Management consulting grew with the rise of management, as a unique field of study. The first management consulting firm was Arthur D. Little Inc., founded in 1886 as a partnership, and later incorporated in 1909. Though Arthur D. Little later became a general management consultancy, it originally specialized in technical research.

As Arthur D. Little focused on technical research for the first few years, the first management consultancy was started by Frederick Winslow Taylor, who in 1893 opened an independent consulting practice in Philadelphia. His business card read "Consulting Engineer – Systematizing Shop Management and Manufacturing Costs a Specialty". By inventing Scientific Management, also known as “Taylor's method,” Frederick Winslow Taylor invented the first method of organizing work, spawning the careers of many more management consultants.