Management Consulting Pay Guide

Salary and Bonus Data for Management Consulting Careers

Author: Josh Pupkin
Josh Pupkin
Josh Pupkin
Private Equity | Investment Banking

Josh has extensive experience private equity, business development, and investment banking. Josh started his career working as an investment banking analyst for Barclays before transitioning to a private equity role Neuberger Berman. Currently, Josh is an Associate in the Strategic Finance Group of Accordion Partners, a management consulting firm which advises on, executes, and implements value creation initiatives and 100 day plans for Private Equity-backed companies and their financial sponsors.

Josh graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and is currently an MBA candidate at Duke University Fuqua School of Business with a concentration in Corporate Strategy.

Reviewed By: Andy Yan
Andy Yan
Andy Yan
Investment Banking | Corporate Development

Before deciding to pursue his MBA, Andy previously spent two years at Credit Suisse in Investment Banking, primarily working on M&A and IPO transactions. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Andy was a Business Analyst Intern for Capital One and worked as an associate for Cambridge Realty Capital Companies.

Andy graduated from University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and is currently an MBA candidate at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a concentration in Analytical Finance.

Last Updated:November 29, 2023

What is Management Consulting?

Management consulting remains among the most desirable careers for ambitious graduates and seasoned professionals. The intellectual challenges, high-profile clients, and accelerated career progression make it a top choice for those seeking impact and financial rewards.

But does reality match the hype regarding consulting salaries? What do the numbers look like at the entry-level versus senior positions? Which firms truly pay the best? Let's find out.

Key Takeaways

  • MBB firms pay the highest salaries at every level, with differentials widening for seniors
  • Strategy consulting generally compensates better than specialized practices like risk and compliance
  • Bonuses and incentives can make up 20-30% of total earnings
  • Boutique firms match or exceed big firm salaries for mid-career roles
  • Salaries scale steeply and predictably, with promotions every 2-4 years
  • Significant variation exists within the same title and firm based on performance
  • Consulting pays very competitively versus banking, law, and other top professions

Undergraduate and Master’s Degree Hires

Undergraduates and master’s students entering consulting can expect a wide compensation range, with average base salaries ranging from $65,000 to $112,000, depending on the firm and the role. Many firms also pay signing bonuses of $5,000 to $15,000.

The top paying firms for this talent level include McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Strategy&, Parthenon-EY, and LEK Consulting. Total compensation runs from $75,000 at smaller specialty firms to over $140,000 at prestigious strategy consulting shops.

Interns typically earn between $8,000 and $14,000 for a 10-week summer internship. Hourly pay varies from $18 to $48 per hour depending on the firm, with some overtime compensation 1.5X or 2X the base rate. Signing bonuses of $1,000 to $5,000 are common among interns who receive full-time job offers.

MBA and PhD Program Hires

Salaries for MBA and PhD new hires range from $90,000 to $190,000 at most firms. Signing bonuses of $25,000 to $45,000 are now standard at top-tier consultancies. Total compensation can exceed $250,000 for MBAs joining the highest-paying firms, such as A.T. Kearney, Strategy&, and McKinsey.

BCG, Bain, LEK, Oliver Wyman, AlixPartners, and Analysis Group offer other leading compensation packages for MBAs. Salary differences based on geography and office location are minor, though some overseas roles pay slightly below US averages.

Typical MBA internships last 10-12 weeks and pay between $10,000 and $15,000 monthly. Top performers can earn over $80 per hour at certain prestigious firms. Relocation assistance, signing bonuses, and performance payouts can also enhance summer earnings.

Career Progression and Bonuses

As consultants gain experience and rise in seniority, their salaries increase through a series of structured promotions. Jumping from associate to consultant to manager boosts earnings by 40-50% at each step up the ladder.

Performance bonuses are tied to individual impact, client feedback, and firm financials. Bonuses range from 15% to 30% of base pay, meaning total compensation can fluctuate widely yearly. Profit sharing, retirement matching, and tuition assistance provide additional incentives.

Managers and senior managers take home $150,000 to $250,000 in total pay, with principals and partners earning $300,000 to over $1 million at top strategy and advisory firms. The path to partner spans approximately 8-10 years at most firms.

The table below provides an overview of the salary ranges, bonuses, and work hours for entry-level consultants at various top management consulting firms.

Career Progression and Bonuses
Firm Role Base Salary Range Bonus Range Total Median Pay Average Work Hours/Week Average Pay per Hour
Strategy& Entry-Level Consultant $65,000 - $174,000 $5,000 - $55,000 $103,500 61 hours $35 per hour
LEK Consulting Entry-Level Consultant $70,000 - $165,000 $3,000 - $28,000 $102,000 54 hours $39 per hour
A.T. Kearney Entry-Level Consultant $54,000 - $159,600 $5,000 - $50,000 $97,000 59 hours $34 per hour
Oliver Wyman Entry-Level Consultant $60,000 - $145,000 $3,000 - $50,000 $97,500 63 hours $32 per hour
McKinsey & Co Entry-Level Consultant $50,000 - $175,000 $7,000 - $60,000 $118,000 64 hours $38 per hour
Alvarez & Marsal Entry-Level Consultant $54,500 - $135,000 $5,000 - $120,000 $100,500 53 hours $40 per hour
A.C. Nielson Entry-Level Consultant $50,000 - $135,000 $2,000 - $15,000 $90,000 51 hours $33 per hour
ZS Associates Entry-Level Consultant $56,000 - $135,000 $3,250 - $20,000 $87,999 50 hours $37 per hour
Accenture Entry-Level Consultant $48,060 - $142,000 $2,000 - $20,000 $83,500 54 hours $32 per hour
FTI Consulting Entry-Level Consultant $52,000 - $120,000 $5,000 - $50,000 $83,500 52 hours $33 per hour
Deloitte Entry-Level Consultant $44,000 - $124,560 $1,250 - $26,500 $76,733 53 hours $30 per hour
IBM Entry-Level Consultant $35,500 - $113,000 $1,000 - $25,000 $77,000 47 hours $34 per hour
Booz Allen Hamilton Entry-Level Consultant $48,000 - $121,000 $1,000 - $25,000 $77,700 44 hours $37 per hour

