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

2019 Best Boutique Consulting Firms

1
SCORE
9.612

Putnam Associates

Over the last 30 years Putnam Associates has grown into a premier strategy consulting firm serving biopharmaceutical, biotechnology (cell, gene and...

TRENDING

2018 Rank
2
2
SCORE
9.402

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

2018 Rank
1
3
SCORE
9.151

The Bridgespan Group

The Bridgespan Group is a global consulting firm that serves nonprofit organizations, NGOs and philanthropy by collaborating with mission driven leaders...

TRENDING

2018 Rank
4
4
SCORE
9.121

ghSMART

ghSMART was founded in 1995 by Geoff Smart. 

TRENDING

2018 Rank
NR
5
SCORE
9.046

Cornerstone Research

In the increasingly complicated world of commercial litigation, attorneys often need help sifting through complex economic or financial issues....

TRENDING

2018 Rank
NR
6
SCORE
9.033

LeapPoint

We drive enterprise change through the delivery of innovative solutions. Whether your organization needs strategic insight or tactical support, we...

TRENDING

2018 Rank
24
7
SCORE
9.019

The Keystone Group

Founded in 1991, The Keystone Group is a management consulting firm that works with mid-market manufacturing and distribution clients to develop and...

TRENDING

2018 Rank
NR
8
SCORE
8.914

Ignyte Group

Founded in 2014, Ignyte Group is a management and digital experience consultancy located in the heart of Washington, DC - named among the city's best...

TRENDING

2018 Rank
6
9
SCORE
8.908

Eagle Hill Consulting

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

TRENDING

2018 Rank
7
10
SCORE
8.890

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

2018 Rank
8
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