Top consulting firms in the world

Top Consulting Firms in the World

by | May 19, 2022 | Regional Specificities

The consulting industry is enormous, and it’s not easy to identify top consulting firms in the world. The consulting industry is quite fragmented, consists of diverse markets, and includes independent consultancies, in-house management consultants for large organizations, management consultants for smaller businesses, and so on.

As a result, getting a bird’s eye view and precise sector size can be tough. However, it should be highlighted that the industry would easily be worth more than $300 billion globally. So, regardless of how you look at it, the market is surprisingly large, perhaps nearly double the size of a thriving industry.

Right now, the industry has several top consulting firms all around the globe in terms of their size, revenue, global presence, and likes. In this article, we have identified the world’s top firms based on their categories, that is, whether they are generalists, specialists, or hybrids. However, before going into that, let’s explain what the three types stand for.

Generalists, Specialists, & Hybrid Consulting Players

Consulting companies can be segregated into three major categories – the generalists, the specialists, and lastly, the hybrids. Let’s briefly look into what these types of consulting players are all about.

The Generalists

Generalist consultancies are major consulting organizations that provide a wide array of services on a global scale. These services include strategy consulting, human resources consulting, information technology consulting, and in some cases outsourcing. They work in a wide range of different industries on several types of projects.

The Specialists

The specialist consulting organizations assist in providing expert services in a broad selection of business and service industries, including, but not limited to, recruiting, finance, advertising, sales, human resources, and a lot more. They interact with clients or consumers who require their guidance or support in the course of their business.

The Hybrids

Hybrid consulting firms are the so-called new players in town who claim to be something like a half-man, half-horse centaurs. They mix business transformation consulting, data, analytics, and software to enable enterprises to make better decisions more quickly, create fundamental changes in company processes, and extend the value of a solution beyond the initial service engagement.

Top Consulting Firms in the World

We’ve curated a list of the top consulting firms from all three categories — generalists, specialists, and hybrid players. We will discuss the top firms in each category so that you (the readers) can have a better understanding of these big firms.

The Generalist Players

First up, we will be looking at those top-tier consulting firms that are regarded as the generalists. These firms are often considered to be good in a lot of areas but not experts at one particular skill. Moreover, due to the adaptability of their talents, they are able to fill talent gaps and fulfill immediate needs.

#1. McKinsey & Company (Generalist)

McKinsey & Company is a renowned international management consulting firm. James O. McKinsey, a University of Chicago professor, and Marvin Bower incorporated the firm way back in 1926 in Chicago, USA. It is a company that advises on strategic management to corporations, governments, and other organizations.

The company’s main capabilities include strategy and management, finance & risk, human capital, operations research, innovation & development, sales & marketing, and technology & digital.

At present, this global management consulting firm has well over 30,000 employees.

#2. The Boston Consulting Group (Generalist)

The Boston Consulting Group, which is also known as BCG, is an American global management consulting firm. It was founded way back in 1963 by Bruce Henderson. The firm has its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Moreover, it is one of the “Big Three” and most prestigious management consulting firms in the world.

BCG’s main capabilities include strategy, marketing & sales, operations, consumer insight, corporate development, corporate finance, digital economy, globalization, growth, information technology, innovation, people & organization, post-merger integration, risk management, sustainability, and transformation.

And lastly, the BCG has over 21,000 employees across all its offices around the globe.

#3. Bain & Company (Generalist)

Bain & Company is an American management consulting company that was founded in the year 1973. Former Group Vice President of Boston Consulting Group, Bill Bain and his colleagues including Patrick F. Graham, are known to be the fore fathers of this company. It is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. And the firm provides advice to public, private, and non-profit organizations.

Bain is known to specialize in the following capabilities such as strategy, customer strategy & marketing, performance improvement, mergers & acquisitions, private equity, organization, results delivery, information technology, and corporate renewal.

Currently, Bain & Company has a company size of way over 13,000 employees across all its offices.

#4. Oliver Wyman (Generalist)

Oliver Wyman is a management consulting company based in the United States. Former Booz Allen Hamilton partners Alex Oliver and Bill Wyman founded the firm in New York City in 1984. The firm’s headquarters are in the city of New York in USA.

The consulting firm specializes in several capabilities that includes strategy consulting, management consulting, financial services consulting, global management consultancy, strategy, operations, risk management, organization transformation, actuarial consulting, healthcare, aviation, automotive, sustainability, and corporate finance.

At present, Oliver Wyman has over 60 offices across Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific and a total size of well over 5000 employees.

