I’m have been an Associate Consultant at Bain & Co since February of last year.
Bain’s mission statement is to help our clients create high levels of economic value so that together we can set new standards of excellence in our respective industries.
Consulting is a job that can change on a day to day basis – we do whatever we need to to solve our clients’ biggest strategy problems and challenges. This means that some days you may be out in the field getting a deeper understanding of the service you are working to improve, or liaising with global experts to build out specific archetypes of how similar businesses work in other markets,or working with your Bain team on how best to present the issue and emerging solution to the client.
The most challenging part of working at Bain is frequently being in the deep end. Our clients have obviously worked within their industries for longer than we have, and know their businesses at a much more detailed level than we can reach the timeframe of a case engagement (on average around 12 weeks). This means that we need to be good at distilling a lot of complicated information and asking the really critical questions.
Seeing the outcomes of our strategy work out in the real world. It’s pretty exciting to be out with friends on the weekend and see an advertisement for a product launch that you worked on.
I grew up in Auckland, New Zealand.
I went to the University of Otago in Dunedin, studying an LLB/BSc (physics).
I chose law and science because I really enjoy getting to the root of a problem and applying that to real life. Both fields are focused on navigating a set of principles and getting to the best possible answer. Consulting is like that too, only the set of problems that you are dealing with are much more diverse, and as a result, you need to use a broader set of tools (though you’ll find you’re still constrained by physics and the law).
The most important quality in consulting is absolutely coachability. Being open to asking for help, or really taking on board constructive feedback is such an effective and essential way to get better at what you are doing and improve your work.
A lot of people assume that you need a commerce background to get into consulting, but in my experience, coming from a non-financial background can actually work in your favour. It means that you’ll approach problems using a slightly different lens, and that your team will be able to provide the client with a more diverse perspective.
Consultants travel a lot, and while that can be really exciting at times, it can also be difficult to be away from your friends, family, or partner. I’m lucky to have a boyfriend who is also in consulting, and we’ve been staffed in the same place for most of the last year, but, if or when that changes, it will be tricky to adjust. On the plus side, you come home every weekend, and the staffing team are very good at taking your location preferences into account in the long haul.
That is a tough question! I think the thing I find the most inspirational is when people are just obviously living life exactly as they’ve imagined it. I love the saying that you shouldn’t ask what the world needs, but rather what makes you come alive, because the world needs more people like that.