Whether business is booming or down, management consulting firms remain in high demand all over the world. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global market for management consulting services will reach more than $800 billion by 2031, nearly tripling to $300 billion in 2021.

In many industries, consulting firms are used to assist companies with projects such as drawing a dynamic approach to risk management, modernizing digital tools, and improving cost efficiency.

“Companies are realizing they need outside help, and now more than ever they seem to need it as they grapple with grand ambitions post-pandemic,” says Fiona Czerniawska, chief executive of Source Global Research, a London-based firm. that provide advice to consulting and professional services firms.

During the pandemic, Cherniewska says, expectations have changed, inspiring executives to think more expansively. However, many companies were unable to achieve their vision due to economic instability, as well as the difficulty in retaining and hiring employees with the required skills.

Enter: management consulting firms. and with them, ForbesNew listing for the best in the industry.

To compile our second annual ranking of the world’s best management consulting firms, Forbes It partnered with market research firm Statista to conduct online surveys of both clients and CEOs of consulting firms, who were asked to rate companies around the world for their services in specific industries (such as pharmaceuticals and retail) as well as areas of functional consulting (such as analytics). data and operations management). Companies with the top 10% of recommendations received a five-star rating; Others who receive a high number of recommendations have four or three stars. The final list highlights 229 companies on four continents.

For the second year in a row, McKinsey & Company received top recommendations, earning 5-star ratings in all 27 categories. Also similar to last year, Accenture, Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were awarded Stars in all 27 categories (specifically 4 and 5 star ratings except for Bain which has 2 3 ratings). star ratings). And as it climbed the rankings this year, EY also earned stars in all categories.

All of the top-ranked consulting firms are large organizations, which Czerniawska says is not surprising: “Partly because most consultancies are bought by large firms of size and complexity, which means they need to work with large consulting firms.”

Along with the ability to scale, the larger firms have also adopted a strategy long employed by niche firms: offering clients deeply experienced consultants, often with hands-on experience in the specific industries they cover. “The specialist’s day is over,” says Cherniawska. “Most large companies aspire to be multidisciplinary in multidisciplinary companies with a lot of people, each an expert in one field.”

When a company is looking for a major turnaround, Dan Helfrich, US Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting, says, “It requires a combination of strategy, cutting-edge technology and deep sector or domain expertise — some people would call it multidisciplinarity.”

Consulting firms are increasingly sought after in two key areas of growth: sustainability and digital advancement. Such is the case at Germany-based Roland Berger, which has received stars in 25 out of 27 categories. Forbes evaluated. “Each consultant in our firm chooses a specialization from day one – and to date, more than a third of our consultants specialize in selected sustainability issues,” says Stefan Schiebel, Global Managing Partner at Roland Berger.

Then, of course, there is artificial intelligence. Karl Karandi, global head of consulting at KPMG International and vice president of consulting in the US, says his company began developing capabilities in this area a decade ago. “Recognizing the adoption of high-quality data and an efficient, modern cloud architecture to truly harness the benefits of AI, we’ve made significant investments in our customer offerings across AI, data, analytics, and the cloud,” Karandi says.

In doing so, KPMG made the Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) tool available to its advisors, providing company-wide education on how to use the technology safely, responsibly, and effectively. “Generative AI, automation, and other data and analytics technologies free our professionals time to focus on providing valuable insights,” Karandi says.

Similarly, at Accenture, most of the company’s strategies are now centered around “technology, data and artificial intelligence”, says Jacques Azagury, chief executive of Accenture’s strategy and advisory group. Both advisors and clients plan to work with these tools in the future. “There isn’t a single discussion with the client that doesn’t include talent shortages, reskilling, and skill shifting towards digital,” he says.

PwC also prioritizes the growth of the AI ​​framework it has been developing for clients for nearly 10 years, says Muhammed Kandi, head of global consulting at PwC and co-leader of US Consulting Solutions. And last spring, PricewaterhouseCoopers announced a $1 billion investment over the next three years to expand its GenAI capabilities.

The next challenge for consulting firms is to integrate people’s skills with their technology.

“You can’t buy strategy with AI,” says Cherniewska. “AI can summarize some data for you very well, but do they know what to do with that? No, of course they won’t.” And could they explain that to the board and then help turn the business around? no.”

For major consulting firms, their employees remain their most valuable asset.

For the full list of the best management consulting firms in the world, click here.


To compile this year’s list of the best management consulting firms in the world, Forbes It partnered with market research firm Statista on massive online surveys of both clients and CEOs at consulting firms in 40 countries, including the US, Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Brazil and Japan.

Firms were evaluated for their performance in specific industries (such as banking, consumer goods, and healthcare) as well as areas of functional consulting (such as mergers and acquisitions, sales, risk, and compliance). The companies with the most recommendations were rated on three levels: five stars for “highly recommended”, four stars for “highly recommended”, and three stars for “recommended”. The final list highlights 229 companies on four continents.

As with all Forbes Listings and companies do not pay any fees to participate. For questions about this list, please contact listdesk (at) forbes.com.

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