Top 5 Paying MBA Careers: Consulting
Consulting still is one of the top career choices for MBA graduates. Part of the reason is because consulting firms are very open to recruiting MBAs from a wide range of backgrounds.
According to the 2018 Prospective Student Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), consulting is the most sought-after postgraduate industry. An estimated 34 percent of applicants consider consulting their career of choice.
Salary is a crucial factor in that choice. Although consulting salaries depend on a lot of factors—time, location, office, and position, to name a few—the pay is relatively high across the board.
Below, we’ll break down the highest paying jobs in consulting, where to work to earn the most money, what MBA programs are best for the career, and the top companies to work for.
Companies Recruiting MBAs in Consulting
Where you work can have a large impact on how much you, which is especially true of consultants. The larger the company and more well known, the more potential money. The following are the top five consulting firms as well as their MBA graduate base salary according to Management Consulted.
- Bain & Company: $165,000
- Boston Consulting Group (BCG): $165-$170,000
- Parthenon-EY: $170,000
- McKinsey & Company: $165,000
- Strategy&: $168,000
Consulting Salary by Experience and Location
According to PayScale, the amount of experience you have can have a drastic impact on your salary.
- Entry Level: $68,118
- Mid-Career: $101,162
- Experienced: $122,004
- Late Career: $131,930
Location also matters, Consultants on the West Coast, in California and Washington, tend to earn the most, followed closely by New York City consultants. More surprisingly, Atlanta, Georgia, and Chicago, Illinois are also excellent locations to earn a top-paying consultant job. Here’s how it breaks down specifically:
- San Francisco: Earn 17 percent more
- Seattle: Earn 11 percent more
- NYC: Earn 7 percent more
- Atlanta: Earn 4 percent more
- Chicago: Earn 2 percent more
Top 5 MBA Programs for a Career in Consulting
So, where should you go to school if you want to land a top-paying consulting job? There are many business schools known for funneling graduates into the largest and most prestigious consulting firms known as the “MBB”— McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain & Company. However, there are a few to B-schools that stand out for MBA applicants looking for a career in consulting. They are:
- INSEAD: 52 percent of the 2018 Class went into management consulting, many of those at MBB.
- London Business School: 37 percent of the Class of 2018 went into consulting with 90 students heading to MBB.
- Chicago Booth: 31 percent of the entire class went into consulting with 17.7 percent of all hires in the Class of 2018 going to MBB.
- MIT Sloan: six percent of the Class of 2018 went into consulting, and 15.2 percent of all graduates were MBB-bound.
- Columbia Business School: six percent of the Class of 2018 entered consulting, with 98 students specifically accepting an MBB job.
5 Highest Consulting Career Salary Rates
While there are many different types of consulting jobs that an MBA graduate could be qualified for, the positions below are the highest paying in the industry
#1.) Strategy Consultant: $150,000
Strategy consultants take a top-down perspective on business. They audit a company’s long and short-term goals and trajectory by helping to identify new markets, allocating resources, and analyzing existing target markets. They work with the uppermost level of management (the C-suite) to make fundamental business decisions.
Strategy consulting is considered the most prestigious and demanding of all management consulting careers. To even get your foot in the door, you have to be the top of your class, proving exceptional at data analysis, decision making, and communication. However, if you can do that, you’re set to earn the most money.
At the entry-level, base salaries start at $70,000-$100,000. However, MBA graduates can earn $150,000, while project leaders earn $175,000.
#2.) IT Consulting: $150,000
IT consulting is one of the more rapidly expanding areas of consulting. Companies are in desperate need of expert advice on everything from system integration to enterprise architecture, software management, and data analytics. It’s a $408 billion industry that is incredibly competitive.
IT consultants must have very detailed knowledge of technology at every level. They must understand leading applications, analytics software, cloud computing, security, and more. It’s a challenging but rapidly growing field.
Undergraduates start of their career earning around $75,000 on average. MBA recruits, on the other hand, earn $150,000 on average with project leaders earning between $175,000-$180,000.
#3 Management Consultant: $149,000
Management consultants help drive business. They look at how to optimize all aspects of the operational process from process management to procurement, outsourcing, and supply chain management. Their job is to increase efficiency, cut costs, improve quality, and more. They take a structured approach to answering complex business problems.
As a management consultant, you’ll work closely with senior management to extract the maximum amount of value from the company’s operations. Beyond just giving advice, you’ll be expected to implement and deploy your ideas as an active problem solver.
An entry-level high would earn about $83,500 at a top-tier firm. As an MBA, that salary would increase to around $149,000 with project leaders earning $175,000.
#4.) Financial Advisory Consulting: $130,000
Businesses must make informed and objective financial decisions, and a financial advisory consultant is critical for this. They take into account many complex variables helping companies make sound financial decisions. They provide both financial advice and expertise on everything from legal and ethical tax bill reduction to improving cash flow and discovering investment opportunities.
As a financial advisory consultant, you’ll be required to obtain specific qualifications and a license to provide advice. This can result in a higher salary depending on if you choose to work in corporate finance, transaction services, restructuring, risk management, forensics and litigation, or real estate.
As an entry-level employee, you’d earn $66,574 as a financial consultant. However, as a senior financial consultant with an MBA degree, you could expect to earn $120,000-$140,000 depending on the company.
#5.) Risk and Compliance Consulting: $125,000
All companies need to follow specific laws, standards, regulations, and ethical practices. A risk and compliance consultant ensures that the organization adheres to these policies and helps to prevent any violation. They can detect fraud, abuse, and discrimination, which can help protect companies from fines and lawsuits.
As a risk and compliance consultant, you’ll advise senior management on these issues and develop programs to ensure the organization is fully compliant. You must have broad and in-depth knowledge of legal regulations as well as organizational management. You must also be an expert on your specific industry or niche.
Entry-level risk management consultants earn $74,627. However, MBA graduates should expect to earn between $123,000 and $130,000 for a base salary based on their skill level.