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by SixFigureStart | October 13, 2009


You see your name up in lights, next to the title 'Consultant.' Then you wake up from your dream (nightmare?) of a life of long hours, high pressure, handsome rewards for your bank account, and a stand-out resume peppered with the industry's top players.

There's no question that the field of consulting is in a state of flux. But while many employees have been separated from the major consultancies of late, lots of those have established their own smaller firms. (Also contemplate this idea from GE executive Bill Conaty, speaking from the World Business Forum last week: Some companies are so stripped to the bone that they need consultants just to help them survive.) The good news is that no matter your area of expertise, there's a specialized consulting segment for you. Energy and environmental consulting divisions are definitely growing, and turnaround and reorg specialists -- like those at Alvarez & Marsal, in charge of unraveling Lehman -- are, unfortunately, always in demand. (As another example, McKinsey & Company just finished a lengthy analysis of Conde Nast's operations; their recommendations resulted in closure notices for four magazines last week, including Gourmet, and additional cost-saving measures are still a real possibility.)

If you're in need of an education on the industry, and don't know your Bain from your Booz, excerpts from Vault's invaluable guide to the Top 50 Consulting Firms (2010 edition) are now posted online. (Note that, since they've let us down big time in the past, our recommendations do not extend to the ranks of astrological consultants.)

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault Staff Writer


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