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Management Consulting Salaries and Career growth after MBA

The perks that the best strategy consulting firms offer grow as you spend more time in the industry.

While the intangible benefits are plenty – working with the best colleagues and clients in the business, great exposure, powerful networks – the most obvious and quantifiable change you’d see is in the compensation.

If you can stick around long enough and move into the higher designations, management consulting salaries can progress very rapidly over time.

Management Consulting Salary Progression

Disclaimer: Much of this data is anecdotal and not really based on a thorough academic style survey. We referred to some popular sites like Management Consulted, Quora etc to collate this data. Some of it may be dated or off the mark. Use it to get a general idea of the numbers.

Designation Base
Year -end
Analyst (Undergrad) $60,000 $10,000 $5,000 $10,000 $85,000
Associate (MBA) $120,000 $30,000 $10,000 $30,000 $190,000
Senior Consultant $200,000 $200,000
Project Lead $300,000 $300,000
Principal $750,000 $750,000
Partner $1,000,000 $1,000,000


We’ve included the breakup for Analyst and Associate positions which tend to be entry level positions after completing an undergrad or masters degree. So, it’s easier to get access to this data vis-a-vis the other senior positions.

Also, keep in mind that there are no absolutes in the industry. The compenstation range can fluctuate based on the consulting firm specific policies, the location. For fast-track consultants, the compensation range is on the higher side. Also read Consulting Entry level salary in USA, UK, India, Germany, Australia and Salary increase after MBA

How to become a partner in a consulting firm

The simple answer is to get in via the Associate role and gradually work your way up impressing all who matter in the firm and outside.

Easier said than done, as there’d be several hurdles at every single stage. The biggest hurdle is the competition that you are up against – your fellow MBA brethren and colleagues.

The following table gives a general indication of how long it takes to move from one designation to another. Considering the bigger pressure of moving ‘up or out’, there are no guarantees. Only a smaller percentage move up (i.e. get promoted to the next level).

From To Average Period Chances
Associate (MBA) Senior Consultant 2 years 40%-70%
Senior Consultant Project Lead 2 years 40%-70%
Project Lead Principal 2 years 40%-70%
Principal Partner 4 years 20%-40%
Partner Senior Partner 7 years 40%-60%


It can take 10 years for an MBA graduate to become a partner at a top consulting firm like McKinsey / Bain / Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

While these are just approximations, the actual time for promotions could be lesser or more based on the consultant’s performance.

Many consultants may choose (or be coerced) to move out. This isn’t a bad thing actually, as those who move out get lucrative opportunities in the industry that would make regular MBA grads envious. If you are interested, here’s an insight into life after consulting: exit options

The first step is to get into one of the best bschools for consultant jobs. These universities regularly feeders into the consulting industry. Not going to one of them can seriously reduce your chances of managing the career change.

We’ve helped several Indians crack this first stage (MBA applications) and they’ve in turn played all the right cards to gain an entry into the elite consulting firms after their MBA. Here’s one such story: How to become a management consultant at McKinsey, BCG, Bain. Also read How to get an interview at McKinsey, Bain, BCG

If you are in the same boat that they were a few years back and need some formal support in improving your chances at the consulting bschools, drop us an email.

If you are only exploring the field, here are some tips to help you crack Management consulting interview questions. And if that doesn’t satiate your appetite, here’s a whole bunch of management consulting articles.

Consulting not your cup of tea? Find out how much the other popular MBA careers pay by reading this article – Average MBA starting salary in USA, India. Also read Top Consulting Firms in the World. Also read The dark side of Management Consulting and Technology vs Management Consulting.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

8 thoughts on “Management Consulting Salaries and Career growth after MBA”

  1. I am MBA graduate not from top bschool. Keen to join consulting work so please suggest the right way to initiate consulting career.

  2. Hi Sameer,

    I am Zaid and I have worked for HVAC company previously for 6 months before joining an IT MNC where I am working in QA profile since past two year. The problem that I am facing is I don t like working in IT and that I left HVAC company because there was no good environment there, Now I am too confused and don’t know which field to choose? Which field I am really interested in? I did a lot of self introspection and nothing is coming to my mind , only thing i know is that I like travelling and working on versatile short term projects which I assume matches with management consulting. but considering that I am not from a very reputed college or have a wonderful credentials I am perplexed what to do next and how to find the job that I love..

  3. I have a Pass average (around 52%) from one of Australia’s top 10 Universities. Degree was in Commerce (Accounting).
    Reason for low score:
    1. was working full time at PwC throughout uni in a cadetship program and studying part time
    2. low motivation as had a guaranteed grad job and didnt think about long term consequences of not having a great gpa

    After graduating, I finished my CA. I have also worked at PwC for 4 years, 1 year in Risk at a top tier investment bank in Australia, 2.5 years in in Strategy Consulting at Accenture and now am a Manager in Strategy Consulting in a boutique strategy house.

    What are my chances of scoring entry into the likes if INSEAD, LBS etc…i.e. a top 10 school?

  4. Hi,

    I am a Software Engineering Analyst.I have 16 months of experience with big IT firm.I am going to do MBA this year.I want to make my career in strategy cum technology consulting .I have options to do MHRM or MBA-Marketing .So which would lead me better to my goals. Response will be appreciated.

  5. Hi Sameer,

    I would be grateful to have an insight from you on my profile, 10th 73%, 12th equivalent i.e. Certificate in Agricultural Engg. 64%, B.Tech in Agricultural Engg. 70% from a CFTRI, followed by MS in Water Resources Engg. from Uni Stuttgart, Germany.

    I have pre-MS 1.5 yr experience with ICICI Banking retail and corporate banking and 2 yrs of post-MS experience in environmental research and consulting in Germany and Saudi Arabia. However, I returned to India last year due to personal reasons and have been out of labour market for 8 months now.

    I am 30 now and planning to go for an MBA with Consulting specialization, aspiring post MBA job in environmental consulting and project management, some of my early school selections includes Mannheim, ISB, HEC Paris and IMD Switzerland in decreasing order of my confidence for admission. Mannheim being the most confident option.
    I am bit reluctant to North American schools, as they tend to attract more younger candidates, a trend that also reflect the labour market demands.

    Please advice on the following concerns
    1. Schools that I should particularly consider other than the mentioned ones, and my changes of admission.
    2. GMAT score that I should traget, mock test gives me a 700-720 consistently.
    3. How I could strengthen my application, aspects of application that I should give specific attention.

  6. @Zaid: Getting into good mnagement consulting jobs is very difficult. A top MBA can help since many consuting firms recruit on campus. However, there are no guarantees there either. You can try for related consulting areas such as IT consulting.

    @GP: Since you have already got into a global consulting firm and have been there for several years, it may be easier for you to convince Adcoms that your GPA will not come in the way of your professional success.

    @Shweta: I’m not sure about your approach. With an IT background, you are getting into HR / Marketing and hoping to get into strategy consuling. If it’s a strong MBA program with good connections with consulting firm, your odds with be better.

    @Sandeep: You sure can target an MBA, but also give some thought into why you haven’t been able to get a job for 8+ months Is it your super niche experince or something else. If it’s the former, then an MBA may not change the scenario completely since the pre-MBA skills will not change. Proceed only after you are fully convinced about the decision.

  7. Hi Sameer,

    Glad to connect again with the insightful posts.With around 9 years experience in financial operations, how good are the chances to break into consulting.I am in a state of dilemma here as to take that long break off work and get to business school or is there any possibility to switch to consulting banking only on the experience.


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