The Big 5 IT consulting companies (Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, PwC (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP), KPMG, Ernst & Young) have various titles given to consultants along a career path. Wikipedia had good descriptions of the titles, and using that and a few other descriptions I came up with these levels (most firms have a subset of these):
An associate consultant is at the beginning of their consulting career and will typically do work to support the consultants and senior consultants – data collection and analysis, workshop support, etc. An Associate Consultant can also refer to a day rate contractor at any level, differentiating them from an employee of the firm (e.g. Associate Managing Consultant).
A consultant is ‘learning the trade’ within a specific domain of expertise. A consultant is developing in most competency dimensions and work in different roles on different projects in a specific domain.
A senior consultant has developed a specialisation within a specific domain of expertise. A senior consultant is capable of working independently as well as in teams. A senior consultant is often responsible for the completion of a part of a project or activities for which he/she leads a small team. A senior consultant is more client oriented and explores sales activities.
Business development, Issue owner, Client team manager, Relationship builder
Engagement manager, Owner of day-to-day client relationship, Aligned to industry or functional domain
A managing consultant has started to excel in some of the competency dimensions. A managing consultant is known for domain expertise and is capable of generating his or her own work and that of others. As such the managing consultant is often responsible for business volume, through (add-on) sales and delivering a project. A managing consultant can act as a team lead or counselor for other team members.
A principal consultant has a strong business impact and is often part of the company’s leadership. A principal consultant is capable of shaping a piece of business being the leader in a specific domain. A principal consultant develops high-level business relations and high-impact projects. A Principal is capable of leading large teams
Focus on new business development and management, recruitment and career development of employees, and development of the companies national capabilities. Vice Presidents propose projects, navigate them through the sales cycle, and then manage project delivery (especially if the firm does not have a dedicated professional sales staff)
Senior Vice President