Best consulting firms – Technology, Finance, HR

Management consultant Amit (aka MBA Dropout) covered the best strategy consulting firms in another post. This time he talks about management consulting firms that focus on a niche – like technology consulting, financial consulting, HR consulting and others.
 


Best Consulting Firms | Technology, Finance, HR

 

Accenture

  • Summary: In 1989, Accenture was born as Andersen Consulting. In 2001, right before Arthur Andersen was dissolved (after Enron), Accenture gained independence. Though Systems Integration has been its specialty from the very beginning, it has expanded its footprint in Outsourcing in a major way. Today clients view Accenture as pretty much a one-stop shop – they are into Consulting, Implementation (“execution” in project-mode) and Outsourcing.
  • Industry / Focus: Information Technology Consulting
  • Size: 244,000 employees (~80,000 of them in India), $27.35 billion in revenue (2011)
  • Offices: Presence in 54 countries, 6 offices in India
  • Hiring: Accenture hires at top bschools in the US, though MBA graduates don’t quite consider it to be at the level of the biggies (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, etc.). In India, Accenture hires from the IIMs, as well as other bschools such as SJMSOM (IIT Bombay), ISB and Symbiosis.

 

Capgemini

  • Summary: Capgemini is one of the big names in the field of IT consulting – its major competitors are IBM and Accenture. It is one of the select few IT consulting firms to have a firm foothold in Europe. As is the case with Accenture, in addition to IT Consulting, Capgemini has forayed into Systems Integration and Outsourcing. The company experienced a much-publicized slowdown in 2009, during which time there were layoffs as well. Since then it has entered into new lines of business (Outsourcing), and has shown a healthy rate of growth.
  • Industry / Focus: Information Technology Consulting
  • Size: 120,000 employees (37,000 in India), $12.6 billion in revenue (2011)
  • Offices: Presence in 40 countries, 20 offices in India
  • Hiring: Capgemini hires from a large number schools, both in the US and India. They are looking to expand in India in a major way, and therefore plan to hire aggressively over the next 2-3 years. The firm has a strong preference for candidates that have relevant prior work experience (complementing their MBAs).

 

Cornerstone Research

  • Summary: Cornerstone is a boutique strategy firm specializing in Economic Consulting. Its prime area of focus is business litigation, and it mostly provides economic and financial analysis to attorneys, firms and government institutions. Through its 25 years of existence, it has kept itself small (in terms of size) by design, thereby ensuring that it remains a tightly knit group of the best experts in the industry. The firm does a lot of its work in collaboration with academics from top business and law schools in the US. Such is the reputation, exposure and quality of work at this firm that undergrads that exit after working there for 2-3 years usually find themselves seats at top 10 US MBA programs.
  • Industry / Focus: Economic Consulting
  • Size: 455 employees, $150 million in revenue (estimated)
  • Offices: 6 offices in the US, no presence in India
  • Hiring: The firm has a highly selective, structured and strict hiring process. In addition to MBAs, they also hire other advanced (masters) degree holders (in Economics, etc.) and PhDs. Research-oriented MBAs with a liking for Economics fit in really well.

 

Deloitte Consulting

  • Summary: Deloitte is one of the largest professional services firms in the world. Its primary areas of focus are Financial (tax advisory, audits/accounting) and Information Technology Consulting. Additionally, it also has sizable footprints in Human Resource, Energy, Operations and Pharma Consulting. Its consulting business remains one of the top choices for MBAs.
  • Industry / Focus: Financial Consulting, Information Technology Consulting
  • Size: 182,000 employees, $28.8 billion in revenue (2011)
  • Offices: ~600 offices in 150 countries, offices in 13 cities across India
  • Hiring: Given its size, hiring is highly centralized. The firm primarily hires at top US bschools during the typical hiring season, followed by local hiring at lower-tiered schools to fill remaining vacancies. In India, it hires at a large number of schools across tiers (IIMs, IITs, XIM, etc.).

