Top tier/tier2/tier3 consulting firms??

consulting firms consulting industry germany MBB order tier1 tier2 tier3 Top tier
New answer on Oct 21, 2021
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 01, 2017

Hi everyone! I am new here and to the consulting world, so please don't judge my stupid question ;) I stumbled across terms like top tier, tier 2, tier3 consulting firms and I am wondering what that means? Do they vary for different countries or is it internationally the same?

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replied on Oct 21, 2021
PrepLounge Community & Marketing Manager

Hi there, 

Thank you for this question! It's not stupid at all. Everyone starts somewhere and I believe the answers by our case coaches have helped a lot of candidates to get a feeling of the industry. 

If you have already decided to give your career in management consulting a chance, we have some valuable resources you should definitely check out before applying and during your preparation. I will try to give you a chronological timeline: 

1. Before applying
Make sure to read our consulting resume guide! Since the CV in consulting looks quite different from the CV when applying in other industries, it is important to be aware of these differences and make an instant good impression

2. Initial tests
If your CV convinced the recruiters, you will probably receive an invitation. Sometimes this hurdle comes in form of an online test. Consulting firms conduct different tests such as the Problem Solving Game by McKinsey or the BCG Online Case by BCG. It is important that you inform yourself about the different processes within the company and, if needed, practice for these kinds of assessments. 

3. The actual case interview
The probably most feared part of the recruitment process in management consulting is the case interview. Make sure to read through our case interview guide to learn the process and important skills that are needed for the interview. 

4. Personal Fit
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I hope I could give you some helpful insights and resources with this answer. 

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Olu replied on Jul 05, 2017
Looking for solid partners (10+Cases) . Currently preparing for MBB,Tier II & Big 4- Given and Done 15+ cases

I do agree with Sara’s sentiment on focusing on culture/people and the business focus alignment to your area of interest, but I am not sure how I feel about the segmentation. I do agree there is not a hard line, but below is a different approach to how the industry might be segmented (read how folks describe the industry or folks in industry might perceive themselves):

Strategy Consulting Firms: Main focus is to provide high level strategic advice to companies leadership (C-level and Board). They partake in other things, not limited to, but including implementation, operation etc. These companies would include:

Tier 1- which typical refers to MBB

Big 4 - Which refers to the Strategy side of Deloitte (Monitor), KPMG, PWC (Strategy&), EY (Parthenon)

Tier 2- Typical Non Tier 1 or Big 4, could be called "Other Boutiques"- example could be Oliver Wyman, A.T.K, Accenture strategy, Z.S Associate and a host of others.

Management Consulting Firms: Now this includes everything including strategy consulting, IT, Supply Chain, Operations, Finance, Deals or M&A etc. again the companies above mostly offer such services, but the industry has its way of branding MBB as Strategy, Accenture as IT, A.T.K as operation and Big 4 as financial services based. The irony is that they are all management consulting firms that do a bit of everything, so do more than the others do, but you can do strategy work or IT implementation work at most of those firms.

That being said, it is true that MBB gets a lot of strategy projects, but so does Monitor, Strategy& and Accenture Strategy, just like its true Accenture gets a ton of IT projects, but so does MBB and Deloitte. I don’t have exact data to tell you who have what share, but point is you can end up doing what you want at any firm, if they offer/ sell the service you have interest in.

More specific to your question on if they are the same globally, for the companies described above they operate globally, but sometimes with a slight change in focus (read what the business opportunity might be in that region – Houston firms focus on Energy, San Francisco’s would focus on Tech, Middle East- Oil and Gas and maybe Retail etc.)

Obviously there is more to this, but hopefully this is sufficient to get you a sense of the current industry position.

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SARC Associates on Feb 07, 2019

● Thank you for such thought provoking views on chartered accountancy. This really gives a broad understanding about how one should approach this sector and bring qualitative results.


Anonymous E replied on Sep 22, 2020

Hi I will write this list from the top of my head, some firms might be missing, especially smaller one where you might argue they are Tier 3.

Tier 2:

  • Oliver Wyman
  • Roland Berger
  • Kearney
  • Strategy&

Tier 3:

  • ZEB
  • Simon Kucher
  • Horvath
  • Porsche Consulting
  • Accenture Strategy + Big 4 strategy arms (although they are getting more and more integrated)
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Akshay on Sep 22, 2020

Thanks, well I do have a list based on the, but there are many companies that are not in the top 20 and are small, thats why this question.

