Consulting Salary: How much money do consultants make?

By | December 11, 2012




Consulting Salary - Base BonusManagement consultants make good money.  They should not complain. If you look at the 2014 MBA graduation statistics of Harvard, Kellogg, Virginia, or Duke, you will see newly minted MBAs making about $135K + $25K of signing bonus if they go into consulting.  It is no wonder that it is one of the chosen careers of MBA graduates. You get a chance to do interesting work, and pay off some of that school debt. Not incidentally, consulting firms are also more likely to sponsor H1B candidates.

Consulting Salary

Top strategy consultants do well. In a 2015 compensation study here by the executive search firm called Charles Aris, it shows a sample of the exceptional salaries offered by the most prestigious strategy consulting firms (McKinsey, Bain, BCG). These folks have the good fortune of making $230K+ in total compensation after 5-7 years post MBA. This same information can easily be confirmed at www.glassdoor.com where employees freely (and anonymously) input their salary information.

Consulting Salary




Up or Out.  Most people stay in consulting between 3-5 years.  Part of it is by choice, and part of it is be design. There is a system called “up or out” which means that you are either promoted, or you are asked to leave.  Lots of reasons for this, but one of the net effects is that the people who stay (and are promoted) continue to make good money. In the same compensation survey, you can see the expected career progression and timeline.  In most firms, less than 10% make it all the way to partner.

Consulting Salary

Money is not everything. There is a running joke that most long-time consultants have broken families. Like any stereotype, it is a little bit true. You cannot travel 80% of the time (M-TH) and expect that to not affect your home life. From my perspective, we all go through seasons in our life and there are times when this lifestyle fits and sometimes it does not. No harm, no foul.

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.                     -Henry Ford

 

My favorite things in life don’t cost any money.  It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.   -Steve Jobs

Professionals are motivated by more than money.  It’s the chance to make a difference, work with super-smart people, learn daily, and grow as an executive.  Consultants have wanderlust and like go to new places. We like being jack-of-all-trades.  It’s fun to work on new problems, even blogging after midnight.

Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it.          – Henry David Thoreau

PS (1/30/2016): The 2016 compensation study just came out from Charles Aris.

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5 thoughts on “Consulting Salary: How much money do consultants make?

  1. JettyBoy

    A bit too broad here. Can you share more accurate figures that partners at MBB make?

    Reply
    1. consultantsmind Post author

      JettyBoy, Since I am not a partner at MBB, I don’t know conclusively. That said, it has got to be a lot. Looking at the compensation study that I put a link to, it shows 2005 MBA graduates at MBB who are NOT partners had a comp of $289K with a st dev of $42K. They went on to say, “Pre-Partner data points only, i.e. we excluded compensation data points from anyone at Partner level or equivalent as it skewed the data significantly.”

      Please note that it completely depends on the tenure and number of units (shares). They are all equity owners in the business, but their shares are not equal. If you dig up more information, please do share.

      Reply
  2. Chandni Sahgal

    How do salaries and compensation compare @ boutique strategy consulting firms or take home cash for Independent Consultants?

    Reply
    1. consultantsmindadmin Post author

      I think that depends heavily on the definition of boutique and also “take home cash” for independent consultants can also vary enormously. Once you define “boutique” you can go to http://www.glassdoor.com and look up the salaries, then compare against the independent consultant salary.

      Reply

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