Ok attempt 2 at demystifying partner comp:

This Q is going to spark some debate. Are the following ranges for average comp for partner with 2-3 YOE accurate? (Not meant to diminish any firms!)

Group 1 - MBB, Tier 2 - Kearney, LEK etc, “deep specialists” - ZS, OW etc: $750k - $1.5M
Group 2: B4, “broad specialists” - Navigant, W. Monroe etc: $400-600K
Group 3: Regional - North Highland, Point B etc: $250-400K

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OP - ZS new partner comp is close to $450K and B4 (PwC and Deloitte for sure) first year comp is $550K+. I interviewed three BCG partners (2-3 years as a Partner) in last 6 months and all of them make less than $1M. So I don’t believe your numbers are accurate

likefunny

When you say partner do you mean non-equity partner or equity partner?

Why do you give a damn? Being a partner in a firm means you’re an owner (ok, except for Accenture, IBM, etc where you’re just an exec). Being an owner means something. I’m a partner in a Big 4. Could I be a partner in an MBB firm. Almost assuredly. Could I be a partner in a “tier 3” firm? I would hope so. But, I’m a partner in my firm. My comp is based on how much I contribute to my firm in the construct of our partnership. Want to be a partner? Act like one. Want to maximize income, go work for a crypto hedge fund.

funnylikesmart

That isn’t a terribly compelling answer - if you control the Comp of your firm it is, but just because you are an owner doesn’t mean you are fairly compensated for your individual contributions (and that could certainly cut both ways)

Consulting is hard work, so all else equal I think people would like to be owners of a firm that has a model that will reward them

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1. Clearly you're not a partner in the sense that I think most of us think of it in this bowl

likefunny

What I have gathered thus far:
- Us partners are the same as football players, athletes and Gods
- There’s NO way to classify firms or comp
- I MUST NOT be a partner for asking such a stupid Q

likesmartfunny

I disagree with most comments that you can’t group. You absolutely can. You just need to widen your ranges and there will be a ton of overlap.

You could also do your exercise using mean and median comp—if you could ever get that data. I don’t even know it for my own firm, although I could find it if I really wanted.

One other blurry line is some firms use the title Partner for non-equity holders.

For MBB, Kearney, S&, range starts probably a little lower. Goes much higher. Mean will he higher at MBB compared to others in many/most years. Big 4, I hear starts lower, mean is lower, but there are many levels, and if at top of pyramid on a good year, you can make more than many/ most of above tier.

likehelpful

Ok thanks OW1, how would you group?

To put a finer point on it, Accenture MDs are also “owners” in a sense, in that we have equity holding requirements that scale up with our levels within MD, and as a multiple of base comp. So I don’t have units in an LLP, but I am required to accumulate stock shares and RSUs, and am not supposed to liquidate shares that would drop me beneath that multiple of my base.

My TC is probably around 800k, maybe 900k depending on stock price fluctuations and bonus, so that’s in the same ballpark as most B4 partners I know.

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Understood and thanks A1

Group 3 is accurate

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Thank you P1, that is helpful. Would you say the comp range is “in range”?

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OP - I would suggest you restructure your segments to better align to how firms are perceived. These are:
Tier 1 - MBB
Tier 2 - Big 4 and potentially Accenture
Tier 3 - Mid sized firms, regionals and specialists.
Tier 4 - boutiques and specialized. One can debate that the comp in this segment can vary from low to big firm comparable.

I’m at a regional boutique, 2 yoe. TC $500k, Base $200k, Bonus $300k. I have sales and MR targets.

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MD2 - thank you...so you mind providing a couple examples of T3 vs T4 in your classification? T3 like Kearney / LEK / ZS and T4 like North Highland / Point B?

If so, is your T2 higher than T3 after factoring in “leverage” / equity / pension?

I don’t want to say “perception” but isn’t partner comp higher at Kearney / LEK / OW compared to B4? I’m not thinking of acquired practices like Booz and Parthenon here obviosulyv

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No.

2. You're way off for many reasons

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3. Since you have access to this bowl, I would suggest that you read the available threads in this bowl

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Sounds to me like we are saying - consulting companies and partners are such unique animals that there is no way to group them or “typify” compensation...we are so unique etc...correct?

If not, why not suggest the “right” grouping and comp ranges?

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Thank you P1, very helpful and constructive

OP asked a pretty specific question about people with 2-3 YOE. Yes I am sure equity partner Comp varies a ton, but does it really vary that much in the first couple years? I doubt it. Ours certainly doesn’t and is in a pretty tight range at the beginning and then the distribution broadens from there. McKinsey is the same and with the Big 4 pensions I have to think the first couple years at big 4 start to look pretty similar - so I suspect a lot of the “Ranges are enormous this isn’t a good question” is just someone thinking about the range of a 25 year rain maker senior partner vs a first year and saying they aren’t comparable.

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Thank you BCG1 and P1 for helping narrow this down...btw not that many cuts P1:
- I did specify 2-3 YOE
- I did NOT specify advisory-only but implicitly assumed that would be the case when comparing again the peer group (my bad)
- I agree with BCG1’s descriptor of “in-year economic value” to make things comparable

MD1, I don’t think so. Why not just say what you have on your mind? Which group are you incidentally?

Ok so the answer is you can’t group firms?

No wrong

Anything *constructive* would be helpful, not just to me, but to the partner community at large...yes go back and read all the posts in this bowl

Actually, it’s more like athlete. Not even football.

likehelpful

Thank you MD2, very helpful! You wouldn’t put companies like Kearney and LEK as one tier below MBB?

Gotcha

Kearney and LEK leverage model isn’t great - do they make less than B4 partners?

Incorrect. Kearney and LEKs categories make more in almost all instances. Minimums, averages and likely but perhaps not on maximums. More difficult to know the ceilings.

This is a good thread albeit a bit of a touchy subject for many, apparently

Yep, a “bit” touchy 🤣

funny

Very hard to compare “comp” without accounting for pension and stock options. Very different forms across firms. I believe - but would love to be confirmed that total annual comp at MBB is probably highest relative to B4 and Accenture but the value creation gap is significantly narrowed (and possibly even surpassed, frankly) if you account for value of a post retirement pension. At some B4 firms this can be a lifetime annuity at a meaningful proportion of your highest earning years. And given Accenture’s stock price appreciation, options in any given year have grown significantly. As far as I know, MBB is mainly in year comp only so while it is higher, it’s not like for like entirely. It’s a choice - more today and save yourself or future value tied to the performance of whatever partnership you’re at.

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