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The third annual FT rating of the country’s leading management consultants is based on recommendations by their clients and peers. Compiled with Statista, the data company, it assesses consultancies’ work in 29 categories.
The results are based on two Statista surveys — one giving feedback from clients and the other of consultants evaluating their peers. Consultancies are awarded gold, silver and bronze ratings according to how often they are recommended (see methodology, after the tables). A total of 203 consultancies are listed this year, including 40 newcomers.
• Sectoral expertise
• Consulting services
Along with pure management consulting firms, IT consultancies, advisory branches of professional services firms (eg KPMG Advisory) and consultancy branches of technology companies (eg IBM Global Business Services) were all eligible for consideration.
The list of the awarded management consultancies is based on two surveys — one among peers (partners and executives from management consultancies) and one among clients of the consultancies. Both surveys were conducted online by Statista.
Building on last year’s methodology, the long list was expanded from just over 1,000 management consulting firms to more than 1,400 and used as a basis for this year’s survey among peers. To update the long list, Statista used recommendations from previous years and also the following sources: lists of associations (eg the Management Consultancies Association), consulting directories (eg Consultingcase101) and company databases (eg Orbis). The list of management consulting partners and executives was compiled through research conducted primarily on the firms’ websites. It was also possible to register for the survey on ft.com, which resulted in additional contacts for the sample. The sample size was extended to 5,100 partners and executives of management consultancies in the UK.
Invitations to the survey were sent in an email containing a personalised link. The field period ran from July 22 to August 30 2019.
As in previous years, 15 sectors and 14 consulting services were identified in which partners and executives could make recommendations. Respondents were also given the opportunity to mention which consultancies they would refrain from recommending.
An autocomplete function was offered to assist respondents in selecting management consultancies and they were also able to recommend any consultancy which did not appear on the list by entering its name.
The recommendations for the management consultancies in each sector and consulting service were then counted. An overall score was given to each company based on the number of positive and negative recommendations they received. Self-recommendations were excluded from the evaluation.
Following the survey of peers, an online survey was conducted among about 1,000 senior executives who have used the services of management consultancies. They were recruited through an online access panel. The field phase lasted from September 9 to August 30 2019.
Respondents were asked to indicate the sectors or consulting services in which they had collaborated with a management consultancy in the past four years. They were asked to recommend consultancies by using an autofill list or writing in names. Respondents were given a list of recommended consultancies for evaluation for each sector or service in which they have worked with a consultancy.
The quality of the management consultancies was surveyed using a five-point scale (very good to very poor). For the following classification the evaluations “very good”, “good” and “acceptable” were counted as recommendations (“very good” counted as one recommendation, “good” and “acceptable” were equated with lower weights). The evaluations “poor” and “very poor” counted against the consultancies in question (see below).
Reputation is typically established over several years and it is the aim of this report to reflect such longevity. Therefore last year’s results were also taken into account, but were given a low weighting in the evaluation process.
In each sector and consulting service the consultancies were sorted based on the number of recommendations (the sum of all recommendations for a consultancy, taking into account the reduction for negative ones). The groups were sorted into the classes below. These were based on the average number of recommendations per sector or consulting service as detailed here:
- Management consultancies that received recommendations from peers and clients well above the average were sorted into the gold class “very frequently recommended”. (The number of recommendations was at least two times larger than the average for each sector or service.)
- Management consultancies that received recommendations from peers and clients less frequently, but still clearly above average, were sorted into the silver class “frequently recommended”. (The number of recommendations was less than double, but more than the average of each sector or consulting service.)
- Management consultancies that still received a significant number of recommendations from peers and clients were sorted into the bronze class “recommended” within their industry or sector.
- Management consultancies with an insufficient number of recommendations were excluded.
The consultancies have been sorted alphabetically within each class.
The ranking is comprised exclusively of consultancies that have a sufficient number of recommendations; a mention is therefore positive and indicates a vote of confidence from the market. The ranking was created through a complex process. The quality of consultancies that are not included in the list is not disputed.
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