We talk a lot about the “Big 4” and the “Big 3,” but there are other powerhouse brands in the consulting world as well. Enter RSM – a global network of firms providing audit, tax, and consulting services across all sectors. Given its sheer scale and range of offerings, RSM prides itself on the deep client relationships it has still been able to build. And as an RSM practitioner, you can expect to wear many hats as you seek to deliver for clients. Where to begin, you might ask? In this deep dive on RSM, we’ll break down the firm’s integrated network and shed light on where opportunities lie.
Table Of Contents:
- RSM Key Stats
- RSM History
- RSM Careers
- RSM Internship
- Practice Areas
- RSM Offices
- Career Path
- Exit Opportunities
- RSM Culture
- Diversity Programs
- Benefits & Staffing
- RSM Interview
- Target Schools and Qualifications
- Key Resources & Links
RSM Key Stats
- RSM Website: https://www.rsm.global/
- RSM Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
- RSM Employees: 48,000
- RSM Locations: Worldwide
- RSM Chief Executive: Jean Stephens
- RSM Revenue: $6B+
- RSM Engagement Cost: ~$300K (consulting)
The best way to break down RSM’s history is from the top down. As we mentioned, RSM International is not a firm itself but a multi-national network of advisory firms. The RSM International “umbrella” has been around since 1964, although the name has been RSM International only since 1993. The two biggest entities by revenue under RSM International are RSM US (formerly McGladrey) and RSM UK (formerly Baker Tilly LLP). No major surprises there! To simplify things, let’s take a US-centric view and unpack the history of RSM US a bit further.
As referenced above, Ira McGladrey was the original namesake of RSM US. McGladrey was a powerful name in public accounting, and the firm played mainly in the accounting space throughout the 20th century. In 1999, the firm split in two – McGladrey & Pullen on one side and RSM McGladrey on the other. This split was actually coordinated via H&R Block and continued for 12-ish years until 2011. At that point, the two firms rejoined forces under a traditional partnership structure (no public shareholders). 2012 to 2015 saw the unified firm operate as McGladrey LLP and move its US HQ to Chicago. Finally in late 2015, the RSM US brand came to be as part of an RSM International re-org. Revenue growth stayed strong throughout all the name muddling. Today RSM US pulls in around a third of RSM International’s entire revenue. RSM consulting has grown to be a big part of this.
RSM careers can take a lot of different shapes and forms. Like it does with clients, the firm works with its associates closely to build customized, meaningful career paths. We’ll approach this again from an RSM US-perspective, knowing that the situation may slightly vary across other RSM entities. RSM US has four major client service segments:
- Internal Services
These segments further divide into practice areas you can check out below. But at a 30,000-foot level, RSM consultants work in a strategic context (similar to Big 4 S&O) with senior client decision-makers. RSM auditors focus on providing clients with in-depth risk assessments based on business factors unique to each client. RSM tax professionals help clients align their tax positions with broader business objectives. Finally, RSM internal service professionals make up the “backbone” functions of the firm. Functions like Admin, HR, IT, and Operations, that all help empower RSM’s client service.
Even with most RSM internships currently being virtual, the firm has preserved the core RSM internship experience. RSM US typically takes on interns across all segments and offices. And as an intern, you can expect your internship to have different “pillars.” Number one, all interns go through a robust orientation program that teaches RSM’s client service. Number two, the hands-on work. Interns get the opportunity to jump right into the mix with real clients and work on live deliverables. The third pillar constitutes intern events. RSM puts a lot of effort into all kinds of events, ranging from professional lunch-and-learns to baseball games after work. The fourth and final pillar is mentorship. RSM interns pair with RSM practitioners who help with evaluation steps like performance reviews and full-time offer considerations. RSM US looks for interns who are 12-18 months from graduation. But if that doesn’t include you, the firm also offers an immersive externship program.
The RSM practice areas below pertain to RSM US, but the three main buckets exist across all RSM International brands. The fourth bucket mentioned above, Internal Services, doesn’t really have practice areas since it’s not client-facing.
- Financial Consulting
- Strategy and Management Consulting
- Risk Consulting
- Technology Consulting
- Transaction Advisory Services
- Compensation and Benefits
- Credits and Incentives
- Federal Tax
- Indirect Tax
- International Tax
- Private Client
- State and Local Tax
- Tax Function Optimization
Like most professional service conglomerates, RSM works with clients across every industry imaginable. You can check out the entire list here towards the bottom half of the page. For RSM (much like for other firms) – more important than comprehensive industry coverage is covering industries with the most pressing current needs. In other words, “following the business.” As we emerge from the pandemic, all sorts of RSM clients are tapping the firm for guidance on transition plans.
