If these awards are any kind of barometer of the industry's health, things couldn't be much rosier. This is as good a time to be in consulting as most can recall. Following sustained growth over the past three years, the UK consulting market is now worth more than £10bn, with quarterly revenue figures for MCA members striking the £2bn mark for the first time in the industry's history.
Meanwhile, MCA membership has grown by more than 50% in the past two years, and its 64 member firms now represent 65% of the UK market.
The diversity of projects in which UK consulting firms are engaged continues to increase too. This year, the MCA - which received double the number of entries submitted last year - has added further categories to include corporate social responsibility, international and in-house consultancy. Ashridge Business School carried out the shortlisting, and the judges' panel (see p21) was increased in number to 18 to accommodate the rise in entries.
According to Professor Leo Murray, an MCA Awards judge for many years, the quality of submissions this year is the highest he can remember. Is there any other profession with the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience to reinvent a corrupt and bloated electricity supplier in a former Soviet republic, while helping a British tool manufacturer design, develop and market an innovative wood saw for tradesmen?
Consulting is a business that can never stand still. Clients are demanding deeper experience in specialist areas. They want top-line growth and cost-reduction at the same time. And as always, there is increasing pressure on consultants to demonstrate value for money.
But as 10 years of these awards have proved, this industry has talent aplenty to meet those challenges.