Consulting Firm Hierarchy + Questions

Hi all,

Was wondering where I can find more information on the following:

  • What's the Consultancy Hierarchy like? (I am aware of IBD hierarchy but not sure how it compares).

  • Leading back to the above, I'm confused what the Business Analyst does. I did look into some grad schemes to try understand but these shed no light on structure. Remain unsure if the analyst just supports (and then progresses to a more responsible, lead role i.e. Analyst -> Associate in IBD) or if it's different than aforementioned.

  • What is available in terms of career progression internally in the consulting field (And how long between roles), & externally, what exit opportunities are there? I've seen it is just in-house consulting but was wondering if people tend to even move over to PE/HF from Consulting - or if it's more popular from PE/HF -> Consulting.

  • Very simple one to end things off but - is entry-level consulting, management consulting, or is this varied between firms i.e. MBB it is, but perhaps at Big 4 not always the case. Would love some light shed on this please.

If there are any websites ideally would be great if you can share for some further reading.

Thanks all.

Comments (13)

Most Helpful
  • Works at Bain & Company
  • Consultancy Hierarchy

    • McKinsey: Business Analyst > Associate > Engagement Manager > Associate Principal (or Associate Partner, can't recall) > Partner

    • BCG: Associate or Senior Associate [for experienced hires> Consultant > Project Leader > Principal > Partner 

    • Bain: Associate Consultant > Senior Associate Consultant > Consultant > Manager > Senior Manager > Associate Partner > Partner

      • We have a more granular trajectory, but note that for example McKinsey has Senior and Junior versions of many roles above

      • And think

        • BA = A = AC (most junior role, post UG or little work experience)

        • A = C = C (classic consultant role, post-MBA or 8+ y of exp. in the UK)

        • EM = PL = SM (for confirmed project managers overseeing entire teams)

  • Business Analyst / Associate / Associate Consultant role

    • Basically you are in charge of a lot of data collecting, data cleaning, researching, modelling, and occasionally (depending on experience, steer, and PD opportunities) slide/output production and insight generation

    • Generally, your supervisor will do most of the "thinking" in addition to supervising you and also doing a lot of the work themselves, but as you learn on the job, you'll be entrusted with more and more significant bits of work

  • Career progression + Exits

    • Here the progression looks like:

      • AC (1-2y, depending on geo) > SAC (1y) > C (2y) > M (1y> SM (2-3y) > AP (2-3y) > Partner

    • Exits tend to be to corporate roles in Corp Dev / Corp Strategy, etc., many leave for PE or startups too, and finally some people choose to become entrepreneurs or go the non-profit route

    • Don't think anyone does PE / HF full-time and then comes to us. I don't think it's impossible, but it would be a massive step down in income

  • Entry-level consulting

    • At MBB we (almost) only do strategy consulting, although we also now started doing some implementation / follow-on work, but that segment is dominated by the Big 4

    • Other strat consulting firms (esp. good at the PE stuff) are LEK, EYP, Monitor, S&, or in Europe the likes of Roland Berger, Simon Kucher, OC&C in the UK

0xf1b.z, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wow, smashed my question out the park.

Thanks for the help man.

If you don't mind me asking what sort of comp ranges are there between each range? Not for each MBB you just mentioned of course, rather just generally to get an understanding.


  • Works at Bain & Company

I have been compiling those figures quite actively because I hate the "hide & seek" approach to salaries, especially since you can find out within 3 months of joining.

From your post history, I'll wager you are in the UK (otherwise let me know, I have the US figures too), in that case here is the below for London. Confidence level in % in [xx%] and figures are in GBP for 2023.

BTW, if my BCG and McKinsey current counterparts want to chime in to correct their figures, please do so. I genuinely believe this should all be public information to begin with.

And for folks from the US already preparing to "lament" at the "low" salaries in the UK, remember that (i) the exchange rate would add ~20-25% to the below, (ii) we have a more heavily subsidised healthcare system here, and (iii) this does not account for the pension contributions made by firms on our behalf, which is ~9%. Doesn't fully balance it out, but I just want to point out that this is a very different system.


  • [95-100%] Associate Consultant - 52k+7k
  • [95-100%] Senior Associate Consultant - 69k+12k
  • [95-100%] Consultant - 102k+25k
  • [95-100%] Manager - 110k+40k
  • [95-100%] Senior Manager - 126k+50k
  • [70-80%] Associate Partner - 173k+70k [only one I am less confident about]


  • [95%] Associate - 55k
  • [95%] Senior Associate - 75k+15k
  • [95%] Consultant - 100k+20k
  • [90-90%] Project Leader - 130-140k
  • [70-80%] Principal - 160k


  • [95%] Business Analyst - 55k
  • [95%] Junior Associate - 75k
  • [90%] Associate - ~95-100k
  • [80-90%] Engagement Manager - ~125-130k
  • [60-70%] Associate Partner - ~150-160k
  • Prospect in Consulting

BCG in the US doesnt have a senior associate role for promo unless you come in as experienced hire - its Associate -> Consultant (2 years) and on ward 

  • 1
StratCo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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