Obituary: Booz & Company

RIP Booz & Company

PwC completed its acquisition of Booz & Co today.

Regulators approved the deal, as we expected.

They appear to have conveniently overlooked or ignored the large conflict of interest issues posed by a merger of this size between an accounting firm and a consultancy. We outlined these risks in an earlier article.

Booz & Co (a well known and respected brand in the consulting world) has also changed its name to “Strategy&”.

We understand that the name was changed for legal reasons, but if PwC is trying to create a new and powerful brand then “Strategy&” is a horrible choice. The name is not distinctive, remarkable or in any way interesting. It is merely descriptive & self limiting.

PwC reported that “This new name, which will be used alongside the PwC name and brand, reflects the strength in strategy consulting that Booz & Company brings to the PwC Network and the benefits this deal will bring to all clients and stakeholders.”

From the way that PwC describes the transition (and judging by the choice of name itself) it is clear which firm wears the pants in the PwC/Booz marriage.

PwC’s announcement also lacks any semblance of celebration. It feels to us more like reading an obituary. “Booz & Co is dead, and the employees who formerly worked there now serve the PwC juggernaut [insert evil laughter here]”.

As we highlighted in our earlier article, cultural integration is a difficult and delicate process.

We predicted that PwC would be tempted to do too much too soon, and these predictions appear to be coming true.

Thoughts on PwC’s Booz Purchase

The deal will almost certainly result in post-merger headaches 

PwC Booz Merger

As we learnt at the end of October last year, PwC and Booz & Co are planning to merge.

PwC Chairman Dennis Nally and Booz CEO Cesare Mainardi were very upbeat about the proposed deal. Nally stating that the merger will strengthen the scope and quality of PwC’s service offering. Mainardi, even more effusive, stated that the merger will “help reinvent management consulting for the next century.”

We believe Mainardi is wildly optimistic, and the deal poses big risks for PwC that Nally is either underplaying or overlooking.

But before discussing our reservations, let’s first take a look at the background to the deal.

1. Background to the Deal

1.1 Enron Scandal

PwC is widely known as one of the world’s Big Four accounting firms.

People sometimes mistakenly believe that PwC only provides accounting services, when in actual fact its audit business generates less than half its revenues.

There is a good reason for the confusion.

Back in 2001, Enron collapsed in spectacular fashion and Arthur Andersen, Enron’s auditor of 16 years, was implicated in the accounting scandal and ultimately went out of business.

Why would a trusted global accounting firm like Arthur Anderson fail to properly audit Enron’s books? Well, as it turned out, Arthur Anderson earned more from Enron in consulting fees than it did in auditing fees.

Small conflict of interest.

In the wake of the Enron scandal (among other accounting scandals), regulators took a stronger stance on auditor independence, and PwC ultimately sold its consulting arm to IBM for around $3.5 billion.

And so, as of 2002, PwC was just a big old accounting firm.

1.2 Gold Fever

The consulting industry continues to grow and, in search of higher margins, PwC has thrown itself back into the consulting game head first.

While assurance services are PwC’s traditional bread and butter, revenues have stagnated. Less than half of PwC’s revenues now come from its assurance business, and consulting is one of its fastest growing operations.

Since 2009, PwC has made numerous acquisitions including Paragon Consulting Group, the commercial services arm of BearingPoint, Diamond Management, PRTM, and smaller firms in the digital, social media and environment space.

If the PwC-Booz merger goes through, PwC will gain an additional 3,000 employees in 57 locations worldwide.

The deal received the green light from Booz’s partners in December last year and we expect it complete without any major hiccups, pending clearance from regulators in various countries.

1.3 Industry Consolidation

On the other side of the table, Booz & Co appears to be responding to increasing pressure for industry consolidation. While there is strong demand for consulting firms with global reach, the value proposition of medium sized firms like Booz is becoming harder to sell. As a result, commentators are expecting a wave of consolidations, and we understand that Booz received multiple propositions before accepting overtures from PwC.

2. Headaches Ahead

The proposed PwC-Booz merger is likely to create headaches for PwC and government regulators.

There are 3 issues that the merger is likely to throw up.

2.1 Cultural Integration

Booz describes itself as a firm of practical strategists, collaborative by nature, and committed to its clients’ success. They are a mid-sized consulting firm that provides dedicated and flexible support to senior management. In stark contrast, PwC is a gigantic behemoth which comprises a network of offices in 158 countries with over 180,000 employees offering a smörgåsbord of services.

Our intuition is that the marriage is likely to be a difficult one, and the honeymoon period will be short.

Our view is informed by three observations.

Firstly, cultural integration is a difficult and delicate process. PwC will be tempted to do too much too soon, for example, by forcing Booz to adopt its branding, work practices, and support services. The more hoops that Booz employees are forced to jump through, and the faster the transition period, the more tension this will create.

Secondly, there will be conflicts of interest. Immediately post-merger, some of Booz’s clients are likely to be in doubt. Strategy consulting for audit clients is banned in some countries, and even where it is legal it raises serious “conflict of interest” issues (think Enron). This will place pressure on any Booz partners whose clients are affected and, to the extent that this prevents PwC and Booz from cross-selling, it will limit opportunities for revenue growth.

