Insider Insights: Consulting Firms With the Highest Salaries and Happiest Employees – Poets&Quants | Region & Cash


Which Consulting Firm Has the Highest Compensation for New Analysts? Which is better for career advancement? To get a break? Or for work-life balance?

With salaries that can reach as high as $100,000 for first-year analysts or even interns, the competition for a spot in the top companies and the interviews can be fierce notoriously unnerving. Let’s be honest. Not every aspiring consultant will land a job at one of the big three firms – McKinsey and Company, Boston Consulting Group, or Bain & Company, known in the industry as MBB.

“There are other great law firms out there: Oliver Wyman, for example, or LEK, which is a bit smaller and has a good reputation.” Patrick Curtis, founder and CEO of Wall Street Oasis (WSO), to Poets&Quants. “MBB is still where everyone wants to be, but the Deloittes of the world, the PwCs, they all have great practices and can offer a great career in consulting. I would tell candidates that all is not lost if they don’t fit into an MBB. You can still build a great career.”

Patrick Curtis

Patrick Curtis

WSO is an online community, news site, and career center for people who work or want to work in finance-related fields. It has almost 900,000 registered users who report a wealth of data about the companies they work for. WSO’s Consulting Industry Report 2022 uses this user-reported data to provide insights into nearly 20 different metrics that job seekers wouldn’t find anywhere else: like how many hours employees work per week, or how fair the company is in granting promotions.


WSO’s reports are constantly changing based on new information that users report to the WSO Company Database, which includes more than 50,000 submissions from thousands of companies. The report we’re looking at today is as of this month and includes data for the current year as well as data for the previous two years. Because of this, some of the latest user-reported trends are only shown in later reports. (WSO uses Bayesian statistics to create percentiles for companies with few observations.)

Read more about WSO’s reporting methodology here.


For aspiring consultants chasing the highest paychecks, WSO tracks average salaries and bonuses for users at all career levels. Based on 409 respondents, on average, interns/summer analysts earn a base salary of $60,000 per year (or approximately $5,000 per month) and a $7,000 bonus. First-year full-time analysts make about $75,000 per year with a $10,000 bonus, while principals make more than $211,000 per year with an average $58,000 bonus.

Advisory Fee Wall Street Oasis

Source: Wall Street Oasis 2022 Consulting Industry Report

Obviously, some companies pay above average, others less. According to Wall Street Data, TresVista, a private financial services firm based in Mumbai, India, paid the One Summer analyst reporting to the WSO about $175,000 a year along with a $38,500 bonus.

Looking at companies that had 10 or more respondents to the WSO, the Boston Consulting Group paid its summer analysts (18 respondents) an average of $94,200 (or $7,850 per month) with a $40,000 bonus. Summer associates earned an average of $68,800 ($5,733 monthly) with a $10,000 bonus, while analysts made $84,700 with a $12,800 bonus in their first year.

McKinsey & Company paid summer analysts $72,100 per year ($6,008 monthly), summer employees $94,600 per year, and its first-year analysts $83,800 with a $12,800 bonus. It was followed by the other firm in the Big Three, Bain & Company, which paid $66,700 per year ($5,558 monthly) plus a $1,000 bonus to summer analysts, $93,300 ($7,775 monthly) to summer employees, and $88,900 plus a $10,200 bonus USD paid to the first -year analysts.

“We also see that the remuneration increases in consultation, especially in the junior area. Consulting firms don’t compete directly with investment banks, but they do compete in some ways when it comes to recruiting top talent,” says Curtis. “Just as we’ve seen basic salaries in banking go up, we see the same in consulting. Not to the $120,000 level, but I think in some places it’s close to $100,000 if it’s not already $100,000.”

WSO’s data dives much deeper and also shows some very high-paying companies with far fewer respondents. You can also drill down salary data by gender and race to see which companies are living up to their DEI mantras. Salary for senior staff is also available. The full report can be found here.

When asked how well they were paid compared to people with similar jobs at other companies, Cornerstone Research employees said they were paid the fairest. Employees at the Boston Consulting Group and Oliver Wyman also felt well paid. (See diagram below.)

Remuneration of the consulting industry

Source: Wall Street Oasis 2022 Consulting Industry Report

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