What Does a Management Consultant Do at Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY?

You might have heard about the Big 4 and their stance in consulting. But what exactly can you expect from a career in a Big Four company? What projects are you likely to work on and which clients or industries can you encounter? Find out what the attention on the Big Four is all about and why you might want to consider working for them. 

 

What Does A Management Consultant Do In General?

Management consulting is a branch of consulting that focuses on implementing change in an organization. This might be by improving existing operations or implementing new strategies. The projects in management consulting typically follow an approach originating in technology deployments i.e., pilot, learn, iterate, implement, monitor. 

👉Check out our article about Management vs. Strategy Consulting to learn more about this topic.

 

The Big Four

Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY are amongst the biggest management consulting firms in the world. Also known as the Big Four, they provide various professional services on a global level, including accounting, risk advisory, tax, and legal and consulting services, amongst others. Consulting services account also to their largest business operations.

Although they are known mainly as audit firms, consulting is a main part of their business success. 

 

Deloitte

Founded in 1945, Deloitte has been the largest professional services network globally by revenue for several years. Deloitte, similar to other Big Four, was founded solely as an accounting firm but developed a consulting arm in 1995 when the Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group was created. In 2023, Deloitte achieved a revenue of $64.9 billion.

Today, Deloitte’s management consulting is within the ‘Deloitte Consulting’ division. The branch is further divided into sectors of Human Capital, Strategy & Operations and Technology. The majority of management consulting projects are under Strategy & Operations in several key areas of business functions which Deloitte offers consulting services for such as finance, mergers and acquisitions, supply chain and manufacturing operations, to name a few.

Deloitte specializes in offering tax consulting services and is a leader in the tax industry. It also has leading consulting practices in technology and human capital areas. Deloitte offers management consulting services in consumer industries as well as energy, resources, financial services, healthcare, technology and telecommunications. 

The impressive client base of Deloitte promises exciting projects as you could work with companies such as Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Morgan Stanely or Adobe. 

👉 Preparing for an interview at Deloitte? Check out our Deloitte case article.

 

PwC

Originally founded in 1854 under the name ‘Coopers and Lybrand’, PwC, or PricewaterhouseCoopers is ranked as the second-largest professional services network in the world. With an annual revenue of €53 billion in 2023, it is estimated that about a third of this revenue was from their consulting and advisory services. PwC operates worldwide and offers a range of consulting services in areas such as IT, technology, actuaries, and human resources.

PwC’s advisory or management consulting services work with client organizations across various business functions, particularly in the implementation of mergers and acquisitions, customer relationship management, human resource transformation, enterprise strategy transformation, finance transformation and operations transformation. They own a large share of the global advisory market and have various areas of expertise in all the major industries, but have been known to do a considerable amount of consulting work in government, healthcare, oil and gas and financial markets.

With their respectable reputation, PwC is able to steadily expand their client base while also serving established clients for many years such as the Bank of America, Ford Motor, Exxon, Walt Disney and Cisco. 

 

KPMG

Originally established in 1987 through the merger of Peat Marwick International and Klynveld Main Goerdeler, KPMG is a leading global professional services firm. With a presence in over 150 countries and territories, KPMG operates as one of the Big Four accounting organizations, providing a wide array of services including audit, tax and advisory. In the fiscal year 2023, KPMG reported a total revenue of €48 billion, with a significant portion attributed to their advisory services, which encompass strategic consulting, risk management, technology solutions, and performance improvement.

KPMG's advisory arm collaborates closely with clients from diverse industries.Their expertise spans across areas such as mergers and acquisitions, digital transformation, cybersecurity, supply chain optimization and regulatory compliance. Notably, KPMG has established a strong foothold in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, technology, and financial services, while also being actively involved in supporting governmental bodies, healthcare organizations, and energy companies. 

The client portfolio of KPMG is as prestigious as diverse: SAP, Adidas, Citigroup and PepsiCo are only a few of them. 

👉Find out more about KPMG in our Top Consulting Firms article. 

 

EY

Established in 1989 through the merger of Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young & Co., EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, stands as one of the largest professional services firms globally. With a presence in more than 150 countries, EY offers a comprehensive suite of services including assurance, tax, advisory, and transaction advisory services. In the fiscal year 2023, EY reported a total revenue of €50 billion, with a substantial portion derived from their advisory services.

EY’s areas of expertise span strategic planning, digital transformation, risk management, supply chain optimization, and performance improvement, among others. EY has a notable presence in sectors such as financial services, technology, consumer products, and healthcare, where they offer specialized insights and innovative approaches to drive sustainable growth and value creation.

The client list of EY includes Siemens, AT&T, Coca Cola, Alphabet, Amazon and Intel. 

👉Find out more about EY in our Top Consulting Firms article. 

 

The Impact of The Big Four Worldwide

The influence of the Big Four in the world can be grasped by looking at the sectors they serve and their clients: You’ll always find one name of the four in every major economic or business context – whether concerning governments or corporations. As they gather a lot of attention because of their impact, excellence is key. Making mistakes that might come to the surface is something that each of them needs to avoid for the sake of keeping their reputation as trusted advisors. For example, EY suffered from their involvement in the Wirecard scandal, making them lose major clients and having to restore faith in their abilities. 

The Big 4 are also highly sought after when it comes to economic forecasts, research and industry insights. This makes them a major source for the media as well as for other advisories. Besides that they play a major role in ensuring worldwide regulatory compliance by providing expert advice on tax laws and financial reporting standards.