Thirdly, strategy consulting is more prestigious than auditing, and so Booz consultants may consider joining PwC as a career step backwards.

2.2 People Have Legs

Cultural integration may be the least of PwC’s worries.

In exchange for its $1 billion investment, the main asset that PwC will obtain is people. The problem with this deal is that people have legs.

We expect that the most talented Booz consultants will leave Booz even before the ink on the merger agreement is dry. As a case in point, shortly after the merger plans were announced in October last year, the Australian Financial Review reported:

Booz & Company management consultants have rushed to update their resumes and LinkedIn profiles after a proposed takeover by big four accounting firm PwC was announced…

Luckily for PwC most of the human capital is held by Booz’s partners with their years of experience and client connections, and key rainmakers will be required to stay with PwC for a number of years if they want to receive their full payout.

The real test then of the merger’s success will come in a few years time when Booz’s partners are free to leave. If they depart en masse, then PwC will be left holding the bag.

The problem is not just that many Booz consultants and partners are likely to leave, but also that the most talented graduates, the ones who may have considered working with Booz, are likely to stay away. For one thing, PwC is not as prestigious as Booz. In the coming few years, smart students will also want to avoid the turmoil that inevitably accompanies post-merger cultural integration.

2.3 Conflicts of Interest

In buying Booz and other consulting firms, PwC is not only purchasing revenue growth, it is also acquiring conflicts of interest and the reputational and regulatory risks that go with them.

Reputational risk destroyed Arthur Anderson 13 years ago. The conflicts of interest between Arthur Anderson’s consulting and audit practice encouraged a small number of its partners to turn a blind eye to the substandard auditing of Enron’s books. When the accounting scandal came to light, Arthur Andersen lost credibility in the market and experienced a mass exodus of clients. It ultimately went belly up.

In the wake of the Enron scandal, PwC placated regulators by retreating from consulting work altogether.

In 2011, following the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, the European Commission published plans for the Big Four to sell their consulting divisions due to concerns about the quality of company audits. To our knowledge, the Commission’s plan wasn’t followed through, but the high-profile PwC-Booz merger will place the conflict of interest between auditing and consulting in the regulatory spotlight once again.

Arthur Levitt, former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, warned that firms are slipping back into old, bad habits. Levitt noted that “as the accounting profession becomes more committed to consulting, their audit activities have got to be questioned.”

If regulators decide to take a stronger stance on this issue, as well they might, then any gains that PwC achieves from its acquisition of Booz may end up being substantially offset by the cost of responding to a regulatory crackdown.

2013 List: Global Strategy Consulting Firms

List of Global Strategy Firms for 2013

BELOW is a hand-picked list of leading Global Strategy Firms.

The litmus test we used to decide whether a firm is truly “global” was whether it has an office in Sydney. A fair litmus test? Maybe not, but seeing as Sydney is at the other end of the earth you would expect a truly global strategy firm to have an office there (if you want to see a list of purely Aussie strategy firms for 2013, click here).

The below list will be of interest to you if:

  • you want to work for a leading strategy firm, or
  • your company, non-profit or government agency is looking for quality strategic advice.

The firms are:

  1. Bain
  2. BCG
  3. McKinsey
  4. Accenture
  5. Archstone Consulting
  6. A.T. Kearney
  7. Booz & Company
  8. The Birchman Group
  9. CVA
  10. Deloitte
  11. Edgar, Dunn & Company
  12. L.E.K. Consulting
  13. Millward Brown
  14. Oliver Wyman
  15. Partners in Performance
  16. Peppers & Rogers Group
  17. PwC
  18. Simon Kuch & Partners

1. Bain & Company

Website: bain.com

Founded in 1973 when Bill Bain and others left BCG to form Bain & Company. Bain has 49 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Bain helps to transform companies into sharper, smarter, better versions of themselves. Bain’s mission is to help management teams create such high levels of economic value that together Bain and its clients can redefine their respective industries.

2. BCG

Website: bcg.com

Founded in 1963 by Bruce Henderson, BCG has 79 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

BCG is a global management consulting firm and a leading advisor on business strategy. BCG partners with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises.

3. McKinsey

Website: mckinsey.com

Founded in Chicago in 1926, McKinsey is arguably the world’s most prestigious consulting firm. McKinsey has 102 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

McKinsey is a global management consulting firm and trusted advisors to the world’s leading businesses, governments, and institutions.

4. Accenture

Website: accenture.com

Founded in 1989, Accenture has approximately 195 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Accenture has capabilities across all industries and business functions, conducts extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, and collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.

5. Archstone Consulting

Website: archstoneconsulting.com

Archstone has 13 offices worldwide including Sydney, Hyderabad, London, New York, and San Franscisco.

Archstone offers a range of services including business strategy, technology services, outsourcing, and supply chain management.

6. A.T. Kearney

Website: atkearney.com

Founded in 1926, A.T. Kearney has 57 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

A.T. Kearney’s services include strategy, innovation, sales & marketing, operations, strategic IT, and procurement.

