Bigger is better in UK consulting

by Vault Consulting Editors | February 02, 2011

  • My Vault

Recently, Britain's Management Consulting Association (MCA), which counts about 70 percent of the UK consulting industry among its membership, released its short list for the organization's 2011 Awards spread. Potential winners compete in a slew of categories, from firm-wide strategy project accolades to individual 'Consultant of the Year' designations in various practice areas.

It could be said that the shortlist features a who's who of the UK consulting industry—MCA would certainly say so. If that is indeed the case, the list reveals some striking differences among key players in the British and American industries. For one, there's a glaring lack of anything McKinsey (I can't say I'm not relieved...); other American darlings of sterling international repute like Bain and Boston Consulting Group are equally absent.

Instead, MCA's shortlist is dominated by international heavyweights, firms with high head-counts and even higher global brand recognition. Of these, the Big Four firms make the most appearances. MCA's Strategy Consultant of the Year nominees? Consultants from PwC, Deloitte, Accenture and KPMG leave room for but one other nominee; that individual comes from Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), an international consultancy of nearly 100,000 employees. Not convinced? Check out the four-person shortlist for Change Management Consultant of the Year: Deloitte and KPMG crack the quadrant again, and the other two spots go to consultants from 100,000+ giants IBM and Accenture.

To be fair, the stray small UK consultancy does appear occasionally on these lists. A few other Vault mainstays like Hay Group and PA Consulting are also nominated once. But the trend is clear: in Britain, the biggest consulting shops dominate the market. Big Four firms are particularly dominant; other major world players like Accenture, CSC and IBM also share in the prestige.

It isn't like McKinsey, BCG and the other usual suspects are inactive in Britain (MCA's entry guidelines don't require firms to be of British origin), so what's with the absence? We'll continue to examine this intriguing trend here on Consult THIS.

For more information:
The MCA Awards Shortlist

Filed Under: Consulting

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