Best MBA Programs for Consulting in 2024: Top 32 Schools

Best MBA programs for consulting


Joining the right MBA program can significantly increase your chances of breaking into consulting. The most prestigious consulting firms recruit from only a select number of business schools. 

 

Additionally, the MBA program that you choose will determine the amount of consulting recruiting resources you’ll have access to as well as the alumni network that you will be networking with.

 

In this article, we’ll cover the 32 best MBA programs for consulting that you should consider joining to give yourself the most opportunities to land a prestigious, top-tier consulting job.

 

If you’re interested in breaking into consulting, make sure to check out our consulting resume and interview resources at the end of the article to give yourself a competitive advantage over other candidates.

 

Do You Need an MBA for Consulting?

 

While most consulting firms don’t require an MBA, attending a top-tier MBA program can make breaking into consulting significantly easier. Consulting firms hire the majority of their consultants straight out of business school. Pursuing an MBA gives you the opportunity to participate in this massive recruiting process.

 

Additionally, an MBA can help you gain the business knowledge and skills needed for management consulting

 

Through an MBA program, you’ll learn business concepts such as business strategy, marketing, finance, and operations. You’ll also develop soft skills such as teamwork, communication, negotiation, and leadership throughout your classes and extracurricular activities.

 

Lastly, most MBA programs offer various training and resources needed to pass your consulting interviews. 

 

MBA consulting clubs often host workshops for consulting case interviews. They also often provide mock consulting interviews given by second-year students who have already gone through the consulting recruiting process and secured a consulting offer.

 

MBA career centers often host workshops for resume and cover letter writing. You may also have access to a career counselor who can help you craft and edit your consulting resume.

 

Overall, all of the opportunities, learnings, and resources that MBA programs provide make it significantly easier to break into consulting compared to a working professional applying to consulting firms on their own.

 

Does the MBA Program You Attend Matter for Consulting?

 

The specific MBA program that you choose matters significantly for breaking into consulting because not all consulting firms recruit from all MBA programs. You should aim to attend the most prestigious, well-known MBA program that you can get into.

 

Brand name and prestige matters a lot in consulting. Since consulting firms charge a considerably high rate for their services, they often need to justify their rate to clients by showcasing the pedigree of their consultants.

 

Therefore, consulting firms typically want candidates that attended prestigious, brand name MBA programs. 

 

If you attend a top ranked MBA program, you’ll find it easier to land interviews with the top-tier consulting firms. This is especially true for firms such as McKinsey, BCG, and Bain, who are extremely selective in their hiring process.

 

Though the MBA program you attend matters for consulting, it is important to know that this is not the only factor that can help you land a consulting job. Your previous work experience and achievements also determine whether or not you’ll receive an interview.

 

What are the Best MBA Programs for Consulting?

 

Below, we’ve ranked the top 32 MBA programs into three different tiers. We’ve defined these tiers based on whether the top three consulting firms recruit from the MBA program.

 

The top three consulting firms are known as MBB, short for McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. These firms are the most selective in their interview and hiring process.

 

Tier 1 MBA programs are business schools where McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from. You cannot go wrong attending any of these Tier 1 programs because nearly all consulting firms recruit there in addition to MBB.

 

Tier 2 MBA programs are business schools where only 2 of the top 3 consulting firms recruit from. You should still be able to get an interview at a majority of consulting firms from these programs.

 

Finally, Tier 3 MBA programs are business schools where only 1 of the top 3 consulting firms recruit from. You’ll have a lower chance of breaking into MBB, but will still be able to get some interviews from other consulting firms.

 

Tier 1 MBA Programs for Consulting

 

1. Booth School of Business (University of Chicago)

 

Number of consulting hires: 191 (36% of class)

 

Booth School of Business distinguishes itself with its rigorous academic approach that emphasizes data-driven decision-making and analytical thinking. Booth also has a strong focus on intellectual curiosity and inquiry, which fosters a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. On top of all this, Booth has a flexible curriculum to allow students to tailor their learning experience to their interests and career goals. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

2. Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 185 (40% of class)

 

Kellogg is renowned for its strength in marketing education and research. The school's Marketing Department is one of the largest and most respected in the world, offering specialized courses, experiential learning opportunities, and access to industry experts. Kellogg is also known to foster a collaborative culture, where students, faculty, and alumni work together to drive meaningful change in the business world. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

3. Columbia Business School (Columbia University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 167 (27% of class)

 

