it was indeed the pinnacle at the time, but there is a bigger world out there... my particular journey was having done 4 years in Big 6 (at the time) consulting, then gone out to industry and acquired some expertise in a particular financial services niche for a number of years, returning as a senior manager into a newly created specialist practice. with regard to the 'allocation' point, I made partner from building a practice around a new service offering and set of market relationships, then effectively had to trade those in to a senior partner and repeat the trick with another new offering when I was promoted... The process is gruelling, so that making partner gives you a big sense of achievement and rather goes to your head at the time - it's only when you leave that you regain some sense of perspective. I went back into industry after a few years into a divisional MD position because I wanted to run a large function from soup to nuts rather than sell and deliver an endless series of projects. I also had young kids and wanted to spend time with them - as a partner, apart from the long hours everyone does during the week, I was increasingly expected to be 'building relationships' with clients at weekends, and I like to keep some segregation of business and private lives. I was tempted back into a direct partner entry role once more, but found the Big n consulting market had largely shifted from deep niche expertise (deep specialism, very high rates, patchy utilisation) to more of a generic body shopping model (broad consulting toolkit, low rates, very high utilisation). I don't really see much client value add in that model above using contractors, other than procurement convenience, and being a partner with a high personal utilisation target as well as line management responsibility and a big practice sales target splits your time too many ways to be enjoyable. I now do MD-level interim exec assignments and some strategy projects, leveraging my personal network. It gives me a mid-level partner income with a very significantly better balance of life, which I find a good compromise. You will find many, many ex partners out there in industry and in independent/boutique consulting - mine is not an unusual pattern. Hope that helps.