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by Stephan Maldonado | August 21, 2018


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I am thrilled to announce that we've released our Vault Consulting 50 ranking for 2019, our annual ranking of the top firms to work for in North America. McKinsey has claimed the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row. Bain & Company has climbed to No. 2 from last year’s third spot, switching places with The Boston Consulting Group. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Accenture have crawled into the Top 10, at No.'s 8 and 10, respectively.

The Top 10 North American Consultancies based on Vault’s annual survey for 2019 are:

  1. McKinsey & Company
  2. Bain & Company
  3. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc.
  4. Deloitte Consulting LLP
  5. Oliver Wyman
  6. Putnam Associates
  7. EY-Parthenon
  8. PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services LLC
  9. Bridgespan Group
  10. Accenture

The Vault Consulting 50 rankings are based on scores from almost 17,000 consulting firm employees surveyed earlier this year, who were asked to rate firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on a variety of factors that include prestige, firm culture, compensation, work/life balances, the outlook for the firm, and overall satisfaction. 

McKinsey Leads as Best Consulting Firm for Innovation

Survey respondents described McKinsey as “the best place to develop yourself” and called their colleagues and managers “the world’s greatest people.” Respondents value the “incredible experiences” McKinsey affords them, and are both optimistic and proud of the firm’s great trajectory.

McKinsey & Company has a well-deserved reputation for outstanding talent, but it is also known as an excellent place to work. It’s clear that McKinsey makes it its mission for its people to succeed. Employees praise the ‘superb’ mentorship and training that enable them to become better professionals. The firm’s culture leads to a fast progression of skills, while consultants report that they feel ready and eager to take the next step.

After holding steady at No. 2 for 2018 and 2017, McKinsey reclaimed the No. 1 spot in 2019 as the Best Consulting Firm for Innovation. Prior to 2017, McKinsey had occupied the top position for three years in a row, making this climb a distinct return to form for a firm that has consistently ranked the Most Prestigious Consulting Firm since 2007.

Keystone Strategy has reached the No. 2 spot, up from No. 7 in 2018. Putnam Associates holds steady at No. 3, while Insight Sourcing Group dropped from No. 1 to No. 4 this year, despite survey respondents expressing confidence in leadership’s focus on growth and innovation.

Perhaps the most drastic climb this year is that of GE Healthcare Partners, which rounds out the top five at No. 5, marking its very first appearance in this ranking of the 25 most innovative firms. Survey respondents consider GE Healthcare Partners an entrepreneurial firm with an intrinsic focus on the future and client-tailored solutions.

Best Boutique Firms Experience Big Shakeups

Of our rankings, the Best Boutique Firms have seen enormous changes from 2018 to 2019. Putnam Associates and Insight Sourcing Group have switched places: Putnam is now No.1, up from No. 2, while Insight Sourcing Group comes in this year at No. 2, down from No. 1. The Bridgespan Group moves up to No. 3 from No. 4. ghSMART & Co. debuts on this list at No. 4 while Cornerstone Research returns at No. 5 after being absent from this list for 2017 and 2018. And LeapPoint leaps to No. 6 from last year’s No. 24.

Several firms have also experienced startling drops. Rounding out the top three last year, ClearView Healthcare Partners now ranks at No. 15. Last year’s No. 10 firm, DayBlink Consulting is now No. 21.

It’s not just the drops or the massive leaps that shook up the Best Boutique Firms rankings this year. In addition to ghSMART & Co., several firms have made it onto the list that did not rank last year: the Keystone Group (No. 7), Cicero Group (No. 12), OC & Strategy Consultants (No. 13), Smartronix (No. 16), Kenway Consulting (No. 18), Censeo Consulting Group (No. 19), Analysis Group (No. 20), Vivaldi Partners (No. 22), and Keystone Strategy (No. 25) all either debut or return after a hiatus.

Additional Rankings

In addition to the industry-wide ranking, Vault also asked consultants to rate the prestige of firms in their region and select the strongest firms in their specific practice areas. For quality of life issues, consultants were only permitted to rate their own firm; for prestige and practice area rankings, survey respondents were NOT allowed to rate their own firms, and were only permitted to rate those with which they were familiar.

From this data, Vault produces 14 practice area rankings—including Defense Consulting, Healthcare Consulting, Financial Consulting, and Strategy Consulting—and Best Firms to Work For based on 22 quality of life rankings—including Benefits, Compensation, Diversity, and Formal and Informal Training.

You can see more of the consulting rankings we released today by visiting any of the links below:

We'd also like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this year's rankings: our amazing client outreach and editorial teams, our survey team, the firms we've featured, and especially this year's participants. Without your feedback, these rankings would not be possible.