#5. Roland Berger (Generalist)

Roland Berger is international management consultancy firm that was founded in 1957 in Germany. Founded by Roland Berger, this firm is regarded as a key player in developing Asian and European markets due to its private equity practice. It has its headquarters in the city of Munich, in Germany.

The firm has a wide range of capabilities that it excels at. Some of them include strategy & corporate excellence, organization, corporate finance, Marketing & sales excellence, information management, and operations strategy.

Roland Berger has over 52 offices in about 35 countries around the world, and the total size of their employee count is well over 2400 employees.

#6. L.E.K Consulting (Generalist)

L.E.K. Consulting is a global strategy consulting firm that was founded in the year 1983. It is based in London and Boston with its headquarters in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, in the US. Three individual partners from Bain & Company – James Lawrence, Iain Evans, and Richard Koch are the founding fathers of this firm.

It specializes in several capabilities that includes strategy, shareholder value management, mergers & acquisitions, operations & organization, marketing & sales, strategy activation, and advanced analytics.

L.E.K, at present, has around 19 offices in the world and around about 1400 employees globally.

#7. EY-Parthenon (Generalist)

EY-Parthenon is the global strategy consulting branch of the renowned consulting firm, Ernst & Young. The Parthenon Group LLC was founded in 1991 by former Bain & Company directors William “Bill” Achtmeyer and John C. Rutherford. The Parthenon Group and EY, a professional services firm, combined in 2014 to form the new company EY-Parthenon. The firm has its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

EY-Parthenon’s main capabilities include strategy & management, finance & risk, sales & marketing, research, and innovation & development.

Currently, the firm has around 6,500 employees in total.

#8. Guidehouse (Generalist)

Guidehouse is a leading provider of management, technology, and risk consulting services for the public and private sectors. Through the co-creation of scalable, innovative solutions, the firm assists clients in overcoming their most difficult obstacles and preparing for future growth and success. The company’s headquartered in Washington, DC.

A Veritas Capital portfolio company, Guidehouse specializes in traditional and emerging technologies, markets, and agenda-setting issues driving national and global economies.

At present, Guidehouse has more than 1,800 consultants and well over 5,500 employees in total in over 20 locations across the globe.

#9. Right Management (Generalist)

Right Management is a global career and talent development expert within Manpower Group. This firm was established way back in 1980 and has its headquarters in Wisconsin, United States. The firm helps organizations become more agile, attractive, and innovative by creating a culture of career management and learning that nurtures future talent, motivates and engages people, and provides individuals with opportunities to increase their value throughout their careers.

Right management’s long list of capabilities includes talent management, career management, talent assessment, leadership development, organizational effectiveness, workforce transition, employee engagement, and outplacement.

The current strength of the firm is pretty large as it has a workforce consisting of well over 40,000 employees.

 #10. Advisian (Generalist)

Advisian is a unique global consulting firm and is an independent consulting business line of Worley which was founded in 1971. Advisian provides a true end-to-end offering for clients across the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) regions.

Advisian specializes in quite a few capabilities that include strategy, people & organization, decision analysis, project finance, operations improvement, expert witness, software & analytics, concept design & project feasibility, environment & society, geoscience, decommissioning & restoration, and industry technology solutions.

Presently, Advisian has well over 3,000 consultants in 25 countries across the Americas, the Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) regions.

The Specialist Players

Now, let us look at those consulting firms that are regarded as the specialists in this particular industry. These consulting firms are the ones that specialize in one particular field. They are the specialized consultants that master project management, deliverables, and problem-solving skills.

#1. Booz Allen Hamilton (Specialist)

Booz Allen Hamilton is an American management and information technology consulting firm with its headquarters in McLean, Virginia, in Greater Washington, D.C. The firm was founded on 18th June, 1914 by Edwin G. Booz, James L. Allen, and Carl L. Hamilton.

The firm has been at the forefront of strategy and technology for over 100 years now. And today, the firm provides management and technology consulting and engineering services to leading Fortune 500 corporations, governments, and non-profits across the globe.

Other than that, the firms’ other capabilities include organization, change, process improvement, program management, human capital, Learning, communications, systems engineering and integration, public infrastructure, supply chain and logistics, and cybersecurity solution.

Moreover, Booz Allen Hamilton has over 80 offices all over the globe and has a total employee count in excess of 29,500 employees.

#2. A.T Kearney (Specialist)

A.T. Kearney is a global management consulting firm founded by Andrew Thomas Kearney in the year 1926. It has its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, in the US. Moreover, the firm has around 60 offices in around 40 countries in the world.

