A.T. Kearney Reviews

Updated October 23, 2014
Updated October 23, 2014
243 Reviews
3.7
243 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
A.T. Kearney Managing Partner and Chairman Johan Aurik
Johan Aurik
73 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Interesting programs for improving work-life balance after manager levels (in 15 reviews)

  • Lots of learning experience and great people to work with (in 16 reviews)


Cons
  • Intensive hours; work-life balance can be a challenge but is addressable if one is willing to (in 37 reviews)

  • Long hours, but that is standard across management consulting (in 37 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Working on challenging CxO level issues with brilliant people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal
    Current Employee - Principal

    I have been working at A.T. Kearney full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I have learned so much during my time here. The consultants they hire are so impressive. Very generous paternity leave program (6 weeks at full pay). The work is challenging, but invigorating. I get exposed to senior executive issues far sooner than I would have if I went into industry.

    Cons

    Travel can be a grind, but you also get tons of points that you can use for your vacations. At times, there are late nights, particularly during the end of projects.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire more business analysts! They are the lifeblood of our firm.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Solid legacy and going in the right direction

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Principal in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at A.T. Kearney full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Opportunities to work on interesting projects - very quick access to senior clients
    Flat management structure and inclusive attitude - people are valued at each level
    Great opportunities for international exposure and work
    Fantastic programs for work-life balance - part time options, great leave of absence options, opportunities for projects with flexible travel

    Cons

    Work-life balance can be tough - for any consulting firm, but the firm offers options

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Doing things well - do even more to encourage global collaboration

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Winning in the marketplace...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Associate in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at A.T. Kearney full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    positive trend, new culture of high performance, solid accounts

    Cons

    longer projects, pay for seniors, recruiting strategy

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    transparency

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Excellent Employer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at A.T. Kearney full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent growth opportunities, interesting projects, intelligent people. A.T. Kearney has ambitious growth plans and is on a strong growth trajectory.

    Cons

    Minimal complaints about being a consultant at A.T. Kearney. There are few changes I would make to the organization.
    I have had a very positive experience.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 31 people found this helpful  

    Elite consulting experience without Big Three (MBB) brand name

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL

    I worked at A.T. Kearney full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    For better (or for worse) you can have an extremely similar experience at A.T. Kearney than at McKinsey, BCG or Bain. I joined straight out of undergrad, went to b-school sponsored, and came back to repay. My high school and college friends (20+) who also worked at MBB firms and A.T. Kearney have shared very similar experiences. Here is a summary: (1) Pure-strategy work remains elusive and operations-focused projects are by far the bread & butter. Arguably, our competitors do a better job at marketing the type of work to new recruits, but its mainly marketing. Many of my friends at MBB firms were lured in by the potential to do "pure-strategy" just to quickly find out that operations are the meat & potatoes of the industry. I did plenty of strategy work and never did a sourcing project, but that was definitely not the norm. Many of my colleagues did tons of boring projects. (2) As in other firms work-life balance is "OK" at A.T. Kearney. Occasionally the crazy “horror” project does trap you, but again this is quite similar to what happens elsewhere (a friend at McKinsey had a nervous-breakdown and was hospitalized). You might get a crazy 2-week due diligence but then get a more manageable 6-month steady project. (3) Compensation remains largely benchmarked, particularly in the U.S. and coming out of b-school. What you see in the b-school self-reported placement reports is pretty much what you get. If you are a sponsored student (i.e. an ATK scholar) you might get a slight bump when you come back, but nothing to get too excited about. MBA tuition is entirely covered if you are a scholar, but that is also true in any MBB firm. (4) As an analyst or pre-MBA associate your main exit opportunity is to get an MBA and you can feasibly get into Harvard, Stanford, Kellogg, Booth, Wharton, Columbia, etc. I got into 3 of them and without breaking a sweat. However, as you progress in your career, particularly when you become a manager or a principal it does get harder to jump ship. Similar to other MBB firms most sponsored b-school students come back only to eventually leave. Of the last 5 scholar classes around two thirds of the people have already left. This seems to be on par with what my MBB friends have seen.

