These days, consulting companies span across the world, with offices in almost every important city you can name. Of course, not all offices or locations are equal – each have their benefits and disadvantages. If you’re a budding consultant or if you already are one trying to make a move, it’s important to know both the salary to expect and the cost of living in the area. As a result, in this article, we will be providing some insight on management consultant salary by location.
Management Consultant Salary Levels
First, it’s important to know the average level of compensation you can expect as a consultant. Here is a summary of the average consultant salary you can expect across the various stages in a consultant’s career:
First-year out of Undergrad/Master’s program:
- Base: ~$80k
- Signing Bonus: ~$5k
- Performance Bonus: up to ~$12k
First year out of MBA/PhD program:
- Base: ~$150k
- Signing Bonus: ~$25k
- Performance Bonus: up to ~$44k
Manager/Project Leader (2-3 years out of MBA/PhD) program:
- Base: $190-210k
- Bonus: $80-120k
Associate Principal/Senior Project Leader (4-5 years out of MBA/PhD) program:
- Base: $230-300k
- Bonus: $110-200k
Junior Partner/Principal (6-8 years out of MBA/PhD) program:
- Base: $320-400k
- Bonus: $300-500k
Senior Partner/Director (10+ years out of MBA/PhD) program:
- Base: $400-600k
- Bonus: $500k+
Management Consultant Salary Variance
Management consultant salaries also vary from company to company. Take a look below for two graphs that show consultant salaries at the undergraduate / master’s level and the MBA / PhD level across some of the world’s top consulting firms.
Management Consultant Salary By Location – Domestic (U.S.)
By and large, your consultant salary won’t change regardless of the city your office resides in. This has a few important implications.
First, the city’s overall cost of living will play a huge determining factor in your take home pay. Choosing a city like Atlanta where food and rent is cheaper or an office in Texas where there is no state income tax will provide you a lot more extra cash in your bank than locations like San Francisco or New York.
Second, this means that you have little negotiation leverage when it comes to adjusting your consulting salary. Unless you are an extremely impressive experienced hire or have some other incredible qualities, your offer will remain the same no matter how hard you try.
Ranking of Cost of Living in U.S. Cities
According to Expatistan, a site that compares the cost of living in cities around the world. Below is a ranked list of U.S. cities from most expensive to least expensive, that consulting companies generally have offices in.
- Mountain View & Palo Alto
- New York
- San Francisco
- Washington D.C.
- Los Angeles
- Dallas & Austin
Management Consultant Salary By Location – International
Variance in management consultant salaries across international locations is a whole different story. Salaries tend to be highest in the United States, while other developed countries such as Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Switzerland round out the second tier. But “first-world” countries don’t guarantee higher salaries. For example, London salaries are relatively low, especially considering the high cost of living.
Generally speaking, consulting salaries for international offices are adjusted for what’s fair and competitive within the country. So most likely, you won’t be struggling to get by if you get a job at a top consulting firm no matter which country you decide to work in.
Ranking of Cost of Living in Cities Outside the U.S.
According to Expatistan, below is a ranked list of cities outside the U.S. from most expensive to least expensive, that consulting companies generally have offices in.
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Tokyo, Japan
- Hong Kong
- London, United Kingdom
- Dublin, Ireland
- Sydney, Australia
- Dubai, UAE,
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Vancouver & Toronto, Canada
Overall, it’s not only important to know your consulting salary but also the cost of living in the city of your choice. Regardless of where you go, however, take solace in the fact that you will be paid well above the average professional in most other industries.