Clarkston Consulting

firm profile

Clarkston Consulting is unique in its focus on three specific industries: life sciences, consumer products, and retail. Still, it provides a wide range of solutions cutting across management, operations, and implementation consulting.

In this in-depth Firm Profile, we’ll dive into the inner workings of Clarkston Consulting as it relates to careers, culture, salary, interviews, and much more. You’ll build some deep knowledge about the company and why it is different from the million other boutique firms out there.

Clarkston Consulting

Table of Contents:

  1. Clarkston Consulting Key Stats
  2. Clarkston Consulting History
  3. Clarkston Consulting Careers
  4. Clarkston Consulting Practice Areas
  5. Clarkston Consulting Industries
  6. Clarkston Consulting Office Locations
  7. Clarkston Consulting Career Path
  8. Exit Opportunities
  9. Clarkston Consulting Culture
  10. Clarkston Consulting Internship
  11. Clarkston Consulting Interview
  12. Clarkston Consulting Salary
  13. Target Schools

Clarkston Consulting Key Stats

  • Clarkston Consulting Website:
  • Clarkston Consulting Headquarters: Durham, NC
  • Clarkston Consulting Number of Employees: ~300 employees
  • Clarkston Consulting Number of Locations: 5
  • Clarkston Consulting Chief Executive: Tom Finegan
  • Clarkston Consulting Revenue: ~$50M

Clarkston Consulting History

Clarkston Consulting’s story began in 1991 when it was founded by current CEO, Tom Finegan, Neil Nelson – an active Board of Directors member and former President of the company, and Jim Stefan, current Group Treasurer on the Board of Directors.

In 2016, Paul Garrison, former Global Managing Partner, was named President of Clarkston, succeeding Neil Nelson. For the past 15 years, the company has maintained a laser-like focus on life science, retail, and consumer products, and prides itself on a 20-year track record of success, citing a net promoter score of 89% and client satisfaction score of 97%.

Clarkston Consulting Careers

Clarkston Strategy Consultants LLC believes that passion and expertise are necessary to solve complex problems for clients. Clarkston Consulting careers offer a broad range of possibilities and are available to students looking for internships and experienced professionals looking to lateral into consulting later in life.

The firm thinks of employees as stewards, expecting a commitment to self-improvement and wellbeing as well as genuine care for clients. Positions at Clarkston include traditional consulting roles, data analytics opportunities, as well as technical development and integration and management jobs. Openings can be found at all 5 US locations; find the right fit for you on the firm’s extensive job search webpage.

Clarkston Consulting Practice Areas

Clarkston Consulting executes management, operations, and implementation consulting projects within the life science, retail, and consumer products sectors. Beware: the work at Clarkson is more technical in nature, and covers digital, IT and SAP, data and analytics, quality and compliance, sales and marketing and supply chain solutions.

Here is a full list of the services that Clarkston provides:

    • Managed services for key IT applications
    • Data and analytics consulting
    • Digital consulting
    • IT and SAP consulting
    • Management consulting
    • People and change
    • Program and project management
    • Sales and marketing consulting
    • Supply chain

Clarkston Consulting Industries

As already stated, Clarkston Consulting focuses exclusively on the life sciences, retail, and consumer products industries. This means a few things:

    1. The firm boasts expertise in these sectors that it leverages to solve unique problems across the value chain
    2. You know exactly which types of clients you’ll be supporting at Clarkston
    3. You’ll become branded as a life sciences, retail, or CPG specialist by working at Clarkston – this can be a positive or a negative depending on your future career goals

Within these industries, Clarkston does offer a wide range of services, ranging from strategy, HR, sales & marketing, and technology consulting. So while you’ll play within three industries, the sandbox is still quite large when it comes to the types of projects you may be staffed on.

Clarkston Consulting Office Locations

Clarkston Consulting office locations are all in the United States, predominantly in the eastern and southern parts of the country. The firm’s headquarters are in Durham, North Carolina. The remaining 4 offices are in Atlanta, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; Bridgewater, New Jersey; and Roanoke, Virginia. Some remote positions are available for consultants and project managers.

Clarkston Consulting Career Path

The Clarkston Consulting career path may start as early as students’ sophomore or junior year through the Clarkston internship program. Interns work with cohorts and can interact with both stewards and clients. The internship program is designed to give students a clear understanding of the role of a consultant and lock in top talent early for the firm.

Recent college graduates may come to Clarkston as part of the Associate Bootcamp, an intensive program that teaches new hires about Clarkston’s culture, industries, service areas, and technology. Through the Associate Bootcamp cohort experience, new consultants are ready to hit the ground running on their first project.

Professionals who come to Clarkston Consulting with experience and expertise can build on this knowledge and gain an in-depth understanding of the firm through the firm’s Clarkston Academy program before joining the firm in a senior consultant or project management role.

Exit Opportunities

The exit opportunities for folks at Clarkston are at once wide and narrow. What do we mean? You’re most likely to exit into a management or leadership role at a client company, all of whom are in one of three industries.

However, because of the variety of projects conducted at Clarkston, you do also have an opportunity to become a functional expert and exit into a specific functional role regardless of industry. This will, however, require more networking on your part.

Of course, consultants at Clarkston also leave for further education, with the most likely path for these folks being an MBA program.