This management consulting firm specializes in several capabilities which include human capital, operations, strategy & management, technology & digital.

Currently, A. T. Kearney has a total workforce of over 3500 employees, out of which more than 2300 are consultants.

#3. North Highland (Specialist)

North Highland is a worldwide, privately held, change and transformation-focused management consulting firm. It was founded in the year 1992 by a founding member of Cordence Worldwide. North Highland is an employee-owned firm, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, in the US.

North Highland specializes in quite a lot of capabilities including energy & utilities, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, media, entertainment & communications, public sector, retail & consumer products, transportation, and travel & leisure.

The current strength of the firm comprises well over 3,000 consultants worldwide and 70+ offices around the globe.

#4. Mercer LLC (Specialist)

Mercer LLC is an American asset management firm. Founded in 1945, the company is a subsidiary firm of Marsh and McLennan. Mercer LLC has its headquarters in the city of New York.

There are many capabilities that Mercer specializes in, and that includes consulting, outsourcing, investments, health & benefits, human capital, communication, mergers & acquisitions, talent, human resources, workforce management, compensation and benefits, pension risk, financial wellness, and employee health.

The company is widespread and has offices in about 180 cities and 43 countries across the world with a total employee count of over 25,000 employees.

#5. Heidrick & Struggles (Specialist)

Heidrick & Struggles is an international executive search firm that was founded way back in 1953. The firm has its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, in the US. Additionally, the company has a consulting practice that focuses on leadership and developing corporate culture.

Heidrick & Struggles performs quite a few capabilities that include executive search, leadership consulting, and culture shaping.

The firm, at present, has well over 1,600 employees across its 50 offices that are spread across 6 continents.

#6. AlixPartners (Specialist)

AlixPartners is a multinational financial advising and consultancy firm that is best known for its work in the turnaround sector. In 1981, Jay Alix launched what would become AlixPartners LLP. It was established in Southfield, Michigan, United States. However, its headquarters are located in New York City.

AlixPartners specializes in several capabilities and they include performance improvement, investigations, disputes & risk, turnaround & restructuring, digital, and transformative leadership.

A number of the biggest Chapter 11 reorganizations have been handled by the firm, including those of General Motors, Kmart, and Enron Corp. And presently, it has a workforce of around 2,000+ employees.

#7. Alvarez & Marsal (Specialist)

Alvarez & Marsal is a management consulting firm that was established in the year 1983. It was founded by Tony Alvarez II, a former Coopers & Lybrand workout specialist and Bryan Marsal, a former Citibank workout banker. Moreover, this global professional services firm is known for its work in turnaround management and performance improvement for scores of large and high-profile businesses.

Alvarez & Marsal specializes in several capabilities such as professional services, performance improvement, turnaround and restructuring, tax advisory, real estate advisory, litigation support, financial services advisory, transaction advisory, private equity services, valuation services, healthcare, retail, energy, insurance, arbitration services, and consulting.

Currently, this global professional services firm boasts well over 4,000 employees.

#8. Willis Towers Watson (Specialist)

Willis Towers Watson, now more commonly known as WTW, is a British-American multinational risk management, insurance brokerage, and advisory firm. The firm has its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. It was founded on January 4th 2016, but its roots date way back to 1828 and is known as the third-largest insurance broker in the world.

This firm is known for specializing in a few capabilities that include risk management, insurance, reinsurance, financial services consulting, human resources consulting, exchange solutions, employee benefits, pensions administration, consulting, HR software, insurance software, and institutional investment.

And lastly, Willis Towers Watson has a pretty big workforce consisting of around 46,600 employees across all its offices.

#9. Simon-Kucher & Partners (Specialist)

Simon-Kucher & Partners is a global strategy consulting firm that was founded in the year 1985 by Hermann Simon. The consulting firm has its headquarters in the city of Bonn, in Germany.

Simon-Kucher & Partners is a firm that focuses on several capabilities such as growth strategy, marketing, pricing, and sales.

The firm has around 42 offices across 27 countries with a total employee count ranging between 1,000 to 5,000 employees.

The Hybrid Players

Businesses that offer business and IT services are often called BPOs, which stands for “Business Process Outsourcing.” They are the ones that are known as the hybrid players. Such companies offer solutions that are tailored to the needs of the customer.

They offer a full range of services, from consulting to putting plans into action. They might be cheaper than other types of consulting players of the same size.

