Published: Sep 28, 2016
With the launch of our European consulting rankings yesterday, Vault's 2016-17 consulting rankings rollout is now complete. If you've been paying attention over the past 6 weeks, you'll know that we've offered our signature lists of companies in 3 major regions for the consulting industry: North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
As I've mentioned before, each of those sets of rankings (yes, sets: each region gets its own overall, prestige, practice are and quality of life rankings) is based entirely on feedback from verified, currently practicing consultants. No-one at Vault gets any say whatsoever in how a firm performs—it's all down to how consultants cast their vote; all we do is tally the numbers. Because of that, the firms we cover can't lobby for or buy a better position on our rankings—they can only be better at meeting their employees' needs, and then hope for a better rating next time out, to propel the firm up the list.
With that said, we couldn't put these together without the help and participation of the firms themselves—every firm that participates in our survey gives us an unprecedented level of access to their employees (more than 17,000 of them, this year), with no guarantee of anything other than a fresh company profile in return.
So what is in it for the firms? In a word: exposure. Consulting is a competitive industry, and firms are operating in an environment where there's an intense war for talent. Not only that, but there's a lot of turnover in the profession: the standard consulting tenure is still somewhere between 3 and 5 years, before exit to an industry position. In that kind of environment, it's imperative that firms—especially those that aren't yet household names—are as open as possible, as they seek to differentiate themselves with potential employees.
With that in mind, many of the firms we work with really go the extra mile, not just opening themselves up for our survey, but also by providing would-be employees with their own perspective on life at the firm—all of which you can find on their profile pages on a tab called "Why Work Here." Here are 10 firms that have taken advantage of that opportunity. In addition to highlighting them, and thanking them for their continued survey participation and support of Vault, I'd like to invite you to check out their profiles by clicking the links.
Vault's Verdict: "This is a firm that is pulling off the very difficult trick of offering great work-life balance in tech consulting-a corner of the industry that is notorious for long hours and less than ideal working conditions."
Key quote: "We have a work where you live model so that only those employees who want to travel do travel, which makes everyone a little happier because they feel their best interests are being met. We make everyone feel like they matter and have a pretty flat culture. Titles are not often spoken of and we treat everyone with respect. It's a friendly place with a drive to succeed."
Vault's Verdict: "From a career perspective, the sheer scale of Deloitte can be a significant draw for would-be employees: opportunities abound in an organization with this kind of global reach and, as might be expected, the organization excels at providing training initiatives and onboarding for new hires."
Key quote: "You can succeed without being an extrovert or a driver personality type, but it takes an intentional, well thought out strategy to fit into the culture without those two advantages. I am successful here and neither of those two attributes are my strongest."
Vault's Verdict: "Career development is […] a priority, with lots of informal training and stretch opportunities for employees. If working at a place with all the benefits of a genuine boutique outfit is on your agenda, this may well be the firm you've been looking for."
Key quote: "We are unconventional. Our consultants aren't cookie cutter MBAs or business school folks. While we do have people from those backgrounds, we bring a diversity of experience to solve our clients' problems."
Vault's Verdict: "Evidera bears many of the hallmarks of a true boutique outfit: insiders are enthusiastic about everything from the firm's quality of life and relaxed, collegial environment to its training opportunities and compensation packages."
Key quote: "There is never a boring day, and the projects are all varied and interesting. There is a good balance between scientific strategy, scientific 'heads-down' work, project management/administrative work, and client management."
Vault's Verdict: "Unlike several of the firm's competitors, OW has emerged unscathed from the recent consolidation boom in the industry, with insiders reporting that both its culture and its prospects remain intact. [...] It represents a unique opportunity as a place where those with an entrepreneurial attitude can leverage an existing strong reputation to help the firm build out into its target markets."
Key quote: "Oliver Wyman's company culture was far and away the differentiator for me when choosing my job. It was clear from the first information session all the way through my first year. While each office has its own distinct culture, the firm as a whole fosters an inclusive, engaging, friendly and rewarding company culture. The 'flexibility' of the culture allows for driven consultants to 'own their own path' outside of bureaucratic structure. Partners are open, welcoming and eager to speak to and mentor young consultants. If you have a clear idea of what you want, are vocal and driven, and are hard-working you will get exactly where you want to go."
Vault's Verdict: "Point B offers employees the opportunity to become stakeholders in the firm, and to drive it forward in a fashion not found at the larger firms in the industry. That adds up to a workforce that is comprised largely of experienced, motivated, entrepreneurial types who are willing to take ownership of client relationships."
Key quote: "Point B started as an innovative leader creating a new kind of management consulting firm and continues to evolve meeting the needs of its people, our clients, and the industry."
Vault's Verdict: “Given its boutique size and specialty, it's a firm that will appeal to a very specific type of candidate, but for those with the right skillset and the willingness to work hard, it's a place with a lot of potential to build a strong career in a growing field. Insiders are particularly keen on the firm's culture, and the development opportunities they're exposed to from an early stage in their tenure with the firm."
Key Quote: "Putnam offers unparalleled opportunities to expand and diversify your experience and skillset within the biotech and pharma industries. Within just a couple of months, I was able to gain enormous improvements in insight into various fields within the pharma world […] I truly believe that very few firms offer the opportunity to expand your roles and responsibilities within the company as Putnam does."
Vault's Verdict: "A place that can accommodate those who want to add a couple of years with a bold-face name to their resume, as well as those who would relish the challenge of climbing the ladder at a major organization."
Key quote: "PwC is a good fit for anyone looking to grow at their own pace. At PwC, leaders will be personally invested in your development. The firm offers a better work-life balance than other competitors. Team members are collaborative and easy going, for the most part. If you are looking for a home away from home, you can find that at PwC."
Vault's Verdict: "Of all the firms who participated in this year's consulting survey, Simon-Kucher's consultants are among the most bullish about their future prospects […] this is a firm that sits perfectly at the intersection of a passion for pricing-related work and entrepreneurship."
Key quote: "I think it is the culture that sets us apart from other consulting firms. Being surrounded by such intelligent and hard-working colleagues makes work rewarding. Simon-Kucher is a place where you will be intellectually stimulated, while still making lifelong friends."
Vault's Verdict: "When Bridgespan employees decide to leave the firm, it's typically to go to other social sector enterprises—often to leadership positions. If that sounds like the track you'd like to set your career on, this may be the firm you've been looking for—even if it takes perseverance (in some cases several applications over a number of years) to get hired."
Key quote: "Bridgespan is a top consulting firm for anyone who thinks they want to be in the nonprofit sector—whether staying with Bridgespan over time or moving on into management in a nonprofit."
For the past three years, we've been ranking the top boutique consulting firms to work for, as part of an effort to differentiate between life at the better-known names in the field, and those that are either up-and-coming, or which prefer to fly below the radar.
For this post, I thought I'd take a look at some of the differences between life at a big firm and a boutique, as told in the data provided in our 2016 consulting survey.
I'm delighted to announce that the 2016-17 Vault Consulting Rankings have landed—and it's all change at the top of the Vault Consulting 50, which is our signature ranking of the best consulting firms to work for in North America.
Without further ado, here's the top 10:
Those of you who work in consulting can finally rest easy: you won't be receiving any more emails asking you to participate in our consulting survey this year--we closed it out for the year yesterday, and will shortly begin the hard work of reading and collating all 17,000+ responses in time for the rollout of our 2017 rankings this fall.
That's no easy task: as you can see from the infographic below, we smashed our previous all-time response rate by more than 20%--proof, if any were needed, that the consulting industry is going from strength to strength right now.
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