Although they are smaller compared to MBB and Big 4, boutique firms still offer almost the same amount of salary to employees. Boutique firms can be pressured to close more projects and find new customers, so as a consultant, you are expected to do your best all the time. In contrast, boutique consultancies and independent entrepreneurs have lower overhead and resource costs, and are more agile and better adapted to customer needs. They also have a low percentage of employees who don't focus on the customer. Consultants in smaller companies tend to be more exposed to their respective partners and, therefore, tend to develop their skills more quickly and deeply, and are not restricted or isolated by layers of bureaucracy, as is the case with large consulting firms.
I ended up reconciling the two things thinking about working in consulting for a few years and then contributing my skills to the social sector. In boutique firms, especially fledgling ones, partners may feel that they have more to prove to their customers and may be more reluctant to give associates ownership or the same interaction with customers. When I talk to people interested in consulting, I encourage them not to limit themselves to those 10 or 15 firms and to also look at boutique firms.As a clarification, this is based solely on my own experience and is not an exhaustive guide for all the great consulting firms in history or for all the boutique firms in history. Large consulting firms not only have partners who constantly sell additional services, but they also have a whole sales team.
At the boutique firm, I loved being able to focus solely on growth strategy and marketing work in the education sector. In addition, these small boutiques lack many of the benefits that your friend is likely to associate with management consulting. Since these freelancers and independent consultants are often vetted and classified, this provides a unique level of quality control. Obviously, there are a lot of advantages when you work at a brand company, but it's not really the most important thing. Large consulting firms have generated trillions of dollars in “value” (based on revenue) over the past 10 years, but they will have to show that they can be agile, adopt modern workforce management tools, focus on execution as well as strategy, and not simply resort to the prestigious name that has led them until now.
Consequently, it may be time to review how different consulting services can be purchased when old models are under pressure and it seems that new models are coming. And while it may seem that there is no adequate infrastructure to hire and manage small consultancies, there are in fact an increasing number of platforms that can do just that. My experience as a formal mentor was more specific and personalized at the boutique, because the company was smaller. When considering whether or not smaller consulting firms offer more opportunities than larger ones, it's important to consider both sides of the equation. On one hand, larger firms provide more resources and stability while smaller firms offer more flexibility and exposure. However, both types of companies provide unique advantages that can help consultants develop their skills quickly and deeply.
Additionally, there are now platforms available that make it easier for small consultancies to be hired and managed.