Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Warby Parker
From day one, I was helping senior clients at some of the world’s leading companies work through their most challenging strategic issues.
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I was a Bioengineering major in college, had taken the MCAT and was all set to go to medical school. During my senior year I had a revelation that becoming a practicing physician wasn't the only way to help other people, and that it was possible to have a huge positive impact by starting or leading a business that did something good in the world. I had very little exposure to the business world at this point, and Bain seemed like the ideal place to start my career and work with really talented, dynamic people while gaining exposure to a wide variety of industries and business issues.
My experience at Bain
My three years at Bain were some of the most interesting, fun and stimulating years of my life. From day one, I was helping senior clients at some of the world's leading companies work through their most challenging strategic issues. My casework spanned a dozen different industries and vastly different business problems-from pricing strategy to private equity due diligence to launching a new retail concept. It was a tremendous learning experience and I found myself continually challenged to develop new skills and take on increasing levels of responsibility.
The people I worked with at Bain were incredibly impressive. Everyone was fully committed to adding as much value to their clients as possible, while also helping each team member develop. But they were also friendly, social and a lot of fun. I met some of my closest friends at Bain and we had a great time both working together day-to-day and at company-sponsored events like training sessions in Cape Cod and Cancun and Bain World Cup.
I also took advantage of Bain's externship and transfer programs, allowing me to spend six months working full-time at a biotech startup and six months in Bain's Stockholm office. Gaining both global business perspective and experience working in a startup environment were hugely valuable to my career.
My alumni experience
After Bain, I joined Allen & Company, a merchant bank, where I invested in seed-stage and venture-stage healthcare and digital media companies, and advised M&A transactions exceeding $20B. After a couple years there, I realized what I really wanted to do was start a company that had a positive impact on the world. I went to business school at Wharton, where I founded Warby Parker along with three classmates (one of whom was a Bainie as well).
Warby Parker is a vertically-integrated eyewear company selling prescription glasses and sunglasses online for a fraction of the price of retail stores. And for every pair we sell, we distribute a pair to someone in need. It has been incredibly exciting to lead a rapidly growing startup, and we have hired a few ex-Bain folks to help us execute on our vision to become the world's leading eyewear company and help improve the lives of the billion people around the globe that don't have access to proper eye care.
Bain provided me with invaluable skills that I use on a daily basis at Warby Parker. As a first-time entrepreneur, I am constantly faced with new and interesting challenges-from creating a great website user experience to building a dynamic organization to optimizing our supply chain to acquiring new customers. These issues require both strategic and analytical thinking, but things move so quickly in a startup environment that I need to make quick decisions based on limited data. Bain taught me how to quickly identify the most critical issues at hand, creatively gather the necessary information to make decisions, and put a plan in place to execute against those decisions.