of these areas. Check with targeted employers to determine the specific requirements for their positions.

Qualities and skills often valued by recruiters in consulting (and that you should work on honing now!) include:

  • record of academic achievement
  • problem solving skills
  • logical reasoning
  • business acumen
  • team orientation
  • writing skills
  • presentation skills
  • ability to cultivate relationships
  • facility with computer software
  • quantitative and statistical skills
  • energy/stamina/flexibility
  • pattern of leadership
Report an issue - Last updated: 01/14/2021