Consulting Company Career Paths – A Comparison

Climbing the Consulting Company Corporate Ladder – A Comparison

I find it interesting to see the different attitudes companies have on disclosing their corporate hierarchies and career paths to outsiders. Larger organizations tend to be more open with their corporate ladder structure. And consulting companies perhaps more so than other large companies. In many cases a corresponding salary range and status can be directly assigned to the position levels; which makes this type of information even more valuable for job candidates.

With the emergence of websites like,,,, and numerous others, it’s much easier to get a picture of what these position titles equate to in average salary and bonuses.

Here’s how the career paths (aka corporate ladders) of these consulting companies stack up.

consulting career ladder comparison

I found it interesting to see how these companies are presenting their career paths on their websites. Here’s a breakdown.

McKinsey & Company Career Path

McKinsey & Company has one of the strongest online corporate ladders.  It gives nice brief position descriptions and allows you to select from three types of candidates to see the likely career path and starting point.

McKinsey & Company Career Path

McKinsey & Company Career Path

Accenture Career Paths

The Accenture website makes it difficult to track down this information, so I can’t really give them high praise for that. However, I like how they define the different paths for the associated career types – consulting, enterprise, services, and solutions. It would be great if all companies offered up estimated years in a position, e.g. 2-3 years as an Analyst before moving to Consultant, like Accenture does for the consulting career path.

Accenture Career Path

Bain & Company Career Path

Bain does a great job of outlining their positions and career path. You can hover over each of the candidate types to see the likely starting position(s), and click on any of the positions on the career path to read more about that position.

Bain & Company Career Path

Boston Consulting Group Career Path

Nothing special about Boston Consulting Groups career path (road to success) presentation, but at least they have one on their website. You can click on each position to read more about the role.

Boston Consulting Group Career Path

Booz Allen & Hamilton Career Path

There’s nothing interactive of special about Booz Allen’s career path presentation, but again, at least they have one on their website.

Booz Allen Hamilton Career Path

Booze & Company Career Path

Booz & Company’s presentation of their career path is average. Better than some. You can hover over the candidate types (undergrad, MBA, experienced) to see the likely starting position.  Position descriptions could use some more meat.

Booz & Company Career Path

Deloitte Consulting Career Path

Deloitte doesn’t display their different career paths in any type of graphical presentation, but there is reference on their site to the most common Human Capital (consulting) career path:  Analyst – Consultant - Senior Consultant - Manager – Senior Manager – Principal/ Director

Capgemini Consulting Services Career Path

Capgemini offers decent descriptions of the roles but nothing specific about advancement criteria or typical timeframes.
Typical career path: Analyst or Consultant – Project Lead – Senior Manager – Director or Vice President

Sapient and Razorfish Career Paths

I also checked out Sapient and Razorfish but neither offered career path information. It’s unfortunate because that would be very interesting to see for digital consulting firms. Perhaps they are just too small (relative to the other companies discussed) to have published career paths. I suspect if any of the big Web shops ever does disclose and present this information on their website, others will soon follow suit.

Who do you think presents the best career path? What other companies should I look at for part two of Consulting Company Career Paths?

Follow Discussion

11 Responses to “Consulting Company Career Paths – A Comparison”

  1. Rick$

    Great info. thanks.

  2. Rocky Leps

    Thanks for giving this inspiring blog. See mine!

  3. JOHN

    Do you have any updates for 2011? How about a chart for PWC?

  4. Corey

    Booz Allen has changed their progression. It is now:

    Analyst -> Consultant -> Senior Consultant -> Associate -> Lead Associate -> Senior Associate -> Principal -> Vice President -> Officer/Partner

  5. KKS

    Top man! Excellent post

  6. Lulu

    This is great info to find in one place – thanks! With regards to PwC, E+Y and KPMG, which they’re all similar to Deloitte once you get to the Manager level. Below Manager, the other 3 only have 2 levels: Associate –> Sr Associate, in which Sr Associate is equivalent to Deloitte’s Senior Consultant.

  7. David Swartz

    This is the most depressing article ever assembled. If you enjoy this chart, you obviously enjoy being an unimaginative corporate monkey, eager to please your bosses at every request as you scramble to achieve some nonsense feeling of accomplishment and hierarchical mental masturbation.

  8. Ral

    I appreciate this comparison, but the levels are not very comparable. For example, a manager at a Big 4 (on the consulting side) will not be considered for a case team leader (at Bain) or an associate principal (at Mck). They will simply hire you in at a level lower because they can. The only other thing that is striking is that the compensation across these levels is not comparable. Again a manager at a big 4 will make 50% less than say a case team leader at Bain.

    Just a quick observation.

  9. ars

    pwc organization chart is as follows:

    Associate > Sr Associate > Manager > Director > Managing Director > Partner

    Each level has four sub-level inside based on grade and salary.

    Associate 1
    Associate 2
    Associate 3
    Associate 4

    Sr. Associate 1
    Sr. Associate 2
    –so on–

  10. Evil Consultant

    Unfortunately, the comparison of levels is completely incorrect in terms of seniority and salary.

    For example, the “Associate” grade at McKinsey is more akin to the top end of the “Consultant” or the bottom end of “Manager” grade at Accenture.

    For reference, I have worked at two of the companies listed in this comparison: one as an IT consultant pre-MBA; the other as a management consultant post-MBA.

  11. SKG

    This isn’t accurate. I work at McKinsey, and recruit against the other schools. McKinsey’s Associate is = Consultant or associate at other firms. We do have an internal designation of “senior Associate” for folks in their 2nd year. Engagement Managers are the bread and butter in the firm, and most definitely are = to managers, case leads, etc. Associate Principals are also higher-= to principals at other firms. Our Partners are the top, with Directors just very tenured partners. So almost every level should shift up.

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