Consulting Firm Profile: Bain & Company

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Bain & Company is a management consulting firm that started late, but began operations with a focus on one goal: demonstrable objectives for clients to achieve in order to make clear gains in either revenue or cost cutting. The culture is fast-paced and the principals eschew the idea that strategy is more important than implementation. Read more…

Life at Bain

That means that those with strong conceptual thinking will do just fine, according to younger associates, but they will need to ensure that they can find concrete direction with their analysis. Others have noted that the best applicant, whether entry-level or in the middle of one’s career, will find that humility is a career attribute of all management consultant applicants that are successful at Bain.

And in fact, applicants should be expected to take the verbal reasoning and case study sections of an interview seriously, with the ability to translate their analysis to specific actionable items, even at the early stages of the development of a strategic change. These may apply to any one of the Bain & Company specialties, including the normal management and growth and change strategies in addition to information technology and supply chain improvements.

Areas of Focus

Like competing management consultant firms Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey and Booz, Bain & Company offers services in each of their specialties to a number of different industry sectors. Among the many covered by the company are the automotive, defense, media, retail and healthcare sectors. Since the culture focuses on quick and demonstrable results, prospective management consultants can expect frequent travel to be on-site at client locations.

Bain & Company Background

Bain & Company was founded by Boston Consulting Group alumni like Bill Bain and other former management consultants who figured that new strategies and ideas would help drive business clients forward. While the company no longer focuses on a single client per sector, management consultants at Bain still keep in mind the old selling points from the 1970s: the ability to increase stock prices and raise revenue. A crisis in the early 1990s led to significant restructuring that led to more buy-in at the general partner level and also affords more flexibility during financial downturns.

Moving On and Moving Away

Those who choose to stay with Bain & Company will also find that there are demonstrable differences between positions, and growth will mean taking on additional responsibilities. Keep in mind that many at Bain note that the management consultants will be cross-trained in a number of industries, and while that leads to greater versatility, it can come at the expense of developing subject matter expertise. Some junior-level employees also note that the gap between the first and second levels can be somewhat high.

However, Bain directors understand, just like other management consulting firms, that some analysts and consultants will choose to move on to other firms with their varied expertise and skill set. In that case, Bain can offer the prestige that few other firms can match. In fact, in 2009 and 2010, the firm had the best name recognition according to several external reviews. That can open doors even in industries where one doesn’t have much experience while at Bain.


Founded: 1973
Offices: 42
Central Locations: North America, Western Europe, India, East Asia
Headquarters: Boston, MA
Employees: 4,800
Website: https:/

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