Top 5 Restructuring Consulting Firms 2020 (my opinion)

fingerbanger's picture
Rank: Baboon | 150

I work in the industry and want to provide my perspective to those that care. This is related to restructuring consulting in the USA. List is alphabetical and not in any order of prestige. Focus is primarily RX (not all the other random ass services they provide). And is RX consulting not RX banking focused.

  1. AlixPartners
  2. Alverez & Marsal
  3. Berkeley Research Group
  4. Conway MaKenzie
  5. FTI Consulting

There are tons of other great firms but I see these folks on the largest pitches consistently. Your thoughts?

Comments (32)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jun 23, 2020

any chance you could articulate which of these firms specialize in which industries and/or debtor/creditor side work? seems this site could use more info on this industry altogether given the macro climate

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Most Helpful
Jun 23, 2020

Absolutely. Not all engagements are public so I am speaking generally here. And of course there are exceptions. No way I could be completely comprehensive but anyone should call me out if there is something clearly erroneous (i dont think there is). These 5 firms are known for their debtor side work.

  1. Alix / A&M are huge. They have a ton of consultants and by that nature span across a lot of industries.
  2. Alix is very well known in Industrial and Automotive. They also tend to be more operational, generally
  3. Conway is a little more middle market generally but a heavy weight in Automotive. As a whole firm, they are probably the smallest of the bunch and only really do corporate finance work.
  4. BRG is the gold standard for retail which is a convenient place to be during the retail Apocalypse. Also see them quite a bit on larger PE sponsored deals.
  5. FTI seems to be heavier on the creditor side but still has a presence in debtor side work
  6. A&M shows up quite a bit on creditor side as well but still very competitive in debtor side

Firms are changing every year. FTI would have been higher on the list but there has been a mass exodus in the last few years with a bunch of folks leaving for competitors. If you asked me a few years ago, i would have put Deloitte on the list given their volume but similarly, that group scattered and as a whole is not very strong in the RX space anymore.

I'm just shooting off things that come to mind right now. Feel free to ask anything specific if you want a more specific answer.

    • 4
Jun 23, 2020

Thanks for sharing. I am an international student T20 MBA.

1) Can you please share which one of these firms sponsor?
2) What is the comp like at the Post MBA level and what level do they recruit at?
3) Is RX Consulting to RX Banking possible? If yes, which of these firms is best for that?

Thank you.

Jun 23, 2020

Not sure how familiar you are with the market when FTI has won the 2 largest company side deals this year (frontier communications and hertz) along with other prime company side deals (GNC, 24 hour fitness) among many others. There are very clearly a top 3 then everyone else. FTI wins almost every major prime creditor side deals it pitches or isn't engaged as company advisor.

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    • 1
Jun 27, 2020

A&M + K&E = the debtor side special. You'll see those two partnered up very regularly in RX.

    • 1
Jul 1, 2020

Deloitte basically blew up a lot of CRG (which they bought during the tail of the last recession). A lot of them have moved back to CRG 3.0, aka CR3, all Big 4 firms have restructuring practices, along with a numbers of the top 10 CPA firms. The size and focus of the practices vary quite a bit.

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  • Prospect in Other
Jun 23, 2020

Do these firms recruit out of undergrad? How is their undergrad recruiting process different than strategy consulting (e.g., MBB, OW, LEK)?

    • 1
Jun 23, 2020

Completely different. not comparable at all. none of those are competitors. mckinsey does have a small turnaround group but i've heard various stories not all of them good.

Lots of undergrad recruiting but the groups are so small that they do not go nation wide like everyone the big strategy consulting firms. you usually have to be in key cities like LA, Boston, NYC, Chicago and come out of a strong finance program. RX does not recruit out of places like stanford, harvard, etc. Great schools but not the target for an RX group. other than that, network the hell out of the contacts that went to your school and are in the industry. go on linkedin and take a look at people's background in the same city. it'll be very apparent which schools they target.

generally not a lot of MBA recruiting unless you already have a background in RX.

Alix is the only one that is a litte different, they are top heavy and do not have as many jr's. a lot more exprienced / industry people.

