Top Ranked

Best Boutique Consulting Firms

Which are the best small, mid-sized and specialist consulting firms to work for?

  • Survey Methodology

    What is a boutique firm?

    While there is no hard and fast definition, the term is generally understood within the consulting industry to refer to firms that are narrower in focus and smaller in size than the larger, generalist firms that can offer advice across a wide range of practice areas and industries. Thus, each of the firms on this ranking are specialists in their practice areas--some have, in fact, just one area of specialization, and all had fewer than 750 consultants at the time of publication.

    Why work for a boutique?

    There are many reasons why someone would choose to work for a boutique consulting firm over one of the larger competitors in the industry. For example, boutiques tend to offer better work-life balance opportunities. Some staff employees locally, as opposed to firms that operate on 100% travel models. And sometimes, it just comes down to specialization: if you're only interested in economics or public sector consulting, it might not make sense to work at a firm where you'll be expected to rotate through a variety of practice areas in your first two years.

    Every year, we look at our consulting survey data from a number of angles, trying to find insights and takeaways about the consulting industry that we haven't seen before. One of those insights led directly to the creation of the Best Boutique Firms ranking--that when you compare responses of employees from large firms and those who work for boutiques, one major factor stands out: big firm consultants are much more likely to value the prestige of their organization than those who work for boutiques.

    Interestingly, the remaining factors that motivate employees at the two groups of firms are almost identical and, when prestige is excluded, are also weighted almost identically.

    As a result, we decided to examine our data from that perspective: to eliminate prestige as a concern, and simply rank the boutique firms based on the remaining factors that consultants identified as being important to them, weighted as closely as possible to their relative importance in our survey data. The result is this ranking, which is weighted as follows:

    25% Culture
    20% Satisfaction
    20% Work-life balance
    10% Ability to challenge
    10% Compensation
    10% Outlook
    5% Promotion

    As ever, our survey is only open to consultants who are currently employed at reputable firms in the industry. When rating quality of life issues, consultants are only permitted to rate their own firm. For prestige and practice area rankings, however, consultants are only allowed to rate competitors, and NOT their own firms.

  • Ranking History

2016 Best Boutique Consulting Firms

1
SCORE
9.352

Insight Sourcing Group

Founded in 2002, Insight Sourcing Group is a consulting firm that focuses exclusively on strategic sourcing and procurement. Led by alumni of some of the...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
1
2
SCORE
9.319

Eagle Hill Consulting

Billing itself as a "family-run, woman-owned company," Eagle Hill Consulting serves clients in three distinct sectors: financial services, public...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
3
SCORE
9.315

The Brattle Group

The Brattle Group answers complex economic, regulatory, and financial questions for corporations, law firms, and governments around the world....

TRENDING

2015 Rank
4
4
SCORE
9.296

ClearView Healthcare Partners

ClearView is a boutique consulting firm in the life science strategy field. The company has enjoyed exponential growth since its founding in 2007,...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
7
5
SCORE
9.172

Point B

The consulting industry has a reputation for long hours, extensive travel and high employee burnout. Point B is doing its best to change that...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
2
6
SCORE
9.058

Cornerstone Research

In traditional architecture, a cornerstone is a stone representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a monumental building. Cornerstone...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
16
7
SCORE
9.054

ScottMadden Management Consultants

ScottMadden is a management consulting firm that operates in four main practice areas: Energy, Grid Transformation, Clean Tech and Sustainability, and...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
8
SCORE
8.882

Analysis Group, Inc.

Boston-based Analysis Group provides expertise in economics, finance, health care analytics, and strategy to top law firms, Fortune 500 companies, global...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
9
SCORE
8.880

The Bridgespan Group

The Bridgespan Group is a consulting firm that serves the nonprofit sector by partnering with leaders in the social sector to "help scale impact, build...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
10
SCORE
8.843

CapTech

Richmond, VA-based CapTech was founded in 1997 by two colleagues at Accenture-Sandy Williamson and Slaughter Fitz-Hugh-with a focus building corporate...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
10
11
SCORE
8.828

Edgeworth Economics

Founded in 2009, Edgeworth Economics is a boutique economic, financial and quantitative consulting firm serving clients in a wide range of industries and...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
12
SCORE
8.797

The Cambridge Group

Supplying the demand If the consultants at The Cambridge Group were your Economics 101 professor, you would not have learned supply and demand,...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
6
13
SCORE
8.781

Clarkston Consulting

Clarkston Consulting is a business and IT consultancy serving the consumer products & retail and life sciences markets. Besides its headquarters in...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
9
14
SCORE
8.735

Jabian Consulting

As a local consultancy with offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte, Jabian employees enjoy local brand recognition, zero travel time, and the...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
14
15
SCORE
8.714

The Chartis Group

Founded in 2001 with the mission to materially improve the delivery of healthcare in the world, The Chartis Group is the largest national advisory...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
5
16
SCORE
8.650

Stern Value Management

With a lineage dating back to 1982, Stern Value Management is a boutique management consulting firm with a proud history. Under founder Joel Stern, the...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
17
SCORE
8.578

Ricardo Strategic Consulting

Ricardo Strategic Consulting (RSC) is a leading provider of consulting services in the automotive and transportations industries. The firm is a...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
13
18
SCORE
8.542

Marakon

Founded in 1978 and acquired by Charles River Associates (CRA) in 2009, Marakon has maintained its mission throughout the years: partnering with senior...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
NR
18
SCORE
8.542

Novantas, Inc.

As the world's financial markets continue to fluctuate, the financial industry has a friend in Novantas. Across the advisory and technology solutions...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
11
19
SCORE
8.510

Health Advances, LLC

The professionals at Health Advances consult about one thing and one thing only: health care. Established in 1992, the firm's core belief is that...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
12
20
SCORE
8.488

Strategic Decisions Group

Headquartered just down the road from Stanford University, Strategic Decisions Group specializes in providing high-level decision making, risk...

TRENDING

2015 Rank
8