Bain & Company careers are some of the most coveted in the industry. In addition to being one of the top management consulting firms, Bain has also been ranked overall as one of the best places to work across industries every year on Glassdoor since the ranking was launched in 2008 (including four times in the #1 spot), and has been recognized for being a top workplace for LGBQT equality and working mothers amongst other awards.
What makes Bain such an incredible place to work? And as we all know, no company is perfect, so what are some reasons you might not want to work at Bain? Continue reading as we highlight 10 reasons to work for Bain, and 6 reasons not to.
10 Reasons To Work At Bain
One of Bain’s best value propositions is its people. The firm invests heavily in bringing in not only people who are the brightest problem solvers, but those who are multi-faceted, kind, and enjoyable to be around. It is common for Bainies to choose to see each other on the weekends even after putting in many hours during the work week. Many remain good friends even after their time at the firm together.
High Profile, Challenging Projects And Clients
At Bain you will get a chance to work on projects with some of the most influential companies in the world across a multitude of industries. Additionally, there are opportunities within Bain to work on projects with pioneers in new fields and world-class non-profits. The projects you will be staffed on aim to crack complex business problems, and you will gain tangible skills and accomplishments to point to from each project. It is not uncommon to be working on a project that your friends and family will later read about in the news. Bain also highly values client collaboration. Many of the solutions you will help put into place will be products of working together with leaders of these organizations.
Ability To Build Your Own Track At Bain
Another benefit of working at Bain is the variety of opportunities to truly forge your own Bain journey. Here are some of the examples: Externships (the opportunity to work for another company or non-profit for 4-6 months). Sabbaticals (taking some time off work to unplug). Experience transfers (company-sponsored living and working for Bain in another global office). Social impact projects. Graduate school application and sponsorship support. There are many career opportunities to make your time at Bain true to you and what you want to get out of it.
Unparalleled Focus On Mentorship
There is a strong emphasis on development and growth core to Bain’s culture. It is common to have regularly scheduled PD (professional development) chats with your manager, partner or other team members. This is often where you grab coffee, or just take time out of the workday to have a candid conversation about strengths, feedback and goals. There is also a strong culture of peer-to-peer teaching and knowledge sharing. For example, it’s not uncommon to see a 2nd year associate blocking time to teach a first-year associate best practices for building a complex financial model if needed. Mentorship is something that is also monitored at a macro level. One of the questions all employees are asked is related to being able to identify specific people within the firm that they feel are sponsors for them both personally and professionally.
One Bain Culture
You may have heard the common saying at Bain, “A Bainie never lets another Bainie fail”. This is one indicator of what the culture is like at Bain: supportive and fun. Bain is a relatively younger and smaller firm, and the local staffing model helps create strong bonds within offices to make sure no individuals “get lost” as can happen at much larger firms. Bain makes a concerted effort to invest in helping Bainies make connections within their start classes, teams, and broader office through events and experience sharing. It is also remarkable how the Bain culture carries between offices across the world. Between Bain World Cup (the annual global soccer tournament), global trainings, and cross-office affinity groups, there are many opportunities to interact with Bainies globally who share and value the Bain culture.
Involvement Outside Of Case Work
“Extra 10s” at Bain give you the chance to get connected with other Bainies who have similar interests. There are well established groups like Women at Bain, Blacks at Bain, BGLAD (The LGBTQ network at Bain), Inspire (pro-bono consulting for non-profits), Bain Band, etc., as well as an open invitation for Bainies to start their own grassroots initiatives, events and groups. A few examples are: Run Club, the Green Team, and volunteering in the community. Extra 10s help people feel more fulfilled at work. It gives Bainies a chance to connect around things they are passionate about. They also don’t look too shabby on future b-school or job applications.
Strong Private Equity Practice
Another career opportunity at Bain is to be staffed to a rotation in the Private Equity Group (PEG). Bain is the leading consulting partner to the private equity industry. It has a global practice in this area over 3x larger than any other consulting firm. This means that in addition to getting strategy and implementation experience, you can gain valuable experience serving private equity, financial investors and portfolio companies across the investment life cycle. This includes deal generation, due diligence, portfolio value creating, and exit planning.
