Should you go with a boutique consultancy or a big consultancy?

Posting date: 07 February 2023

If you’re a consultant looking for your next opportunity, you have many choices to make. Where do you want to live, and does the region have consulting vacancies? What clients do you want to work with, and what type of projects do you want to be involved on? Most importantly – do you want to work with a boutique consultancy, usually defined as having fewer than 200 consultants, or a bigger firm?

Whether you’re a life sciences strategy consultant, technology consultant, or financial services consultant, this is a big decision. While large firms have a proven track record of success, smaller firms can offer more freedom to build close relationships with clients and work alongside senior management. There are pros and cons to each, which we’ll explore in the article ahead.

No matter what size the firm, it’s a smart choice to work with a
recruitment company that has experience at your experience level and specialty. Swisslinx has industry connections with both large and small consultancies and can help you find a wealth of opportunities for consultants.

The pros and cons of a boutique consultancy

Boutique consultancy firms offer you a chance to work closely with a select portfolio of clients. Here are some of the benefits and challenges of working in this environment.


  • Boutique consultancies allow you to work with as few as one or two clients, allowing you to narrow your attention and dig deep into their needs

  • You’ll work in a specific field, enabling you to niche down and hone your skills

  • You can build strong relationships with a select circle of contacts and help them really make a difference in their business

  • Boutique consultancies are often more open to disruptive technology, and more willing to take risks than more established global firms

  • You’re more likely to work closely with senior leadership, allowing you to draw from a deeper pool of expertise

  • Start-ups and small firms are on the rise in Switzerland, increasing by a staggering 700% since 1996


  • Boutique consultancies don’t always have the same industry connections that a larger agency has, which might limit your networking opportunities

  • Your room for growth might be hindered, as the consultancy is smaller with fewer opportunities for promotion or larger clients

  • You may niche down too far, preventing you from easily moving on to other consultant jobs

  • Your CV, LinkedIn, email address, and business card could lack the name recognition of a bigger firm, which might limit your future possibilities

The pros and cons of a big consultancy

Did you know that Switzerland is home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of Fortune 500 companies? Working with a big consultancy firm often comes with prestige but can also make you feel like you have less control over clients and projects. Here are some of the top opportunities and challenges to consider when making the decision.


  • You’ll have the opportunity to work with a diverse array of clients and grow your skill set

  • Working with an internationally regarded consultancy is excellent for your CV and can open doors for new opportunities

  • You’ll be able to network with people at all different levels around the world – which is increasingly important in today’s world


  • You might feel like ‘just a number,’ as you’ll be one of many consultants working for the firm

  • You may not be able to work as closely with your preferred clients

  • They tend to be more conservative in their approach to technology and risk-taking, which could prevent you from tech upskilling


Taking the next step – looking for a consultancy role

Whichever way you choose to go, you’ll find unique and exciting opportunities at both big and small consultancies. To find the right role, work with a specialist agency like Swisslinx. Using a specialist agency ensures that your individual needs are met and gives you the one-on-one attention you require. Start exploring our consulting vacancies