How Long Does the Average Consulting Project Last?

Consulting projects can vary in length, but typically last from one to six months. It's not uncommon for contracts to be signed for three to twelve months, with consultants working full-time or three to four days a week. Projects can last from a few months up to several years, with the average duration being three to nine months. Management consultants are responsible for executing strategic projects and work with the company to carry them out.

These projects usually last longer than six months and can take many years, requiring consultants to align with the client teams they work with. This means that management consultants typically work eight hours a day, from nine in the morning to five in the evening. If a consultant is at the bottom of the performance ladder and there are no signs of improvement, they may be asked to leave. This allows other consultants to use this experience in future consulting projects in the same industry or on a similar topic. The main management consulting firms are McKinsey, BCG and Bain, also known as MBB or Big Three Consulting.

Other firms such as Clearview Health Partners, ZS Associates, Huron Consulting Group and Putnam Associates specialize in life science consulting. Many consultants find it difficult to sustain the consulting lifestyle in the long-term, especially when starting a family. Consulting is a great stepping stone for many other careers, so sometimes staying in consulting is not the most attractive option compared to other opportunities available. The largest technology and IT consulting firm is Accenture, although they also do other types of consulting. Consultants usually stay at major companies for two to four years, with some statistics showing that two point seven years is the average time a consultant leaves a major company such as McKinsey, BCG and Bain. For more information on these projects, check out my online course Performance Improvement Projects for Management Consultants and Cost Reduction for Managers & Management Consultants.

Strategy consultants often work with senior business leaders (chief executives and chief operating officers) on their biggest challenges right from the start. Consulting covers a wide range of job functions and there are many different types of consulting firms. Additionally, some consulting firms allow consultants to stay in the city for the weekend or travel to another city instead of flying back home. Consultants can also focus on getting the right answer and developing the right recommendations for business problems without worrying about company policy.