Class Of ’17: Meet Bain & Co’s Newest MBA Hires

Iowa City native Adanna Ukah was recruited by Bain & Co. after completing her MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management

Adanna Ukah

Bain Chicago

Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa

MBA program: Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

Undergraduate school, major: Yale, Political Science

Focus of current case: Post-merger integration for an industrials company

Why did you choose to work at Bain?
I chose consulting as a career accelerator after working in education for four years. Bain stood out as the model best equipped to make me a great all-around manager and reflected liberal arts values that I missed as a student in a larger MBA program. Namely, I was attracted to the broad case exposure you get through Bain’s generalist model, its individualized staffing and mentorship programs, and its relatively smaller size as a firm that includes a global network.

On a more personal note, the people I met at Bain all seemed like regular people with consulting jobs, not consultants first—this was incredibly refreshing during recruiting and made me feel comfortable right away. When I considered my options, and factored in growth and exit options, the home office advantage, and culture fit, Bain Chicago came out first. 

What lesson from business school best prepared you for your career at Bain?
It’s a tie between evaluating calendar trade-offs or my public speaking class with Professor Van Camp, who is a legend at Kellogg, which was excellent prep for close listening and communicating effectively on the fly.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far at Bain?
That you can learn in any moment, from any person, on any case. The pace and the rigor of work forces you to ask for help and observe others all the time. Watching other Bainies who are performing stronger and faster than I am has been valuable these first few months.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work for Bain?
Invest time into honing the skills and stylistic preferences that Bain points out in case sessions and prioritize your business school calendar just as ruthlessly as Bain will tell you to prioritize your framework during prep.

More broadly, be honest with yourself about why you want to do consulting. MBA programs and consulting firms are designed to provide you with a wide range of potential avenues and a generalist skillset, so be thoughtful about the “why” before recruiting starts. Don’t just recruit for Bain because it’s the greatest common denominator—make sure you know what you want to get out of a consulting career.

What do you want your career to look like in 10 years?
I want to be working on an issue that I deeply care about, likely in educational equity, leveraging the team, people and problem solving skills I’m learning at Bain.  In ten years, my career should enable me to dedicate a significant portion of time to supporting people who could be going to great schools and companies, but are unable to due to structural inequalities in our academic system and workforce.

My greatest personal or professional accomplishment is…adjusting to the learning curve these past few years—for me, this falls in the personal category, though it manifests professionally. Working through GMAT, Kellogg core, and consulting recruiting twice has made me stronger in some areas that don’t matter much (mental math) and others that matter a lot (threshold for/confidence in tough situations).

A fun fact about me people would be surprised to know is… I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan. When he died in 2009 I called in sick to my summer internship because I physically could not get out of bed. Note to Bain: no one can top MJ, so future pop culture-related sick days probably won’t come up.