Bain & Company
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www.bain.com Boston, MA 5000+ Employees

Bain & Company Associate Consultant Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 14, 2014
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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Los Angeles, CA

I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Bain & Company in January 2014.

Interview Details – Initial communication was through email to set up the first round of interviews. This process was very smooth and the recruiting coordinator was very helpful in answering any questions. Once in the office, they will provide you with a description of the interviewers along with their backgrounds. The interviewers themselves were friendly but became really stoic during the actual interview.

Interview Question – Interview was 1.5 hours long with 2 cases lasting 45 minutes each. Both cases were drawn from the same industry - U.S. airlines   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Chicago, IL

I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Bain & Company in January 2014.

Interview Details – The entire process was very smooth and took about 2 weeks (not including waiting for the first interview). My first interview round was with a SAC and a Consultant at their office, and both interviews went well (except that the numbers on one case tripped me up). These interviews were both profit cases and were not especially difficult.

For the final round, I was flown out to Boston to interview with a Partner and Senior Manager. I had to do a market sizing case which also felt like a pressure test, because my interviewer questioned my every assumption. I had a profit case with the Senior Manager which required a rather unexpected recommendation.

The Partner who interviewed me called me the next morning to let me know that I received the offer.

In general, the process was great and you have the opportunity to receive detailed feedback at each round. In fact, I was surprised at the quality of the feedback given that the interviewers are so busy! So if you get the opportunity to interview, definitely request for feedback and it will help you to do well in future case interviews.

Interview Question – Market sizing.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – There was no negotiation as it is a standard contract.

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
San Francisco, CA

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Bain & Company in October 2013.

Interview Details – Everything was super professional. I had 2 interviews on campus and 3 interviews in-office. All the interviews included 10-15 minutes of behavioral questions and then a short case (20-30 minutes).

Interview Question – Nothing unexpected.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Chicago, IL

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Bain & Company in October 2013.

Interview Details – 2 cases during the 1st round interview. Cases were fair if you did case preps.

Interview Question – I had a market entry case. I did a cost-benefit analysis, calculated the approx. break-even period, but i didn't realize that there was a capacity issue until the very end. thought that was tricky   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Chicago, IL

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Bain & Company in October 2013.

Interview Details – I applied through my university, and completed a first round interview on campus. The interview was two separate case interviews with two separate interviewers. The cases were nothing too crazy. Minimal behavioral interview questions.

Interview Question – The case questions were largely graph and figure driven. Had to know to ask the right questions, but also how to be able to properly analyze the given data.   Answer Question

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56 people found this helpful

Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
New York, NY

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Bain & Company in October 2012.

Interview Details – I did on-campus recruiting at my university, and there were 2 rounds of interviews, with 2 case interviews each. I found the Bain cases to be a bit more straightforward than the cases for BCG and other top consulting firms. They weren't about banks, pharmaceutical companies, or companies in other complex industries that most undergrads don't have a strong background in. Instead, they were analytical problems about corporations most people intuitively understand (grocery chain strategy, airline considering adding an economy-plus program, that sort of thing). Obviously I only had four data points from my cases, but my friends had similar experiences, and the internship interviews this year seemed to go the same way for people I knew. I think the flipside of the easier questions was that they expected a higher standard of performance from people because the ceiling of the test was lower and the scenarios weren't hard to understand conceptually. It seemed like they gave us cases that feel manageable to try to put us at ease, but they didn't accept a lot of the candidates I knew who felt they had made small errors or had given solid but unremarkable performances. The interviewers seemed happiest when I went into depth and tried creative answers during the brainstorming parts of the cases, so I think they might be looking for particularly well-considered answers to cases that seem simple on face.

I also think my interviewers cared about presentation and personality based on what they said about the cases after I got my offer. They want people who are high-energy (VERY peppy and friendly -- this was a unifying characteristic for the people I met at the firm, and my friends who work there have confirmed that it's emphasized in the corporate culture) and would be good at giving a client presentation. Have a big Starbucks before your final round if you're a laid-back personality type, and don't let nerves or number-crunching get in the way of having a clear conversation with your interviewer. Long story short, the Bain cases weren't so tough, but to get the job you'll need to distinguish yourself with some innovative ideas and a great demeanor.