Situated in New York City at one of the world’s financial capitals, Columbia Business School’s location facilitates interactions with Wall Street, Fortune 500 companies, and startups. Columbia’s rigorous and dynamic curriculum combines academic theory with practical application. The school has a strong entrepreneurship focus and has strong ties with industry partners, facilitating recruitment opportunities and industry-sponsored projects. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

4. Darden School of Business (University of Virginia)

 

Number of consulting hires: 154 (44% of class)

 

Darden is renowned for its case method approach to teaching, where students analyze real-world business cases and engage in classroom discussions. Darden also has a very tight-knit community, with very small class sizes. Beyond classes, Darden offers numerous experiential learning opportunities, including its Darden Business Projects, where students work directly with companies to solve real business problems. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

5. The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)

 

Number of consulting hires: 148 (24% of class)

 

Wharton is consistently ranked among the top business schools globally, known for its rigorous curriculum, world-class faculty, and cutting-edge research. Wharton is particularly renowned for its strength in finance and economics education. The school's faculty includes Nobel laureates and leading scholars in finance, and its finance curriculum is among the most rigorous and comprehensive in the world. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

6. Harvard Business School (Harvard University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 142 (23% of class)

 

Harvard Business School is renowned for its illustrious history and legacy of academic excellence, attracting top-tier faculty and students from around the world. HBS's case method fosters critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration through real world business scenarios. Additionally, its unparalleled resources, including state-of-the-art facilities, extensive research centers, and access to Harvard University's vast network, provide an enriching environment for learning and growth. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

7. Ross School of Business (University of Michigan)

 

Number of consulting hires: 127 (42% of class)

 

Ross prioritizes action-based learning, offering hands-on experiences through initiatives like the Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP) and the Ross Experiences in Action-Based Learning (REAL) program. Ross is also a pioneer in positive organizational scholarship, emphasizing the study of positive leadership, culture, and organizational practices that contribute to high-performance and well-being. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

8. Fuqua School of Business (Duke University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 121 (36% of class)

 

Fuqua pioneered the concept of team-based learning, which is at the core of its MBA program. Students work in small, diverse teams to solve complex business problems. Fuqua is also known for its strength in health sector management, offering specialized programs and courses for healthcare innovation, delivery, and policy. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

9. Yale School of Management (Yale University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 121 (46% of class)

 

Yale School of Management’s integrated curriculum is designed to provide students with a holistic understanding of business, incorporating interdisciplinary perspectives from fields such as psychology, sociology, and ethics. Its small class size and collaborative culture foster a close-knit community. It is committed to educating leaders who can make a positive impact in society, specifically focusing on social impact and sustainability. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

10. Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth College)

 

Number of consulting hires: 115 (47% of class)

 

Tuck's small class size and intimate learning environment foster a close-knit community characterized by collaboration, camaraderie, and mutual support. Due to small class sizes, Tuck boasts a loyal and heavily engaged alumni network. Tuck's curriculum emphasizes general management principles, providing students with a broad foundation of business knowledge and leadership skills. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

11. Sloan School of Management (MIT)

 

Number of consulting hires: 105 (31% of class)

 

Sloan fosters an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship, reflective of its affiliation with MIT. Sloan's action learning approach integrates classroom theory with real world application through initiatives like the MIT Sloan Action Learning Labs and the Global Entrepreneurship Lab.  Sloan is also a leader in sustainability education and research. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

12. Haas School of Business (University of California: Berkeley)

 

Number of consulting hires: 72 (28% of class)

 

Situated in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Haas is situated at the global hub for entrepreneurship and innovation. The school’s close proximity to leading tech companies, startups, and venture capital firms provides unparalleled opportunities for students interested in entrepreneurship. Haas also has a rigorous and innovative curriculum that combines experiential learning, interdisciplinary studies, and real-world application. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

13. Stern School of Business (New York University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 70 (31% of class)

 

Stern's prime location in the heart of New York City provides unparalleled access to global business opportunities, industry leaders, and cultural diversity. Stern is renowned for its strength in finance and economics education, with faculty members who are leaders in their fields. Stern also has a strong presence in the media, entertainment, and technology industries, with specialized programs and resources tailored to students interested in these fields. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

14. Anderson School of Management (UCLA)

 

Number of consulting hires: 65 (24% of class)

 

Situated in Los Angeles, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management provides a unique ecosystem for students to engage with entertainment and technology industries. The school emphasizes experiential learning through initiatives like the Applied Management Research Program, which ensures students gain practical skills alongside theoretical knowledge. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

15. Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 39 (15% of class)

 

Stanford is situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, the epicenter of innovation and entrepreneurship. The school's close ties with other Stanford University departments, including engineering, medicine, and law, facilitate cross-disciplinary learning. Stanford GSB is also dedicated to developing principled leaders who can make a positive impact in their organizations and communities. The school offers leadership development programs, coaching services, and experiential learning opportunities. McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all recruit from this school.