    Cons

    The main problem with A.T. Kearney lies in its poor brand name. Everybody in the market knows about it and have it in high esteem, but within less informed circles the name does not mean a lot. Many even confuse ATK with other Big-4 audit firms. Ironically, from the perspective of the partners, this is actually good for business. After the financial meltdown ATK did pretty well. Many longstanding clients hired us because of our operations focus (i.e. lots of sourcing, cost-reduction, transformation projects) and we did not have to compete head-to-head with MBB. However, for the vast majority of the employees the lack of a strong brand name does have significant cons: (1) There is a Catch-22 in terms of work content. Clients do not see us as strategic advisors and we limit ourselves to operations-focused work, which in turn limits the experience that consultants get, and ultimately leads to fewer exciting projects in the long run. (2) There is also a Catch-22 in terms of image. Although other firms do plenty of operations work, people in ATK view themselves an edge lower than those at MBB, which in turn leads to a lack of swagger and pride shown to clients, and in turn having a weaker brand name. Actually, in an annual partners meeting, a big-name client (CEO of Fortune 100 company) told the audience that ATK consultants lacked confidence and could benefit from being more assertive. (3) Exit opportunities beyond the analyst/associate role are quite narrow. The longer you stay the harder it is to leave. Most managers and principals leave to become sourcing managers/directors at former clients. Perhaps many stay because they can’t leave elsewhere. Cool jobs in the Valley (Google, Apple, Facebook, Uber) or investor-side private equity gigs (Apax, Blackstone) are a quite a stretch. The only private equity role you can realistically bid for, not surprisingly, is on the operations team. As everyone that leaves consulting, many of my friends from MBB firms struggled to find attractive jobs but I've found that very few managers or principals from A.T. Kearney have made stellar transitions. The lack of brand name and operations-focused roles significantly limits your job prospects. While I was recruiting for general manager roles at the Valley and other startup hubs I had to carefully outline who A.T. Kearney was. I commonly told my interviewers: "It's like an MBB consulting firm". (4) Travel seems to be a bit higher than the norm but not excessively so. Old-time partners prefer a very "on-hands" approach, which essentially means working 4-days a week at the client site. The problem with having a weak brand name is that partners want to “impress” clients and try to "over deliver" by having as many troops as they can at the site. Of course clients care about the presence of consultants but trying to over deliver through that way seems to be missing the point. (5) While progress has been made in improving alumni programs, those that leave A.T. Kearney are still seen somewhat as "defectors" and not really as a natural thing of the industry. Very few ever become a partner, and that is anywhere in the industry. ATK consultants (non-partners) rarely attends alumni events. The few that attend those events are mainly former staff members (whom I love and admire...but you get the point).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on improving brand. Or even better, focus on building swagger and pride. Take more chances in new industries and new clients. Or even better, reward partners that sell interesting or new work. Take it easy when people leave. Or even better, help people when they want to leave. Try travelling a bit less. Or even better, try to reward managers that make their teams travel less.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Excellent people, great culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at A.T. Kearney

    Pros

    Strong focus on delivering value to clients
    Collaborative style

    Cons

    Travel to client locations
    Long hours

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Opportunity to make a strong impact for your clients and your career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engagement Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Engagement Manager in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at A.T. Kearney full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    ATK is a firm on the move. Growth is strong, culture is strong, utilization is up, and people are getting some great opportunities.

    Clients love our work. I have not been on a project that has gone south, indeed I've been on projects where we replace other reputable firms and the comments we get are very flattering. I think this has a lot to do with our collaborative approach. We don't work "on" you... we work "with" you.

    If you're a high-performer and are willing to put the work in, the bonus structure will reward you generously. If you're a below-average performer, there will be a strong signal to move you along the process of leaving the firm. I believe these are tremendous "Pros" for the firm. It helps the firm hang onto high performers, and shows them that their hard work and skill are worth something.

    Office culture is improving across the board. Chicago has a brand new office with a better layout for collaboration and socialization, which is helping foster a strong culture. New York and San Fran already have these layouts.

