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Is consulting actually that lucrative? I feel like my friends around me in fields like sales and commercial real estate make a killing. I’m currently 24 - is this something that catches up in the long run / exit ops?

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To caveat, I am a big believer that you can make a ton of money in almost any field if you’re good. But I’d offer two unique and highly relevant points for consulting: 1. Low Risk: to clarify, I do NOT mean “you can be a partner and make a ton of money.” This is very difficult. What I mean is you have a skill set that can transfer to any industry and most positions. Other paths will typically pigeonhole long term. 2. Early wealth: at MBB a 24-25 year old can potentially clear $200k. In a medium CoL city this is wealthy. 99% of the jobs that you point to where someone is making a ton of money in a cush setting was probably paying pennies through the early years. There’s something to be said for being able to do whatever you want in your 20s and put away a lot of money early.

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People who talk about how low consulting pay is are typically people who are so out of touch with reality that they might as well be in space. Usually I hear this from Ivy League / top tier education people who have a group of friends that all disperse to PE, hedge funds, and faang software development. In 2018, 3.5/1000 Americans who filed their taxes had an AGI over $1M, which is where you can get by being a partner at most firms. Even below the partner level, you are at similar percentiles for your age group for almost every level at a reputable consulting firm. Yes, consulting is not the single highest paying profession out there but it is high enough that no one should give a shit anymore. If you are happy enough being a consultant then do it, if you would be happier doing something else than do that. But calling consulting pay bad because “consulting caps out at 3-5M instead of xxx industry where you can cap out at $10m!!!” just screams lack of self awareness and context in the world.

likeuplifting

I just think consultants need a more diverse back ground. I enlisted out of high, ain't none of those guys making $100k/year and they have a lot harder job. I also got a bioscience ph.d and did an post-doc. I haven't met very many consultants that were smarter or harder working than my peers as a grad student. I paid 2x as I made as a post-doc in taxes this year. Consultants aren't exceptional talented or hard working. They get paid quit well. Enjoy it.

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Do they really, my experience with 20 somethings is that they all inflate their salaries as hey think money is what measures success

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On a risk adjusted basis, making partner at a consulting firm remains one of the highest earning careers that exists. Lots of folks make more than I ever will, as investors or entrepreneurs or C-suite executives (or heck, professional athletes or movie stars). But the chances of getting there are slimmer on other paths. Consider: of the ~55 folks in my starting class at BCG 10 years ago, 6 of them are equity partners at BCG and 3 (including me) left for equity partner roles at other firms. That’s what, 15%? How many other careers offer a 15% chance at a million dollar a year paycheck?

likesmarthelpful

I’m happily married with a happy family... much more so, actually, than some of my peers who left to industry and then had to move every 3-5 years.

likesmart

No if you’re a high performer. Consulting is great for the 50th-85th percentile because they can make a lot without being exceptional. If you’re in the top echelon of any other field you can make way more. Consulting is really just risk aversion to the extreme. The fact that you’re capped out at low millions (if you even reach that) sucks compared to other fields where your upside can be many times that.

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Small biz. Just jumped to a small industrial real estate investment/development shop and I ran the bonus calcs this year and the MPs pulled in nearly 10m each. Doesn’t take a huge sexy ship to pull in the big $s

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Consulting is a great path for the very bright. Assuming you can perform and the stars align, you can reach the Partner level and get the $1M+ annual comp. I did it, twice, so honestly any of you can. For the truly exceptional, and/or adventurous - the pre money startup is the way to go. Working for very low comp but significant equity upside can produce mind boggling results - if it works. That’s where I am now. No guarantees, but even given our current Series A valuation if we punched our tickets right now it would have taken my 50 years to make this kind of money as a consulting Partner.

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MBB is pretty lucrative, especially for the education and skills required. At other firms partners also make a killing but it’s grueling getting there. Non-MBB at the Analyst-Consultant-Manager levels isn’t really that lucrative compared to other roles in corporate. Real estate and sales is very uncertain. Some can make a killing but not many

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At McK, if you're a top performer, you can go from BA to Partner in 11-13 years. If you're the average BA graduating at 21, you're a partner earning $1M+ annually in your early thirties with no risk of personal capital. Sounds like a good deal to me

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MK2 - Jeff Skilling?

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Depends what you want to pivot towards. Do you want to gain exp and start your own consulting practice, do you want to pivot to industry, or do you want to stay and work towards partner? There are lots of roads to being super wealthy, just figure out what kind of career role you want to have and map it out.

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Software engineering pays more for half the hours worked until partner for consulting

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Sadly you aren’t the only one putting in 80 a week. Lots of my friends do similar hours. But personally, 30 is nice 🥰

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My perception is that consulting is really underpaid compared to private equity for a similar WLB? But this is just based on friends at lower levels in Europe. How does this look at partner levels? 

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