7. Booz & Company

Website: booz.com

Founded in Chicago in 1914 by Edwin G. Booz. In 2008, Booz separated its operations from the U.S. Government consulting business. That company retained the name Booz Allen Hamilton. In 2009, Booz combined with U.S.-based management consultancy Katzenbach Partners, a leader in organisational performance. In 2012, Axon Advisory Partners joined Booz to launch Booz Digital, a full-service team of strategists, designers, and technologists who help companies turn ideas into digital businesses.

Booz has 60 offices worldwide including Sydney, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, London, New York, and San Francisco.

Booz is a leading global management consulting firm focused on serving and shaping the senior agenda of the world’s leading institutions. Booz works with its clients to identify and build the differentiating capabilities they need to outperform. Booz has experience across a broad range of industries including high technology, finance, and consumer products.

8. The Birchman Group

Website: thebirchmangroup.com

Birchman has 15 offices worldwide including Sydney, Johannesburg, and London.

Birchman is an international company that provides Consulting, Solution Delivery and Managed Services to many of the world’s leading organisations. Birchman provides six core services: Value Management, Business Change, Software Development, Enterprise Applications, IT Advisory, and Business Advisory.

9. CVA

Website: corporate-value.com

Founded in 1987, CVA has 16 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, and Boston.

CVA is a global strategy boutique which has experience across a broad range of industries including Telecom Media & Technology, Financial Services, Private Equity, and Mining Metals & Materials.

10. Deloitte

Website: deloitte.com

Founded in 1893 in the U.S., Deloitte has a strong global presence including offices in Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Although offering a large number of accounting services, Deloitte also has a consulting practice. Deloitte Consulting offers a broad range of services including Pricing & Profitability Management, Enterprise Cost Management, M&A, Enterprise Sustainability, Finance Transformation, Governance Risk & Regulatory, Health Care Reform, and Infrastructure Transformation.

11. Edgar, Dunn & Company

Website: edgardunn.com

Founded in 1978 in the U.S., Edgar, Dunn & Company has 8 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, London, and San Francisco.

EDC is an independent strategy consulting firm that was founded on two fundamental principles of client service:

  • Provide deep expertise that enhances clients’ perspectives, and
  • Deliver actionable advice that enables clients to create measurable, sustainable change in their organisations.

EDC is recognised among the world’s pre-eminent experts in the payments industry. Additional areas of expertise include new financial services channels, technologies and markets, retail financial services, and e-business.

12. L.E.K. Consulting

Website: lek.com

Founded in 1983 in London, L.E.K. has 22 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Bombay, New Delhi, London, New York, and San Francisco.

L.E.K. is a global strategy consulting firm that counsels clients on key strategic issues, leveraging deep industry expertise and using analytical rigor to help them make informed decisions more quickly and solve their toughest and most critical business problems. L.E.K. has expertise in a broad range of industries and has a range of capabilities including Strategy, Shareholder Value Management, Mergers & Acquisitions support, Operations & Organisation and Marketing & Sales.

13. Millward Brown

Website: millwardbrown.com

Founded in 1973, Millward Brown has 85 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Millward Brown is passionate about helping clients grow great brands. They are experts in advertising, marketing communications, media, digital and brand equity research, and work with 90% of the world’s leading brands.

14. Oliver Wyman

Website: oliverwyman.com

Founded in New York in 1984, Oliver Wyman has 50 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

Oliver Wyman is a leading global management consulting firm that combines deep industry knowledge with specialised expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organisation transformation. As part of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Oliver Wyman is also able to draw on experts from its sister companies in the areas of brand and identity management, microeconomics, human capital strategies, and insurance.

15. Partners in Performance

Website: pipint.com.au

PIP has 9 offices worldwide including Sydney, Johannesburg, Toronto, and Atlanta.

PIP identifies and delivers performance improvement to industrial, resources and services companies, using a specialist team and a hands-on approach. PIP has three divisions: Resultant®, Transaction Services and Investment. The Resultant® Division works as business coaches applying practical frameworks to address issues including strategy, procurement, revenues, bottlenecking, costs, safety, environment, and organisational culture. The Transaction Services Division provides commercial due diligence for potential investment opportunities. The Investment Division looks for situations where PIP can improve the performance of an organisation through both financial and operational assistance.

16. Peppers & Rogers Group

Website: peppersandrogersgroup.com

Founded in 1993 by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., PRG has 9 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, Johannesburg, and Stamford Connecticut.

PRG is a management consulting firm recognised as a leading authority and thought leader on customer-based strategies and underlying business initiatives. PRG has particular expertise in the following industries: Financial Services, Government, Telecommunications, and Airlines.

17. PwC

Website: pwc.com

Founded in 1998 out of the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, PwC has historical roots going back around 150 years. PwC operates in 158 countries worldwide including offices in Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

PwC helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for by delivering quality assurance, tax and advisory services.

18. Simon Kuch & Partners

Website: simon-kucher.com

Founded in 1985, SKP has 26 offices worldwide including Sydney, Singapore, London, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco.

SKP is a global management consulting firm focusing on strategy, marketing, pricing and sales.