Fantastic Exit Opportunities
A career at Bain & Company will also lead to a wide range of attractive exit options if and when you decide to move on to a different role afterward. Your career at Bain will equip you with a toolkit of skills that will be applicable across industries and roles. Additionally, having Bain on your resume is a signal to future employers. It shows that you are smart, versatile, and someone they’d likely enjoy working with on a personal basis. Bain alumni move onto a wide diversity of roles including leading top organizations and starting their own. There will be no shortage of options for you as you tap into the lifetime Bain network.
Support After You Leave The Firm
Another benefit of working at Bain & Company is the career support you will continue to have access to after you leave the firm. Bain has a strong, responsive alumni network, as well as job search and professional development resources. For example, you get access to interview and job application resources and an exclusive Bain job board. Other companies post roles on that board that they are looking to fill with ex-Bainies.
Bain is known to take good care of its employees through generous compensation and benefits packages. All-in compensation includes a competitive base salary, bonuses, profit sharing, and generous retirement contribution, just to name a few elements. Additionally, Bain offers a myriad of benefits:
- comprehensive health benefits plan
- flexible spending accounts
- generous parental leave
- budget allocated for office
- team and case bonding events
- access to learning and development programs,
- and the list goes on!
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6 Reasons Not To Work At Bain
Even If You Have An Industry Preference, You Will Be A Generalist Early On
At Bain, ACs and Consultants start their first few years as generalists. This means they can be staffed on projects in any industry. While your preferences are taken into account, there is no guarantee you will be able to be on projects in a specific field of interest you have.
Choice Of Projects Limited To Your Local Office
Because Bain operates with a local staffing model, your options for cases to be staffed on will generally be those allocated to your local office. (i.e., You will not have access to all of the projects at Bain as options to be staffed on). For this reason, there is also generally less travel at Bain than some of the other firms. At Bain you travel approximately 40-60% of your time vs. 80-100% at other firms. This may be a positive or negative aspect depending on your preferences.
Work/Life Balance, Or Lack Thereof
Talk to any Bainie, and they likely will have had times where work interrupted their personal lives. A moment at dinner or when they were outside the office and they needed to whip out their laptop to respond to an urgent email. Or another time where a request required them to give up a weekend day to finish a client ask. While there definitely coordinated efforts within Bain to ensure employees retain as much of their personal lives as possible, hours are often long and may require late night or weekend work.
The Job Can Be Stressful
Bain consults for high-profile clients, and with that comes the expectation of impeccable delivery of value and results. Each consultant is given a lot of responsibility very quickly and is expected to turn work around quickly and accurately. It is not uncommon to feel like you are working under pressure.
Not All The Work Is Glamorous, Particularly Early On
As with most jobs, there will be parts that you like, and parts that you do not. When thinking about consulting, it is easy to get caught up in the idea of working with high profile clients on their strategic questions. However, there are many necessary parts of consulting that are less than glamorous. For instance, tasks such as formatting slides or cleaning up messy client data can take hours and often fall to new ACs or Consultants.
Can Feel “Fratty” At Times
Of the 3 firms that make up MBB, Bain is sometimes thought to have the most “fratty” culture, or environment similar to a college fraternity. Bainies come from all different backgrounds and personality types. Yet, as a collective it can feel like a very outgoing, “work hard play hard” environment. This is particularly at office and firm events. This should definitely be a consideration based on your personality and social preferences.
Hopefully you now have a better sense of what a Bain career might look like. Not only that, but why working for Bain & Company might be a great fit for you, and what cultural considerations you should also be aware of. Bain is known to give its employees the opportunity to work on some of the most complex business problems with the most influential companies in the world, next to some of the smartest (and most genuine) people you can find. The best way to gauge the for yourself is to connect with some consultants at Bain.