Bain & Company is arguably the best place to work in America.
The Boston-based management consulting firm, which was founded in 1973, frequently lands the No. 1 spot on national workplace rankings, including Glassdoor’s 2014 list of “Best Places To Work” and Vault’s 2015 “Best To Work For In Consulting” ranking.
“Our people tell us that it’s a unique combination of two things that makes Bain so special,” Keith Bevans, a Bain partner and head of the firm’s global consultant recruiting, told Business Insider last year.
“First, they are energised by the impact they create. For our people, the excitement they get from helping top executives solve some of their most difficult problems is tremendously rewarding,” Bevans explained. “And second, they believe that our culture is very supportive of their professional and personal growth.”
About 6,000 people work in Bain’s 51 offices in 33 countries around the world. One of them is Lori Estiverne — a principal (also known as a senior consultant) who started her career as an associate consultant intern with the firm in the summer of 2002.
She has worked in two offices — Atlanta and New York — and currently specialises in work with consumer goods and retail clients.
We spoke to Estiverne to find out what it’s really like to work for one of the country’s top employers.
Here’s what she said:
Current role: As a principal, I oversee one to two case teams and drive our work with our clients. A typical day for me would be a combination of meetings with clients, providing input on the team’s work, planning work for the coming weeks, and spending time with my team manager on professional development. One of the things that is great about my job is that no day is like any other.
Hiring process: Bain’s recruiting process is focused on case-based interviews. We treat the interview as a mini glimpse into the types of problems and work you would see if you actually worked at Bain.
The case that I use when I am an interviewer is based on one of my favourite cases at Bain. Interviewees often ask what happened in the case, and it’s great to share the actual results. I remember investing a significant time in preparing for my case interviews. There were two rounds of interviews; all of them included case exercises.
Best thing about working for Bain: The results we create for our clients.
On every project, I’m amazed at how we are able to get to the heart of the issue and help move our clients to action, often on topics they have not been able to tackle in the past. Our case teams — from partner to associate consultant to our consulting support services — all work together to deliver results in a way that makes Bain a truly special place to work.
Most challenging thing about working for Bain: The hardest part of my job is kicking off a project with a new client.
With a new client, you have to not only work on solving the problem at hand, but also getting to know the client and how they like to work. It’s very rewarding when these new client relationships turn into long-standing ones where we are integrated into the client in such as way it’s as if we are a part of the client team.
What people don’t know about Bain: People might be surprised to learn that at Bain you start your career as a generalist and work in a number of different industries.
I’ve worked for clients in media, industrials, insurance, credit cards, and hospitals, among others. I now spend my time with consumer goods and retail clients. However, the experience working across industries was valuable in building my business acumen.
The culture at Bain: It is supportive, collegial, and passionate.
We have a phrase that we all live by: A Bainie never lets another Bainie fail. Everyone really does live that motto.
If you reach out to another Bainie for support, whether to someone in your office or in another hemisphere, you always get a response that is even more helpful than you would have expected. I’m continuously impressed by the passion my fellow Bainies bring to their jobs and their life outside of work.
The physical office: I’m currently based in Bain’s New York office.
Last year, we moved to a new office space in the Grace Building located on Bryant Park. I must say, our new space is amazing. There are gorgeous views across Bryant Park. In certain parts of the building you can see all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan. In addition to great views, our office has great working spaces. Throughout the office, we have huddle spaces with couches and tables, which allow teams and colleagues to connect informally about work or generally to catch up.
Perks: Some of the best perks offered by Bain are our flexible working models. There are opportunities to take on part-time roles, take leaves of absence, and work in internal positions based on what your personal and professional needs are.
In the past, I was able to take advantage of these options. I spent 18 months splitting my time between an internal and external role. During this time period, I spent half of my time as the associate consultant program manager in New York, staffing our ACs and working on their professional development. The other half of my time was devoted to client work as a “50% Manager.”
Best or coolest experience on the job: One of the coolest things I’ve had a chance to do since starting at Bain actually happened in the midst of a natural disaster. In August 2005, I was working for an industrials company based on the Gulf coast when Hurricane Katrina hit.
Our client was hit hard, and our work halted as the client tried to work through the devastation. Instead of assigning me to a new project, our office head allowed me to spend time volunteering with local organisations sending food and supplies to Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama to help those in need. I think that was one of the coolest moments because it showed me the true values of our company.
Misconceptions about consultants: When people hear that I’m a consultant, they always assume that I’m on the road every week.
One of the things I love about Bain is the balanced travel model. Our regional staffing model means that most of the clients I serve are in the Northeast. While there are absolutely times that I need to travel each week, it varies based on the client and project needs. I appreciate that balance.
What it’s REALLY like to work at Bain, in two sentences or less: Working at Bain offers a rewarding, challenging, and fun career. It is one of the best places you can start your career out of undergrad or business school.
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