When pursuing a career in consulting, candidates can struggle to decide between working at a large consulting firm or a boutique. Large firms (those with more than 200 consultants - e.g. MBB, Big 4) have consistently appealed due to years of success with an established client base. Yet, there are also huge benefits and opportunities to working in a boutique firm (those with less than 200 consultants - e.g. Delivery Associates, Vintura).
In the current labour-driven market, the power is in your hands as a candidate to choose the firm type that best suits your interests and ambitions. To find out more about how large consulting firms compare to boutiques and the key differences and benefits of both, we surveyed a range of consultants (from recognised large and boutique firms) and identified some key considerations below.
Jump to the following sections:
- Type of work
- Prestige & brand recognition
- Culture & work-life balance
- Work ownership & career advancement
- Training opportunities
- Which is best for you?
"There's a wider variety of work in a large firm, with a breadth of case opportunities and exposure to different types of projects."
A large firm is a great choice if you’re still deciding where you want to specialise, or if you’re interested in an array of topics and are thinking of remaining a generalist. You’ll likely gain exposure to a wider variety of work than in a typical boutique, by working on projects in different industries (e.g. Financial Services, Technology, Oil & Gas). Through this, it will be easy to build up a diverse portfolio and develop generalist consulting skills. The longer you stay with a large firm, becoming a specialist in a particular industry or function will become an option too.
"In a boutique, you can specialise in a niche market where you have an interest and want to make an impact."