The best consulting firms for graduates in the Netherlands

08 July 2019 5 min. read

A survey of over 25,000 students in the Netherlands has identified the country’s top employers for graduates. Overall, large corporates such as Google, Heineken, KLM, Nike, Philips and Tesla lead the rankings among soon business and exact science students. Management consulting is one of the most popular sectors to launch a career in, with strategy consulting firms and the Big Four at the industry’s forefront. 

Results from the survey, held among students from all 13 large universities in the country, show that despite the growing mindset shift among millenials to idealism in jobs and purpose, the big names in industry remain the most attractive workplaces. Beer brewer Heineken enjoys its fourth consecutive year at the top of the list for business and economics students, while those graduating in the fields of engineering, information technology or natural sciences view automotive brand Tesla as their most desired place to kick start their career. 

With twelve entries in the top 100 graduate employers, management consulting is across the board seen as the top industry to venture in. This is by no means unique to the Netherlands, nor new, Universum, which conducted the study in the Netherlands, delivers similar surveys every year in over fifty countries, and over the years they have found a clear pattern. Strategy and management consulting is a preferred destination of choice for graduates, on the back of challenging work, the ability to work on high-impact and meaningful challenges, variety in projects and the intellectual prospect of working with the brightest minds around. 

Top consulting firms for business students

In the UK for instance, one-fifth of students surveyed last year said that their top priority is to land a job in the consulting industry. In the Netherlands, this percentage is even higher, at 22% pursuing a consultancy career last year and similarly this year.

Asked where they would ideally start their career, Deloitte comes out on top as the favourite employer for both business and exact science students. The firm has one of the largest consulting arms in the country, with over 1,000 consultants working for Deloitte Consulting, and consistently ranks as a top employer for young professionals. In a survey of young professionals with up to five years of experience released by Memory Group last year, Deloitte’s consulting division (Deloitte Consulting, Deloitte Digital, Monitor Deloitte) also came out on top.

Among engineering students, the globe’s two largest strategy consulting firms, McKinsey & Company and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), follow hot on the heels of the Big Four firm. McKinsey and BCG and notorious for providing starters one of the steepest learning curves around, allowing juniors to work on strategic projects that make the headlines while engaging with executives from companies across all sectors. Three other consultancies active in the strategic segment make the prestigious cut – Bain & Company (the third largest strategy consultancy in size, completing the so-called MBB trio); Strategy&, the strategy consultancy arm of PwC founded after the Big Four firm acquired Booz & Company; and Roland Berger, the largest strategy consultancy from European heritage. 

All five strategy consultancies have also been ranked among the Netherlands’ top 100 employers by business students, with BCG ranking ahead of arch-rival McKinsey and Strategy& edging out Bain & Company in third. Successfully landing a job in strategy consulting is however reserved only for the lucky few – top performing students that can demonstrate above average academic results and a CV plus achievements that stand out. According to an analysis by, only 1 in 250 graduates in the Netherlands that see consulting as their preferred first career move manage to find their dream job in strategy consulting.

Top consulting firms for exact science students

The remaining three of the Big Four – EY, KPMG and PwC – all rank highly in the list for business students and hold the top four spots from a consulting industry perspective. EY comes in second, KPMG third and PwC fourth – all four managed to improve their positions compared to last year and rank among the 30 employers overall, ahead of the likes of Microsoft, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Deutsche Bank, VodafoneZiggo and Siemens. Interestingly, the order of popularity for EY, KPMG and PwC is reversed for engineering students. 

Other consulting firms that in the eyes of the graduates belong to the cream of the crop of employers are BDO Advisory, the consulting wing of the globe’s fifth largest accounting firm BDO; Accenture, a consulting and technology giant with over 400,000 employees globally; and Capgemini, which provides its consultancy services through its Capgemini Invent division, which formed last year after the joining of forces of the firm’s consulting and creative arms. 

Meanwhile in France, a recent study commissioned by French newspaper Les Echos identified Kea & Partners, Deloitte and BearingPoint as the country’s top graduate employers in the consulting industry.