The approaches used by strategy consultants – also known as management consultants – are advanced versions of those taught in business schools: data-driven analysis with some degree of attention given to the non-quantifiable human factor. The goal is the standardization of best practices within client companies, drawing also on insights gained from other clients.
The management consulting sector has grown dramatically since the 1930s, when the Glass-Steagall Banking Act was passed, limiting affiliations between commercial banks and securities firms. Management consulting grew out of the demand for advice on finance, strategy and organization. In 1980, only five consulting companies existed, and each had 1,000 consultants worldwide. By the 1990s, however, more than thirty firms entered the market each with at least 1,000 management consultants.
In 1993, McKinsey had 151 directors. This figure dramatically increased to 400 by 2009. From 1993 to 2004, McKinsey revenues more than doubled with 20 new offices and twice as many employees. McKinsey grew from 2,900 to 7,000 consultants scattered across 82 offices in more than 40 countries. In 1963, Boston Consulting Group had two consultants. By 1970 1980, 1990, 2000 BCG had 100, 249, 676, 2370 and 4800 consultants on its payroll respectively.