Strategy and general business consulting firms in Australia 2012

[Last Updated: 31 May 2012]

THE list of strategy and general business consulting firms is part of the full list of consulting firms in Australia:

Tier One – Global

1. Bain
2. BCG
3. McKinsey

Tier One – Australian

4. Nous Group
5. Pacific Strategy Partners
6. Port Jackson Partners

Classic – Global

7. Accenture
8. A.T. Kearney
9. Booz Allen Hamilton
10. The Birchman Group
11. Deloitte
12. LEK
13. Oliver Wyman
14. PwC

Classic – Australian

15. Crescendo Partners
16. Momentum Partners
17. Oyster Consulting
18. SMT Consulting

1. Bain & Company

Website: www.bain.com

Founded in 1973 when Bill Bain and others left BCG to form Bain & Company. Bain operates in 47 offices across 30 countries. In Ausralia, Bain operates out of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Bain is well-known for offering services like due diligence, IPO preparation, portfolio profit improvement and revenue enhancement geared toward leveraged buyout and venture capital firms.

2. BCG

Website: www.bostonconsulting.com.au

Founded in 1963 by Bruce Henderson, BCG operates in more than 75 offices worldwide. In Australia, BCG operates out of Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth.

BCG specialises in business strategy and draws most of its clients from the 500 largest corporations worldwide, as well as working with smaller companies, non-profit organisations and government agencies.

3. McKinsey

Website: www.mckinsey.com.au

Founded in Chicago in 1926, McKinsey remains one of the world’s most prestigious consulting firms. It is worth noting that, as at May 2012, McKinsey continues to receive negative publicity due to the ongoing Rajat Gupta insider trading scandal. It is still unclear what the ultimate impact of the scandal will be on McKinsey’s brand. McKinsey operates in 98 locations worldwide. In Australia, McKinsey operates out of Sydney and Melbourne.

McKinsey works internationally in a broad range of industries with large private sector institutions, governments and other non-profit institutions.

4. Nous Group

Website: www.nousgroup.com.au

Founded in 1999 by Tim Orton (ex-McKinsey), Nous Group has grown to be one of Australia’s most influential strategy firms. In 2012, the BRW Client Choice Awards named Nous “best management consulting firm in Australia” including most innovative firm and best client outcomes from across the professional services sector. Nous has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide and Manila and a workforce of 150 people that includes some of Australia’s leading critical thinkers, ex senior bureaucrats and business people.

Nous is best known for its ethos to create positive influence and use bold thinking to solve complex societal and business challenges. Nous service lines include business strategy, public policy, leadership & people development, organisational capability, and information management & technology.

5. Pacific Strategy Partners

Website: www.pacificstrategy.com.au

Founded in 2003, Pacific Strategy Partners has offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

Pacific Strategy Partners deploys low leveraged teams to provide clients with Strategy Development, Operational Improvement, and Transaction Support.

6. Port Jackson Partners

Website: www.pjpl.com.au

Founded in July 1991 by Terrey Arcus and Fred Hilmer to counsel the CEOs of select corporations. PJP is a boutique consultancy firm based in Sydney.

PJP’s Australian clients come from a diverse range of industries (e.g. financial sector, service industry, and industrial sector) and are typically top 100 listed companies, but a few are large government owned corporations. PJP focuses on helping companies with strategy and organisation.

7. Accenture

Website: www.accenture.com

Established in 1989, Accenture has offices in more than 200 cities in 54 countries. In Australia, Accenture operates in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Accenture offers management consulting services covering finance & performance management, talent & organisation performance, strategy, customer relationship management, and supply chain management.

8. A.T. Kearney

Website: www.atkearney.com

Founded in 1926, A.T. Kearney operates across 57 locations world wide. In Australia, A.T. Kearney operates out of Sydney and Melbourne.

A.T. Kearney’s mission is to help the world’s leading corporations gain and sustain a competitive advantage, and to achieve profound, tangible results for its clients. Services offered include complexity management, enterprise transformation, operations, procurement solutions, strategic information technology, strategy and sustainability.

9. Booz Allen Hamilton

Website: www.boozallen.com

Founded in Chicago in 1914 by Edwin G. Booz, BAH operates in 115 offices across six continents. In Ausralia, BAH operates out of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Canberra.

BAH has its main area of expertise in strategy and technology consulting, working in both the commercial and government sectors.

10. The Birchman Group

Website: www.thebirchmangroup.com

The Birchman Group operates across 7 countries. In Australia, Birchman operates in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, and Adelaide.

The Birchman Group provides six core services: value management, business advisory, IT advisory, enterprise applications, software development, and business change.

11. Deloitte

Website: www.deloitte.com

Founded in 1893 in the US, Deloitte has a strong global presence and operates in all capital cities of Australia.

Although offering a large number of accounting services, Deloitte also has a consulting practice. The consulting practice offers HR, outsourcing, strategy & operations, and technology consulting.

12. LEK Consulting

Website: lekconsulting.com.au

Founded in 1983, LEK operates in 20 offices worldwide. LEK has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.

LEK’s portfolio of services draws on its core capabilities of research, benchmarking, modelling, analysis and strategy development to help companies determine the best way forward.

13. Oliver Wyman

Website: www.oliverwyman.com

Founded in New York in 1984, Oliver Wyman operates in 60 offices across 23 countries. In Australia, Oliver Wyman operates out of Sydney.

Services offered by Oliver Wyman include business transformation, organisation & leadership, finance & risk, marketing & sales, operations & technology, and strategy.

