B-school observers eagerly await the U.S. News & World Report or Forbes rankings to get a sense of the top MBA programs and what separates them. Yet, if you’re looking to go into consulting, some different criteria apply. Some MBA programs will set you up better than others, but these don’t track exactly with the general lists.
So, we took it upon ourselves to create a ranking based on the top MBA programs for consulting. Jenny Rae, ex-Bain consultant, breaks down the typical starting salaries that each MBA program affords its graduates and other relevant details you’ll care about. Enjoy our ranking of top MBA programs for consulting!
Top MBA Programs For Consulting YouTube Transcription:
If you’re thinking about going into consulting, and you’re trying to decide what Business School you should go to, how do you pick which one might give you the best shot at getting into consulting? I’m Jenny Rae Le Roux, the Managing Director of Management Consulted, and we’ve got some interesting insights for you as it relates to the top MBA programs for consulting.
One of the things that you’ll find when you go through our rankings, is that these rankings aren’t the same as a U.S. News & World Report ranking, or a Businessweek ranking, or a Forbes ranking for business schools. These are specifically focused on consulting. And what we’ve done is we’ve broken down class size, the total percentage that go into consulting, the salaries as a starting point. And also just some of the support that the schools provide when they’re thinking about helping their students go into consulting. And there are a couple of things that really pop that are insightful in this process.
Top MBA Programs For Consulting Ranking:
Number one on our list of top MBA programs for consulting is Kellogg. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, has a medium size class usually ranging between about six to seven hundred students. And they send over 30%, usually ranging around 30-35% into consulting. That is huge, it’s one of the most dense hiring populations that they have. And the average consulting base salary and bonus are pretty strong. What makes Kellogg amazing? The program and the culture at Kellogg are very strong on teamwork and collaboration as well as communication. Because of these things, the school has a reputation for having a lot of really nice collaborative students, which suits very well for the consulting process. In addition, both a very active Club as well as an active Career Services program, help prepare students for the all-important case interview, and the full consulting interview process.
The second one on our list is the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Tuck is an anomaly in the business school community, because even though they have a very small class size, usually under 300, every year, very close-knit, incredible focus on the organization that they’re building. Tuck really has a large percentage of those that go into consulting. Usually it’s between 30% and 40%. And almost 30% go into MBB. So a huge number that are going, not just into consulting in general, but also very specifically into the top-tier consulting firms.
Tuck really takes its leadership program seriously. They start the earliest out of the programs as far as we know, when they’re training first years, they begin as early as one month into the program. And they introduce them to cases and case interviews. In addition, Tuck for the last at least ten years, has had someone professional on staff from McKinsey, Bain, or BCG, who’s been there to guide students through the networking and the interview process.
Next on our list of top MBA programs for consulting is Harvard Business School. And Harvard doesn’t like to not be first, but in this case, when you’re at Harvard you actually have a lot of choices for what you can do. Consulting is a great one, but not the only one, and not even the best one, compared to some of the other things that people look at. One thing that is notable that brought it up to the top of our list amongst the others that are generally in the top rankings, is that Harvard has a large percentage, but also more importantly, it has a very high average starting salary. Again, Harvard skews, like Tuck, toward the MBB firms in major metro areas, including the US as well as London and Chinese offices. So because of this, Harvard Business School is usually a very strong program.
Interestingly, the club at HBS does almost everything to prepare students. And they do not have as much involvement from the Career Services Center. The club is generally a very strong programmatic force at the school, but again a very different model from Tuck and Kellogg.
Columbia Business School is next on our list. And Columbia, like Wharton, has historically been known as a finance school. But interestingly, pretty big class size around 700-800 every year. Usually hovering around 750, and probably most notably about 35% of those on average go into consulting. The median consulting base salary there is high like it is at a HBS or at a Tuck. And again the focus is skewing toward a lot of the MBB firms. Now Columbia does focus on boutique firms, on some finance focused consulting firms, such as AlexPartners. And they have a broader range of the firms that people go to then for example Tuck, or HBS, which means that they landed up pretty high, but not at the top of the list.
