The Complete Guide to Tier 2 Consulting Firms
Tier 2 consulting firms include Deloitte, Strategy& (PwC), LEK, Oliver Wyman, EY-Parthenon, Accenture, AT Kearney, and Roland Berger. While these firms have strong brand recognition and prestige, their reputation is a step below the top three management consulting firms of McKinsey, Bain, and BCG.
McKinsey, Bain, and BCG are the most prestigious and well-known management consulting firms and are collectively known as MBB. Many tier 2 consulting firms do the same type of strategy and operations work that MBB does. However, MBB typically does more of the high-level strategy work. Additionally, the price of a consulting project from a tier 2 consulting firm is typically much less than MBB.
In terms of professional development, tier 2 consulting firms invest a lot in developing their employees’ soft skills and hard skills, just like MBB does. However, because tier 2 consulting firms are not able to attract the same top-caliber talent as MBB, you might learn a bit less at a tier 2 firm.
Overall, tier 2 consulting firms are still fantastic firms to work at for professional growth, career progression, networking, and exit opportunities.
In this article, we’ll cover the eight most prestigious and well-known tier 2 consulting firms:
- Strategy& (PwC)
- Oliver Wyman
- AT Kearney
- Roland Berger
- Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
- Employees: 312,000+
- Offices: 100+
- Website: https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en.html
While Deloitte is known as the largest Big Four accounting firm, they do have a consulting practice. Their consulting division is comprised of Strategy & Operations, Technology, and Human Capital. Deloitte’s Strategy & Operations group is the one that does consulting work that is most similar to McKinsey, Bain, and BCG.
Deloitte was founded in 1845 by William Welch Deloitte. They have grown tremendously through many acquisitions, most notably acquiring Monitor Group in 2013 to build out their management consulting services.
Deloitte Strategy & Operations does projects in corporate strategy, customer strategy, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, social impact strategy, innovation, business model transformation, supply chain, manufacturing operations, and financial management. They service almost every single industry.
Deloitte’s culture is built on inclusion, collaboration, high performance, and opportunity. A unique aspect of Deloitte’s investment in their employee’s professional development is the establishment of Deloitte University. This $300M training facility in Texas is a place where Deloitte’s employees gather to learn and develop skills.
2. Strategy& (PwC)
- Headquarters: New York, NY
- Employees: 3,800+
- Offices: 75+
- Website: https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/
Strategy& was formerly known as Booz & Company. PwC acquired Booz in 2014 and eventually rebranded it as Strategy&. Before the acquisition, Booz & Company used to rank as the number four consulting firm behind MBB. However, they have lost some momentum following the acquisition. Nevertheless, Strategy& has a strong client portfolio that includes many of the world’s largest companies.
Strategy& has does projects in six functional areas: corporate and business strategy, customer strategy, deals strategy, operations strategy, people and organization strategy, and technology strategy. They service almost every single industry.
Strategy& emphasizes the core values of individuality, teamwork, intellectual integrity, a drive for excellence, and a commitment to servicing clients. The firm hosts weekly happy hours and has a program called “Common Connections” to allow employees to connect with each other. Strategy& consultants typically work a bit less than MBB consultants and have a slightly better work life balance.
- Headquarters: London, England
- Employees: 1,400+
- Offices: 20+
- Website: www.lek.com
LEK was founded in 1983 by three Bain partners, James Lawrence, Iain Evans, and Richard Koch. LEK is an acronym of their three last names. LEK focuses on using industry expertise and rigorous analysis to create practical results for their clients. They have a large private equity practice and do a lot of mergers and acquisitions work.
LEK has four key practice areas: strategy, marketing and sales, operations, and mergers and acquisitions. They service almost every single industry, but are best known for their work in healthcare and private equity.
LEK’s core values include intelligence, honesty, diligence, collaboration, and responsibility. They give a tremendous amount of responsibility to new hires, so it is very much sink or swim. LEK’s employees travel much less compared to other consulting firms. This helps create a healthier work life balance while also fostering a strong office community.
4. Oliver Wyman
- Headquarters: New York, NY
- Employees: 5,000+
- Offices: 60+
- Website: http://www.oliverwyman.com/
Oliver Wyman was founded in 1984 by a group of entrepreneurs. Two of its founders, Alex Oliver and Bill Wyman, were former partners from Booz Allen Hamilton. Today, Oliver Wyman is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan, a professional services firm with businesses in insurance brokerage, risk management, reinsurance, and investment advisory.
Oliver Wyman is a global consulting firm that has a strong presence in Europe and Asia. They are one of the fastest growing management consulting firms today.
