What are your favorite business schools doing differently (or better) to better prepare students?
Again, we recruit from variety of business schools. One thing that I think is very unique, something that Harvard Business School started doing with their field study over the winter break, is sending all of their students around the world for two weeks in Asia or Africa or Latin America. That’s a really interesting addition to the curriculum because students are coming back and talking about the challenges these companies face. It’s really easy when you’re sitting in a classroom worrying about a company or doing a case to say, ‘Oh, the company should do X.’ But getting students into the environment of those companies has really exposed them to the challenges.
The other thing that I see some schools doing – and this is across the board – is spending a lot of time on the softer skills, which we find really valuable at Bain Capital. It can be either optional or required, but students are taking speaking courses or taking advantage of leadership discussions. I recently saw that one school had a session on empathetic leaders that I thought was really interesting because you’re going to come to Bain Capital and work with a variety of management teams. So a lot of schools are trying to teach not only the core curriculum, but also make students more well-balanced and well-rounded business leaders.
What excites you personally about working for Bain Capital?
I feel so privileged and honored to work here, and I have a smile on my face every day I come into work. I love my job – and it comes down to the people. I have never worked around such an extraordinary group of people. I’m exposed to everything that happens with people at Bain Capital. And that can be a really hard job. Sometimes, we have to make really tough decisions on people. But I see the folks at our firm deal with those issues and difficult challenges with grace and elegance and treat those people fairly and with respect. I’m personally challenged every day I come into the office. I have a really high bar for myself and this is the kind of place where I’m never resting on my laurels. There is always a new challenge.
But it’s also the kind of place – and small enough – where you can raise your hand and proactively say, ‘Gosh, I see a need and I would love to put some of my energy and initiative behind that.’ One of my own personal anecdotes is about two months after I started, I raised my hand and said, ‘I would love to manage Bain Capital Children’s Charity. And one of our Managing Directors, Josh Bekenstein, said, ‘Great. If you want to do that, we’d love to have you run it.’ And so I’ve been managing that effort for the past nine years mostly in my free time and on weekends. It’s something that I’m really passionate about. Bain Capital is the kind of place where you can do that –raise your hand when you’re really passionate and committed about something. And I really value that.
Do you have anything more that you’d like to add?
I think that the one question that I’d like to answer is, ‘Do we really take work-life balance seriously?’ There is a huge perception out there – and sometimes perception can be reality –that you go to these jobs and you’re signing your life away and no one cares about family or anything like that. Here at Bain Capital that’s not the case.
One anecdote stands out. Someone came to me and I said, ‘I just started a month ago, but my son – and I know this sounds silly – is graduating from kindergarten and I’ve got this huge management meeting on that day. And so, of course, I’m planning on going to the management meeting.’
And I told him, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re absolutely not going to the management meeting. In fact, people here at Bain Capital would look down on you if you didn’t go to your son’s graduation.’ At first, he laughed and didn’t believe me, but two other Managing Directors told him the same thing. Now, he repeatedly tells that same story to new recruits because it’s really true.
We take work-life balance very seriously. We protect vacations. We want people to have time away with their families. People openly talk about those things and it’s something I like students to know.
Also, if you’re interested in global opportunities, we have 11 offices. You might be sitting here in the United States, but if you’re interested in Europe or Asia, we are interviewing and recruiting people for all of those offices. If you speak fluent Mandarin, we’re not going to look at your resume and automatically send you to China. You may have good reasons why you want to be in New York or Boston.
But what if you want to transfer? Maybe you want to start in Boston and maybe 5-6 years from now move back to Asia. Those are things we do all the time. There is a lot of flexibility and optionality, frankly, in how we run our private equity business. We want global citizens. We want star athletes. If that means that you want to be in Boston for a few years and then transfer when your spouse gets moved to Japan, those are all things that we can make happen.
There are firms where you either interview with the London office or the New York or Boston office. Here at Bain Capital, we are one global firm.
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