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Bain, BCG, McKinsey & The Best Consulting Firms To Work For In 2022

Bain, BCG or McKinsey? Find out who tops the best consulting firms to work for in 2022

Tue Apr 26 2022

With impressive salaries and rewarding work, it’s no wonder that many business school candidates want to go into management consulting when they graduate. 

Each year, Vault reveals the 50 best consulting firms to work for, based on survey answers from more than 17,000 consultants. Top consulting firms are ranked according to factors including compensation, diversity, work-life balance, and job satisfaction. 

In 2022, the Big Three consulting firms—McKinsey & Company, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain & Company—have secured the top three spots again. The Big Three, or MBB, all plan to increase starting salaries for MBA hires in 2022.

Bain & Company takes pole position in the Vault consulting ranking, beating McKinsey by the finest of margins—0.001 of a point. BCG, which ranked second in 2021, drops to third place. 

After a job in consulting? Here’s a breakdown of the best consulting firms to work for in 2022:

Best Consulting Firms To Work For | By Ranking Criteria

* - means the company is below the top 30 for this metric

MBB voted the best consulting firms to work for

Bain is the best consulting firm to work for

In 2022, Bain retains its place as the best consulting firm to work for, thanks to consistently high ratings across all 20 of the ranking criteria.

Bain places among the top five in 16 areas, including top rankings for informal training and relationships with supervisors. McKinsey and BCG both have 15 top-five rankings. 

Along with the expected strong performances in areas like compensation—Bain pays new...

more than $170k—it outperforms the other Big Three consultancies for firm culture, satisfaction, and formal training. 

“The work is hard and high stakes, but all the input, training, coaching, and feedback is geared toward helping you succeed, not putting you down,” says one Bain consultant. 

McKinsey ranked the best consulting firm for innovation

Hot on Bain's heels, McKinsey is the best consulting firm to work for when it comes to innovation, internal mobility, selectivity, and international opportunities. McKinsey consultants are impressed by their meaningful work and the purpose-driven company culture. 

McKinsey and BCG both match Bain’s MBA salaries, and McKinsey consultants value their strong compensation packages. “My compensation is generous, my salary is very competitive, and it includes free healthcare and too many other perks to mention,” says one anonymous employee. 

BCG is the best consulting firm for compensation

Despite falling down the ranking, BCG gains top scores across several criteria. It’s the best consulting firm to work for when it comes to firm leadership, overall business outlook, benefits, promotion policies, and compensation. 

Investments in areas like advanced analytics and the climate crisis leave BCG consultants confident in the company’s future. “Investment in building its digital practice will make BCG a leader in this space for many years,” says one employee. 

The Big Three were also some of the best consulting firms for diversity. They all rank among the top five, with Bain in particular rising from seventh to fourth in 2022. Only The Bridgespan Group, a social sector-focused subsidiary of Bain, ranks higher than the Big Three. 

Among the largest recruiters of MBA grads, Bain, BCG, and McKinsey take on MBAs from some of the world's top schools. 

What do the Big Three consulting firms look for in their b-school hires? Big three recruiters have revealed they value a balanced mix of soft skills, problem-solving abilities, and digital-savvy that top MBA and Masters programs cultivate. 

READ: Consulting Salaries For MBA & Master's Graduates 



Best Consulting Firms For Work-Life Balance

The pandemic has changed attitudes to work-life balance with new practices such as remote and hybrid working now common. Many consulting firms have made a concerted effort to keep their staff from burning out. 

Boutique consulting firms offer high salaries—though often less than the Big Three—and they’re more likely to offer strong work-life balance. 

Family-run boutique, Eagle Hill Consulting (EHC), has held the top-ranking for work-life balance for some time, and retains its place in 2022. “There is great work-life balance and lots of opportunities to get involved in a variety of ways,” says one employee, who also noted the kindness of EHC leadership. 

At 100% employee-owned consultancy, ghSMART, employees govern themselves according to a “free choice” model. They can choose when and where to work, with employees already used to remote work before the pandemic. “We work hard, and on high-stakes matters, but we can structure the work in a way that works for our lives,” says one employee. 

Despite all the benefits that come with working for a Big Three firm, they often fall short of boutique firms when it comes to work-life balance. Frequent travel is common while none of the MBB rank among the top five for time spent in the office. 

Only Bain places in the top 10 for work-life balance in 2022 with McKinsey and BCG ranking 14th and 20th respectively. Bain rose from 14th  to fifth this year, making it a rare outlier in a usually weak category for the Big Three. 

It looks like the pandemic has benefitted Bain employees, with one reporting that travel has reduced to almost zero now that remote work is more common. Another said the firm has a positive work-life culture, with weekends, vacations, and personal time all highly respected. 

“Senior leaders steer very open dialogues about making Bain work for your life—not vice versa,” reports one Bain consultant.

Vault Consulting Rankings: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 

Next Read: 

The 25 Top Consulting Firms With The Highest Salaries