Meet Bain & Company’s MBA Class of 2022: Bilal Ajram

Bilal Ajram

Location: Chicago

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA

MBA program: Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management

Undergraduate school, major: University of Chicago – Chemistry

Focus of current case: Consumer Products Supply Chain

What word best describes Bain and why?
Collaborative. Bain’s culture encourages collaboration on teams, with clients, and across Bain broadly.

On teams, I am constantly refining my approach to problem-solving from junior team members and senior leadership. In addition, my insights are relied upon to help drive the answer for my case teams.

Our clients are often the foremost experts in their industries. As a result, our success in providing results for our clients is in large part a product of our effectiveness in leveraging their expertise.

Bain consulting teams also rely on working with internal resources such as our Advanced Analytics group, our Digital Marketing group, or other practice area experts.

Why did you choose to work at Bain? 
I picked Bain because of how many Bainies choose to stay or return to Bain. I wanted to work somewhere that did the best job of retaining talented people. Listening to the various experiences of others gave me confidence that I would thrive and would be excited by the prospect of a long career at Bain.

What did you love about the business school you attended? 
I love the Kellogg community and am excited to be a lifelong member. The Kellogg community stretches across the world, and it has provided a way to continue to be connected at Bain and outside of Bain.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far at Bain? 
I have learned a lot so far about how to wrestle with ambiguity. If there is one defining value Bain provides to clients, it is taking complex and often ambiguous problems and providing clear and simple solutions.

Which manager or peer has had the biggest impact on you at Bain, and how has he or she made you a better consultant? Sam Harrington was a phenomenal supervisor and has remained an incredible mentor to me. Her enthusiasm for helping me learn how to be a better problem solver and communicator is complemented by her own talent and tenacity. She has continued to be a mentor to me and has provided invaluable advice based on her own experiences.

Roshan Palli is another mentor who has helped me through some of my biggest challenges since I started at Bain. Having someone like Roshan in my corner has made it infinitely easier to overcome obstacles and take on stretch opportunities. He truly embodies the “A Bainie never lets another Bainie fail” motto.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work for Bain? 
Use the case and interview preparation process to pressure test how much you would enjoy working at Bain. The process for preparing for the interview requires you to learn to solve problems using an answer first approach and to connect with Bainies along the way. If you aren’t enjoying the journey, it may be an indicator that you are either putting too much pressure on yourself or that it may not be the right fit. However, if you are like me and it energizes you to solve case interviews and meet other Bainies, there is a very good chance you are going to love working at Bain.

What has been your most meaningful career achievement and how did it make a difference?
I did some volunteer consulting work for local Chicago businesses struggling during the pandemic. One of the many small businesses I worked with was a restaurant struggling to shift from a primarily dine-in business model to selling through delivery apps. I was able to work one-on-one with the owner to determine how they could improve their margins by converting a segment of their delivery app customers to order directly through their website. The experience is very meaningful to me because I walk by the restaurant now on my way to work, and it feels great to have helped them stay in business.


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