 

Tier 2 MBA Programs for Consulting

 

16. Johnson Graduate School of Management (Cornell University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 76 (31% of class)

 

Johnson is part of Cornell University, one of the prestigious Ivy League institutions known for its academic excellence and research prowess. Johnson offers a unique immersion learning experience through its Johnson Means Business (JMB) program and the immersion semester. These programs provide students with hands-on experiences in various industries, allowing them to apply classroom concepts to real-world business challenges and gain practical skills. Bain and BCG recruit from this school.

 

17. Kenan-Flagler Business School (University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill)

 

Number of consulting hires: 70 (24% of class)

 

Kenan-Flagler Business School emphasizes the development of strong leadership skills alongside traditional business education. Kenan-Flagler's leadership initiatives, such as the Leadership Immersion, Leadership Fellows Program, and Leadership Development Program, are designed to cultivate and refine leadership qualities in students. The school also offers numerous experiential learning opportunities, including consulting projects, internships, global immersions, and hands-on simulations. McKinsey and Bain recruit from this school.

 

18. Goizueta Business School (Emory University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 65 (55% of class)

 

Goizueta is recognized for its strength in analytics and data-driven decision making. The school's curriculum includes specialized courses in business analytics, predictive modeling, and machine learning, preparing students to excel in roles that require quantitative skills and analytical rigor. The school's small class sizes, collaborative learning environment, and active student organizations create a sense of belonging and camaraderie among members of the Goizueta community. Bain and BCG recruit from this school.

 

19. McCombs School of Business (University of Texas: Austin)

 

Number of consulting hires: 59 (30% of class)

 

McCombs has a stellar reputation and a vast alumni network that spans the globe. The school's alumni are influential leaders in various industries, providing students with valuable networking opportunities, mentorship, and access to job placements. McCombs is also at the forefront of innovation and technology, with initiatives like the McCombs Entrepreneurship Night and the Texas McCombs MSTC Program. Bain and BCG recruit from this school.

 

20. McDonough School of Business (Georgetown University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 57 (29% of class)

 

McDonough benefits from its strategic location in Washington, D.C., providing students with unparalleled access to government agencies, international organizations, and multinational corporations. McDonough also emphasizes global business education through its extensive international programs, global consulting projects, and exchange programs with partner schools around the world. Bain and BCG recruit from this school.

 

21. Owen Graduate School of Management (Vanderbilt University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 51 (34% of class)

 

Owen offers a personalized learning experience through its small class sizes and close-knit community. Owen is known for its strength in healthcare management education, with specialized programs and resources tailored to students interested in the healthcare industry. Owen also fosters an entrepreneurial culture through initiatives like the Wond'ry Innovation Center and the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures. Bain and BCG recruit from this school.

 

22. Tepper School of Business (Carnegie Mellon University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 50 (39% of class)

 

Tepper is renowned for its quantitative rigor and analytical approach to business education. Tepper also emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration, drawing on expertise from fields such as computer science, engineering, and psychology to inform business decision-making. The school's collaboration with industry partners and its proximity to the tech hub of Pittsburgh provide students with unique opportunities to explore emerging trends and disruptive technologies. Bain and BCG recruit from this school.

 

23. Foster School of Business (University of Washington)

 

Number of consulting hires: 31 (31% of class)

 

Foster benefits from its strategic location in Seattle, a dynamic hub of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Pacific Northwest. The school's close ties to the region's business community provide students with unique networking opportunities, internships, and hands-on experiences in industries such as technology, healthcare, and sustainability. Foster also fosters an entrepreneurial mindset through initiatives like the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and the Jones + Foster Accelerator. Bain and BCG recruit from this school.

 

24. Olin Business School (Washington University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 18 (18% of class)

 

Olin is renowned for its strong focus on analytical thinking and data-driven decision-making. The school's rigorous curriculum and specialized programs in analytics, finance, and quantitative methods prepare students to excel in roles that require quantitative skills and analytical rigor. Olin also offers numerous experiential learning opportunities, including internships, consulting projects, and global immersion experiences. Bain and BCG recruit from this school.

 

Tier 3 MBA Programs for Consulting

 

25. Jones Graduate School of Business (Rice University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 40 (28% of class)

 

Jones fosters an entrepreneurial mindset through initiatives like the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Rice Business Plan Competition. The school's small class sizes, team-based learning approach, and active student organizations create a sense of belonging and camaraderie. BCG recruits from this school.