#1. Deloitte (Hybrid)

Deloitte Consulting LLP is one of the big four accounting firms and the world’s largest consulting firm. The firm was founded by William Welch Deloitte in London way back in 1845. But, in 1880, it expanded its operations in New York. Deloitte has offices in over 150 countries and territories throughout the world, making it one of the largest multinational professional services networks.

The capabilities performed by Deloitte consulting include audit, tax, management consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, and legal.

Moreover, the present size of the company is colossal with over 350,000 employees spread across the 150-odd countries and territories.

#2. PricewaterhouseCoopers (Hybrid)

PricewaterhouseCoopers is a multinational professional services network of firms that operates as partnerships under the PwC brand. It was formed in the year 1998. The company’s headquarters is based in London, United Kingdom. It is known as the second largest professional services firm, and also has its name amongst the Big Four auditing firms.

Also known as PwC, the firm performs several capabilities such as assurance, advisory, tax advisory, strategy consulting, tax controversy, data and analytics, management consulting, financial advisory, actuarial, and legal.

Lastly, PwC’s global market size is pretty huge among all the consulting firms with their employees count in excess of 295,000 employees.

#3. Ernst & Young (Hybrid)

Ernst and Young, or E&Y, is a global multinational professional services firm located in the United Kingdom. It is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms and one of the world’s largest professional services firms. The firm was established in 1989 and is headquartered in London, England.

The firm specializes in the following capabilities such as advisory, assurance, tax, transactions, audit, mergers & acquisitions, financial services, accounting, and professional services.

E&Y has around a whopping 700 offices in across 150 countries with more than 320,000 employees in total.

#4. Accenture (Hybrid)

Accenture is a world-famous consulting firm that specializes in management consulting. It also offers other professional services as well. The firm was established in 1989 under the name Anderson Consulting. But on September 1, 2009, the company was formally incorporated as its current name. Its headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland.

Accenture performs a wide array of capabilities including management consulting, systems integration and technology, business process outsourcing, application and infrastructure outsourcing.

Presently, the firm has offices in over 200 offices around the globe with a total personnel count of well over a staggering number of 700,000 employees.

#5. KPMG (Hybrid)

KPMG is a British-Dutch multinational professional services network firm. It was founded by Marwick Mitchell, Klynveld Kraayenhof, William Barclay Peat, and Klynveld Main Goerdeler in the year 1987. KPMG, which is short for “Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler, has its headquarters in Amstelveen, Netherlands.

The accounting firm specializes in a few capabilities which includes auditing (40%), advisory (38%), tax (22%).

At present, KPMG has an employee count of more than 236,000 employees in all their offices around the globe.

#6. Capgemini (Hybrid)

Capgemini is a multinational and global leader in consulting, digital transformation, technology, and engineering services. The company was founded by Serge Kampf on 1st October, 1967 in Grenoble, in the country of France. The firm has its headquarters in the city of Paris, in France.

The firm specializes in several capabilities such as outsourcing, process consulting, package-based solutions, custom solution development, application management, business information management, artificial intelligence, business consulting, cloud, digital, and managed services

The French international firm has a colossal workforce of around 300,000 employees across all their offices in the world.

#7. Gartner Inc (Hybrid)

Gartner, Inc. is a Stamford, Connecticut-based technology research and consulting organization. Gideon Gartner launched the company in 1979. It’s a firm that does technology research and offers that information through private consultation, executive training, and conferences.

Besides being an IT firm, Gartner specializes in other capabilities that extends towards providing expert advice and tools for leaders in finance, human resources, customer service, and support, legal and compliance, Marketing, sales, and supply chain functions.

At present, the size of Gartner Inc comprises well over 16,600 employees.

#8. Tata Consultancy Services (Hybrid)

Tata Consultancy Services is a multinational information technology services and consulting company. The firm was founded on 1st April, 1968, and has its headquarters in the city of Mumbai, India. It has been partnering with the world’s largest businesses in their transformation journeys for the last 50 years.

Besides being a specialist in providing top-notch IT services, the firm has a few other capabilities as well including business solutions and consulting.

Also known as TCS, the firm operates in as many as 146 locations and 46 countries across the globe. Presently, it has more than 520,000 employees across all its offices.

#9. Huron Consulting (Hybrid)

Huron Consulting Group, commonly known as Huron, is a management consulting firm based in the city of Chicago, Illinois, in the US. The firm was founded by Gary E. Holdren in March in the year 2002.

The management consulting company performs several capabilities that include strategy, technology, operations, advisory, and analytics.

Presently, Huron consulting group has a worldwide network with well over 3,000 employees working at different locations across the globe.