14. PwC

Website: www.pwc.com

Created in 1998 out of the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, PwC has historical roots going back some 150 years.  PwC  operates in 159 countries worldwide. In Australia, PwC has offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Sydney and Townsville.

PwC provides assurance, advisory and tax services. PwCs consulting arm indicates that “people engage PricewaterhouseCoopers to help them design, manage and execute lasting change.”

15. Crescendo Partners

Website: www.crescendopartners.com.au

Crescendo Partners is based in Sydney and has extensive experience providing value to clients across the globe.

Crescendo Partners is an elite high value consulting, advisory and private equity firm. Services include strategy consulting, M&A support, capital raising, and private equity investment.

16. Momentum Partners

Website: www.momentumpartners.com.au

Founded in 2003, Momentum Partners has offices in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.

Services include strategy, operational performance, organisational effectiveness, corporate advisory, business systems and processes. Momentum has consulted to thousands of different organisations across more than 50 countries. Clients include public and governmental organisations, private companies ranging from large global corporations to small, fast growing start-ups.

17. Oyster Consulting

Website: www.oysterconsulting.com

Oyster Consulting is based in Perth.

Oyster Consulting has strong resource industry experience, and offers a range of services including corporate strategy and business planning, business analysis, services optimisation, business improvement, and organisational design services.

18. SMT Consulting

Website: www.smt.com.au

SMT is located in Sydney and Melbourne.

SMT Consulting is a specialist provider of supply chain and logistics services.

List of consulting firms in America

PREVIOUSLY I created a list of certain consulting firms in Australia. I have decided to do the same thing for the United States. This list provides quick access to a list of the top consulting firms in America and provides a short description of each. I hope you find it useful.

The list of consulting firms is long, so I divided the firms into 5 categories. I have only listed each firm once, but some firms could easily have been placed under more than one heading. The breakdown is a pretty ad hoc, but hopefully it makes the list a little easier to digest. Within each category, the firms are ordered as they appear in the Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms (2008 edition). Let me know if you find this list helpful.

Without further ado, the 5 categories of consulting firms are as follows:

  1. General business and strategy consulting
  2. IT consulting
  3. HR consulting
  4. Economic advisory and executive education
  5. Litigation support services

General business and strategy consulting firms in America 2008

General business and strategy consulting firms

THE list of general business and strategy consulting firms forms part of the full list of consulting firms in America:

  1. McKinsey & Company
  2. Boston Consulting Group
  3. Bain & Company
  4. Booz & Company
  5. Booz Allen Hamilton
  6. Monitor Group
  7. Oliver Wyman
  8. The Parthenon Group
  9. Deloitte Consulting LLP
  10. L.E.K. Consulting
  11. Marakon Associates
  12. A.T. Kearney
  13. Accenture
  14. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
  15. Katzenbach Partners LLC
  16. Cambridge Associates LLC
  17. CRA International
  18. Mars & Co
  19. ZS Associates
  20. Arthur D. Little
  21. Navigant Consulting, Inc
  22. BearingPoint
  23. First Manhattan Consulting Group
  24. Kurt Salmon Associates
  25. Stern Stewart & Co.
  26. Analysis Group, Inc.
  27. Dean & Company
  28. Giuliani Partners LLC
  29. PRTM
  30. Strategic Decisions Group
  31. OC&C Strategy Consultants
  32. Putnam Associates
  33. Mitchell Madison Group
  34. FTI Consulting

1. McKinsey & Company

Website: www.mckinsey.com

Founded in Chicago in 1926, McKinsey is the world’s most prestigious consulting firm and operates in 90 locations across 51 countries. In America McKinsey operates out of Seattle, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Orange County, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Boston, Stamford, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

McKinsey works internationally in a broad range of industries with large private sector institutions, governments and other non-profit institutions.

2. Boston Consulting Group

Website: www.bcg.com

Founded in 1963 by Bruce Henderson, BCG operates in 66 offices across 38 countries. In America, BCG operates out of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

BCG specialises in business strategy and draws most of its clients from the 500 largest corporations worldwide, as well as working with smaller companies, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

3. Bain & Company

Website: www.bain.com

Founded in 1973 when Bill Bain and others left BCG to form Bain & Company. Bain operates in 38 offices across 25 countries. In America BCG operates out of San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, New York and Atlanta.

Bain is well-known for offering services like due diligence, IPO preparation, portfolio profit improvement and revenue enhancement geared toward leveraged buyout and venture capital firms.

4. Booz & Company

Website: www.booz.com

Founded in Chicago in 1914 by Edwin G. Booz, Booz & Co broke away from Booz Allen Hamilton in 2008. The company operates in 55 offices across six continents. In America Booz & Co operates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, McLean, Florham Park, Parsippany, and New York.

Booz & Co has its main area of expertise in strategy and technology consulting, working in the commercial sector.

5. Booz Allen Hamilton

Website: www.boozallen.com

Founded in Chicago in 1914 by Edwin G. Booz, the company was split in two in 2008. The company operates in 68 offices globally, 64 of which are in America.

Booz Allen Hamilton’s clients are government agencies and institutions that want to change their organizations.

