Study: “Big Three” 2009 MBAs

We examined a sampling of 350+ 2009 MBAs * who went directly into one of the “Big Three” management consulting firms (Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey & Company) after business school with one overarching question: “Where are they now?” Read on for what we found regarding how many of these consultants left consulting, the tenure at which they left, and their current industry / company landscape.

1. First, what percentage of consultants transitioned to industry roles versus stayed in management consulting?

first-graph mbas

Mirroring our findings on the 2006 MBA class, approximately two-thirds of top-three consultants from the 2009 MBA class have moved on to industry roles. With a maximum of seven years of consulting experience, these consultants left their firms at the pre-Partner level.

2. For the 64% of 2009 MBAs who left management consulting, when did they leave?

number of years spent in consulting post mbas

The majority of these consultants left consulting for industry jobs anywhere between two and four years, post-MBA. With two to four years of consulting experience under their belt, our study shows that the most popular time to transition from consulting is prior to stepping into a Principal/Manager/Associate Principal role.

3. Of these consultants that transitioned into industry roles, what industries did they go into?


With a diverse industry landscape, the technology & media, manufacturing, and financial services industries comprise nearly half of where consultants went post-consulting. With only 23% of consultants from the 2006 MBA class stepping into the tech & media space post-consulting, the tech & media industries are in clear demand for consulting talent.

4. If consultants did go into industry, how many companies have they worked at since their transition?


The majority of the 2009 MBA consulting pool has worked at just one non-management consulting firm after leaving their respective big three consulting firm.


Having gone into McKinsey, Bain, or BCG from business school in 2009, the consultants we followed showed some consistency and some divergence from the 2006 MBA class.

With a third of consultants consistently remaining with their firms, those who remain are in it for the long-haul, with 7 years of post-MBA experience placing them at the Partner level. Of those consultants who transitioned into an industry role, the 2009 MBA class also shows consistency in flight for Big Three consultants, with the majority leaving their firms at the pre-Principal/Manager/Associate Principal level.

For the industry landscape, changes are certainly underway, with an increasing portion of consulting talent flocking towards the tech & media industries. With a wealth of opportunities arising in tech startups, virtual reality, self-driving cars, and more, the tech & media space has emerged has a compelling landing spot for many consultants looking to leave their firms. In addition, our findings suggest that consultants are on the move in more ways than one, as nearly a third of those who transitioned to industry have occupied roles at three or more companies since their initial transition from a big three firm.

With some patterns prevailing and others shifting, it will be interesting to see how these breakdowns compare for future MBA classes of big three managements consultants.

*Raines International’s information about the moves of 2009 MBAs was gathered from our internal database and confirmed through online resources (LinkedIn, etc.) as of September 2016.