 

26. Marshall School of Business (University of Southern California)

 

Number of consulting hires: 35 (21% of class)

 

Marshall benefits from its strategic location in Los Angeles, a global economic and cultural hub with a thriving business ecosystem. Marshall is dedicated to developing ethical and innovative leaders who can make a positive impact in their organizations and communities. BCG recruits from this school.

 

27. Kelley School of Business (Indiana University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 21 (28% of class)

 

Kelley places a significant emphasis on developing leadership skills and fostering collaboration among students. The school's team-based approach to learning, leadership development programs, and experiential opportunities prepare students to excel in diverse and dynamic environments. The school also provides numerous opportunities for students to gain a global perspective through international study programs, global consulting projects, and exchange programs. Bain recruits from this school.

 

28. Scheller College of Business (Georgia Institute of Technology)

 

Number of consulting hires: 20 (36% of class)

 

Scheller is uniquely positioned at the intersection of business and technology, reflecting Georgia Tech's reputation as a top-tier engineering and research institution. Scheller has strong partnerships with leading companies and organizations in Atlanta's thriving business community and beyond. Bain recruits from this school.

 

29. Cox School of Business (Southern Methodist University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 17 (20% of class)

 

Cox School of Business has built a strong reputation for academic excellence, innovative research, and impactful leadership in business education. Cox benefits from its strategic location in Dallas, Texas, a vibrant business hub known for its strong economy, diverse industries, and entrepreneurial spirit. Cox is also dedicated to developing principled leaders who can make a positive impact in their organizations and communities. Bain recruits from this school.

 

30. Carlson School of Management (University of Minnesota)

 

Number of consulting hires: 14 (25% of class)

 

Carlson is known for its commitment to academic excellence and innovative research. The school's renowned faculty members are experts in their fields, conducting cutting-edge research that informs business practice and policy. Carlson is deeply connected to the local business community, with strong ties to Fortune 500 companies, startups, and nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities area. BCG recruits from this school.

 

31. Marriott School of Business (Brigham Young University)

 

Number of consulting hires: 9 (7% of class)

 

Marriott emphasizes experiential learning through internships, consulting projects, and hands-on experiences that allow students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world business challenges. The school also fosters an entrepreneurial spirit through initiatives like the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and the Miller New Venture Challenge. Bain recruits from this school.

 

32. Jindal School of Management (University of Texas: Dallas)

 

Number of consulting hires: 5 (12% of class)

 

Jindal School of Management offers innovative programs that are responsive to the evolving needs of the business world. The school's cutting-edge curriculum equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in today's competitive market. The school also offers numerous opportunities for students to gain a global perspective through international study programs, global consulting projects, and exchange programs with partner schools around the world. Bain recruits from this school.

 

What MBA Program Should You Pick for Consulting?

 

Selecting the right MBA program for you depends on many factors such as: which consulting firms you’re interested in, location, curriculum, and school culture.

 

Which Consulting Firms You’re Interested In

 

The consulting firms that you are interested in joining is probably the most important factor to consider before selecting an MBA program. This decision will greatly impact your likelihood of receiving consulting interviews.

 

For example, if you want to work at McKinsey, you should make sure that McKinsey actually recruits from the MBA program that you are looking to join.

 

Location

 

The location of the business school can also make a big difference in getting a consulting offer. For example, if you’re interested in working in New York, you may want to attend Columbia Business School, which is situated right in New York. Many consulting firms have offices in New York and will consequently hire a significant number of people from Columbia. 

 

Curriculum

 

You should also look into the curriculum of the MBA program you are planning to attend to ensure that it matches your interests. For example. Wharton is known as a finance school and has a tremendous number of world-renowned finance professors. Kellogg, on the other hand, is better known for marketing. Harvard Business School is known for management.

 

School Culture

 

School culture can make a big difference on your business school experience. Each MBA program has its own distinctive culture. Harvard Business School, for example, is known to have a rigorous, academic culture. Wharton and Kellogg, on the other hand, are known to have more lax academics, but a more lively social life.

 

Class size can also make a big difference on your learning experience. Wharton and Harvard Business School have large class sizes of about a thousand students. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business have class sizes of a few hundred or fewer.

 

Tips if Your MBA Program is a Non-Target School for Consulting

 

If your MBA program is a non-target school for consulting, you’ll need to network extensively, leverage your school’s resources, secure internships or work experiences at brand name companies, and consider applying to Tier 2 or boutique consulting firms.