While Oliver Wyman services almost all industries, they are best known for their expertise in the financial services sector. This includes areas such as finance and risk, retail and business banking, wealth and asset management, and insurance. The major types of projects Oliver Wyman does include strategy, actuarial, corporate finance and restructuring, risk management, pricing, sales, and marketing.
Oliver Wyman looks for employees that are driven, risky, and innovative. They value teamwork, mutual respect, and the exchange of ideas. Each new hire at Oliver Wyman is assigned an advisor and a mentor to foster professional development.
When working with clients, Oliver Wyman likes to work shoulder-to-shoulder with clients to make a greater impact together. Oliver Wyman has a high performance work culture with an emphasis on efficiency.
- Headquarters: Boston, MA
- Employees: 3,000+
- Offices: 50+
- Website: https://www.ey.com/en_us/strategy
Parthenon was originally founded by two ex-Bain consultants in 1991 as a specialty boutique strategy firm. In 2014, Ernst & Young acquired Parthenon to become EY-Parthenon. This was an important acquisition for EY to build out their management consulting practice since EY was primarily known as one of the Big Four accounting firms.
Today, EY-Parthenon consults for many of the world’s largest companies. The combination of Parthenon’s strategy expertise with EY’s global reach and implementation experience enables the firm to advise clients on a wide variety of problems.
EY-Parthenon does projects in almost every industry, including: consumer products, industrial products, education, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, oil and gas, private equity, media, and technology. They also do a lot of private equity work.
EY-Parthenon has an entrepreneurial, collegial, and transparent work culture. There is an emphasis on professional development through an intensive training program designed to get new hires ready to join projects as soon as possible.
Due to the firm’s large private equity practice, employees typically travel less at EY-Parthenon than at other consulting firms. This helps establish a tight-knit culture.
- Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland
- Employees: 506,000+
- Offices: 290+
- Website: https://www.accenture.com/us-en
While Accenture is primarily a technology consulting and integration firm, it does have a consulting practice. Accenture’s consulting practice is comprised of management consulting, IT consulting, and back office outsourcing.
Accenture’s management consulting group is further broken down into strategy, operations, and digital. The strategy group is known as Accenture Strategy and they are the ones that do the type of work most similar to the work that McKinsey, Bain, and BCG do.
Overall, Accenture has a large global presence and services most of the largest companies in the world.
Accenture consulting projects are typically more operations focused and are usually focused on efficiency, cost-cutting, and operations management. Other practice areas include: analytics, business process management, change management, sales, and customer service. Accenture services all industries.
Since Accenture is such a large organization, there is no single cohesive structure that you might see at other smaller professional services firms. However, Accenture consultants are typically well-rounded, outgoing, and collegial.
- Headquarters: Chicago, IL
- Employees: 3,500+
- Offices: 60+
- Website: https://www.kearney.com/
AT Kearney split from McKinsey in 1939. AT Kearney’s founder, Andrew Thomas Kearney, was the first partner that was hired by McKinsey. In 2020, AT Kearney rebranded itself as Kearney. Today, Kearney does a lot of sourcing, supply chain, and cost reduction projects.
Kearney is known as the best sourcing, procurement, and operations consulting firm in the world. However, they also do work in marketing and sales, mergers and acquisitions, organization and transformation, strategic IT, and strategy. Kearney works on consulting projects in nearly every industry.
Kearney has a collegial and hardworking culture. Employees are down to earth and willing to help each other out. The core values of the firm are collaboration and an entrepreneurial spirit. However, Kearney has a tough work life balance. Many consultants work very long hours each week due to a Sunday through Friday travel schedule.
8. Roland Berger
- Headquarters: Munich, Germany
- Employees: 2,700+
- Offices: 50+
- Website: https://www.rolandberger.com/
Roland Berger was founded in 1967 under the name Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. They became the largest consulting firm in Germany and quickly grew internationally. The firm’s partners rejected an acquisition offer from Deloitte in 2010 and an acquisition offer from EY in 2013.
In 2015, the firm rebranded its business, dropping “Strategy Consultants” from the company name. Today, the firm advises clients on management issues ranging from strategy to performance improvement.
Roland Berger’s practice areas include corporate development, corporate finance, information management, operations strategy, performance improvement, and strategy. The firm is best known for serving industrial clients, particularly the automobile industry and capital goods sector. However, they also work on projects in industries such as energy, chemicals, technology, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and transportation.
Roland Berger’s three fundamental values are entrepreneurship, excellence, and empathy. On Fridays, they host get-togethers to discuss business developments and exchange news. Each office has their own traditions, such as office lunches, after-work drinks, and having sports or cultural clubs.
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