#10. ABeam Consulting (Hybrid)

ABeam Consulting is a global business consulting company founded in 2003 in Asia. The firm came into existence from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsunull’s Japanese consulting practice. The Asian consulting firm has its headquarters in the city of Tokyo, Japan.

The Japanese firm specializes in various capabilities including management consulting, HCM, strategy and mergers & acquisitions, IT management, business transformation, supply chain management, cloud solutions, change management, CRM, financial management and control, mobility, application management services, SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft.

The company started with around 1,530 employees and now has around 4,100 consultants in Japan alone and 2,800 consultants in overseas offices.

#11. RSM International (Hybrid)

RSM International, more commonly known as RSM, is a multinational network of accounting firms. It was founded way back in 1964 with its headquarters in London, in the UK. The firm is regarded as the sixth largest accountancy professional services network in the world in terms of revenue.

The firm has a wide variety of specialties and its capabilities include audit, tax, consulting, risk advisory, restructuring, legal consulting, outsourcing, IFRS, transaction advisory, accounting, international tax, transfer pricing, vat, it consulting, digitization, cyber security, and due diligence.

This global international consulting firm has a total employee count of well over 51,000 employees.

#12. FTI Consulting (Hybrid)

FTI Consulting is a business advisory firm and is one of the largest financial consulting firms in the world. It is regularly ranked among the top management consulting firms in the world. Furthermore, Dan Luczak and Joseph R. Reynolds formed the corporation in 1982 with headquarters in Washington, D.C., in the United States.

FTI Consulting specializes in a number of capabilities including corporate finance & restructuring, economic consulting, forensic & litigation consulting, strategic communications, and technology.

FTI Consulting has a pretty large workforce of around 6,200 employees across all of its offices.

#13. Slalom Consulting (Hybrid)

Slalom Consulting is an American-based business and technology consulting firm that was founded way back in 2001. The firm is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, in the United States.

Slalom Consulting comprises several capabilities and includes management consulting, strategy consulting, technology consulting, cloud, business intelligence, portals and collaboration, mobility, project management and PMOs, business process optimization, organizational effectiveness, salesforce, agile methodology, analytics, and customer experience.

The company is spread across 45 markets and 11 Build Centers across North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific with a total workforce of over 13,000 employees.

#14. Atos (Hybrid)

Atos is a French multinational firm and a global provider of information technology services and consulting. The firm was founded in 1997 by Bernard Bourigeaud, and it has its headquarters in Bezons, in France.

The French multinational IT and consulting firm specializes in a wide array of capabilities that include Hi-tech transactional services, unified communications, cloud, big data, and cybersecurity services.

Spread across 71 countries, Atos boasts of a huge community of more than 111,000 employees across its offices.

#15. Bristlecone (Hybrid)

Bristlecone is an IT service management company, founded in 1998. It is a separate individual firm with its parent company being Mahindra & Mahindra. Bristlecone provides expert advice on how to get the most out of their supply chains’ strategic value, as well as assists in quickly unlocking that value through the appropriate application of enabling technology.

The company boasts of many capabilities such as supply chain and procurement, supply chain management, sourcing, and procurement.

The number of employees working at Bristlecone would be roughly between 1,000 to 5,000 employees.

#16. Tech Mahindra (Hybrid)

Tech Mahindra is a multinational IT services and consulting company, based in India. The company has its headquarters in the city of Pune and has its registered office in Mumbai. Moreover, the firm is part of the Mahindra Group, which was founded by Anand Mahindra in 1986.

Tech Mahindra specializes in a number of capabilities including telecom & IT consulting, telecom security consulting, BSS /OSS, network technology solutions & services, network design & engineering, next-generation networks, mobility solutions, consulting, and solutions integration, IMS, and BSG.

This IT giant is rather big in size and boasts well over 10,000 employees.

Closing Thoughts

The consulting industry is evolving rapidly, especially with so many top consulting firms in the world (as seen above). And although the industry has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years, it has always bounced back. And the change had already started well before 2010, and the wave will continue to strengthen and profoundly modify the industry.

We’ve covered a few of the top consulting firms in the world in this article, and as we go along, we will be adding more to the list in the coming days.

Chairman and Co-founder at Consulting Quest | + posts

Laurent is the Chairman and Co-founder of Consulting Quest. Focused on greater value creation, and being thoroughly familiar with Consulting, Laurent has sourced and sold millions of dollars worth of Consulting over the course of his career. Prior to joining Consulting Quest, Laurent was Executive Vice President Oil and Gas at Solvay and Senior Partner Transformation at Oliver Wyman.

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