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2021 Best Consulting Firms To Work For

Find out who the best consulting firms to work for are in 2021

Mon Jan 18 2021


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Best Consulting Firms To Work For In 2022

In 2021, the big three consulting firms—McKinsey & Company, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain & Company—have nabbed the top three spots in the Vault Consulting 50 ranking.

In pole position is Bain & Company, having beaten out 2020’s number one, McKinsey. BCG remains in second place, the same spot it occupied in 2020, while McKinsey comes third.

Here’s a breakdown of the best consulting firms to work for in 2021:

The Big Three Dominate

In 2021, Bain gained the number one spot thanks to its high ratings in selectivity, learning opportunities, and mentorship.

“The firm just cares—about our clients, teams and communities,” said one anonymous employee. Another said they were excited by the challenging problems they solved as a Bain consultant. The firm also ranked highly for its prestige, leadership, and compensation. 

Hot on its heels, BCG was the best consulting firm when it came to salary and benefits, and ranked in third for culture,...

ship, and innovation. Consultants at BCG are impressed with the great compensation on offer, as well as the “accelerated learning opportunities and fantastic colleagues,” as one reviewer noted.

Meanwhile, McKinsey was ranked as the most prestigious consulting firm, despite its slide from the top spot. The firm also came in second for innovation, and fourth for promotion policies. Surprisingly, it came in eighth place for compensation—lower on the list than some smaller, boutique firms.  

Each of the Big Three performed well this year in the category of diversity, too. They all ranked in the top 10, with McKinsey coming in second place.

Bain, BCG, and McKinsey are among the biggest recruiters of MBA graduates, taking on MBAs from schools like Harvard, Stanford, and Chicago Booth in the US, and the University of St Gallen HSG, IESE, and London Business School in Europe.

What do the Big Three look for in their MBA hires? They value a balanced mix of soft skills, problem-solving abilities, and digital-savvy that good MBA and Masters programs cultivate. 

Despite all the benefits that come with working for a Big Three firm, they do fall short of other firms when it comes to work-life balance, with long hours and frequent travel being common. Despite ranking number one overall, Bain & Company comes in 14th for work-life balance. McKinsey and BCG rank 21st and 16th for work-life balance respectively. 

Best Consulting Firms For Work-Life Balance

While the ongoing shift to remote work has been taxing for many, it's also sparked conversations about how to achieve a better work-life balance. 

Several consultancies have taken this opportunity to heart, and made a concerted effort to keep their staff from burning out. 

The family-run boutique consultancy, Eagle Hill Consulting, retained its number one ranking for work-life balance. Employees at the firm describe a “culture of collaboration, fun, and work-life balance,” with ample mentorship and leaders who have an open-door policy.

Overall, boutique consultancies were more likely than their larger counterparts to offer their staff a strong work-life balance. However, Booz Allen Hamilton is an exception. The Virginia-headquartered consultancy launched a wellness program in 2014, and has been rising through the work-life balance rankings, snagging an impressive fifth place for 2021.

Healthcare Consulting Firms Ranked Most Innovative

It should come as no surprise that the most innovative consulting firm of 2021 specializes in healthcare.

ClearView Healthcare Partners earned the number one spot in part for its research into the digital healthcare revolution—a project more crucial than ever given the coronavirus pandemic

Another firm specializing in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, Putnam Associates, earned the fifth spot. In fact, of the top 10 most innovative consultancies this year, five specialize in healthcare, highlighting the industry’s high-growth status and the opportunities this heralds for ambitious business school graduates. 

Read: The 25 Top Consulting Firms With The Highest Salaries