Meet Bain & Company’s MBA Class Of 2018

Matt Martel

Bain & Company New York

Hometown: Lincoln, New Hampshire

MBA program: Harvard Business School

Undergraduate school, major: U.S. Military Academy (West Point), History

Focus of current case: Business model transformation at a Fortune 100 technology company.

Why did you choose to work at Bain? Coming out of the military, I had very little exposure to the business world. I wanted to spend at least the first few years of my time in the private sector getting as much exposure as possible. Consulting was the perfect fit for this, and I can’t think of another career which gives you that level of varied business exposure coupled with a support network invested in your growth and success.

What really sold me on Bain, though, were the relationships I made in the recruiting process and during my summer internship. The people I worked with were smart, genuine, and honestly just fun to be around. A friend had very wisely told me to follow my gut when it comes to choosing the culture I want to work in, and Bain just felt like a very natural fit for me.

What did you love about the business school you attended? While I valued the education I received in business school and its importance in my transition from the Army, I think the thing I loved most was the group of very close friends I came away with. I learned as much from travelling the world with people from an incredibly wide range of backgrounds and experiences as I learned in the classroom.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far at Bain? Don’t underestimate the impact you can have, even as a brand new consultant. In my third month on my current case, I created an analytical tool that, within 12 hours of its completion, was being hailed by the head of a ~$50B business unit as central to one of the key transformation efforts that the company was undertaking in 2019. Every voice in the room is valued and taken seriously at Bain, and I learned quickly that the strength of your thoughts and your analysis is far more important than any title.

Which manager or peer has had the biggest impact on you at Bain, and how has he or she made you a better consultant? My current supervisor, Zisan, has been the most influential thus far. She shot straight with me from day one, being honest about the areas I needed to improve, and incredibly generous with her time in coaching me. I was a pilot before coming to Bain, and concerned that I would find myself at a disadvantage for the first year or two because of my nontraditional background. Zisan really took the time to give me the opportunities I needed to improve quickly and tailored my work to set me up for success. Her leadership style reminded me of the principles we trained with in the Army, which focused less on simply managing people to produce output and more on investing the necessary time in people to give them room to thrive.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work for Bain? Be clear-eyed about why you want to do consulting, and reflective about what role you want to be playing after business school. If you enjoy working across a broad range of industries and specialties and engaging in intellectually challenging work, Bain is a great place to be.

Most importantly, though, listen to your instincts as you meet people at different companies, and get a feel for the culture. Be thoughtful about the people you can see yourself spending your time with, as I think this is far more important than the nature of the work itself.

My greatest personal or professional accomplishment is…Having the privilege to lead a team of 60 soldiers in a short-notice combat deployment to the Middle East, and bringing everyone back alive to their families at the end of six months. It was an incredibly challenging, but profoundly rewarding, experience.