Over the course of my time at Bain, I have had several opportunities within Bain to explore other potential career paths, including two externships with a major retailer, and while at business school.
I originally joined Bain as an Associate Consultant Intern (ACI) the summer between my junior and senior year of college. I knew little about Bain or consulting at that point, but after my summer I knew Bain was the place for me to start my career. I was drawn to the enthusiasm and the passion that the people at Bain devoted not only to the problems of their clients, but also to mentoring and developing new hires like me. I liked the challenge of the work and the uncertainty of never knowing what the day would bring. When I went back to school, my case manager kept in touch, calling me after an important Board of Directors update to let me know how my work was received. It meant a lot that as an undergraduate intern- there for only 8 weeks- I was not only fully incorporated into my team, the broader firm, and company culture, but I was entrusted with tackling a meaningful chunk of the problem and supported every step of the way.
Over the course of my time at Bain, I have also had several opportunities within Bain to explore other potential career paths, including two externships with a major retailer, and while at business school. I keep coming back to Bain for the unparalleled learning opportunities and the people. I'm motivated, inspired, and challenged on a daily basis. The case work is great for developing highly valued business skills, but more than that, my mentors, managers, and colleagues push my thinking further in all areas of life. I also love the support that comes with being a Bainie. For every interest I've wanted to explore- business school, externships, language programs, women's functions, associate consultant affiliation trips and many more- I've always found someone on the Bain leadership team willing to raise their hand and ask "how can I help?"
I think one of the great things about working at Bain is that you can have multiple passions, both inside and outside of work. Nothing is ever too insignificant to be respected and protected from encroaching work demands. My passions at Bain include recruiting, mentoring, and Women at Bain- our women's affiliation group.
For recruiting, I love being active on my undergraduate and graduate school teams, meeting new faces and discussing my experiences at Bain. As an undergrad, I didn't know much about consulting and learning more about it from people that I could identify with really helped shape my decision. I'd like to be able to provide that same experience for others. Since joining Bain over six years ago, there have been a lot of people come and go, but the quality and enthusiasm of people has always remained constant. This is a testament to our recruiting efforts and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.
Mentoring and coaching are things that have helped me tremendously as I've "grown up" at Bain, and while I still don't know where I'll be in 10 years, I'm a lot further down the path because of the mentors and coaches I've met at Bain. I hope that in my relationships with my associate consultant mentees I am able to provide similar foresight and clarity for them as they map out their careers.
Planning events for our Women at Bain (W@B) group is something that I love. We've made huge strides since I've joined Bain in adding women to our senior leadership roles and we continue to make progress. Balancing family goals with the consulting lifestyle can be challenging for both men and women. I am proud to be a part of a group that advances the discussion and provides a forum for women in the office to talk about these challenges, support each other through the process, and test new solutions (including part-time staffing models) to win both at home and in the work place. We also have fun, lighter events that are a great work escape, such as, professional style sessions, wine and chocolate tastings, and improv speaking seminars.
I'm surprised everyday by the hobbies and talents of my colleagues. While my passions outside of the office aren't as exciting as some, I do love to travel (I take all of my vacation days!), indoor cycle, read, and run with my two boxer dogs, Cassius and Clay.
My favorite case
My favorite case experience was working for a luxury retailer where I led a workstream charged with developing their adjacency growth strategy. Not only did the case provide a key client leadership experience, but it also provided my first experience managing another member of a team. I was assigned a first year associate whom I guided in developing a methodology to size the attractiveness of a list of potential opportunities. Due to limited data, this often required modeling and complex assumptions. However, as we pressure tested our findings with various areas of the company, I was encouraged that our valuations were corroborated and championed by executives. For one opportunity, I collaborated with the clearance division VP to develop a five-year growth plan accelerating the current outlet store program to greater leverage the division's success. Marrying the VP's current purchase initiatives with a modified product mix, we illustrated how to increase profit potential without diluting the main store brand as previously feared by the executive team. Our work was enthusiastically received by the VP who continued to rely on me as the strategy was framed and presented to the board. The client went on to implement the accelerated strategy and two other adjacency profit opportunities worth ~$85M. Additionally, this cased provided the foundation for another successful engagement with the client. I was also able to be a part of that case and further build my retail knowledge base.
My personal results story
As a second year AC, I became involved on our Bain Cares team by taking over the holiday and back-to-school drives for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in our local community. In this role as BBBS liaison, I worked to expand our support of the organization and incorporated it as a core part of the Bain Cares program. Wanting to do more for the cause, I increased awareness of the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentorship programs and made it easier for the office to become involved. Working with the local BBBS representative, I made the required mentor training available in the office during Friday lunches, which led to over a dozen new BBBS mentors, myself included, and provided additional volunteer opportunities beyond the donation drives.
A final thought
Ultimately in choosing where you will work, you will also be choosing how, where, and with whom you will be spending the majority of your time. Be sure that your professional choice also reflects your broader priorities and goals outside of the office. Try to get to know each firm at a deeper level and be sure that they either share and/or support your passions. As a wise Bain partner once shared with me, you can get used to anything, so be very careful about what you get used to.