The top consulting firms in Poland for young professionals

22 July 2019 8 min. read

A survey of more than 18,000 students in Poland, studying at 50-plus Polish universities, has identified the country’s most in-demand management consulting firms. In the eyes of students and graduates, the globe’s largest accounting and consulting firms and the world’s largest strategic consultancies are the most attractive places to start their consulting career.

With an estimated 500,000 students yearly enrolled in one of the country’s 400-plus university-level schools, Poland houses Europe’s fourth largest higher education talent pool, after the UK, Germany and France. Analysis on the preferences of Poland’s student population, based on data sourced from graduate employer research agency Universum, shows that around 8% – 40,000 students – relish kick-starting their career in the consulting industry, spanning fields such as strategy consulting, management consulting or digital consulting. 

Their interest in consulting is not new. All over the world, graduates laud working in the consulting industry for a number of advantages, including the prospects of working on impactful and meaningful work, the variety of projects across industries and functions, the steep learning curve due to the short-term nature of advisory engagements, working with many of the brightest minds out there, the quality of leadership, and the good future career prospects. 

In Poland, the feedback is no different. The survey was held across students and graduates from over fifty of the country’s top universities, including Jagiellonian University, University of Warsaw, Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan, Lodz University of Technology, Nicolas Copernicus University, Cracow University of Technology, University of Gdansk, University of Lodz, University of Silesia in Katowice, University of Wroclaw and AGH University of Science & Technology. The top consulting firms in Poland for young professionals

Accounting and consulting

Overall, Deloitte is regarded as the top consulting employer of choice by graduates. The firm – one of the so-called Big Four accounting and consulting firms – has around 2,500 professionals in the country, providing a wide range of services across audit, assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting. The firm’s consulting arm consists of three labels: Deloitte Consulting (the overarching brand), and two subsidiaries: Deloitte Digital (the digital and creative unit) and Monitor Deloitte (the firm’s strategy consulting arm).

Hot on the heels of Deloitte are its three most well-known rivals, although in the perception of Polish students, EY and PwC edge out KPMG. EY and PwC rank second and third among business and law students, behind Deloitte. Among IT and natural sciences students however, PwC ranks ahead of EY, with both again trailing Deloitte. For both business and law students, KPMG is Poland’s fourth placed top employer. 

With over 4,700 staff across eight regional offices in Poland – in Warsaw, Lodz, Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw, Katowice, Krakow and Rzeszow – and three specialised service delivery centres, PwC is the largest of the Big Four in Poland. EY is of the roughly similar size to that of Deloitte, while KPMG has approximately 1,800 staff.

In terms of popularity, the quartet are followed by two of their larger global counterparts: Grant Thornton and BDO. Grant Thornton has been active in Poland since 1993, providing audit, advisory and outsourcing services to more than 1,500 clients annually. The firm has 550 people in seven offices across the country. BDO was quicker to enter the Polish professional services market, in 1991, but is slightly smaller with 350 professionals across four offices in Katowice, Kraków, Poznań and Wrocław.

Strategy consulting

Students who seek to work in the industry’s top segment often eye working in strategy consulting, and in this segment the globe’s three largest players of McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company (collectively known as the ‘MBB’) stand out among the Polish survey respondents.

McKinsey & Company ranks as the highest of the trio, owing much to its prestige and the quality of its projects portfolio – internationally, the company works for 90 out of 100 largest corporations and 29 of the 34 governments of OECD countries. The strategy consultancy established a presence in Poland in 1993, and has since grown to a team of 1,350 professionals, including 16 partners, 150 consultants and 200 industry analysts. The firm’s head office is in Poland’s capital city Warsaw, while McKinsey also has offices in Wrocław (a Knowledge Center) and Poznań (a Shared Service Center for the EMEA region).

Arch rival Boston Consulting Group is the country’s second most attractive strategy consulting firm to work for. After touching down in Warsaw in 1997, BCG Poland currently has a team of around 150 partners, consultants and staff. The firm’s office is based in Zebra Tower, in the heart of the city in one of Warsaw’s most prestigious office buildings. BCG also has two subsidiaries active in Poland: BCG Platinion, its IT implementation arm, and BCG Gamma, its advanced analytics wing which launched in the summer of 2018. 

Bain & Company was the last of the global strategic consultancies to make a foray into Poland, in 2012, and is also based in Warsaw. Alongside serving Polish clients in the private and public sector, as well as private equity clients, Bain’s Warsaw hub is its head office for the Central Eastern Europe (CEE) region – a consulting market estimated to be worth over €1.4 billion. 

Other top consulting firms

The list of Poland’s top consulting firms includes four other consultancies, each with a strong heritage in IT services. Capgemini ranks eighth overall, behind the Big Four and the MBBs. The French-origin IT services company has 180,000 professionals in over 40 countries globally, while in Poland, the company has around 6,500 colleagues across offices in Warszawa, Kraków, Katowice, Opole, Wrocław and Poznań. Its consulting services are offered by its Capgemini Invent arm, which launched last year following the merger between Capgemini Consulting and several of its creative arms.

French rival Atos also ranks on the list. The company has been doing business in Poland since 2000, and now has nearly 5,000 people in nine cities. Globally, Atos has 110,000 people in 73 countries. Its consulting subsidiary, Atos Consulting, supports clients with a range of management consulting, digital consulting and technology services.

The final two companies that landed in Poland’s prestigious top consulting employers list are American-origin giants Accenture and IBM. Accenture is the largest IT services and consulting company in the world, with around 460,000 employees in over 120 countries. Its Polish organisation employs over 6,000 employees in Warsaw, Krakow, Łódź, Wrocław and Katowice. IBM has a background in software, but made its entry in the consulting world back in 2002 when it acquired PricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting arm for an estimated $3.5 billion.

Other leading global consulting firms that have an on-the-ground operation in Poland include A.T. Kearney, Capco (office launched in 2017), L.E.K. Consulting, OC&C Strategy Consultants, JP Weber and Oliver Wyman.