Want to Work at Bain? Here’s How.

Work at Bain

Joining Bain and Company, one of the largest and prestigious management consultancies, is every fresh graduate’s dream. So, you would have to do a lot to land the interview, let alone get the job. And the interview itself is another thing.

But don’t lose hope, just yet. If you have the determination and prepare well, the process can work in your way. In this ultimate guide, we seek to help you streamline your success chances to get a job at this high-end firm.

We don’t quite have time to go into the particulars of exactly how to prep for a case interview. In fact, full books have and continue to be written on that topic, along with a burgeoning plethora of online guides. However, we will give you a very solid idea of the various hurdles you need to clear to start a new career at the top of the management consulting world.

It’s Not Going to be Easy

Did you know that MBB firms produce the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies as well as toplight politicians and the most successful entrepreneurs?

But they don’t have a magic wand to help them achieve this. They do so because they attract a highly talented workforce with a well-rounded skill set, fostering their talents through the demanding nature of their work.

Work at Bain

Thus, Bain and other large MBB consultants, use an incredibly robust and demanding selection process to pick the best of the best from their massive pool of gifted applicants. Simply put, you can’t just apply for a position at this firm without prep and still expect things to go your way.

But what does this selection process look like?

Submitting Your Application

Bain & Company receives thousands of applications. Even so, more than half of them hardly go past the initial screening stage. That’s why you need to be very keen on the application submission guidelines.

An excellent resume and a great cover letter give you an advantage, but you also need an ounce of luck. With a stack of up applications to go through, sometimes it isn’t easy to go through every resume word by word, and it is easy for your request to find its way into the bin.

To avert the situation, before you even submit your application, learn more about the company by networking with the current and former employees to enlighten you on the application screening.

Testing

If your application goes through the initial screening phase, which often involves skimming over your cover letter and resume, you go to the screening test stage. Here, hardly 40% of the remaining applications go through.

In most cases, Bain offers the Bain Online Test, similar to GMAT questions. This exercise may, however, vary as the firm continually improves it. Also, with the precedence set by McKinsey, which has now the Digital Assessment from the PST, Bain is likely to introduce its digital version.

Cracking Cases

Work at Bain

With over 50% dismissed in the initial screening stage and another 60% down in the testing stage, generally, not more than 20% of the initial applicants make it past this level. So, you must be terrific to make it up to this stage. But you are not yet there.

While the first stage needs some element of luck, this third stage is all about your creativity and skills. It’s perhaps the most dreaded phase for its notoriety of challenging questions. Nevertheless, there are lots of comprehensive materials online that can help you to prepare.

In brief, this is the interview stage. You get to face the panel that examines your skills in a simulated business environment and check your ability to fit in the company.

The Bain interviewing panel presents you complex business problems, probably those that the company has previously faced. Typically, you get the case brief and exhibits such as charts, stats, or other graphical presentations for your analysis. Your work would be to solve the problems within a limited time frame.

Unlike McKinsey that uses the interviewer-led format, Bain goes with the “candidate led” approach. In this format, you take the interviewer through your thought process. The interviewer will not direct you.

When it comes to case interviews, Bain spares no one. Even specialist roles like programmers under Bain Digital must still pass through the same stage. However, it customizes the cases based on the position it is recruiting for. So, coders might face coding related challenges in their cases.

Remember Cultural Fit!

Cultural Fit

Passing the case interview alone isn’t enough to land you the role you covet at Bain & Company. You must also prove that you are in tandem with the company culture and aspirations.

Like other MBB, Bain integrates culture fit questions into their interviews. Simple questions like “Why do you want to work with us?” or “How would your friends describe you?” could decide if you get the job or not.

Consequently, it would be best if you devote yourself to prepping for a culture fit interview as much as you do the case interview. Also, expect the questions any time in the conversation as some of them are integrated within case interviews.
Why Culture Fit Interview is Important to Bain

According to Bain & Company, cultivating a culture gives a company a competitive advantage and almost quadruples its chances to be a top performer. So, a perfect fit candidate will:

  • Inspire behaviour change – They are likely to adopt the company’s policies and culture and own it, which is critical for its operating model and talent management.
  • Inspire leadership – Such candidates reinvigorate the company through effective and consistent enforcement of its culture.
  • Successful integration – They easily integrate into the company, saving it the cost of training and orientations.
  • Job satisfaction and longevity – Such employees enjoy their work and are highly likely to stay longer with the company, reducing the employee turnover costs.

Getting Serious…

You may already know that consultancy jobs pay very well, which is maybe why you and many others want to join. But you should know, not Bain or any other MBB, will give such kind of money if it wasn’t worth every penny. In simple terms, these firms settle for the topmost candidates, because their projects have minimal room for mistakes.

So, to survive the axe at a Bain interview, you need to prepare adequately. Some candidates go the extra mile of hiring professionals to help them with their preparations. Some areas they ask for help include writing resume and cover letters and tackling case and culture interviews.

There are Bain alumni, and other ex-consultants willing to work with you to achieve your desired goals. Some of them provide free or low-cost resources online to help you out, while others offer coaching services for the candidates who are willing to pay.

Why Hire a professional trainer?

  1. Knowledge – They know exactly how the panel scores the interview and will help you develop how you answer the question to impress the jury.
  2. Competition – If your fellow candidates are using them, you, too, should leverage their skills and abilities. Otherwise, you stand disadvantaged.

No Time Like the Present!

With this guide, you have a sketch map to success in your quest to join Bain or any large MBB as a consultant. The key takeaways are; start your preparation long before you craft your cover letter and resume; be ready for screening tests, work on the case and fit interviews; get professional help. In short, you need to put in the work.

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