👉 Find out more about Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY in our Top Consulting Firms article. 
 

Project Examples: What Do The Big 4 Work On?

As you’ve now got an overview of the Big Four and got an idea of whom they serve, let’s have a look at the sectors they operate in and which kind of projects might await you.

 

Project examples of big four

Financial Services: Banking, insurance, asset management, and other financial institutions are a very common sector to be served by the Big 4. Projects in this sector often involve regulatory compliance, risk management, digital transformation, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic advisory services.

Technology and Telecommunications: With the rapid pace of technological innovation, firms in this sector rely on the expertise of the Big Four for guidance on digital strategy, cybersecurity, data analytics, cloud computing, and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Consumer Products and Retail: Companies in this sector seek assistance with supply chain optimization, consumer insights, brand strategy, e-commerce integration, and sustainability initiatives to stay competitive in a dynamic marketplace and meet changing consumer demands. Deloitte for instance worked closely with Unilever in their M&A projects. 

Healthcare and Life Sciences: In an industry characterized by regulatory complexities and technological advancements, organizations turn to the Big Four for support with healthcare reform, patient care optimization, pharmaceutical market access, digital health initiatives, and mergers and acquisitions to drive innovation and improve patient outcomes. When we all had to be vaccinated during the Covid Pandemic, the Big 4 were also part of financial strategies on deals with governments and vaccine manufacturers. 

Energy and Utilities: With sustainability and renewable energy becoming increasingly important, firms in this sector require guidance on energy transition strategies, regulatory compliance, renewable energy project financing, risk management, and operational. 

Public Sector: The public sector relies on the expertise of the Big Four for assistance with public finance management, digital government initiatives, public-private partnerships, policy reform, and performance improvement to enhance service delivery and drive economic development. For example, PwC collaborated with the UK Government and the British Business Bank on examining fraud risks of the UK’s Covid loan program. 

Manufacturing and Industrial Products: Companies in this sector seek support with supply chain optimization, operational efficiency, Industry 4.0 initiatives, sustainability strategies, and mergers and acquisitions to adapt to changing market dynamics and technological advancements while remaining competitive on a global scale.

 

Why a Career at a Big Four Company Might Be a Clever Move

There are several reasons why entering one of the Big 4 companies might be a good career move. Very similar to other firms in consulting, such as the prestigious MBB, it is like a seal of quality for your CV. If you work for the Big Four or MBB, you most likely are an ambitious, hard-working and focused person. It is widely known that entering such firms is not easy and is something you have to work dedicatedly on. In return, the prestige of these firms is expanding on your profile. 

However the prestige is by far not the only good reason to join the Big Four. Accepting a job at a Big Four company promises financial stability. Besides benefits such as competitive salaries, performance bonuses and comprehensive healthcare coverage (depending on your location), Big Four firms often provide extensive training and development opportunities. This includes access to specialized training programs, mentorship from industry experts, and the chance to work on high-profile projects alongside seasoned professionals.

Moreover, a career at a Big Four company offers unparalleled exposure to a diverse range of industries, clients, and business challenges. Consultants at these firms have the opportunity to work with multinational corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and startups, gaining valuable insights into various sectors and expanding their professional networks along the way.

Want to see the world? The Big Four's global presence and reputation open doors to exciting international opportunities for career advancement and personal growth. Whether it's a short-term assignment in a different country or a long-term transfer to a foreign office, consultants at Big Four firms have the chance to broaden their horizons, expand their cultural competencies, and take on new challenges in diverse environments.

Whether you're a recent graduate eager to start your career or an experienced professional seeking new challenges, joining a Big Four firm can be a wise and rewarding move that sets you on the path to success in the world of consulting.

 

How Can I Start My Career At the Big Four?

First of all, you’re already in the right place! Welcome to PrepLounge, where you’ll find all the resources you need to excel in your interviews. Check out our case library and start preparing with other candidates on our meeting board. Enhance your mathematical skills with our mental math tool or book a coaching with one of our experts that can answer all your questions about a career in consulting. 

But how will you get an interview at the Big Four? Increase your chances of success by applying the following steps:

how to start your career in the big four
  1. Research: Understand the services, culture and recent developments at the Big Four. In the PrepLounge blog you’ll find many articles about the Big Four and other career topics. 

  2. Network: Connect with professionals and attend events. You can also network with our experts on PrepLounge and ask them about their career advice. 

  3. Craft Your Resume: Highlight relevant experiences and skills. Don’t know how to start? Check out our article on how to optimize your CV

  4. Apply Early: Keep an eye on job postings and deadlines.

  5. Practice Case Interviews: Sharpen problem-solving skills with a case partner who you’ll find on our meeting board.

  6. Ace the Interview: Prepare well by not only focusing on the case interview but also on the personal fit interview and demonstrate why you are the perfect fit.
     

Becoming a Management Consultant at The Big Four Comes With a Variety of Benefits

In conclusion, a career at one of the Big Four companies — Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY — offers great opportunities for ambitious professionals seeking to make a significant impact in various sectors. With their global presence, diverse client base and extensive range of services, the Big 4 provide career opportunities for personal and professional growth. Despite challenges such as maintaining a good reputation and finding innovative ways to help businesses succeed, the rewards of joining these prestigious firms include financial stability, access to cutting-edge projects as well as the chance to work alongside industry leaders. Whether you're a recent graduate or an experienced professional, starting a career at a Big Four firm can set you on a path to success in the dynamic field of consulting.

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