The 89 firms included in this year's Vault Consulting Survey were asked to rate each consulting firm in the survey on a scale from 1 to 10 based on prestige, with 10 being the most prestigious. Consultants were unable to rate their own firm, and they were asked to rate only those firms with which they were familiar. Vault collected the survey results and averaged the score for each firm. The firms were then ranked, with the highest score being No. 1, down to No. 50. Remember that Vault’s top-50 prestigious consulting firms are chosen by practicing consultants at top consulting firms. Vault does not choose or influence these rankings. The rankings measure perceived prestige (as determined by consulting professionals) and not revenue, size or lifestyle.
This year's prestige ranking shows a startlingly low rate of movement from last year. The top-10 firms are entirely the same, with some slight adjustments in positioning: HR consulting firm Mercer LLC moved up two spots, while both Monitor Group and PwC moved down one notch. Firms that made some of the larger jumps in the rankings (A.T. Kearney, ZS Associates, Diamond Management & Tech Consultants) suggest that the factors that improved firms' perception in the industry are stability in the face of recession and targeted industry focus. Strategic IT consulting is on the rise as companies seek to streamline their processes and cut down on back-office costs, and health care consulting will continue to play an integral role as the new legislation continues to unfold.
We've also added some new firms into the mix this year. Grant Thornton (No. 28) is a large, well-known accounting/consulting shop, while The Cambridge Group (No. 35) has made a name for itself in the growth strategy space, focusing on customer demand. We also dug deeper into some of the hot industries right now, adding a few more health care consulting shops (The Hackett Group, Campbell Alliance Group and The Chartis Group), and a couple from the increasingly-in-demand turnaround management realm (see: CRG Partners Group).
All in all, our prestige list provides a comprehensive roadmap of who's who in the consulting industry—ranging from big consulting shops to smaller, niche firms, and spanning a vast swath of industries. Stay tuned next Tuesday for our release of specific practice area rankings.
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