However, more and more of these companies are choosing to offer more complete ranges of services. As such, the big four firms now integrate management consulting divisions. MBB consultants work with their clients on shorter terms, usually 2 to 4 months, while consultants from the big 4 companies can work with a client company for 6 to 8 months or even a year, to monitor and help the client implement their solutions. MBB projects also require its consultants to be more creative and flexible in solving problems than Big Four Companies projects; in addition, MBB consultants also tend to work in more sectors and functions than their colleagues in the Big Four, who specialize from an early stage.
Technology consulting, a growing area for the four firms, involves taking advantage of technological solutions and innovations to help companies transform their business models, become more efficient, improve their services and seize new opportunities. MBB projects usually include high-level strategic consulting, while the most important consulting services focus on implementation and on very specific problems in areas such as accounting, tax, risk or legal advice. The Big 4's strategic consulting services are those that are most closely aligned with the services of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. Consultants in some offices may work fewer hours than MBB consultants and therefore enjoy a better work-life balance.
Since the 1990s, the four big companies (or, rather, the big companies) have been intensively dedicated to management consulting. In fact, when Enron went bankrupt in 2002, Arthur Andersen earned more from the consulting services he provided to that company than from auditing services. There are several similarities between the work that consultants do on the Big Four strategy teams and the work that management consultants do at McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. All this learning and prestige, together with the wide and influential network of alumni of MBB firms (especially McKinsey, the “CEO factory”), offer their consultants incredible exit opportunities, since they offer salaries that are at least 30 to 40% higher than the revenues they obtain from consulting.
These firms are collectively known as “MBB” and “the top three” management consulting firms (not “the big three consulting firms”, a very common misconception). Deloitte and KPMG retained most of their consulting divisions (although a portion of KPMG's consulting arm was split to become BearingPoint). The Big 4 consulting services cover a wide range of disciplines, covered by several teams with often overlapping competencies. Because of the high-level nature of their projects, MBB consultants often come into contact with high-level executives on the client side, while consultants from the Big Four, especially younger ones, work mainly with middle managers.
Among them, Deloitte, EY and PwC have already acquired exclusive consulting firms with a reputation for solving high-level problems, to expand their traditional consulting branches, which focus more on the implementation aspect. Once companies have helped craft a strategy, they can help implement it through the wide range of services they offer, such as technology consulting, implementation and transformation consulting, and transaction services.