6. Monitor Group

Website: www.monitor.com

Founded in 1983, one of its co-founders was Michael Porter creator of the Five Forces analysis framework. Monitor operates in 29 offices across 18 countries. Monitor has its head office in Cambridge and also operates out of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

Monitor works with corporations to help them grow, governments to help them improve economic development, and non-profits to help them grow their social impact.

7. Oliver Wyman

Website: www.oliverwyman.com

Founded in 1970, the company operates in more than 40 cities across 16 countries. In America, Oliver Wyman has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Lisle, Los Angeles, Melville, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Princeton, Reston, San Francisco, Troy, and Washington D.C.

Oliver Wyman has expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, organizational transformation, and leadership development.

8. The Parthenon Group

Website: www.parthenon.com

Founded in Boston in 1991, the Parthenon Group operates out of Boston, San Francisco, London and Mumbai.

The Parthenon Group are strategic advisors with a boutique philosophy. The majority of its business revolves around corporate advisory to global 1000 corporations and high-potential growth companies, private equity, education and health.

9. Deloitte Consulting LLP

Website: www.deloitte.com

Founded as an accountancy office in London in 1845, Deloitte has member firms in nearly 140 countries worldwide. In America Deloitte has offices in more than 80 cities.

“Deloitte” is the brand under which a collection of independent firms collaborate globally to provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax services.

10. L.E.K. Consulting

Website: www.lek.com

Founded in 1983, LEK has 20 offices in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. In America, LEK has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

LEK advises FTSE 100, Eurotop 300, Fortune 500 and the largest Asia-Pacific firms in business strategy, finance, marketing and sales, operations, organization, and transaction services.

11. Marakon Associates

Website: www.marakon.com

Founded in 1978, Marakon operates out of Chicago, London and New York.

Marakon’s advice stems from the point of view that a company should be managed to create the most long-term value possible for its owners. In particular, Marakon helps clients in the areas of strategy, execution, organic growth, growth through acquisition, producivity, risk management, leadership & organisation, and managing for value.

12. A.T. Kearney

Website: www.atkearney.com

Founded in 1926, A.T. Kearney has offices in 34 countries around the world. In America A.T. Kearney operates out of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

As one of the largest high-value management consulting firms in the world, A.T. Kearney has a broad range of capabilities and expertise ranging from strategy to operations, business technology, enterprise services transformation and executive search.

13. Accenture

Website: www.accenture.com

Founded in 1989, Accenture has offices and operations in more than 150 cities across the world. In America Accenture operates out of Phoenix, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Denver, Hartford, Wilmington, Washington D.C., Miami, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Chicago, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Florham Park, Murray Hill, Albany, New York, Charlotte, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Reston, Seattle, and Milwaukee.

Accenture has expertise in a broad range of industries and provides a range of services including: customer relationship management, finance management, marketing, service management, strategy, supply chain management, and talent management.

14. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

Website: www.rolandberger.com

Founded in 1967 in Munich, Roland Berger has 36 offices worldwide and is very well represented in Europe. In America Roland Berger operates out of Chicago, Detroit, and New York.

Roland Berger is committed to three core values: excellence, entrepreneurship and partnership. Its expertise includes branding, corporate finance, corporate responsibility, financial & risk effectiveness, IT, manufacturing, marketing, organization, real estate management, research and development, restructuring, sales, strategy, and supply chain management.

15. Katzenbach Partners LLC

Website: www.katzenbach.com

Founded in 1998, the firm expanded its office locations to New York, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco.  As of June 5, 2009, Katzenbach Partners has joined Booz & Company. For more information about this combination, please click here.

Prior to joining Booz & Company, Katzenbach described itself as providing a range of services aimed at bringing organizations to peak performance, including: business strategy, informal & formal organization, leadership & capability development, motivation & pride, performance improvement initiatives, and change management.

Within Booz & Company, The Katzenbach Center focuses on the development and application of innovative ideas for organizational culture and change, based on a guiding philosophy of client-based innovation. The Center promotes new thinking on achieving breakthroughs in higher performance, developed through active collaboration with clients and thought leaders around the world.

16. Cambridge Associates LLC

Website: www.cambridgeassociates.com

Cambridge Associates was founded in 1973 by Jim Bailey and Hunter Lewis after they conducted a comprehensive review of Harvard University’s investment approach. Cambridge Associates has 7 offices worldwide. In America it has offices in Arlington, Boston, Dallas, and San Francisco. Overseas it has offices in London, Singapore and Sydney.

Cambridge Associates began serving private clients in 1982, however nonprofits remain its core client base. Cambridge Associates selectively works with large institutional investors beyond the nonprofit world including pension, agency, and government funds.

17. CRA International

Website: www.crai.com

Founded in 1965, CRA has headquarters in Boston and 26 offices across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. In America CRA has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cambridge, Chicago, College Station, Dallas, Houston, New York,Oakland, Pasadena, Philadelphia, Pleasanton, Salt Lake City, Tallahassee, and Washington D.C.

CRA offers economic, financial, and business management expertise to major law firms, industries, accounting firms, and governments around the world. It claims particular strength in analytics and offers litigation and regulatory support, business strategy and planning, market and demand forecasting, policy analysis, and risk management consulting.

