I began my career at Bain in August of 2006 in the private equity ring fence. There were eight ACs in my August 28th start group and one PEG slot for a new AC. Since I had graduated with an economics degree from a liberal arts college, I was especially eager to gain tactical experience. Urged by my pre-ACT trainer and mentor (an SAC), I decided to jump headlong into Bain’s best training ground.
What I didn’t realize was the fact that the next ten months would represent one of the busiest PE cycles ever. Deal after deal popped up in the news, and consequently, diligence after diligence rolled in through Bain’s front door. At first, I felt overwhelmed. Limited excel experience and an environment that rewarded speed and know-how dampened my already limited stockpile of confidence. However, a willingness to learn, two great SAC teachers, three instructive managers, two awesome CTLs, and some good, old-fashioned personal grit allowed me to pick up the essentials and begin to master the AC toolkit. After nine diligences, I had officially run the gamut. Cold calls? Check. Expert interviews? Check. Online scale survey? Check. Big hairy model? Check. P&L projection? Check. In one PEG rotation, I had accumulated a reservoir of experience that I would be able to draw on for the next few years as an AC2 and SAC.
Looking back, I am confident that my decision to join PEG at the outset of my career was the best decision I made as an AC. It exposed me to most if not all of Bain’s tools, and it allowed me to gather tactical experience that some of my peers might have gained in undergrad business school programs years before. In addition, the PEG culture (slightly more intense than the general practice) allowed me to forge some of the most important professional relationships I have today.
That said, choosing to opt into the ring fence upon arriving at Bain is not necessary. Many of my peers acquired general practice experience for six or twelve months before their rotation. Others chose to avoid PEG altogether. There are a variety of paths that an AC can take in their time with Bain – no one path is better than any other. For me, choosing PEG immediately was ideal. I will not forget my PE experience.