The Sloan School of Management finds itself ranked 5th on our list of top MBA programs for consulting. And Sloan, like Tuck, has a pretty small population. But they have a large percentage that go into consulting, not as largest Tuck, not as large as HBS. And a slightly lower base salary. But overall, Sloan does a really good job of building community on campus, focusing on a case building process, and they also have a great study abroad process. So their global thinkers are one of their hallmarks.
Next on our list is Wharton. And Wharton, like HBS, doesn’t really like to fall this far down in the list. But only about 25% of the population at Wharton, which has a usually very large class around 800 to 900, go into consulting. And their median base salary is really strong, but just the fact that the school really is, not just like CBS historically a finance school, but truly today still a finance school in many respects. A lot of the students don’t go there to go into consulting. A lot of students that are there don’t focus as much on consulting as one of their competitors. Interestingly for many students consulting the second time around at Wharton, ends up being really powerful. So they have a slightly larger second year cohort versus the first year cohorts that you see at many of the other schools.
The Booth School of Business, at the University of Chicago. So booth is a great school, a classical economic school, and known for a lot of really powerful thinkers and innovative ways of doing things. The school in addition is also focused on Finance, by reputation. Just like Wharton or CBS is. But actually interestingly, about 30%-35% of the students do go into consulting. And at a median class size about 580, they didn’t make the mark in the same way that the Columbia and the Wharton’s did of the world, because their class size simply is smaller so they have fewer people going into it, but as a percentage, still really strong. So if you’re thinking about consulting I want to be in Chicago, Kellogg might be a stronger choice, but Booth you can never go wrong, lots of great opportunities there.
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Next on our list of top MBA programs for consulting is Darden. And Darden doesn’t often break the top ten in terms of total school rankings, but we think it’s a fantastic school. And even better if you’re thinking about consulting. Folks at Darden are known for their incredible discussion abilities, their interpersonal skills, and their leadership. And at Bain, one of the things that were commonly remarked, when they talked about folks that were coming in through different pipelines, was that Darden students were actually the most prized.
Now, 28% of the pretty small class 300-350, go into consulting. And the average salary is lower from Darden. They hire from a large number of firms and big four, actually has a very strong presence on campus, on top of the top three, so you’re gonna see a little bit of that deflated salary. Which is why they didn’t hit the top five, but are still in a good part of our list.
Fuqau is next, and at Fuqau you see a very similar dynamic to what you see at Darden, about 30%-35% going into consulting. So pretty good number, smaller class 350-400 is pretty standard. And their average consulting salary is also a little bit lower than at some of the other schools that we put in our top five, so around $130K a year, versus $140K. Because of the breadth of the boutiques and again some of the big four that hire from there.
The last one on our list is Berkeley Haas. And Berkeley has a small class size, it only has about 25% that go into consulting. But overall, the average base salary is around the same as the Fuqua’s and the Darden’s of the world. So similar class profile, similar style, but naturally at Berkeley, you’re gonna see more of a focus on entrepreneurship and on tech, than you would see at some of the other schools.
Now, there are a lot of other schools that didn’t make the cut, pretty most notably is Stanford. And Stanford gets an honorable mention in our book. Stanford has only 14% of their class that go into consulting, which is actually super tiny. The class is also pretty small, 350-400 a year. The average consulting base salary is higher, like the HBS’s and the Wharton’s of the world, but just that small percentage means that they didn’t make our top ten.
We hope that you found this interesting as you’re thinking about potentially where you might want to go, if you’re considering an MBA. We would love to talk to you to walk you through the process. Also you can subscribe to this channel where we provide a lot of great content like this list of top MBA programs for consulting. And in addition, we have amazing content that is constantly populated on our website. Thanks so much for watching and good luck!