 

Ernst & Young

  • Summary: Ernst & Young is yet another behemoth – one of the top 4 professional services firms in the world. In 2000, it sold off its core (management) consulting business to Capgemini, which caused it to become a pure Financial Consulting firm with strong focus on accounting services.
  • Industry / Focus: Financial Consulting
  • Size: 152,000 employees, $22.9 billion in revenue (2011)
  • Offices: ~700 offices in 140 countries, 12 offices in 8 cities across India
  • Hiring: Ernst & Young hires from campuses across the US at various levels (undergrads, grads, interns). Hiring numbers were down in 2009-2010, but was back up again from 2011 hiring season onwards. In India, the firm has plans to hire anywhere between 200-300 undergrads and MBAs through 2012. Typically most of the MBA-hiring takes place at the IIMs, XLRI and ISB.

 

IBM Consulting

  • Summary: IBM, as we know it today, was shaped by two main events in the last decade – it acquired PricewaterhouseCoopers’ IT consulting business in 2002 and sold off its PC business to Lenovo in 2005. From then on, it has been one of the largest providers of IT Consulting & Services (primarily Systems Integration), Business Transformation, and Outsourcing in the world. Even with such a large number of employees, IBM has been surprisingly agile. It has reinvented itself many times, and gotten itself into new lines of business by growing inorganically.
  • Industry / Focus: Information Technology Consulting
  • Size: 440,000 employees (~150,000 in India), $106 billion in revenue (2011)
  • Offices: Offices in 170 countries, >40 offices in India
  • Hiring: Given its size and the variety of roles across its many business lines, IBM recruits from a large number of campuses in the US and India. It hires MBAs from top bschools in the US for its Business Consulting practice. A round of layoffs in India in early 2008 and then again in the US in early this year did not go down well. Recently the company has been on a hiring spree in India – it hired almost a hundred MBAs from top bschools, ~90 of them from the IIMs (A, B, C and L).

 

KPMG

  • Summary: KPMG belongs to the elite “The Big Four” group of professional services firms. It has 3 lines of business – taxes, audit and advisory services. Apart from these core service lines, the firm has also forayed into new areas such as Risk Management and Outsourcing Advisory Services. Additionally, KPMG’s research wing regularly publishes reports on recent industry trends (for example, SAAS offerings in information technology, etc.).
  • Industry / Focus: Financial Consulting
  • Size: 145,000 employees, $22.7 billion in revenue (2011)
  • Offices: Offices in more than 150 countries, 13 offices in India
  • Hiring: Though KPMG has been traditionally been hiring mostly accountants, over the last couple of years, it has started hiring MBAs in fairly large numbers. The firm hires heavily from a large number of US campuses. In India, it hires from the IIMs, IITs, XLRI, as well as other schools.

 

Mercer

  • Summary: Mercer started off in 1959 as a Human Resource Consulting firm, which, in 1990, acquired Strategic Planning Associates, to add Management Consulting to its repertoire. Today it has diversified even further – its current service offerings primarily include Human Resource Consulting, Financial Consulting, and the latest addition – Outsourcing.
  • Industry / Focus: Human Resource Consulting, Financial Consulting,
  • Size: ~20,000 employees, $3.8 billion in revenue (2011)
  • Offices: 150 offices in 42 countries, 6 offices in India
  • Hiring: Mercer hires from a number of bschools in the US. In India, in the recent past, they have hired from the IIMs, ISB, XLRI and IITs.

 

Oliver Wyman

  • Summary: Oliver Wyman and Mercer share the same parent – Marsh & McLennan Companies. It has some overlap with Mercer, in that Financial Consulting is also one of its primary focus areas. The company has an easy-going and friendly culture, and at the same time encourages an entrepreneurial mindset. Workweeks are manageable and the company goes overboard in ensuring that its consultants’ work-life balance is maintained.
  • Industry / Focus: Financial Consulting, Management Consulting
  • Size: 3,000 employees, $1.35 billion in revenue (2010)
  • Offices: 50 offices in 25 countries, 2 offices in India
  • Hiring: The firm hires from top US and European bschools. In India, it hires primarily from the IIMs and ISB. In the recent past, it has also hired from JBIMS.

