Consultant salaries is a topic many readers are dying to learn more about.
I’ve gathered the data from my own experience, consulting colleagues, and public sources. They won’t be 100% accurate but should be pretty close.
One resource I’ve found valuable is the Consulting forums at WallStreetOasis.
First year out of undergraduate:
- Base salaries: $50-65K
- Signing bonuses: $5-10K
- Relocation/moving expenses: $5-10K
- Year-end bonus: $5-10K depending on firm.
That’s an average of $70-75K in first year consulting pay. As a summer intern, you can expect a comparable, pro-rated salary minus bonus. This does not include retirement contributions.
First year out of business school/MBA:
- Base salaries: $110-140K
- Signing bonuses: $20-40K
- Relocation/moving expenses: $10-20K
- Year-end bonus: $20-40K depending on firm.
That’s an average of $160-200K in total first year consulting pay. Again, consulting summer interns should expect a pro-rated portion minus bonus. This does not include retirement contributions. My original estimates were a bit lower, but have been adjusted upward based on emails and the comments below.
Progression track through partner:
My numbers have a higher risk of being inaccurate as this is only from personal anecdotes, so if you have better information, email me or comment below
- Engagement manager/Project leader: $175-250K
- Associate principal/Senior project leader: $250-400K
- Partner/Principal: $500-800K
- Senior partner/Director: $1M plus
Senior consultant salaries becomes increasingly variable and performance-based
How consulting salaries lose to finance:
At almost every level, your salary will be 30-50% lower than a comparable position in investment banking. This is variable by year and median salaries in non-banking departments (such as research, asset management, sales & trading) are lower than in banking. But as mentioned in the consulting versus banking post, consulting is not a profession to make big bucks.
How consulting firms compensate for the lower salaries:
- Better benefits – healthcare, life insurance, etc
- Retirement contributions – this one is important because at MBB, they’ll contribute an added 5-10% of your base salary to your retirement funds, effectively a 5-10% year-end bonus! (A reader just informed me that his MBB retirement contribution starting fulltime in ’09 was 4.5%, which is lower than I’d seen in previous years)
- More generous expense/reimbursement policies, travel perks, etc