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What Bain & Co. Seeks In MBA Hires

Bain Office in Chicago

A Bain Office

The second thing I would suggest is meet a range of people. Make sure you are getting to know the consultants, managers, and partners. On a lot of MBA campuses, there are a lot of Bain people that give industry presentations or come to some of the events that we’re doing. This year, we’re did a whole series of webinars that not only included topical discussions, but also panel discussions. So you can hear people who’ve done business in different countries around the world. You can hear how we think about professional development and global mobility…Take that time to meet a range of people and understand what they’re experienced with.

That’s on the front end, which is under the heading of, ‘Make sure you know why Bain is different and why it’s a special place to work’ so you know that you are really pursuing a job and a company that will be personally fulfilling to you.

More tactically, it really is important that you practice your cases with a live person, so that once you decide Bain & Company is where you want to work that you are successful in the interview process. What’s important, I think, for students to keep in mind is that it’s not about cramming 50 case practice sessions into a two week period before the interview. It’s about doing one or two cases per week maybe over a longer period of time so you can let them sink in, think about them, learn, grow, do some things in the classroom that expand your skill set, try it again the following week, and then do a little bit over a long period of time and that will really help you prepare for the interview.

P&Q: Recruiting can be a two-way street. What has Bain done to make itself more appealing to MBA candidates? (i.e. new initiatives being rolled out)

Bevans: From a ‘how do we appeal to MBA candidates standpoint,’ I think there is a lot of upfront education that’s out there. On a lot of campuses, students are very interested in management consulting and looking to work for a premium firm like Bain. The challenge is for students looking to transition to consulting, it can be very difficult to differentiate what makes Bain special relative to some other options that they may be considering.

For a large part…of the upfront relationship-building [we do], we run a program, for example, called Connect with Bain…In one of the 51 cities where we have an office, prior to going to business school in the summer, we’ll do this event. It’s a chance for them to meet with the people from Bain and, more importantly, get to hear about the type of the work that we’re doing and get a sense for what the industry is and what type of work Bain does. We’re not interviewing people during those sessions or anything like that. But it’s a good chance for them to plant the seed in their mind that this could be an exciting career for them post-MBA. That’s one place where we’ve made a big investment in recent years that we’re really excited about. We have well over a thousand people participate in one way-shape-or-form in that program globally. And we’re really happy that we got to meet so many great candidates through it.

Another thing we do that’s similar in terms of outreach is that we have a blog – #Bain Voices. We have all types of different people at Bain talking about their passions, some of the things they do on their teams…and some of the results that they’re getting. It’s a very good cross-section of Bain and not just about publishing or intellectual property. We’re talking about how they’re balancing their career and their families and pursuing their passions. We had one partner write a blog entry a couple of months ago on swimming across the English Channel and talking about the training and commitment involved in doing that. So it’s a real neat cross-section of the type of people you’d be working with at Bain.

We do other things. We do some webinars and social media, using Twitter and Facebook. For example, webinars allow us to connect students with different offices globally. We held a panel discussion [last] week where we had representatives from different North American offices taking live questions from students in Europe who were interested in working in the U.S. after business school. The odds of making those schedules work and getting all those offices in front of those students in person have always been challenging. But we’re starting to use technology in ways that allow us to connect with students in a much broader sense.

We feel like once people get to see the impact that we’re having on our client work – and the support we can provide them when they get here – we feel they will choose Bain over their other options. Our challenge is telling that story and getting to those students early in their process of thinking about what to do next.

P&Q: Could you give us an overview of your MBA recruiting and interview process? What are the steps that students should expect? How can they make a good impression and stay on your radar?

Bevans: Let me answer that from a two-year standpoint because for a lot of students it’s a two-year process. They’ll come to campus already having met us at one of our connector events, having read a couple of blog posts and maybe following us on Twitter, where we have a couple of consultants and associate consultants tweeting about just the day-to-day so you can get a sense of how the job unfolds over the course of several months.

Typically, when you start your first year, we and the schools both agree that you should focus on getting settled into school. So maybe a month or two into the program, we will have a large event on a lot of campuses that will be a 15-20 minute presentation [that includes] an overview of Bain and how we think about consulting followed by something that gives you more exposure to jobs like an experience share followed by a reception. That kicks off the recruiting season.

After that, we do a series of on-campus events, whether they be industry presentations or sharing other pieces of intellectual property. In addition, we’ll have social events where different representatives from the office are in town and meeting with students. We’ve also made the investment to put one of our consultants on campus with a significant portion of their time, meeting with students so they make themselves available to do coffee chats in advance for questions and help people who are navigating the process. So if you’re interested in joining our sub-African office or moving to Lagos or Eastern Europe after graduation, they can connect you with people who may not have been on campus. So that’s an initial push that we make so students know recruiting season has started. They should be getting to know us and getting connected.