Notable Alumni

While Tom Finegan has not yet joined the ranks of the firm’s notable alumni (he still leads the firm!), his accomplishments that extend beyond Clarkston are worth noting. In 2021, he authored the book Amplifiers, which shines a light on the skills and mindset needed to truly lead, effect change, and work collaboratively to influence an industry.

He’s been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and a 40 under 40 leader. Finegan has also extended his influence beyond Clarkston, serving as chairman at FoodLogiQ LLC, as a board member for National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Research Triangle Chapter, and a member of the Board of Directors at Momentum.

Clarkston Consulting Culture

The Clarkston Consulting culture is grounded in continuous growth, a blend of leadership and teamwork, and an emphasis on making an impact. The culture is evident in the firm’s standing among the top 100 healthiest workplaces in America in 2019.

Twice a year, the firm chooses a unique location where employees can gather and build relationships. Team members cite a familial culture and a place where people genuinely enjoy who they work with. The firm has several folks who’ve been at the firm for years, which is a relative rarity in consulting and speaks volumes to the culture.

Travel at Clarkston is typical for consulting. The firm requires employees to be able to travel on a “5-4-3” travel schedule. This means 5 days of work (M-F), 4 days at the client site (M-Th), and 3 nights away from home. Of course, travel is dependent on the client, so can be unpredictable. Hours are long (~50-60 each week), but this is typical for consulting. Employees say that management is flexible when it comes to requests for time off and accommodates special requests as much as possible.

Consultants are not required to live near a Clarkston office if they are close to a major airport. There are obvious benefits to working from an office – community, sense of belonging, etc. – but this is no doubt a pro of working for Clarkston.

The firm has a phenomenal wellness program that includes events and programs designed to provide support for employees’ overall health – physical, mental, financial, etc. In addition, the firm has a comprehensive benefits program and overall rewards package.

The firm lists 10 core values as the basis of Clarkston’s culture:

  1. Brilliant client service
  2. Business focus
  3. Differentiated performance
  4. Diversity
  5. Entrepreneurial spirit
  6. Ethics and integrity
  7. Flexibility and adaptability
  8. Professionalism
  9. Teamwork
  10. Initiative

Clarkston Consulting Internship

A Clarkston Consulting internship is often the first step in determining if Clarkston and a career in consulting may be the right choice for you. The internship is also an integral part of the firm’s career path.

The Clarkston Consulting internship is designed for college sophomores and juniors and gives students the opportunity to interact with both clients and Clarkston employees in an authentic manner. An internship with the firm pays a small salary, and the summer internship program generally runs for 5 weeks. Feedback is provided along the way, and interns are given a final review at the conclusion of the program.

The firm has two more early career hiring programs: an Associate Bootcamp (for recent graduates) and Academy (for experienced professionals). Learn more here.

Clarkston Consulting Interview

The Clarkston Consulting interview involves a clearly-outlined 6-step process.

Initially, job seekers will submit a resume – it is unclear if the firm accepts cover letters. If you can submit a cover letter, we recommend that you should. Why not take the opportunity to set yourself further apart? On the resume, Clarkston prefers applicants describe how they have made an impact rather than provide a list of achievements.

After the application has been reviewed, the interview portion of the hiring process begins. Several tips for a successful Clarkston Consulting interview, from attire to information about interviewers, are found here.

Interview Process

The Clarkston Consulting interview process is initiated with a recruiter phone screen. During this call, the recruiter’s goal is to learn more about an applicant and whether he/she is a good fit for the firm.

The next step is a subject matter expert (SME) screen. It is during this portion that an expert will assess an applicant’s skills for the position sought.

The next stage is where the rubber meets the road. Applicants receive an invitation to interview with several stewards (employees) and partners at a Clarkston office or virtually. There are typically 3 interviews in 1 day at this stage. Expect a behavioral interview, a technical interview, and a case interview. The process can be intense, but Clarkston interviewers are generally friendly and try to make the candidate feel as comfortable as possible.

Clarkston Consulting Salary

The average Clarkston Consulting salary at the entry-level is around $80K annually (base pay). That number will go up based on level of experience, education, and the role being hired for. Clarkston employees generally feel that the pay and rewards package is fair and in line with industry standards.

Target Schools

Clarkston Consulting target schools include:

  • Agnes Scott College
  • Arizona State University
  • AUC
  • Babson College
  • Georgia Tech
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

In addition, Clarkston offers a $10K Clarkston Scholars Award to sophomores from target schools who are interested in a career in consulting and meet eligibility criteria. The scholarship is for first-generation college students who have a financial need.

Students who don’t meet these requirements but attend one of these target schools may still want to consider the internship program during their studies or investigate an entry-level position with Clarkston Consulting upon graduating.

Diversity Programs

Clarkston Consulting diversity programs ensure an inclusive environment that celebrates diverse cultures, competencies, skills, and personalities. The firm partners with Girls Who Code – just one example of Clarkston’s diversity efforts.


The Clarkston Consulting culture is reflected in the term the firm has chosen for its employees – stewards. If that and the firm’s focus on the life sciences, consumer products, and retail industries sticks out to you, Clarkston may be a good place to start or continue your consulting career. The firm provides a wide range of solutions to clients, from strategy development to IT implementation.

Job seekers looking to break into Clarkston should be prepared for the tough interview portion of the recruiting process – work with our team of MBB coaches to prepare.


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Filed Under: Boutique Consulting Firms, consulting firm profiles, Consulting Firms