June 11, 2020
Relationships with manager(s)
"My manager has been great. There’s this thing called Upward Feedback where we as associates have time to give feedback to our Supervisors and talk about our experiences. It’s been helpful because whenever I’ve had issues with my supervisors, it’s given me an avenue to openly talk about it. My supervisors have been overall positive. When someone’s telling you to do something, especially if you disagree one what they’re telling you to do, there’s always going to be some sort of push back. But supervisors have also been really open to hearing my feedback. "
"There’s this mantra that “a Baine never lets a Baine fail.” I can reach out to anyone in my class or in the class above. You never really feel like you’re alone or set up to fail. It’s important to realize that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. "
June 6, 2020
New York, NY
Less than 1 year
I'm pretty involved with Blacks at Bain. The affinity group has served as a strong network and support system to have. Bain does a good job of trying to celebrate all the diversity in the office. In February, as part of our Black History Month programming, the BABs members hosted a panel where people shared their experiences being Black in America and in the corporate setting. This was a discussion open to the entire office and the turn out was significant- not just POC but white colleagues as well, interested in learning how to be better allies. Bain continues to create spaces for its employees to talk about their differences. Bain also makes sure diverse people feel supported. During my banking internship, there was a Black affinity network, and they would host events, but the events weren't convenient for you to go to. Whereas at Bain, if there's a BABs (Blacks at Bain) event, I would work with my manager to be able to attend the event, and it didn't feel like I was hindering my performance.
Bain is the kind of firm where you get what you put in. If you feel like you're not getting the opportunities to challenge yourself and make sure that you're on track for promotions, all you have to do is voice your concern and there will be someone there to help you out. For instance, on my first case, both my manager and supervisor (person I work closest with) were white men. I noticed that whenever we'd have meetings, my manager would never look at me. Because of that, I never felt like I was brought into the meeting. Then, I got feedback that I didn't look like I was engaged, and that was partially because I couldn't tell what work was being allocated to me since my manager wouldn't look at me. I brought it up to my supervisor during one of our PD (professional development) feedback sessions. From there I noticed that my manager made an effort to bring me into the conversations. This improved my moral on the team.
In the corporate world, you can't assume that people are looking out for you; you have to be your own advocate. It's important to understand that you have a lot more agency than you think. It's easy, especially when you're a junior person, to just sit back and feel like you don't have any power. As minorities, we feel as if we have to stay in our lane. However, at a place like Bain, where everyone is pretty receptive to hearing what you need and what you want, I've been able to develop a mindset that I know I can take control of my situation. If you don't stand up for yourself, nobody will. I think that's really important, especially when you start thinking of your long-term career aspirations.
June 3, 2020
Application and interview process
I did the Bain Entrepreneurial Leaders program (BEL) for rising juniors. I interviewed my sophomore year and had to do two cases. I practiced cases with friends and didn't do much solo interview prep. The actual interview is a conversation, so you want to just put yourself in that situation as much as you can.
Bain is very transparent about how promotions work. They have a detailed skills tracker that tracks your progress. That's the framework for how they do professional development. I talk with my supervisor every two weeks and my manager every three weeks to see where my strengths and gaps are on the skills tracker. By the end of your second year, you should get your first significant promotion. You have to decide how you want to manage your professional development. For me as a minority, I was diligent about having open conversations about my performance because I was dealing with imposter syndrome and anxiety. I was struggling my first year at Bain, and I felt like I had to prove myself. I wasn't as confident about a variety of skills - quant skills, presenting in meetings, etc. - and people were really willing to help me develop those skills. It showed me how much people at Bain will invest to ensure I have a successful career here. As I gained more confidence, I valued the transparency of these conversations for other reasons - people highlighted strengths that I wasn't even aware of. These were just as helpful to be aware of because I made sure to shine in certain situations and play to my strengths, which also contributed to me being promotion-ready.
I love Blacks at Bain. It's a space where people are instantly supportive. It's a space where you can meet people that work in the office and interact with them on a personal level. In college, I was involved with student activism and working with administration to improve things for people of color. I was nervous about bringing that energy to the corporate world because I wasn't sure how open people would be to it. In my first year, I was able to host an office-wide event. At the event, employees shared experiences to express the idea that while Bain is a great place to work, there were issues that needed to be addressed. We also got into small groups and discussed ways to make the workspace more inclusive. Bain's culture is great. Even now, during COVID, Bain is working with a non-profit to help combat the discrepancies for the Black community, since they've been hit harder by the COVID than other groups. You don't have to limit what kind of impact that you want to have at Bain. Every idea that I've had has been welcomed by the company.
Relationships with manager(s)
Teams are usually 4-8 people, with a Manager that oversees the work streams and helps you manage conversations with senior clients. They're less involved with your day-to-day work in your first and second year unless you report to them directly. Supervisors are the people that are directly responsible for executing workstreams within the team, and then the Associate Consultant owns a specific piece of that workstream (typically quantitative analyses). Supervisors are people that you work with regularly. I've had some Supervisors that micro-manage, and I've had some that are more flexible. When you work with someone so closely for so many hours in a day, there are inevitably growing pains and issues that come up. I regularly do upward feedback for my supervisors. It's not common to do but I've found my supervisors to be very receptive and willing to figure out a resolution that works well for both of us.