 

1. Network extensively

 

If the consulting firm that you are interested in does not recruit at your MBA program, you’ll need to do a lot of networking to get into consulting. You can do this by reaching out to your network to secure informational interviews or coffee chats, attending networking events, and connecting with school alumni.

 

Through networking, you’ll not only get the chance to learn more about consulting, but also possibly secure a job referral for the consulting firm you are interested in.

 

2. Leverage your school’s resources

 

Make sure to utilize everything that your MBA program has to offer, including career services, alumni, and consulting clubs. 

 

Participate in mock consulting interviews. Attend resume and cover letter workshops. Get a career advisor to review your resume and give you feedback. Reach out to school alumni who are currently working in consulting to ask them for help or guidance.

 

3. Secure internships or work experiences at brand name companies

 

To increase your chances of getting a consulting interview, seek out internships or work experiences at well-known companies. Make sure you are working on impactful and interesting projects or problems.

 

Remember that consulting firms like to see prestigious company names on your resume. Working at a brand name company will not only improve you resume, but also improve your knowledge, capabilities, and skills.

 

4. Consider applying to Tier 2 firms

 

If MBB does not recruit at your MBA program, consider applying to Tier 2 consulting firms such as LEK, Oliver Wyman, EY-Parthenon, and Strategy&.

 

Though not as well-known compared to MBB, Tier 2 consulting firms still have good brand names and reputations in the consulting industry. They often do the same type of work as their more prestigious counterparts.

 

5. Consider applying to boutique consulting firms

 

In addition to applying to Tier 2 consulting firms, you should also consider applying to boutique consulting firms. These are smaller consulting firms that are focused on a specific industry or function.

 

Since these companies are smaller, they tend to have a more close-knit office culture and you’ll have more hands-on experiences that you can learn and develop skills from.

 

How to Stand Out as an MBA Candidate

 

To stand out as an MBA candidate: have impressive work experiences and accomplishments, refine your resume, practice case interviews, prepare for consulting behavioral and fit interview questions, and be enthusiastic.

 

1. Have impressive work experiences and accomplishments

 

To make yourself more hirable for top-tier consulting firms, you should have impressive work experiences, extracurricular activities, and accomplishments on your resume. This demonstrates that you have the skills necessary to succeed as a consultant and will find success in any environment.

 

2. Refine your resume

 

Your consulting resume is the single most important component of your application that will determine whether or not you receive interviews. Your resume should show your experiences, accomplishments, and skills in the best light possible.

 

3. Practice case interviews

 

You will need to ace every single one of your consulting case interviews in order to land a consulting job offer. A case interview is a special type of interview that all consulting firms use. In a case interview, you’ll be placed in a hypothetical business scenario and asked to develop a recommendation to a business problem.

 

Doing well in case interviews is not something that comes easily or naturally to most people. Therefore, you’ll need to practice doing many mock case interviews in order to understand what to expect and how to solve them efficiently.

 

4. Prepare for consulting behavioral and fit interview questions

 

In addition to case interviews, you’ll also be asked consulting behavioral and fit interview questions. Take the time to prepare answers for these questions in advance.

 

You may be asked to talk about a time when you led a team. You may be asked to give an example of a time when you used data to solve a problem. You may also be asked why you are interested in consulting and why you are interested in the firm.

 

5. Be enthusiastic

 

Lastly, it’s important to show enthusiasm during the entire consulting recruiting process. This makes yourself much more pleasurable to be around. Show everyone that you meet how excited you are for consulting. Let your passion and interest in consulting come through.

 

By doing this, you’ll leave a lasting, positive impression on recruiters and interviewers. You’ll also be much more memorable.

 

Recommended Resources for Breaking Into Consulting

 

We recommend using the resources below to give yourself the best chance of breaking into consulting:

 

  • Comprehensive Case Interview Course (our #1 recommendation): The only resource you need. Whether you have no business background, rusty math skills, or are short on time, this step-by-step course will transform you into a top 1% caser that lands multiple consulting offers.

 

  • Hacking the Case Interview Book (available on Amazon): Perfect for beginners that are short on time. Transform yourself from a stressed-out case interview newbie to a confident intermediate in under a week. Some readers finish this book in a day and can already tackle tough cases.

 

  • The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook (available on Amazon): Perfect for intermediates struggling with frameworks, case math, or generating business insights. No need to find a case partner – these drills, practice problems, and full-length cases can all be done by yourself.

 

 

  • Behavioral & Fit Interview Course: Be prepared for 98% of behavioral and fit questions in just a few hours. We'll teach you exactly how to draft answers that will impress your interviewer