Anonymous D replied on Apr 12, 2018


Tier 1:



Strategy& (due to pay and prestige of the people they are hiring atm)

Bain (depends - strong name, but a strong focus on PE here)

Tier 2:

Roland Berger

Oliver Wyman

AT Kearney

SSCO (even though small pretty prestigious in Germany)

Tier 3

EY Parthenon (took over OC&C)

Simon Kucher

Monitor Deloitte

Accenture Strategy




United States

Tier 1:




The rest not so sure.

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Anonymous replied on Sep 28, 2020

Hi Akshay,


* Roland Berger

*Oliver Wyman

* Startegy&

* Kearney



* Accenture

* Boutique firms

* Inhouse consulting


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Akshay on Sep 28, 2020

thanks Andre

replied on Sep 21, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate
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Akshay on Sep 21, 2020

Thanks Henning

Akshay on Sep 21, 2020

what surprises me is that "horvath-partners " has no mention in this list, I wonder why?

replied on Jul 04, 2017
5+ years consulting experience | McKinsey | Strategy& | INSEAD | Bocconi | Here to guide you from your very first steps

Tier 1, 2 etc. is not an official neither a good definition. Therefore, if I were you, I would not take it into account too much. When choosing a company to apply to, the most important thing to focus on is understanding which firm is right for you based on its culture and its business focus.

A very good way to differentiate consulting firms is their business focus. To make a very simple distinction:

- Some firms provide clients with a very high level strategic advice (here there are the so called MBB and other smaller firms);

- After the high level guidelines are defined, other consultants must help the client at executing the initiative in the day to day business (there are here some big names such as Accenture, pwc and other firms).

Of course the line that differentiate the two groups is not rigid.

In addition, within each of these two groups, subgroups by the dimension "industry focus" can be identified. However, these largely vary from country to country.

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 21, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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Anonymous F on Sep 22, 2020

I wish preplounge had a downvote button

Alv7777 replied on Jun 18, 2018

Don't spend too much time looking at informal sayings and classifications. You should look for the business culture you feel more confortable with. Having said this, the industry can indeed be classified in three groups, according to salary, type of work and exit:

1) Tier 1: MBB (McKinsey, BCG, Bain)

2) Tier 2: Accenture Strategy, AT Kearney, Oliver Wyman

3) Big Four: Monitor, Booz, Pantheon

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Content Creator
replied on May 28, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


To add on top what´s been said, the geography is a key thing here. What is not so relevant in one market, can be industry leader in another one.


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replied on Jan 14, 2019
Manager Monitor Deloitte I Yale MBA

Coming from Monitor Deloitte, one important aspect in considering Big4 vs. MBB/ Boutiques in the breath of topics and size of project, you as well as the firm will work on / offer.
Consulting units of Big 4 firms tend to offer a wider range of services. Therefore, even as a consultant in their strategy arm (such as Monitor) you can offer your clients specilized insights into almost every business problem by bringing the right expert to the table.
My personal benefits from that are constantly learning about areas outside my focus as well as resting assured that you'll be covered whatever the client is asking for.

For further questions feel free to reach out.

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CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Jul 22, 2021
Former McKinsey Interviewer (and JEM) with background in engineering, now working in the Renewables industry
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Anonymous replied on Jan 13, 2021


At least in South East Asia there are several categorization but again this only a broad generalisatin and not rigid at all:

  • Tier 1 is the MBB - McKinsey, BCG, Bain
  • Big 4 - PwC, KPMG, EY, Deloitte
  • Tier 2 - Strategy&, Oliver Wayman, Kearney, Roland Berger, LEK


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Anonymous C replied on Jan 13, 2021

Hi there, I have been director in strategy consulting - for anybody new to the industry: If you seek to work in Germany/ Austria/ Switzerland: Please go and check the rankings of Brand Eins/ Statista where clients evaluate consulting firms into tier 1/2/3 by type of work and industry sector, not the HR marketing departments of the consulting firms. Think out loud where you want to be in 5 - 10 years, and research which firm has the strongest footprint in this specific sector / field. You will be surprised that some so called "tier 1 powerhouses" will not be your top pick after this excercise.

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Rohit Mazumder replied on May 31, 2018

well, the chart of top ten management consulting firms are available in almost every business journal and the top-notch players like Accenture, Deloitte and MC Kingsley are well-known names. We have the list of top ten management consulting firms check here -

But, many companies want to hire services of different companies who are no less than the above-mentioned names for obvious reasons.

Often start-ups and mid-sized companies want to hire management consulting firms who have rich experience and are spread all over the country as they have the potential to seep inside the client’s issues.

In this regard, Gyaanmart is the true winner in this regard. With a strong client base and the right amount of experience they have clients of all sizes and from every sector.

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