My name is Sid. Before joining Bain, I did four years in investment banking after earning an economics degree at the University of Edinburgh.
After four years in banking, your learning curve starts to flatten quite quickly. There isn't much of a gap between what you're doing and what your boss is doing, and you start to feel, OK, am I really learning that much here? And then when you think about your exit opportunities, you're kind of constrained to a certain area. The reason I decided to pursue a career in consulting was that it offers a much broader spectrum of exit opportunities. And in terms of skills, I learn on a day-to-day basis something so broad that it's very difficult for that learning curve to flatten anytime soon.
My favorite work at Bain has been in the private equity ringfence. That's basically where we do due diligences for private equity companies looking to buy various assets. The reason I find it so interesting is that the timelines are shortened vs. normal cases. And you're doing raw strategy work, trying to assess the commercial viability of companies in the market. And you do that all over a two- to three-week time frame, as opposed to a three- to four-month time frame, which makes it at times very stressful, but also very, very exciting. And it really improves the team dynamics.
I joined Bain as a senior associate consultant, which is the level you typically achieve after two years if you were to join as a graduate. For me, after having worked four years in banking, that was quite a bit of a step down initially. At the beginning, I had to adjust to the Bain way of doing things—the way that people here like to work, the way that people like to have their output. Getting used to that was quite difficult. And so coming in at that level was actually good because it allowed me to concentrate on learning those things.
In a year, though, I've progressed to the level of consultant, and with that, of course, the responsibilities you hold increase. You start to manage team members, you start to think about the overall answer and the overall output more. You're not just dealing with individual small pieces of work; you're really part of figuring out what the conclusion of the work is.
That's a specialization I never really wanted to give up. When I joined Bain, initially the view was that it's going to be quite difficult to keep a specialization because we're a generalist firm. However, as I moved into the private equity practice, where there is a lot of software work, the partners were very receptive to someone with four years of pure software experience. They've really been supportive in allowing me to pursue that specialization, staffing me specifically on software deals, allowing me to do a lot of the client development work. So I've been able to continue to build that area of specialization.
If I had to give advice to anybody joining Bain from the industry channel who has a lot of experience in another area, it would be to just be humble in those first few months. It's going to be an adjustment. It's going to be difficult, but as long as you keep your head down and you focus on your areas for improvement, you'll get past that very quickly and you'll be able to focus on the things that you find interesting very quickly as well.