The specific attraction to Bain was the exciting opportunity offered by Bain's recent efforts in the Middle East, and Bain's focus on the private equity industry.
Strategic consulting caught my eye when I was going through my MBA program. I was attracted to it because of the nature of the business which consists of short-term projects tackling a variety of CEO type issues like strategy development, performance improvement, organization effectiveness, investment feasibility etc. Being able to wake up every morning with a different problem on my mind on my current project and not knowing where or what I will be working on in 2 months was exciting to me.
The specific attraction to Bain was the people I met throughout business school and the recruitment process, the exciting opportunity offered by Bain's recent efforts in the Middle East, and Bain's focus on the private equity industry.
If I was asked to pin point why Bain, then I would say it's the people I met. I really felt that the culture of people passion results came through the conversations I had with the Bain recruiters and consultants.
In Bain, I am passionate about our story in the Middle East. I joined the team when we were 42 consultants in 2009. We are now tipping 90 consulting staff and still growing. This is obviously backed up with a growth in our client roster, building our reputation on delivering impact on our projects and finally recruiting the right people.
Outside of Bain, one of my major passions is FC Barcelona. A fan since 1992. A passion I am trying to instill into my two year old son on daily basis. He now recognizes the Barca crest and lets us know by screaming Barca 3 times each time he sees the crest . Oh and he (my son) also happens to be one of my many passions.
My favorite case
It would be difficult to highlight a specific case as a favorite. The honest response is that I have enjoyed each one more than the one before it. My last case was a cross office case between the Dubai and Singapore offices. The client, a major global dairy producer, wanted to understand what the full potential of one of their business units in 11 markets. 2 of the markets under focus are in the Middle East.
The complexity of the case was in the propriety data collection and the analysis of the data. All the data was collected through interviews with customers. We conducted over 300 interviews in the two markets, and developed a market size, competitive landscape and profit pool analysis for the client. The bottom's up approach to the data collection was unique to this industry and thus invaluable to our client. The insights on the size, competition and profit margins were also used to develop a clear and focused 5 year strategic plan for the business units in the Middle East and South East Asia.
My personal results story
The experience with Bain so far has exceeded my expectations. In the short 2 years with Bain, I have been involved in projects in retail banking, private equity due diligence, capital markets and consumer goods. This diversity is exactly what I am looking to develop and has been extremely insightful for me. Experiencing an array of industries and implementing a equally diverse set of toolkits has extensively deepened my understanding of business in general.
Another important dimension of my Bain experience to date is the investment the firm places in its people. The effort placed into the training programs, which have the added benefit of being located in exotic locations such as Phuket and Miami, is outstanding. The timing of the training sessions are also almost perfectly timed with the expected career progression within the firm. The training sessions are also worldwide, which means that I am developing my network with all offices at every training session I attend.
The third vivid aspect of my experience with Bain is the level of access we are exposed to as consultants in the firm. It was surprising to me how easy it was to have discussions with the local partners in the office and the network as a whole. You can tell that the entrepreneurial edge which the original Bain founders engrained into the firm is still alive in our Partners and they push you to continue with this mindset when tackling projects and business development.
A final thought
While it may be true that the big three consulting houses attract the talent from similar pools and thus the perception that it does not matter which one a candidate should pursue, I would urge every candidate to really look into the house they are looking to join. The best way of doing this is to leverage their respective network and talk to the people. Our job is a stressful and equally rewarding one, but the one thing that is consistently differentiated between the big three are the people profiles. Business School networks and on-campus presence provide the best forums for candidates to do this.