By | Jen Cai
Management consulting has become an extremely competitive industry, with top-level consultants at the partner level easily making an average of $1 million a year. But the journey to get there will take you a few years. Undergraduates and MBAs start their career as entry-level business analysts and have to make their way up the management career ladder to become a partner. An extremely lucrative career path, here is how much you can expect to make as a management consultant across the different levels in the industry.
Management consultants have grown in demand over the past few years. They play the essential role of offering expert insights and valuable industry knowledge to clients. Their clients require specific actionable solutions to reach end goals that can be anything from increasing sales to improving the workspace environment for employees.
What you’ll be earning as a management consultant depends on a variety of factors:
- Your previous experience and training.
- Where you are in the management consultant career track.
- What kind of consultant you are.
- Who you’re working for.
You can expect to earn more from top-level consulting firms like McKinsey and Bain & Company over other consulting firms. But to be hired by a top-tiered company, you need to display great prowess and industry knowledge.
What Do Entry Level and Junior Analyst Management Consultants Make?
If you’re fresh out of college or just completed your MBA, you’ll be entering the consulting industry as a business analyst.
At this level, an entry-level undergraduate degree holder can expect to earn an average base pay of $83,500 from any of the top firms in the country. The great thing about management consulting is that your take-home pay includes more than just your base salary.
Performance bonuses and your signing bonus will give you more money at the end of the year. The average performance bonus for an entry-level business analyst is approximately $15,775, while you can also expect a signing bonus of $5000.
For MBA graduates, you can expect to earn slightly more than your undergraduate counterparts. The average base pay for both MBA graduates, as well as entry-level hires with prior experience is around $149,000 from the top firms. In addition to this, your performance bonus will be around $37,000, while your signing bonus will be roughly $25,000.
At this level, as a business analyst, your primary job responsibilities will be to collect and collate data. After gathering data, you’re expected to analyze that data and provide solutions that can help the client reach their milestones.
One way that you can gain experience as an undergraduate to boost your chances of securing a higher salary is through summer internships. Many top consulting firms offer summer internships that pay an average of $10,000 a month to students at top colleges and Universities. Remember, the more experience you have in your resume, the higher will be the salary that you can negotiate with your firm.
Entry-level Business Analyst Salaries at Three Top Firms:
Here is how much various top firms are paying their entry-level business analysts:
- McKinsey: Undergraduates receive an average salary of $85,000. Together with their performance bonus, analysts take home roughly $95,000.
- BCG: Business analysts are paid around $85,000. In addition to this, they receive stock and performance bonuses, and also earn from profit and commission sharing).
- Bane & Company: The average base salary is $86,000. Together with their performance bonus, profit and commission sharing, their take-home pay can reach up to $98,000).
For Junior Analysts/Consultants:
- McKinsey: Between $107,000 to $124,000.
- BCG: Between $112,000 to $125,000.
- Bain & Company: Between $103,000 to $130,000.
How Much Do Senior Consultants and Project Managers Make?
After spending two to three years as a business analyst, you’ll be promoted to a junior consultant. Then, provided you’ve gained enough experience and shown that you’re skilled at consulting, you’ll be promoted to a senior consultant.
At this level, you’re expected to grow your relationships with your clients and expand your network. You’ll also meet to establish your authority within your consulting niche and assist entry-level and junior analysts in providing solutions to complex problems.
A project manager is one step up from a senior consultant. It’ll take you another few years to reach this level. A project manager is expected to oversee various projects and make final decisions regarding the solutions that are being provided to clients. You’ll be responsible for managing the whole project, including the team within your firm that’s handling the project.
A senior consultant makes anywhere between $100,000-$150,000 in low-tier to mid-tier consulting firms. At the top consulting firms, your average salary could easily reach up to $180,000. In addition to this, you’ll also receive a performance bonus that is between 20-30% of your base salary.
For project managers, the base salary is around $140,000- $150,000. Top firms can pay you an average salary of $175,000. As a project manager, you’ll be earning a lot through bonuses and incentives. Project managers can net an average performance bonus of around $80,000. You’ll also get various profit sharing opportunities that will bring in another $20,000-$30,000.
Combining the various bonuses and incentives, a project manager can expect to take home a salary that’s between $250,000-$300,000.
Salaries for Senior Consultants and Project Managers at the Top Tier Management Consulting Firms:
Senior Consultants can expect to make base salaries of:
- McKinsey: Between $154,000 and $181,000.
- BCG: Between $157,000 and $181,000.
- Bain & Company: Between $158,00 and $186,000.
For Project Managers:
- McKinsey: Between $180,000 and $233,000.
- BCG: Between $193,00 and $234,000.
- Bain & Company: Between $165,00 and $222,000.
How Much Do Partners and Shareholders Earn from Management Consulting?
As a partner or a shareholder in a management consulting firm, you can expect an average base salary between $570,000 and $1,00,000. Your performance bonus can also go up to $300,000.
Ultimately, what you make as a partner or shareholder is also dependent on how successful your firm is. The more successful your firm was that year, the more you’ll make that year. Since you’ll be owning stock in your firm, your firm’s success has a huge role in determining your final take-home pay for that year.
Partner and Shareholder Salaries at the Top Management Consulting Firms:
On an average, partners and shareholders at top management consulting firms make around:
- McKinsey: Between $477,00 and $1.5million.
- BCG: Between $344,000 and $1.2million.
- Bain & Company: Between $324,000 and 1.2million.
Aside from your specific role within a management consulting firm, how much you earn is also dependent on your chosen niche. A strategy consultant earns differently from an HR consultant, and so on. As long as you keep working on your area of specialization, grow your expertise and build trust with your clients, management consulting can be an extremely profitable career path for you. Find out more about the management consultant industry here.