Employment and careers portal Vault.com released the 2011 prestige rankings for consulting firms - The Vault Consulting 50 - in late August in an attempt to determine the best consulting companies to work for.
The rankings were determined by a formula that factored in the results of Vault's Management and Strategy Consulting Survey, conducted annually between March and July. More than 4,500 consultants were asked to rate the prestige of their peer consulting firms on a scale of 1 to 10 as well as their own firm's quality of life.
"We went out and asked consultants what mattered most to them in choosing an employer and prestige, while important, was not the biggest determining factor," said Brian Dalton, managing editor at Vault.com. "According to consultants, company culture was the most important factor, followed by practice strength, prestige and compensation, along with several other factors."
The Top 10 Firms from the Vault Consulting 50 Rankings for 2011 are:
1. Bain & Company
2. The Boston Consulting Group
3. McKinsey & Company
4. Analysis Group
5. The Cambridge Group
6. Deloitte Consulting
7. Oliver Wyman
8. A.T. Kearney
9. Triage Consulting Group
10. Censeo Consulting Group
Respondents note that Bain "set the bar (with McKinsey) in terms of prestige” and noted that the firm was “great for management consulting."
In terms of quality of life, one strategy consultant at Bain & Company said of the firm: "There is no other company I’ve seen in my 10 years of professional experience with a stronger, healthier culture." A Toronto staffer added, "It is a demanding career, but yes, I have been able to live a very rewarding personal life over my last 10-plus years at Bain."
Boston Consulting Group also received high praise. Said one health care consultant: "BCG is a fantastic place to work. They go the extra mile to invest in their consultants. The work is interesting, the people are brilliant, and the compensation and benefits are second to none."
Other smaller, more niche firms that were recognized for their quality of life, include Analysis Group (No. 4), The Cambridge Group (No. 5), Triage Consulting Group (No. 9), Censeo Consulting Group (No. 10), and West Monroe Partners (No. 11).
As an example of why these smaller niche firms are succeeding, one senior consultant at The Cambridge Group said, "I feel very lucky to have found TCG. I am constantly challenged and enjoy the work and the people. As a testament to the great experience I have had, I'm the only one of my friends from business school who has not switched companies since leaving school."
According to Mr. Dalton, more jobseekers are discovering the benefits of joining these niche consulting companies. "These firms often get overlooked in the prestige rankings in favor of the more well-known firms," he said, "but they shine in the quality of life areas that many consultants care most about, leading to some deserved recognition in our Vault Consulting 50 Rankings."
"Bain & Company, and Boston Consulting Group for that matter, historically dominates many of our quality of life categories, in addition to carrying a lofty reputation in the industry," added Dalton. "McKinsey, which is perennially the most prestigious firm, slips due to lower firm culture and work/life balance scores areas - where smaller firms tend to have the advantage."
View the entire Vault Consulting 50 Rankings for 2011.