Top tier/tier2/tier3 consulting firms??

Anonymous A asked on Jul 01, 2017 - 6 answers

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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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.

● 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. — SARC Associates on Feb 07, 2019 (edited)

Anonymous C 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.

replied on Jul 04, 2017
Strategy& / INSEAD MBA / ex-McKinsey / Here to guide you from your very first steps
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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.

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

replied on Jan 14, 2019
Senior Consultant Monitor Deloitte I Yale MBA
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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.

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.