 

PricewaterhouseCoopers

  • Summary: PricewaterhouseCoopers completes “The Big Four” list. The firm used to have a sizable footprint in IT Consulting till 2002, when it sold it off to IBM. Since then its focus areas have been Audit & Assurance, Legal & Tax, and Consulting Services. In recent times, PwC has also provided Outsourcing Advisory Services to its clients. With the recent acquisitions of Diamond Consulting and PRTM, it has expanded its footprint across Technology and Management Consulting respectively. Its clients include a large number of Fortune 1000 companies. PwC happens to be one of the largest private companies in the world.
  • Industry / Focus: Financial Consulting
  • Size: 169,000 employees, $29.2 billion in revenue (2011)
  • Offices: Offices in 771 cities in 158 countries, 31 offices across 9 cities in India
  • Hiring: Taking a cue from other firms in “The Big Four”, PwC has been hiring more MBAs. Given their recent acquisitions (Diamond and PRTM), they are likely to hire in even larger numbers for Management Consulting profiles. The firm hires a large number of MBAs from the top 30 US bschools. In India, they hire mostly from the IIMs, ISB and SP Jain.

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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. For professional Admissions Consulting or Career Counselling, connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook

13 Comments

  1. Dipen says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Deloitte, IBM and accenture are for IT consulting. Do they higher undergrads for junior consulting role ?

    If yes, what should be one’s approach to get into IT consulting ?

  2. Sameer Kamat says:

    Dipen,

    Yes they do hire undergrads for consulting roles. Unlike in the case of strategy consulting where an MBA can make a big difference, for IT consulting your technical skills matter more.

    The right approach (though there’s no standard route really) is to go in with a good combination of technology, industry, management and communication skills.

    The last one will be test in the interviews. But before you can get there, you need to cross the first 3 hurdles.

    These 3 will reflect in your resume. Companies will use it to weed out the candidates who don’t have the right exposure. Read this post on How to write a good resume.

    If this is not your strong area, get some professional help or inputs from a friend/colleague who’s good at this, before you start knocking on the doors of the top IT consulting firms.

  3. SM says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I am working with TCS for past 3 years, would it be better to continue with the same organization post MBA completion from Tier-1 institutes like IIMs/ISBs/XLRI etc.. Let me know your review on the same.

    Thanks,
    SM

  4. Sameer Kamat says:

    SM: If you get the role, salary and growth opportunities you desire after graduation, then sure, it’s worth considering.

  5. Amit says:

    very good info.. thanks…

  6. Soumya Thakur says:

    Hi sameer,
    I am currently working in deloitte have 2.5 years of workex
    took gmat recently and got 700 , have GPA of 3.6
    i am applying to R1 and doing adjustments to my ‘goal’ essay

    In deloitte i work in SAP HCM domain…post mba , my goal is to work in core human capital consulting in firms like aon , hay, mercer.. but not sure if these companies come to isb..last year placement report dont say so…
    it will be great if i have some insights from your end which can help me with the dilemma of whether i should mention human capital consulting in my short term goals..

  7. Sameer Kamat says:

    Soumya: Even if companies that you like don’t come to campus, you can always reach out to them. Just ensure that you connect the dots well in your MBA essays. Good luck!

  8. Shivankit says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I am Shivankit Kumar, i am currently looking for a job. I am B.tech in Biotechnology and an MBA in Finance from IMT, Dubai. I have more than two years of work experience in Dubai and total of more than four years of experience. I would like to work in a consulting firm. Any advice how to get that done

  9. Priya Dwivedi says:

    hello sir,

    i m studying in MBA . I m confuse about specialization subject. Pls suggest me.

  10. anjali says:

    hi sameer,
    I want to get into management consulting,especially healthcare consulting.Now could you please tell me if a specialization is required for pursuing consultancy as i have been told by some that a general MBA suffices.

  11. urman says:

    Hi
    I have interest in HR analytics. Currently I am a b.tech working in infosys from 1.7 years. I have admission offer from VGSOM, IIT kharagpur. What path should I follow to reach my goal

  12. teena says:

    Hello sammeer ..I’m a btech , MBA graduate in HR working as an HR associate in a private IT firm …I would like to rake my career to the next level ..could u please suggest any further courses that I can do to boost my career , and earn a good placement as well….thank u ..

  13. vinit says:

    Dear Sameer i’m Vinit a semiqualified CA till date… but i want to get job in some good finance consulting co. Sameer can you please help me in..e.i That what should be my approach? please mail me ur reply at vinitprakash21@gmail.com

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