Which branch of consulting? Consulting to the technology firms (ie, marketing strategy to Microsoft, IBM, etc.) typically pays lower than consulting to IT departments in other industries (ie, application strategies, etc. to Northrup Grumman, etc.). Negotiate as well as you can to start out with, because pay rises are very slow on the inside. Quality of life is not bad. Metrics are very, very clear and well reported and can be managed to meet your goals. The Gartner name buys solid entry into senior-level IT roles or marketing within the tech sector, depending on the branch of consulting.