The best management consulting firms in India for graduates

16 July 2019 7 min. read

A new survey among of over 24,000 students in India has revealed the country’s best consulting firms for graduates. International household names in the world of strategy and management consulting dominate the list. 

Across students from all backgrounds – business, engineering, technology, natural sciences and humanities – the field of consulting is one of the most popular professions to work in, with over 1 out of 10 Indian students relishing a career in strategy or management consulting. The survey, conducted by employer branding agency, asked students from 120+ universities across India to identify the employers they most relish landing a job with after graduating. 

Analysis of the results – over 20,000 evaluations were collated – by shows that global groups such as McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group and the Big Four lead the way in the eyes of Indian students. Asked why they aim to venture into consulting, students pointed at a range of by now well-known features of consultancy. Students want to be intellectually challenged, have a diverse role and work with some of the brightest leaders and minds in India – all aspects which can be found in consulting by the very nature of the industry. 

Top consulting firms are also notorious for the steep learning curve they offer junior consultants, on the back of an extensive professional development programme coupled with on the job learning at high-impact projects. Indian students continue to recognise this feat of the consulting industry, with many highlighting professional training and inspiring leadership as a main reason for kick-starting their career in consulting.

Strategy consulting

In strategy consulting, McKinsey & Company is considered the best consulting firm to work for. The local organisation of the global strategic giant is led by Gautam Kumra, a Senior Partner based in the firm’s Gurugram office, and has a team of over 100 consultants across four offices (Bangalore, Chennai, Gurugram and Mumbai).

“We work with India's largest companies – helping several become global champions – and with smaller, dynamic ones looking to accelerate value creation. We partner with government leaders to help drive growth, create skills and jobs, and strengthen services such as education and health,” states McKinsey on its Indian website.

The best management consulting firms in India for graduates

In second, hot on the heels of McKinsey, comes Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The firm, founded in 1963 in the US, also has four offices in India, based in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi. The strategy consulting firm first started operations in India in 1995, after nearly a decade of work in the country. “In India, we work with clients in a variety of industries, including industrial goods, consumer goods, health care, financial services, technology, and communications – in the public and private sector, with local organisations and with multinational corporations,” said Alpesh Shah, Managing Director of BCG India. 

The third of the so-called ‘MBB’ group – Bain & Company, is earmarked as a top consulting firm to work for in two of the four student categories assessed in the research. The company, established in 1973 by former BCG partner William Bain, ranks as a top employer among business students and those studying natural sciences. Bain first touched down in India in 2006 and now has three offices – in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru – led by a group of 27 partners. 

“Since launching, we have worked with more than 125 clients, ranging from ambitious midsize players to industry leaders, including at least one of the top three players in all 13 of the country’s major industries. We also have a leadership position in private equity consulting in India, having reviewed the majority of large private equity deals that have come to the market,” commented Karan Singh, Managing Director of Bain’s Indian footprint. 

While there are several other leading strategy consulting firms active in India, including the likes of A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman, L.E.K. Consulting, Roland Berger and Strategy&, none of them managed to make the prestigious cut of India’s best management consulting firms for graduates. 

Best consulting firms in India for graduates

Management consulting

Alongside McKinsey, Deloitte and EY also received a mention from students of all backgrounds. EY in fact is regarded as the top consulting firm among business students, followed by Deloitte, while among engineering and technology students, Deloitte ranks second and EY fourth. Natural sciences graduates see Deloitte as their top employer of choice, ahead of McKinsey and EY, while those studying humanities, liberal arts or education view EY as the market leader, ahead of Deloitte.

The consultancy arms of Deloitte and EY focus on management consulting services, and cover all facets of the industry including the finance, human resources, operations, supply chain, sales & marketing, digital, outsourcing and mergers & acquisitions consulting segments. The two firms also have dedicated arms that serve the strategy consulting space – Deloitte has its Monitor Deloitte brand (launched after it acquired Monitor Group), and EY has EY-Parthenon (established after it bought The Parthenon Group).

Arch-rivals KPMG and PwC follow, with the prior structurally outranking its competitor in the three categories they are lauded in. KPMG scores notably high among business students, in third, and natural sciences students, also in third ahead of McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group. PwC’s presence in the consulting arena is served by two brands: PwC Advisory (management and digital consulting) and Strategy& (strategy consulting).

Other consultancies that in the eyes of Indian graduates belong the crème de la crème in the industry are Accenture, Capgemini and Grant Thornton. Accenture has over 470,000 employees globally, of which over 200,000 are based in India. The large majority of those work in the firm’s technology and business process outsourcing wings, however, Accenture also has a practice dedicated to consultancy work. Operating as Accenture Consulting and Accenture Strategy, the two units support clients with many of their most pressing organisational and digital challenges.

Similarly, French-origin IT services group Capgemini has a large presence in India, and the group also has a unit dedicated to management consulting offerings. Capgemini Invent was founded last year after Capgemini merged its Capgemini Consulting brand with several of its other creative consultancy brands, and today operates with over 6,000 consultants globally.

Grant Thornton is a global accounting and consulting firm. In India, the company has over 4,000 professional staff across 15 offices. Its consulting offerings spans the breadth of the industry, however the firm has a notably strong presence in finance consulting (finance operations, governance, risk & compliance) and financial advisory (corporate finance and forensic & investigation).