18. Mars & Co

Website: www.marsandco.com

Founded in 1979, Mars & Co has offices in Greenwich(Connecticut), San Francisco, London, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai.

Dominique Mars formed Mars & Co because he felt it was essential for a strategy consulting firm to guarantee the exclusivity of its services to each client. Its major “raison d’être” remains to bring competitive leverage to a very limited number of clients and serve them worldwide on an exclusive basis. That is, Mars is the only consulting firm of any consequence to guarantee “fidelity”.

19. ZS Associates

Website: www.zsassociates.com

Founded in 1983 by Andris A. Zoltners and Prabhakant Sinha, two marketing professors from the Kellogg School of Management, ZS Associates operates out of 17 offices in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific. In the America ZS Associates has offices in Boston, Chicago, Evanston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Princeton and San Francisco.

ZS Associates is a global management consulting firm specializing in sales and marketing consulting, capability building, and outsourcing. A large portion of its work is with Global 500 companies, although it also has a substantial number of client relationships with mid-market, small, and start-up companies.

20. Arthur D. Little

Website: www.adlittle.com

Founded in 1886, Arthur D. Little was the world’s first management consultancy. ADL has 29 offices across 20 countries. In America it has offices in Boston, Houston and New York.

Arthur D. Little offers information management, operations management, strategy & organization, sustainability & risk, and technology & innovation management.

21. Navigant Consulting, Inc

Website: www.navigantconsulting.com

Navigant has offices in over 40 cities in North America, Europe and Asia. In America it has offices in Chicago, Seattle, Rancho Cordova, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Irvine, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Tampa, Coral Gables, Reston, Vienna, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Lawrenceville, New York, Westbury, Fairfield, Burlington, Boston, and Troy.

Navigant provides independent consulting services across industries undergoing substantial regulatory or business-model change. Representative industries include: construction, energy, financial services, healthcare, insurance, legal, and government services.

22. BearingPoint

Website: www.bearingpoint.com

BearingPoint has 170 offices across 36 countries and has its headquarters are in McLean, Virginia. In America BearingPoint has offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

BearingPoint describe themselves as management and technology consultants and provides various services including: Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Agility, Enterprise Solutions, Finance Solutions, Managed Services, Management Consulting, Outsourcing, Search Solutions, Strategy, Process & Transformation, Supply Chain Management, Technology Infrastructure & Integration.

23. First Manhattan Consulting Group

Website: www.fmcg.com

Founded in 1980, FMCG has office in New York (HQ), Seattle, Boston, and Taos.

FMCG’s mission is to be the consulting firm of choice for managers of financial services firms.

24. Kurt Salmon Associates

Website: www.kurtsalmon.com

KSA has offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Princeton and San Francisco.

KSA is a global leader in supply chain management and technology solutions, and is the premier solutions provider to the retail, consumer products, and health care industries.

25. Stern Stewart & Co.

Website: www.sternstewart.com

Founded in 1982 in New York by Joel M. Stern and G. Bennett Stewart III, Stern Stewart has offices in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and South Africa.

Stern Stewart is a global consulting firm that specializes in helping companies in the measurement and creation of shareholder wealth through the application of tools based on modern financial theory. The company pioneered the development of its proprietary EVA® (Economic Value Added) framework, which offers a consistent approach to setting goals and measuring performance. In addition, Stern Stewart provides consulting services in the area of corporate financial policy with an emphasis on restructurings and recapitalizations, share repurchases, acquisitions and divestitures, and financial strategy.

26. Analysis Group, Inc.

Website: www.analysisgroup.com

Founded in 1981, Analysis Group has offices in Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Montreal, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, Menlo Park, New York, and Washington D.C.

Analysis Group provides economic, financial, and business strategy consulting to law firms, corporations, and government agencies.

27. Dean & Company

Website: www.dean.com

Dean operates out of Washington D.C.

Dean is a strategy consulting firm. Dean assists Fortune 500 companies on strategic issues and involves itself in various industries including: financial services, life sciences, private equity, manufacturing, and telecommunications.

28. Giuliani Partners LLC

Website: www.giulianipartners.com

Founded in 2002, Giuliani operates out of New York.

Giuliani is dedicated to helping leaders solve critical strategic issues, accelerate growth, and enhance the reputation and brand of their organizations in the context of strongly held values. Giuliani’s professional guidance to leaders is based on 6 fundamental principles: integrity, optimism, courage, preparedness, communication, and accountability.

29. PRTM

Website: www.prtm.com

Founded in 1976, PRTM has 19 offices worldwide. In America PRTM has offices in Boston, Chicago, Silicon Valley, Orange Country, Dallas, Detroit, New York, and Washington D.C.

PRTM has expertise in operational strategy, supply chain management, product development, customer value management, and business technology innovation.

30. Strategic Decisions Group

Website: www.sdg.com

Founded in 1981, SDC operates in the US out of its Californian Palo Alto office.

SDC is a strategy consulting firm renowned for applying leading-edge decision theory to uncover opportunities for creating shareholder value.

31. OC&C Strategy Consultants

Website: www.occstrategy.com

Founded in 1987, OC&C has 15 offices across 10 countries, namely: Abu Dhabi, Boston, Brussels, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Paris, Rotterdam, San Francisco, and Shanghai.

