Top tier consulting compensation = good coin

By | January 27, 2017

Charles Aris is an executive recruiting firm based in N Carolina that specializes in placing top-tier consultants into industry. They are good at what they do. Take a look at their 2017 strategy consulting compensation study here.

Rigorous methodology. In true consulting firm, their survey has a large sample size (900+ data points) from more than 3,500 interviews with active consultants. Dang. That is more solid that many peer-reviewed journals you might see. Good job. Judging from below about 70% come for McKinsey, Bain, BCG – the big 3.

Yes, consultants make good money.  Here you can see the average salary for management consultants (MBB at least) organized by their MBA graduation year. . . This assumes that they person has survived that long at the firm; remember, there is typically a heavy up-or-out culture, so that surviving 10+ years after MBA is a bit of a miracle too. Just joining MBB or big 4 does not mean that you will necessarily be there a decade later.  More than likely not.

Okay, wow. Graduating in 2009 (not that long ago with MBA), making $218K base + 112 bonus. Whoa, life is good.

Consulting give you great options.  Coming out of  a top 10 consulting firm gives you lots of options. Charles Ares put together a sample of the offers provided by Corporate America to some of these ex-consultants. Looking at the offers – they are quite good.

Strategy consultant competencies. I love this graph that they created. It shows clearly what you will be expected to do for each of the levels.  You should go into it with your eyes wide open.  Take a look at the mix of analysis/slide making, project management, case cracking, and selling/influencing/leading.  If you want to progress, look at what you need to do to make it to the next level.

Consulting has been a great ride for me.  It has lots of benefits – clearly good salary, exposure to talented peers, challenging problems, access to executives and a taste of corporate power/influence. It’s a worthy thing.  For those looking to get off the consulting bus, take a look at Charles Aris job boards here – and also contact them.  They are fair, professional, and judging from this report – pretty informed.

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2 thoughts on “Top tier consulting compensation = good coin

  1. Eric

    Hello. I’m trying my hand at independent consulting but I’m not adverse to the idea of joining a consulting firm. I have a B.Sci (engineering), B.A (English), and a M.Sci in Engineering Management….but no MBA. I get the impression that without an MBA, don’t even bother applying to the major consulting firms. Is this accurate for the most part?

    1. consultantsmindadmin Post author

      I came up through campus-hire process which is very regimented for BA/BS and MBA applicants. Fairly difficult to circumvent that process. The other option is to come in as an industry-hire, in which case you are not a “generalist”, but a specialist – need to be really good at something specific that the firm needs / wants.

      Feel free to apply – does not cost much – but you will have low visibility. Will need to wage a very aggressive campaign of networking etc, and get strong inside referral. Even then, low odds.

      Build up your independent consulting firm – then get bought out by a bigger place, that happens more frequently than you might think. Especially, if you have a few anchor clients that they would like to have.

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