Mikey photo

Mikey

Partner, Chicago

Where Bain starts to set itself apart for me, is that these people are also some of my best friends in the world. double-quote-close

Why Bain?

The people at Bain are the greatest, period. I work with some of the best and brightest people I know - but yes, more than one firm claims this.  However, where Bain starts to set itself apart for me, is that these people are also some of my best friends in the world.

When we're in meeting rooms, boardrooms and airplanes, we're driving change, adding value and solving complex business problems. When we're on vacation, at Bain World Cup, at each other's weddings, hanging out on the weekends, we're celebrating and sharing our personal successes and stories.  We're laughing and making memories together.  We're connecting on a level that doesn't always happen at a desk.

You quickly find that your fellow Bainies are so easy to identify with that they just naturally and comfortably become a part of your life.  It initially sounds daunting to an outsider, but when you realize how much time you spend working with these people - you recognize how lucky you are and how rewarding it is to be able to do it with people you truly enjoy.

My passion

I have been pleasantly surprised at how I have been able to incorporate my personal passions into work.  I love music - listening, writing, producing, playing...  I played guitar and violin, I beatbox and I also used to write and produce music at a small recording studio I owned prior to business school.

Over the past 2-3 years, I have played in the Bain Band, beatboxed at the annual offsite retreat, rocked with my intern class and a live band in front of the entire office and helped write and record songs at a Bain partner's indie music label in London.

Sometimes you get so busy that it's hard to prioritize your passions outside of the office.  However, when you can practice your passion at work, it's a wonderful thing.

My favorite case

I recently did strategy work for one of the world's largest hedge funds. Historically, it was so easy to raise capital (and generate corresponding profits) that they never really had to understand how to run their fund like a traditional business. With the recent financial turmoil, that all changed. All of a sudden, they needed someone to help them reassess every aspect of their business and make them profitable once again. Enter Bain.

My role on this case was to help develop their global growth strategy and answer some of the following questions:  

  • Where are the growing and profitable markets?  
  • What kinds of client money do they need to attract?  
  • Why are some geographical markets more attractive than others?  
  • Where is the easiest place to start?

What made this challenging (and interesting) is that nobody has really answered these questions before.  There is so little data, analysis or expertise out there on the hedge fund market that I had to pioneer a large portion of this thinking.  As a result, I developed points of view that have never existed until now.

I went from seeing hedge funds as a giant black box of mystery to being a legitimate hedge fund industry expert in a short amount of time, and that's very cool to me.

My personal results story

As an intern, I was tasked to analyze the M&A strategy of a home services company.  I spent the summer digging through the data of all my client's previous acquisitions, speaking to finance people within the company and studying all their competitors' acquisitions.  I eventually learned that they were doing it ineffectively.  They were trying to roll up the industry by buying up as many customer lists as possible.  They often overpaid for struggling businesses and would quickly lose their newly acquired customers.

I recommended they place an immediate moratorium on all acquisition activity and implement a much more rigorous diligence process and focus their purchasing.  At the end of the summer, I wrapped up my little intern project into a presentation, delivered it to my manager and felt pretty good that I learned something and had some fun doing it.

The prologue to my story occurred a month after I left to go back to school.  My analysis unearthed insight that the client never knew.  My client immediately halted all pending acquisitions and decided to develop new processes before continuing any inorganic growth.

I never imagined that I could make such a significant impact as an intern, but I did and that was a great feeling.

My perspective on diversity at Bain

To some people, diversity is about skin color, heritage, sexual orientation, etc., which is fair.  To me, diversity is about how many things I have to change about myself to succeed or fit in.

Time and time again, I'm reminded that I don't have to become anybody in particular to make it at Bain.  I don't have to fit into some kind of mold or act a certain way.  Partners at Bain are definitely not carbon copies of each other, which says a lot to me.

Bain is perfectly happy with the way I think, the way I work, the way I act and the way I interact with my clients and team, because they know that the best way to unleash my full potential is to just be me.

A final thought

When you speak to the various firms, really try to get to know who the people are.  Worry less about trying to impress them and instead, pay very close attention to what they say, how they say it and most importantly, how they interact with everyone.  If you work for that firm, chances are, that's how they will interact with you too.

If you decide to become a consultant, remember that this is a challenging job that sometimes requires many hours of work.  As a result, you will spend a LOT of time with your fellow consultants.  The interactions you have during recruiting are a very insightful peek into how your life could be - and this is often undervalued when you're in the midst of recruiting.  Make sure you're comfortable with that and that should lead you to the right place to call home (for at least the next couple years).