Collectively, RSM’s 800+ offices cover 120+ countries. Broadly, RSM offices split into two categories: United States and International. On the International side, regions are further split by the following geographies: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, North America, Middle East, and North Africa. You can take a closer look at those locations here. From an RSM US perspective, there are currently offices across 32 of the 50 states. Some of the more popular ones include:
- RSM Atlanta
- RSM Bellevue
- RSM Boston
- RSM Dallas
- RSM Denver
- RSM Houston
- RSM Minneapolis
- RSM San Diego
RSM promotes a meritocracy that follows the rule of “70-20-10”. This rule states that 70% of your professional development will come through client interactions. The other 20% and 10% come from colleague relationships and formal RSM workshop trainings, respectively. All the big firms have strong training programs, but RSM is unique in quantifying your development in this manner. Progression and leveling up at RSM depends on the RSM career path you choose (consulting, audit, etc). But for the purposes of this section, we’ll consider the typical consulting trajectory. Following an undergraduate internship, you come in as a Consulting Associate. From there you work through a couple of middle levels until Consulting Manager. From that point, there are just a few more levels until Principal/Partner.
Here’s the progression in table form:
|RSM US Consulting Level||Average Time in Role|
|Senior Associate||2 years|
|Senior Manager||3-4 years|
RSM exit opportunities vary based on client exposure, level, and many other factors. To give the ultimate consulting answer, “it depends.” As a Senior Associate or Supervisor, you can leverage the RSM brand for an MBA application. Top MBA programs know that the work at RSM aligns well with the typical MBA curriculum (finance, strategy, accounting). At the higher levels, your options are more focused towards joining a client or some other new venture. If you successfully leverage the skillset and network you’ve built with RSM, the sky’s the limit. But be careful as you pick a career lane, as RSM experience will require more explanation than, say, MBB strategy experience.
RSM culture will be specific to geography and office, but we’ll again double click into RSM US. The firm prides itself on a culture of flexibility. And with many people still working at home, this is more important than ever. Flexibility at RSM means that your work is just one aspect of your life. The firm strives to accommodate a positive work-life balance. Work-wise, at RSM you can expect responsibility and autonomy from day one. But you’ll have formal and informal resources all around to help you ramp up. Upper management at RSM is honest, ethical, and communicative.
In its employee base, RSM proudly represents thousands of affinities. As such, the firm’s unwavering commitment to diversity is something it takes seriously. Here are a few specific RSM US DEI groups:
Benefits & Staffing
Let’s be real – we are all in it for the benefits, right? RSM benefits are attractive across a range of categories. The firm offers standard, comprehensive health insurance coverage – in line with the industry standard. From a financial planning perspective, RSM’s 401K plan also includes a company match and built-in 529 college savings plan (for the kiddos). Bonuses are there too – specific structure will change over the course of your RSM career based on level and performance. Something unique to RSM is the celebration of peer accolades. RSM’s Accolades program offers a platform for employees to call each other out for a job well done. Rewards associated with the Accolades program can be redeemed for many things – sort of like credit card points!
From a staffing perspective, RSM doesn’t use any proprietary process that stands out from similar firms. You can expect to work with the Internal Services team for project sourcing. This becomes a more autonomous process as you find your feet at the firm.
RSM consulting interviews are tailored to the business segment you apply for. But overall, you can expect a slightly different process than at a pure-play strategy firm like Bain, BCG, or McKinsey. RSM employs a screening team that makes recommendations to hiring managers for face-to-face interviews. From there, RSM arranges for travel to your office of interest, and you can expect between 2-4 interviews. You may get some case-based questions thrown in, but not to the extent of a 45–60-minute MBB case. You’ll receive detailed questions about your background and motivations for the role. RSM wants to make sure they are the right fit for you, too!
Target Schools and Qualifications
RSM doesn’t publish a specific set of target schools it goes after each year. The firm does, however, have a core set of qualifications it wants to see in candidates. Number one, a 3.0 minimum GPA or the equivalent (work with us on a resume edit if you have a lower GPA and need help selling your story to RSM). Number two, a degree in accounting for accounting applicants – or a degree in a related major for consulting applicants. Thirdly and most importantly, RSM wants candidates who represent RSM values. These values include respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and stewardship.
With a strong network, deep client relationships, and lots of exciting work to be done, RSM Consulting is an attractive firm to work for. If you’re considering an RSM application, check out our resume editing services. And don’t forget to brush up on your case interview skills before you head to your interview!
Key Resources & Links
- RSM Global’s Website
- RSM US Website
- MC Consulting Firm Directory
- RSM Growth in 2020
- RSM Benefits and Perks – Vault
- RSM US Announces DE&I-focused Collaborative for Middle Market
- Culture of Flexibility at RSM
- Working at RSM – Great Place to Work
- RSM US – Forbes
- RSM US Strives for An Amazing and Challenging Culture