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by Vault Consulting Editors | August 31, 2011


More than ever before, consultants are looking beyond prestige when determining their future place of employment.  Today, firm culture, compensation, both formal and informal training, and various other Quality of Life factors are becoming equally, if not more important, than a name brand. 

Vault Consulting 50 RankingsThis was the basis behind the recently released Vault Consulting 50 Rankings, which combined both prestige and quality of life to determine the best firm to work for.  Bain & Company took the No. 1 spot, beating out consulting powerhouse McKinsey & Company.  Why?  Bain’s quality of life trumped McKinsey’s strong prestige.  Today, Vault has released its Consulting Quality of Life Rankings, which delves deeper into exactly why Bain & Company came out on top in the Vault Consulting 50. 

In total, Vault examined 18 different quality of life categories.  Of those 18, Bain & Company came in at No. 1 in 7 categories, including Overall Satisfaction and Firm Culture.   When it comes to making its employees happy, it appears Bain & Company has its finger on the pulse, but that doesn’t mean McKinsey & Company is only about its larger-than-life name.  McKinsey made abig splash this year, taking top honors in 3 categories, such as Overall Business Outlook.  If they keep this up, Bain & Company is going to have a hard time holding on to the top spot in the Vault Consulting 50. 

Of course, with all the talk surrounding the consulting super powers, a little known entity also managed to make a big name for itself this year.  In its first year in the Vault Consulting Rankings, Point B earned first place in Work/Life Balance and Travel Requirements.  Not a bad debut.  Where will they go from here?  It will be interesting to see what consultants have to say about Point B in future surveys. 

And that’s how these rankings are derived.  Consultants were asked to rate their own firms in a variety of categories on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.  Nearly 5,000 consultants responded to our inquiries.  A firm’s score in each category is simply the average of consultants’ ratings of their firms in that category. Vault’s rankings indicate the top firms in each area, offering associates a tool to aid in their career search.

Here is a look at who came out on top in this year’s rankings, along with some responses made by those that work at these firms:

Overall satisfaction: Bain & Company

“Bain is an awesome place to work -- they truly care about their employees!”

Firm culture: Bain & Company

“Bain's culture is 100% oriented around working with each other and with our clients to create business success stories. It is hard working, full of purpose, and fun.”

Hours in the office: Jabian Consulting

“The work life balance at Jabian is strongly encouraged and is a keystone to the culture here.”

Work/life balance: Point B

“Absolutely. It is almost a requirement at Point B. It is the primary value that the company was built on.”

Travel requirements: Point B

“You do not need to travel outside of your home market unless you want to. If you choose to do so you are additionally compensated.”

Relationships with supervisors: Stern Stewart

“Stern Stewart has provided me with the opportunity to develop strong relationships with my peers and very senior managers due to the strong team culture and flat organizational hierarchy.”

Interaction with clients: McKinsey & Company

“We have great relationships with clients who value our opinion and work and are enjoyable to work with.”

Formal training: Bain & Company

“Bain is best-in-class in terms of formal training.”

Promotion policies: Bain & Company

“Most people at Bain would agree that Bain promotes consultants when they are ready -- not before.”

Compensation: Bain & Company

“Excellent compensation and performance bonuses.”

Selectivity: McKinsey & Company

“McKinsey has the most rigorous hiring process I have encountered - it really is pretty impressive, especially when you get to see the amount of effort and thought that goes into it.”

Green initiatives: A.T. Kearney

“AT Kearney is a leader in sustainability work. We are the first carbon free consulting firm.”

Firm leadership: Analysis Group     

“The company leadership is great and has a clear vision to improving and growing our company.”

Overall Diversity: Bain & Company

“Bain has a strong network of affinity groups, including Women at Bain, Blacks at Bain, Latinos at Bain, and BGLAD.  As a member of two of those groups, I can attest to the support they provide.”

Diversity (Women): Health Advances

Diversity (Minorities): IMS Health Incorporated

Diversity (GLBT):  Bain & Company

“Bain has an incredible culture that balances great teaming with supporting the individual - allowing the individual to be an individual.”

Overall business Outlook: McKinsey & Company

“McKinsey is well-positioned to capitalize on the market recovery. We have significant expertise in high-demand functions such as growth strategy and marketing and sales.”

To view the entire rankings and see how other firms fared, click here.

--Jon Minners,


Filed Under: Consulting