Source: WallStreetOasis Company Database

How Salaries Compare to Other Industries

Consulting offers some of the highest compensation packages for undergraduate and graduate programs. For example:

  • Investment banking: $85K - $150K base for analysts
  • Private equity: $120K - $170K base for associates
  • Law firms: $190K median starting salary
  • Software engineering: $120K - $150K median for new grads
  • Product management: $115K - $135K base salary

Consulting rewards match or exceed most alternatives, with quicker career progression and broad experience. The tradeoffs are higher travel and unpredictable hours for some firms or projects.

Maximizing Your Management Consulting Earnings

Here are tips to maximize your consulting compensation:

  • Gain internship experience at a top firm - return offers boost salaries
  • Target high-paying firms, industries, and cities in your search
  • Negotiate for the highest base salary within ranges
  • Excel on your projects to the maximum performance bonus
  • Build in-demand skills like advanced analytics
  • Take on roles requiring travel to earn bonuses
  • Obtain certifications like Six Sigma
  • Transition to partner track at the right time

With the right strategies, top consulting salaries can accelerate your career growth and earnings potential over the long term.

Management consulting remains a lucrative career path. With a high demand for top talent, this 2023 pay guide provides insights into consulting salaries across levels, firms, and specializations. 

Preparing rigorously and targeting high-value opportunities can help maximize your compensation and career growth in this dynamic industry.

Key Factors Impacting 2023 Salaries

Several trends are impacting 2022 consulting salaries:

  • Tight labor market with demand exceeding supply of talent
  • Continued strong demand for consulting services across industries
  • Slower hiring and compensation at banks, private equity, and tech companies
  • Ongoing wave of mergers and acquisitions consolidating top firms
  • Increasing pay disparity between elite MBAs and others
  • More hiring of undergrads, PhDs, experienced hires, and non-targets

Management consulting salaries in 2023 are influenced by a myriad of pivotal factors shaping the compensation landscape. 

Understanding these factors is vital for aspiring consultants and seasoned professionals seeking to navigate the complex consulting pay scales.

Tight Labor Market and Surging Demand

One of the central drivers impacting management consulting salaries is the persistently tight labor market.

In this competitive environment, the demand for consulting talent significantly outpaces the available supply. This surge in demand is a testament to the enduring appeal and relevance of consulting services across various industries.

Divergent Trends in Other Sectors

While consulting is experiencing a surge in demand, other sectors, such as banking, private equity, and technology companies, are witnessing a different trend. 

These sectors are grappling with slower hiring and compensation patterns, leading some top talents to explore opportunities in the consulting domain.

Consolidation Through Mergers and Acquisitions

The consulting industry is not immune to the ongoing wave of mergers and acquisitions. This phenomenon consolidates top consulting firms, potentially altering the competitive landscape. 

As these firms join forces, they often need to align their compensation structures, which can impact the overall consulting pay scales.

Widening Pay Disparity

An intriguing facet of 2023 consulting salaries is the widening pay disparity, particularly notable between elite MBA graduates and their peers. This trend highlights the premium placed on top-tier education and experience, influencing compensation negotiations for candidates across the board.

Expanding Talent Pool

The industry is diversifying its talent pool to meet the growing demand for consulting services. 

Consulting firms are increasingly hiring undergraduates, PhDs, experienced professionals, and individuals from non-traditional backgrounds. This expansion of the talent base injects fresh perspectives into the field and intensifies competition for coveted consulting positions.

Preparing for a Competitive Landscape

In light of these influential factors, candidates aspiring to thrive in management consulting must adopt a rigorous approach to their career pursuits. 

Interview preparation should be meticulous, and aspiring consultants are encouraged to cast a wide net, exploring various opportunities.


Many influential factors shape the management consulting salaries in 2023. 

A significant contributor is the ongoing tight labor market, where the demand for consulting talent surpasses the available supply. This heightened demand extends across a spectrum of industries, underlining the enduring appeal of consulting services.

Conversely, industries such as banking, private equity, and technology companies are witnessing slower hiring and compensation trends, diverting some talent toward the consulting sphere. 

Additionally, the sector is experiencing a continuous wave of mergers and acquisitions, consolidating the positions of top consulting firms.
This phenomenon has its challenges, as it has led to an increasing pay disparity between elite MBA graduates and their peers. 

Furthermore, the consulting industry is broadening its horizons by hiring undergraduates, PhDs, experienced professionals, and candidates from non-target backgrounds.

While these factors collectively signal robust salary growth within consulting, they also introduce heightened competition for coveted positions at top-tier firms. 
Consequently, candidates are encouraged to prepare for interviews and explore various opportunities to secure their place in this competitive field.

Researched and authored by Jaeden Yuen | LinkedIn

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