Strategy Consulting

Strategy consulting, often referred to as strategic consultancy or boardroom consulting, is one the most 'high-end' and prestigious segments within the professional services industry. The domain of strategy consulting focuses on supporting private sector clients with the development of corporate / business unit strategies and helping public sector organisations with public policy.

Strategy consulting services

The market for strategy consulting services consists of five main disciplines: Corporate Strategy, Public Sector Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Organisational Strategy and Functional Strategy. An overview of the key expertise areas per discipline: 

Strategy consulting market

The markt for strategic consulting services is estimated to be worth $32.5 billion, representing roughly 14% of the global consulting market. Following a large decline in demand in 2012, the market has recovered and is expected to grow strongly up to 2015, driven mainly by high demand in upcoming markets. Between 2011 and 2015 the strategy segment will have expanded with a CAGR of 6.6%.


What does a strategy consultant do?

Strategy consultants are hired by clients to support them with strategic decision making, which includes the development of strategy and to an extent also the execution of strategic plans. As the responsibility for strategic decision making falls under the mandate of CxO's and (senior) management, strategy consultants typically work for executives and high-ranked managers. 

The main task of a strategy consultant is to provide a strategic advice on a certain management topic. Several activities are part of this phase, including data gathering through desk research, surveys and/or interviews, hypothesis-testing, (fact-based) data analysis, setting up a recommendation and subsequently presenting the advice to client management. The implementation of the strategy – known as 'strategy execution' – involves translating strategies to action plans and implementing these plans within the organisation, including areas such project management and benefit realisation. 


Compared to other fields within management consulting, strategy consulting has a number of different characteristics. The largest difference lies in the role of strategy consultants within the advisory value chain. Strategists generally only support the 'Strategic Advisory' phase of projects; their involvement in the 'Execution' phase is limited, often to the initial phases or to strategic areas that require continuity throughout the transformation. Once it comes down to full-scale implementation services then strategy consulting firms are not involved at all. 

Other characteristics that differentiate strategy consulting from other consulting disciplines:
• Strategy consulting requires a high level of quantitative/analytics skills
• Projects typically have a shorter time-span and tighter deadlines, with longer working hours the result
• Strategy consultants mainly work from their own office instead of being based at client premises
• Clients are typically strategic portfolio holders such as CXO’s, executives and/or senior managers

Strategy consultancy firms

Across the globe there are thousands of consulting firms that provide strategy consulting services, yet the number of firms that have a global reach and reputation is limited to a much smaller number active in the top of the market. Analysts typically distinguish between two types of firms: 'pure-play' strategy consulting firms (i.e. focus exclusively on strategy & operations) and 'strategy practices' of multi-service firms (a service line of a generalist consulting firm that provides strategy services).

See the 'Strategy' section under Consulting Firms for a list of renowned strategy consulting firms.

Strategy consulting news

Review the below expertise areas for the latest news related to key strategy domains: