Consultant salaries are a topic many readers are dying to learn more about.
We’ve gathered the data from our own experiences, consulting colleagues, and public sources. They won’t be 100% accurate but should be pretty close.
One resource we’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. Our original estimates were a bit lower, but have been adjusted upward based on emails and the comments below.
Progression track through partner:
Our numbers have a higher risk of being inaccurate as this is only from personal anecdotes, so if you have better information, email us 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 we’d seen in previous years)
- More generous expense/reimbursement policies, travel perks, etc
Love our insider information on salaries? We have more insider information on what to expect and how to prepare to hit the ground running in our 3 Month Mastery resource. We will train you on what to brush up on and how to avoid fatal mistakes in the first 3 months of your career as a management consultant.