Top 10 Boutique Consulting Firms in US

In today’s world of consulting, you will find that not all firms are created equal. Some firms are very small and specialized, and others are massive and have their hands in every business sector imaginable. The smaller firms are often referred to as boutique consulting firms.

However, the term “boutique” is up for interpretation. Here’s the way we define “boutique” – any firm that’s not MBB or Big 4. Why? The MBB and Big 4 firms work across industries and functions. Almost every other firm has an industry or functional expertise it’s known for and usually offers fewer overall services.

Today, as we rank the top 10 boutique consulting firms in the U.S., we’re introducing another criteria. We’re ranking small to midsize firms (i.e., 500 employees or less).

The feel and atmosphere of a boutique consulting firm is also e quite different then working for a firm such as McKinsey, Deloitte, or BCG. Many boutique consulting firms don’t offer the same type of training and development programs. At some firms, career paths are less defined than at their bigger brethren.

In addition, because your small firm may not take on as many different types of projects, your learning opportunities may be more limited. However, your work/life balance will usually be more enjoyable, and you’ll become extremely proficient in the industry/function your firm focuses on.

There are quite a few top-notch boutique consulting firms across the country. Without further ado, here’s our list of the top 10 boutique consulting firms in the U.S.

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Top Boutique Consulting Firms

  1. Putnam Associates – Boston, Massachusetts

Putnam Associates is a specialist firm serving primarily in the healthcare sector. This includes strategy development for biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics, and related fields. Putnam has strong leadership and empowers its consultants to operate and succeed. Putnam’s clients are very diverse, from small start-ups to fortune 500 companies. Services for these companies includes market opportunity evaluations, portfolio prioritization, analytical services, and product development strategies.

  1. Insight Sourcing Group – Atlanta, Georgia

Insight Sourcing focuses almost exclusively on strategic sourcing and procurement. This boutique firm attracts highly skilled individuals that have worked at the likes of Accenture and Deloitte consulting firms. Insight’s clients are often in the private equity industry, and also Fortune 1000 companies looking to improve their sourcing and procurement performances. Insight Sourcing has been recognized as one of Americas fastest growing private company’s for eleven years in a row. This means there is room for career growth and development in the firm.

  1. Cornerstone Research – San Francisco, California

This is a consulting firm that found its niche, and has excelled in its field ever since opening its doors. Cornerstone Research works with attorneys on commercial litigation cases. The attorneys on these cases often times need expert consultants to help breakdown and understand complex economic or financial issues. This help might include finding high-quality expert witnesses, providing economic and financial analysis to attorneys, and conducting research and analysis. Sometimes the firm’s services will extend throughout the entirety of a case in court.

  1. The Bridgespan Group – Boston, Massachusetts

The Bridgespan Group is a consulting firm that works with nonprofit groups, NGO’s and philanthropy organizations. Primarily by providing strategy consulting and leadership development. This includes designing strategy and implementing plans and performance measures for multi-million-dollar donations. Clients also include the philanthropist donors themselves, who are looking to get the most out of their donations. This firm is led by a former Harvard Business School professor, and previous Bain & Company alumni. If you want to feel good about the consulting work you do, Bridgespan is the company for you.

  1. Darby Consulting – Houston, Texas

Darby Consulting is a boutique firm that specializes in information technology consulting. This includes IT project & portfolio management, systems design, and software/hardware deployment. Their focus is to plan and deliver new IT methods, designed specifically for each client to grow and maximize the value of their projects. Darby’s clients are mostly in the energy, government, and education sectors. The goals of Darby on project include reducing project backlog for clients, accelerating project completion, and reducing cost by time management.

  1. ClearView Healthcare Partners – Newton, Massachusetts

ClearView works exclusively in the life sciences industry. Working with clients in biotechnology, medical devices & diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals. This company was founded specifically to address this market, and have been leaders in life science consulting since. ClearView works with its clients to create actionable strategic insight into product planning, pricing & and market analysis, and marketing strategy. As a company, ClearView values and invests in employee development and leadership training. They teach foundational skills to succeed both at ClearView and beyond.

  1. Ignyte Group – Washington, DC

Ignyte is a boutique firm that specializes in management and digital experience consulting. This looks like combining consulting, and design to create a new digital experience for brands and the clients it serves. The services provided by Ignyte include digital transformation, branding & digital marketing, analytics & information management, and training & change management. Its clients are pretty diverse, covering all levels of government, healthcare, legal, startups, financial services, and more. Ignyte was recently named among the city’s best companies to work for, and was founded by previous Big Four consultants.

  1. Eagle Hill Consulting – Seattle, Washington

Eagle Hill is a smaller firm, but offers excellence in a pretty full range of services, tailored to clients needs. Its main sectors being financial services, public services, and life sciences. Some of its clients have included the Department of the Treasury, Department of Justice, NASA, and more. They were even brought on to provide change management and strategic communications during a merger of agencies under the umbrella of US Customs and Border Protection Agency. Eagle Hill prides themselves in being a community of consultants, rather then being a traditional agency.

  1. Clarkston Consulting – Durham, North Carolina

Clarkston is a business and technology consulting firm based in North Carolina. The main industries it focuses on is consumer products, retail, and life sciences. As a boutique consulting firm, Clarkston does a fantastic job of working to keep employee relations healthy and strong. They offer training opportunities both in class format, and on-the-job training. Clarkston’s services to clients include strategy & innovation consulting for sales and marketing, project and program management, and new system implementation.

  1. DayBlink Consulting – Vienna, Virginia

This boutique firm strives to provide key insights and resources to help its clients overcome challenges, and accelerate business growth. The services DayBlink provides include cybersecurity, finance effectiveness, performance improvement, and automation implementation. DayBlink works with clients across multiple platforms, including early stage startups, allowing employees a unique opportunity to work with and develop companies from the beginning.

Consider Working For a Boutique Firm

In just about every city you look at you can find boutique consulting firms. Sometimes these firms will focus on a specific industry, such as economic consulting or healthcare consulting. These boutique consulting firms can be great opportunities to develop an expertise in a specific sector. Our list of the top 10 boutique consulting firms in the US were some we wanted to highlight, but there are many world class firms that would categorize themselves as boutique. When deciding which firms to apply for, we recommend searching for a few boutique consulting firms in your city for consideration.

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