Management Consulting 2021

In early 2021, the consulting market is no different from the economy as a whole: it is shaped by the effects and uncertainties of the corona pandemic. Although the large consulting companies in particular have come through 2020 relatively well after a significant drop in orders in April and May (most of them are recording at least moderate sales growth compared to the previous year) the future market development is anything but certain. In addition to the challenges posed by the pandemic, geopolitical instability and far-reaching changes in the most important client industries – such as new mobility and powertrain concepts in the automotive industry or a possible new financial and banking crisis – are causing considerable uncertainty in the business of the consultants. In this environment, it is becoming increasingly important, but also increasingly difficult for their clients to form an opinion about the areas in which the specific strengths and weaknesses of individual consulting firms are located.

Since 1998, our studies have contributed to enhancing the transparency of the consulting market – practice-oriented, research-based and independent. In doing so, we can rely on a network of experienced board members and executives from major German companies. Their trust and willingness to support us with their assessments and evaluations is our greatest asset. It obliges us not only to conduct research using scientifically proven methods, but also and above all to be uncompromisingly independent of all actors and interest groups.

Please note: all our studies are published in German.

Content of the study

This year, we will once again be looking at the performance and competencies of Germany’s leading management consultants from a range of perspectives – from the perspective of a board member, a budget manager and a project manager, as well as from the special perspective of DAX30 companies.

Which consultant has the greatest expertise in the consulting fields of strategic planning, digital transformation, mergers & acquisitions, post-merger integration, organization and talent management, marketing and sales, innovation and growth, operations and performance, restructuring and transformation, and business technology? In addition, as a separate area of investigation, we have included a topic that has found an important place on the agenda of most consultants and consulting clients in the wake of the Corona pandemic: the design of global supply chains. In which of these areas do clients have the largest budgets? Which consultants are particularly present in which industries? Who has the greatest knowledge of the market, who has the greatest implementation competence? Who works best in a team, who has the best methodical, technical and analytical skills? Who has the most satisfied customers? Questions like these are answered in detail in the study. In clear charts and rankings, in which the best five consultants in each category are listed – because we want to show which consultants are rated particularly highly, but we don’t want to discredit anyone.

Take a look at the study (in German):

Who took part?

The study involved 1,063 managers from major German companies with an annual turnover of at least half a billion euros – including 203 managers from DAX30 companies. The data was collected in writing from May to November 2020 using a standardized questionnaire and supplemented by telephone and personal interviews. 250 respondents gathered their experience with consultants as board members or managing directors, 430 as budget managers and 337 as project managers.

Which consultants were examined?

In addition to the leading traditional management consultants – McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Oliver Wyman, Strategy&, Kearney, AlixPartners, Roland Berger and Simon, Kucher & Partners – the consulting divisions of the four major accountants PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG as well as the two most important IT consulting firms with significant business in management consulting, Accenture and Capgemini, were examined.

Conditions of purchase

The main volume of the study, in which the overall results, the special view of the DAX30 companies as well as the perspectives of board members, sponsors of consulting projects and project managers are presented on 1,042 pages, can be obtained from our institute. Supplementary volumes are also available for the four sectors financial services (175 pages), consumer goods and retail (175 pages), automotive (175 pages) and telecommunications, media, IT and high tech (174 pages). Please note that the industry volume cannot be obtained individually, but only in conjunction with the main volume of the study. The study is delivered in electronic form as a PDF file by e-mail.

If you are interested, please send an e-mail to studien(at)