Annie Robertson Hockey
Bain & Company San Francisco
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
MBA program: Stanford Graduate School of Business
Undergraduate school, major: Stanford University, Psychology and English Literature
Focus of current case: Omnichannel strategy for a retail company
Why did you choose to work at Bain? As an undergraduate, I primarily studied the neurological underpinnings of human behavior. Though I entered the workforce without much practical or theoretical business experience, I adored my time in start-ups in large part because it did not require any baseline knowledge. Instead, my colleagues and managers trusted me to think about problems creatively and learn in real time. Yet after some time, I found myself increasingly craving a situation in which I could learn from true industry experts. Consulting not only offers that training and exposure to such experts, but also allows you to explore a variety of industries and functions before selecting a professional niche.
One internship and three months down at Bain, I am even more convinced that the organization is uniquely designed to develop leaders through a combination of deep institutional knowledge and innovative, real-time learning. Of course the incredible group of colleagues doesn’t hurt either!
What did you love about the business school you attended? Truth be told, I was nervous about attending the same institution I went to for undergrad. I adored my four years at Stanford, and wanted this new experience to feel equally different and transformational.
The fundamental data point this anxiety overlooked, however, was that each GSB class is comprised of about 400 students vs. thousands. Stanford had crafted the perfect composition of students to make each of our experiences as developmentally stimulating as possible.
I continue to be in awe of my peers in the class. My classmates are so like me in many ways—possessing an affinity towards data, the desire to change organizations, a hunger for more—but perhaps even more importantly, often immensely different. I cherished my classmates as well as the safe space to experiment, sometimes fail, sometimes succeed, but in doing so always learn together. And given the durability of that network, I think we’re just getting started.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far at Bain? Although I’m just getting started, my time at Bain has taught me that the ability to unlock a complex problem is necessary but not sufficient. Excel-crashing algorithms, multistep database pulls, and even late-night lightbulb revelations are thrilling and important, but answers go nowhere without buy-in and the energy to implement. That is where people come in, and the unparalleled importance of one’s ability to communicate, influence and inspire change.
Which manager or peer has had the biggest impact on you at Bain, and how has he or she made you a better consultant? There are so many! I think I would credit Jessica, a manager in the SF office, with both influencing my decision to join Bain, and also modeling a career path that I would be fortunate to emulate. We met during a sushi-making class during our “Admit Weekend,” and I remember thinking that if I was stuck working in a windowless conference room with her, we’d still manage to have a pretty great time. Similar to me, Jess was not in consulting before attending the GSB, and I think she does an incredible job of leveraging that experience to differentiate herself at Bain. And yes, I have used those sushi-making skills since!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work for Bain? Do your homework, but remember that Bain is hiring you, not the textbook.
A fun fact about me people would be surprised to know is…I was one phone call away from turning down Stanford to pursue a career in classical ballet. Needless to say, my parents are relieved.