Bain & Co Diversity Weekend

I just got back from a trip to NYC a couple of hours ago. I went to attend Bain & Company’s Pre-MBA Summer Diversity Program for first-year MBA students, which took place on Tuesday, June 30 from 8am until about 7pm. While some people might consider 11 hours of non-stop sessions to be a long day, after being in MLT for a year, this event felt like a breeze.

I applied to the Bain Program, because I intend to apply for jobs in the consulting industry, and specifically at the big three consulting firms (Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company). The program was framed as a one-day event intended to give us an introduction to the industry and also to Bain so that we can apply once school begins. I suspect it was also a good way for Bain to profile prospective candidates.

Like a lot of recent b-school events, I knew quite a few of the attendees from MLT and from other diversity events I’ve been to. I can’t say enough about the power of the MLT network, as students and alumni tend to be everywhere I go. I also have to give a big shout out to my Kellogg cohort. Kellogg admits were definitely the most-represented school at the event. And finally, who could forget the “Bainies.” As it turns out, I liked the Bainies a lot. The consultants were nice, smart, had impressive backgrounds, and were really open to teaching us about the firm.

In all, there were quite a few consultants there – post-MBA consultants, managers, and consultants of all others levels all the way up to Senior Director. Here are a couple of the highlights from the event.

Tiffany Showell (Bain’s Sr. Manager of Diversity Recruiting) and Bill (whose late name I didn’t catch, but he was the head of the NYC office) kicked off the event with some opening remarks. They introduced the first speaker, Russ Hagley, who is Bain’s Chief Talent Officer. Bain emphasized the fact that they had a Chief Talent Officer and that they were serious about getting good people at the firm and about having us there. This was the point where Bain did a good job at differentiating themselves from the other firms. Aside from the CTO position, Russ talked about how Bain was a not only a strategy company but also worked through the implementation of that strategy. He gave a few other similar examples (entrepreneurship, data-driven, etc)

Another high point of the day was the Interview Skills Workshop given by Keith Bevans. Keith has spent his entire career at Bain and was a energizing public speaker. He gave a lot of advice about doing cases and then walked us through an actual case.

We had a working lunch, where we did a group case interview workshop. We broke up into teams of about six and spent 90 minutes or so going over a case question that comes up in real Bain interviews. I felt really comfortable in the scenario, but I still feel like I have tons of practicing ahead to compete for a spot at Bain. Right after our case, Alok Desphande (Bain Manager) facilitated a session summing up thoughts on the workshop. He was a really sharp guy, and gave good insight to our comments. I made a point to talk with him later in the day.

Later, the CFO of Bad Boy Entertainment, Derek Ferguson (a former Bain Manager), gave the keynote address. It was late in the day, so to keep our attention he gave us trivia and rewarded correct answers with Bad Boy CDs. He was definitely a hit, though I did find one girl who had no idea who Bad Boy was. Toward the end of the day was the consultant panel, where which 6 current Bain consultants shared their experiences getting into Bain and working there. It was pretty amazing how sharp they were. Of the group, 2 were HBS grads, 1 Booth grad and 1 Wharton grad.

Mark Howorth, a senior Director gave the closing remarks. He had a great point at the end of his speech, when he said as a next step, we need to go to school and do well!! He emphasized the importance of getting a good academic experience and learning the fundamentals rather than trying to force fit or schmooze our way into jobs.

After his closing remarks, Tiffany Showell quickly wrapped up the session, and there was a cocktail hour for us to interact with the Bainies. We were able to talk to lots of consultants and get pretty pointed advice. There was also a free wine bar, which was pretty clutch. At the reception, I met up with a good friend Robin Lamb who’s a consultant in the NYC office. He graduated from Stanford a few years before I did. I definitely intend to chat with Robin once I’m getting ready to go through recruiting for my second summer in the JD-MBA program. I’m sure he’ll be a great help, just as he was for me in the b-school process.

I definitely recommend the Bain event for admits who might consider attending the event in future years, and for those who want to enter the consulting industry. Not only will you have a good chance to network with Bainies, MLT fellows, and people from various MBA programs, but you’ll also have a lot of fun.

Best of luck in your decision.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 Business School, Careers, Diversity

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3 Comments to Bain & Co Diversity Weekend

July 6, 2009

Thanks for the summary. Very helpful.

Jeremy C Wilson
July 7, 2009

@BH Hey BH, I’m glad you think the summary was useful.

[…] others, I spoke with the Bain recruiter, whom I met eighteen months ago at a Bain event in NYC (click here for my post on the Bain event). I also spoke with an old friend, who graduated from Kellogg and […]

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.


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