    • 3
Jun 23, 2020

How common is it for someone in RX consulting to switch to RX banking, or vice versa? have heard of some going from RX consulting to work at RX ops teams within PE, but curious if there is ever any overlap between consulting and banking for rx in either direction

Array

Jun 23, 2020

It happens. Usually folks move on outside of RX vs bounce around within RX. A couple folks have left consulting to go into the banking side (same skill set different work product). Less banking into consulting but i definitely see it. not uncommon to see folks go into PE side. a lot of credit funds and yes a decent amount of RX ops but you do not see a lot of jr's getting that opportunity.

i'll add that RX is such a relationship business. over the last couple years i've been offered a job by a competitor to join their credit side advisory, a client to the VP of M&A, 2 different RX IB's. All of these contacts I made while finishing up an engagement.

    • 2
Jun 24, 2020

Care to elibrate why you chose to stay instead of pursuing the other opportunities you mentioned above?

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jun 24, 2020

would you say a decent number of rx people go on to corporate roles? seems like a normal exit for folks given the heavy accounting & operational duties of the job.

Jun 24, 2020

a lot of folks leave for industry but can usually land a pretty good role vs a "typical" fp&a role. Not sure how you're defining "accounting & operational". I'd say most people have a good understanding of accounting but they are not bunch of transaction services / CPAs. That is probably true for most corporate finance jobs.

Jun 24, 2020

Do CPAs (or auditors/tax public accountants w/o cpa) have a good shot at lateraling over? I've heard that most people working in RX consulting are experienced hires from other fields (finance/accounting/industry), which jobs are the most transferable?

Jul 1, 2020

I have definitely seen exits to the C-suite of firm clients

Jun 25, 2020

Curious if any of the folks in Rx consulting have an idea of pro's / con's with the boutique firms vs the "Big 3"? I'm currently in TAS non big-4 (with audit background - Big 4) and looking to make the move to Rx.

I've been reached out to for a boutique (or at least isnt referred to in any of the Rx threads - anyone heard o Mackinac Partners?) and A&M. Looks like comp is a little higher at A&M but both are generous bonus packages. Assume the work / hours are pretty comparable? Anything else that differentiates the two? Appreciate any input

    • 2
Jun 26, 2020

I do no have experience at both big and boutique so hopefully others will chime in. A&M is one of the big 3 in the space (FTI, Alix, AM). The breath of experience you'll find at a big firm will be impossible to find at a smaller boutique. A lot of smaller boutiques came about from sr partners from the big 3 breaking off to do their own thing. You'll still have good work but the experience will be very different. You wont have the big analyst classes, trainings, firm events, etc. I know some boutiques that have a great culture and certainly are not lacking in any of those areas so you'll have to do your own diligence to find out what you're looking for. That said, a big firm may come with big company politics / structure - not a bad thing but maybe not what someone wants depending on the stage of their career.

I've heard of Mackinac but have no experience with them. If you look at the partners there, you'll see a handful came from reputable firms. If you go boutique and want to go to a bigger firm after a year or two, there is a pretty good chance you'll get interviews from all the big firms as this specific experience is not always easy to find. From my experience, the firm jumping does not happen as much in this space as say a big 4 audit / tax type environment.

Not sure what level you are in your career but if I was more jr., I'd try to go for a big firm and leverage everything they have to offer your career. A&M has a very good reputation. Good luck and let us know how it goes!!

    • 2
Jul 1, 2020

I have seen Mackinac in my market, they are a legitimate firm, but I have not had interactions with them on a deal.

On Mackinac versus A&M, the difference would be like Big 4 versus, Grant, RSM, BDO, a lot more middle market work and smaller public companies. A&M definitely does middle market as well, but work on massive headline deals that really drive the firm.

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jun 26, 2020

anyone care to describe how different the day to day responsibilities of rx consulting are versus rx banking?

Jun 26, 2020

There is certainly some overlap and they work very closely together on most projects I've been involved with. Very generally speaking.

Consulting - You're traveling every week onsite at the client building out their operational plan. Cash flow, business plan, turnaround / performance improvement plan. You're helping management evaluate bids and financial terms and giving them the day to day guidance of going through a distressed time. You're helping to craft a turnaround business plan that can go to market. If it goes to BK, you're providing the day to day coordination to get the company and all he advisors aligned so that nothing slips.

Banking - You're FINRA licensed. You're trying to help them find a capital structure solution. Finding new financing, investors, running a process. Consultants can help facilitate but this is really marketing of securities and is banker type work. Probably means you're up until 4am building slides haha!

Hope that is helpful.

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  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Jun 26, 2020

anybody from UK whos in the field have any opinions about THM Partners?

seem to be a top boutique but most people dont have big 4 rx background either though at same time.

my understanding is they do a lot of CRO work...

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 26, 2020
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