    If you network the right way, and are willing to settle into a comfortable niche / pyramid, then you can be very successful earlier on.

    International assignments are accessible to those who want them. I know of folks that have been to: Dubai, South Africa, Ghana, Australia, UK, Singapore, Turkey, etc. etc.

    Cons

    -Long Hours (same as every consulting firm)
    -Can be pigeon-holed if you don't manage your career better (it is up to the consultant to prevent this, no one at ATK will figure this out for you!)
    -Strong reliance on procurement as the wedge into companies - and sometimes the pivot doesn't come soon enough.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You've got a great thing going - keep it up. Please focus a bit more on HR (Change Management, Communication, Policies, Quality, Recruitment, etc.)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Excellent Career booster

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Associate in New York, NY

    I have been working at A.T. Kearney full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Hands on training and benefits are excellent. Non-traditional and diverse culture at ATK. Some of my best friends and will continue to be so. This is a jumping platform for anyone who wants to pursue business in any industry. It is an excellent way to ensure you are learning to take different points of view, learn sales and marketing, analysis and relationship management from many different aspects.

    Cons

    As with all consulting firms, have to be ready for the ambiguous and unknown. The industry is changing and the company is trying to change with it. Many folks were not happy with the changes in recent months and have chosen another path. I think in some ways the life style is not sustainable without sacrificing other aspects of your life.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider better communication of plans to ensure no surprises.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Bait and switch

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at A.T. Kearney full-time

    Pros

    The people in your incoming class become close friends, though largely because it feels like you're in the trenches and you really need someone to confide in. Company values and training sound good on paper...the execution is far removed.

    Cons

    Where to start....
    - People get promoted to Manager based on Associate skills, meaning that they have no idea about how to actually "manage" a team. Their biggest priority is to find underlings who can carry the biggest load possible.
    - Every level (Analyst, Associate, Manager, etc.) thinks it is in the worst position in the hierarchy. does it ever get better?
    - Travel, travel, travel. Other firms are moving the needle on work/life improvement and balance. The only time you will hear about benefits/improvements is when you're recruiting because no one wants to tell you straight up that it's horrible. They should.
    - No support whatsoever. Once you're hired, you're given a superficial support apparatus: a mentor, partner meetings, ombudsman. This has all the actual vigor and strength of a beetle. Your mentor is almost always traveling, so face-to-face time is impossible, and they almost never go to bat for you in terms of helping you get on projects, etc. The ones who do are rare gems.
    - 80-90% hate being there. I don't know how much I can emphasize this, but in talking to my colleagues, almost everyone is desperate to get out. Friends at MBB complain about their hours, tough clients, etc., but people at ATK are miserable in a totally different way. It's gutting.
    - Job prospects are slim. The alumni network is fairly worthless -- go to an alumni event and don't be surprised to find a scantily populated room. Everyone is so tired and unappreciated that it's hard to feel good about being part of the network. Even the brightest people I knew at ATK found exit opportunities on their own...the bulk seem to go back to their old clients.
    - The culture is toxic in that people are rewarded for their excel ability and willingness to sacrifice personal time for work i.e. take that call on Saturday morning, or sleep 4 hours a night for 3 weeks straight without any gratitude. What happens is that people assume this is the only way to succeed at the firm, meaning that you retain/favor those who are willing to lay their lives down for work. Is that your model employee?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't treat your junior employees like dirt. It will and does get back to the schools and you will struggle to get the best talent because your reputation is terrible. Keeping up employee morale is JUST AS IMPORTANT as pleasing your clients.
    When you promote people, ensure that they are properly trained for their new responsibilities. Not everyone is great at managing a team -- in fact, most people are terrible at it without some guidance.
    Take an interest in your people. Dismantle a system in which one's ability to manipulate excel is put on a pedestal above other qualities like humanity, decency, and a desire to support the team. You've created a culture that rewards jerks.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Good company to work for

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at A.T. Kearney

    Pros

    good colleagues, nice culture, good in operations

    Cons

    long hours, lower pay, second tier branding

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