It’s no secret that the MBA consultant salary continues to skyrocket. Banking and tech are the only other sectors providing any kind of competition to consulting salaries. So if current (and future) comp is the most important factor in your decision between consulting firms or industries, you probably want to know the best 10 consulting firms for MBA consulting salaries.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve made it easy for you to get a snapshot of the highest paying consulting firms for MBAs. The even better news? At the top firms, a Harvard MBA salary is exactly the same as a Stanford MBA salary is exactly the same as an MBA salary from any other program. Everyone who lands an offer starts out at the same base salary level (notable exception: Big 4 firms often adjust base salaries for cost of living. So, your salary in NYC will be higher than in Atlanta).
We determined these best consulting firm rankings by the potential total compensation you could receive in Year 1 out of an MBA program. For the purposes of this list, total compensation includes base salary, signing bonus, and performance bonus. Note that only the top 5-10% of performers will receive the max performance bonus, with most consultants receiving half of the maximum amount.
If money is a big factor in your decision, we recommend prioritizing the firms that offer higher base salaries as opposed to the potential for high performance bonuses. You can find the full breakdown in our salaries report.
Max Total Compensation: up to $267,500
EY’s strategy division EY-Parthenon checks in at the end of our list of best consulting firms for MBA salaries – but tied with McKinsey, so not too shabby. The firm delivers a cool middle-of-the-road $175,000 base salary with a high max performance bonus ($52,500) and signing bonus ($40,000). Add it all together, and your potential first year total compensation is $267,500.
11. McKinsey & Company
Max Total Compensation: up to $267,000
We have our first MBB sighting! A McKinsey salary this low on our list? That’s right – McKinsey checks in on our best consulting firms for consulting salary ranking with a $192,000 base salary. Add a performance bonus of up to $45,000 and a $30,000 signing bonus to round out the cash compensation, and you’re looking at earning up to $267,000 in your first year. Nothing to sneeze at, and in the ballpark of the rest of the firms of our list. But McKinsey’s total compensation isn’t as high as its reputation – one of the reasons the firm can get away with not being #1 on this list.
9. Boston Consulting Group
Max Total Compensation: up to $270,000
BCG is lower on this list not for its base salary, which is on the high end of the range at $190,000. in exactly the same boat as Bain. Both firms offer higher potential performance bonuses to their MBA consultants than McKinsey does, pushing their max compensation a little bit higher. So which firm should you choose? The one where you feel like you are a better cultural fit. The best way to determine this is via the networking process. In addition, check out our BCG firm profile for an in-depth review of the firm, including a section on culture.
Max Total Compensation: up to $271,100
A non-MBB or Big 4 boutique makes an appearance on the list! Oliver Wyman is known for its work in the financial services industry and is growing rapidly across sectors and geographies. If you join Oliver Wyman as an MBA consultant, you’ll take home a $190,000 base salary plus massive $45,000 signing bonus. In addition, you have the opportunity to earn up to $36,100 in performance bonuses.
7. PwC Strategy&
Max Total Compensation: up to $280,000
Strategy& (not so recently acquired by PwC) is #7 on our list of best consulting firms for MBA consulting salaries. The firm matches BCG on base salary ($190,000) and offers a max performance bonus of 33% the base salary. If you don’t feel like doing the math, that’s a max performance bonus of $60,000. Add that to the $30,000 signing bonus, and you have the potential as a 1st year MBA to make up to $280,000 at Strategy&.
5. Analysis Group
Max Total Compensation: up to $282,500
A newcomer to the 2023 list, Analysis Group is a medium-sized boutique firm that placed on Management Consulted’s ranking of the world’s top firms. At Analysis Group as an MBA consultant, you’ll take home a $190,000 base salary. Add in a maximum performance bonus + signing bonus – both coming out to ~$45,000 – and you can earn over $280,000 your first year out of your MBA.
5. Accenture Strategy
Max Total Compensation: $282,500
Accenture has long been known as one of the world’s premier technology consulting firms. But in recent years, the firm’s strategy practice has been making waves by combining its technological prowess with cutting-edge business thinking, focusing on providing competitive agility for its clients. The firm doesn’t pay too badly either. MBA base pay is lower than competitors ($175,000) but the firm makes up for it with a $40,000 performance bonus that all 1st years out of an MBA program receive. In addition, it pays top performers an additional $15,000, bringing the total max performance bonus up to $55,000. Add in a base $35,000 signing bonus plus $17,500 early sign-on bonus for returning interns, and you have the potential to take home $282,500 your first year out of your MBA.
Max Total Compensation: up to $285,000
AlixPartners is a firm that has pioneered a unique methodology through its meteoric rise in the consulting industry. While the firm works across industries and practice areas, it’s best known for its Turnaround & Restructuring Group. This also explains why the maximum performance bonus the firm offers is incredibly high – $60,000. With a competitive base salary ($180,000) and potential for lucrative bonuses, AlixPartners is well on its way to competing for top talent at name-brand MBA programs.
3. Bain & Company
Max Total Compensation: up to $285,000
Bain’s MBA salary matches McKinsey and ups BCG at the base level: $192,000. But Bain offers a much higher performance bonus than either firm – up to $63,000. Couple that with a $30,000 signing bonus (again, on par with McKinsey and BCG) and your max total compensation is $285,000. Even better? You can expect a 10-15% raise every year, with a 30-40% raise in promotion years.
2. Alvarez and Marsal (A&M)
Max Total Compensation: up to $287,500
Alvarez and Marsal – AKA A&M – comes in at #2 on this list on the strength of its massive performance bonus cap of $87,500. Of course, only the best of the best (top ~10%) will receive the full amount, but the earning potential is still there. If operations and turnaround consulting is your jam, A&M is a great starting place for MBAs to land.
Max Total Compensation: up to $288,800
Kearney is one of the top boutique firms around, as evidenced by some of the toughest (and most quant-heavy) cases we’ve seen. The firm has a stellar reputation, and is one of the few firms that makes it possible for its consultants to transition into McKinsey, Bain, or BCG down the road. The firm is also known for its supply chain expertise – if you have designs on staying in the supply chain world long-term, Kearney may just be the best fit for you.
Your consulting salary is certainly an important factor in deciding which firm to pursue. This list of best consulting firms for consulting salary gives you a solid understanding of the hard numbers, but you still have work to do. Consulting firm culture can affect your overall experience more than any other factor. Do your homework to understand not only firm culture, but your own make-up and desires. What culture would you best thrive in? What do you value most in a work environment? Which consulting firm culture can offer you the non-monetary benefits you are looking for?
Granted, there is no perfect firm. However, your colleagues will play the biggest part in determining your experience. You’ll work some long hours, especially in your early years, so make sure you work those hours with people you genuinely like and respect. Go forth and use this list of best consulting firms for consulting salary as one tool in your tool belt, and like Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade – “choose wisely”!