OC&C is a strategy consulting firm.

32. Putnam Associates

Website: www.putassoc.com

Founded in 1988, Putnam has offices in London and Burlington, Massachusetts.

Putnam is a strategy consultancy to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

33. Mitchell Madison Group

Website: www.mitchellmadison.com

Founded in 1991, MMG has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Manila, Paris and Munich.

MMG’s work combines global perspectives and economic insight with deep expertise ranging from corporate and business unit strategy to cost optimization.

34. FTI Consulting

Website: www.fticonsulting.com

Founded in 1982, FTI has offices in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific. In America FTI has offices in Annapolis, Atlanta, Bethesda, Boston, Brentwood, Cambridge, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Rockville, Saddle Brook, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington D.C.

FTI is in the business of assisting organizations with important legal, financial and reputational matters. FTI offers highly specialized expertise in the areas of compliance, risk, reputation, liability, performance, finance and information.

List of consulting firms in Australia

AN IMPORTANT step towards obtaining a job in a consulting firm is to create a target list of firms that you would like to work for. This can be a very time consuming process.

With the view to saving you a couple of hours, I have prepared a list of consulting firms operating in Australia. This is not an exhaustive list, so if I have overlooked any good consulting firms (I have), let me know.

To make it easier to find the consulting firm you are looking for, consulting firms have been grouped in one of four categories: Strategy and general business, Human resources, Information technology, and Sustainability. Where a consultancy could have been placed under more than one heading, I have placed under the heading I thought was most relevant.

Although some of the consulting firms listed below operate internationally, I have created this list specifically for Australia, but don’t despair! I intend to create specific lists for other countries, for example, India, the UK, USA, Singapore, and China. I plan to do this over the next few months.

Of all the firms I looked at, I have only included the ones that appeared to be of good quality. If you have used any of these firms, please let everyone know what you thought of them – the good and the bad.

Since there are quite a few firms, I have broken the list down into four categories:

  1. Strategy and general business consulting
  2. HR (human resources) consulting
  3. IT (information technology) consulting
  4. Sustainability consulting

#4 Booz Allen Hamilton – an overview of the top four consulting firms 2008

 

  1. McKinsey & Company
  2. Boston Consulting Group
  3. Bain & Company
  4. Booz Allen Hamilton

NOTE: In July 2008, Booz Allen Hamilton separated its two core businesses into two companies. Booz Allen Hamilton now provides U.S. government consulting, and Booz & Company provides commercial management consulting.

4. Booz Allen Hamilton

Organisation type

Private company

Headquarters

McLean, Virginia, USA

Key people

Dr. Ralph Shrader, Chairman and CEO

Other key people

Size

19,000 employees in 115 offices across six continents

Revenue

$4 billion (2006)

Expertise

Main expertise is strategy and technology consulting, in commercial and government sectors.

Mission

To deliver results that endure.

Operational structure

Firm’s services are broken into strategy and leadership, organization and change management, operations, innovation, sales and marketing, and information technology.

Clients

After WWI, Edwin Booz increasingly used his ties to Washington and the public sector, establishing a tradition of government service that continues at Booz Allen to the present.

Booz clients also include the world’s largest corporations and emerging growth companies from every industry sector and every country.

Culture

Client confidentiality is important at Booz Allen and the firm doesn’t typically publicise the names of clients.

The firm is said to have a very non-hierarchical open structure which fosters a culture of team work and cooperation.

Booz Allen consultants typically get heavy workloads and travel is a fairly regular thing. Consultants at Booz Allen would generally be out-of-town four days at a stretch, with Fridays back at the home office.

Promotions are up-or-out, you get promoted upwards or asked to leave.

Publications

Since 1995, the firm has published strategy+business, a magazine for business executives.

Brief history

1914 Founded in Chicago by Edwin G. Booz. Booz believed that companies would be more successful if they could call on someone outside their own organizations for expert advice. He is credited with being the founder of the management consulting profession.

1940 The firm was hired to help the US Secretary of the Navy with WWII preparations, marking the beginning of a longstanding relationship with the US Federal Government.

1950s The firm went global in the 1950s, with a contract in the Philippines and its first international office in Zurich.

1962 Firm changes its structure from a partnership to a privately held corporation.

1970 Booz Allen goes public with an initial offering of 500,000 shares at $24 per share.

1976 The partners took the firm private again through one of the first management buyouts to allow the firm to consider long-range investments that companies beholden to shareholders might not be able to make.

1982 Booz Allen Vice President Keith Oliver develops the concept for supply chain management working with the Dutch electronics giant Phillips.

2003 Booz Allen develops the Org DNA online self-assessment tool, enabling company leaders to better understand how the inherent traits of their organisations influence employee behaviour and affect company performance.

Nota bene

Notable intellectual contributions include the OrgDNA framework, the PERT management technique, and the product lifecycle theory.

2008 Ranked 4th most prestigious consulting firm in the world by the Vault Guide.

2007. The firm has been recognized one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers by Working Mother magazine for seven straight years to 2007

2007. The firm has been recognised as one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work for two years running in 2007

Careers information

There is a strong emphasis on case interviews.

Website

www.boozallen.com