Interview Question – I found the case interviews to be straightforward. If you prepared, you'll be fine. Even if you didn't prepare much but you're just used to thinking on your feet, you'll probably be fine.   View Answer

Reason for Declining – If you get the job and you're comparing it to others to make a decision, find a way to speak to people who have left the firm in addition to the people the recruiting department puts you in touch with. They have an amazing recruiting team and I think they spend a LOT of time and money trying to get you to sign, but obviously the people they put you in touch with are the ones who are the happiest about their time at the firm. I talked to probably 30+ employees trying to make a decision (I know that sounds kind of ridiculous, but at least 20 of them spontaneously called to say congrats and answer questions). They got my name because recruiting reached out to them, but I ended up asked those employees if they had any friends who had left the firm for other careers after their first few years there, and those people provided a radically different perspective in many cases. At all up-or-out management consulting firms like Bain, there's a clear crowd of people who succeeded and were a good fit (these are managers, partners, and star consultants recruiting will put you in touch with), and there's a separate group of people who were the wrong personality type, found the work unfulfilling, or had horrible experiences with the workload (these people leave the firm quickly, and if they're still employed there, they don't voice these concerns to recruits). Talking to people who had bad experiences and felt like they weren't personality fits for the firm helped me to get both sides of that story. Neither perspective is really more valid than the other, and Bain has many more happy employees than detractors, but ultimately you're the person who is best situated to tell whether you're more similar to the happy employees or the people who felt they didn't enjoy the work or didn't fit in. I ended up deciding it wasn't for me and going into non-profit work, but I think it's a great firm, and for someone with different long-term goals and a more extroverted personality, I think it would be an awesome place to start a career.

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Philadelphia, PA

I applied through college or university and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Bain & Company in September 2012.

Interview Details – 2 interview rounds
First round 2 interviews on campus, with 2 associate consultants. Both had cases.
Second and final round - 2 45 minute interviews with engagement managers.

Interview Question – Second round had a very complex business case in the Consumer & Retail space. Involved integrating technology into the consumer end-to-end touchpoints. The other second round interview was fairly straightforward.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Evanston, IL

I applied through a recruiter and interviewed at Bain & Company.

Interview Details – The interview process was interesting and intense too, I had 2 case interviews at my school and they tried to make it challenging and tested my math skills as well. I had to have a bit of creativity in the process.

Interview Question – A question about healthcare revenue and customer growth threw me off. Practice your core math skills   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant

Interviewed at Bain & Company

Interview Details – Interviewed on campus and at a hotel - 2 rounds of 1-on-1 interviews that were fairly straightforward. 1 out of 4 interviews involved an exhibit (charts) and the rest did not. Found it useful just to talk through the problem as they were more interested in following the thought process. Messed up the math terribly but still made it to the second round. Also got market-sizing questions in almost all the interviews.

Interview Question – Size the market for textbooks in America.   Answer Question

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7 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Boston, MA

I applied through college or university and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Bain & Company in October 2013.

Interview Details – Went through a college recruiting process — standard resume, cover letter. Did not network at all with Bain before beginning the interviews and did only a few cases as prep. First round was two 30-minute case interviews with a few fit questions and resume reviews; they were behind schedule and felt rushed. The two interviewers were both young Consultants, recent business school graduates, who were friendly and supportive even in a few moments I struggled with a case. One complimented my socks.

Somehow, I got through them, and the next day was invited to another office for a final-round interview a week later. Three candidates were there for that position; the night before, we had dinner and drinks with a collection of managers, consultants, and associates in the office. It was a relaxed, no-pressure environment, and I had ample opportunity to schmooze and relax with the assembled staff. (I actually thought it was a fun dinner.)

On the day of the final round interviews, I was given my interviewers' biographies (which I should have gotten at the dinner, had I not needed to leave early). I and the other two candidates filled out background-check information forms nervously before our interviews. The recruiters and receptionists were very friendly and a calming presence. The format was three 40-minute interviews; two were case interviews (one with a manager and one with a partner) and one was a fit interview with a consultant who worked as a mentor within the firm. I luckily had my cases first and then my fit interview, which let me ease into the day.

Both case interviews were challenging, but stimulating. They were not framework-friendly, and instead were driven by intellection and inference — it was crucial to apply Bain's hypothesis-driven approach to succeed. I stumbled in both, but kept up a great rapport with both the manager and partner. They were fun. The second interview was by far the most challenging; I was essentially made to ask questions and throw out dozens of hypotheses for a case which was not exactly solvable. The fit interview was very relaxed and friendly — some "why consulting," "what makes Bain stand out," "what other firms are you considering," and "what should we expect if we give you an offer" questions, but mostly a nice chat with a lovely person.

I flew back to school and received a Saturday afternoon phone call from the partner who had interviewed me, both to congratulate me on receiving an offer and to offer immediate feedback on my approach to the cases. He dissected my approach and gave me constructive feedback and areas to focus on in the future with Bain. Perhaps his most interesting note was that, while the two other candidates (from engineering and business undergraduate programs) breezed through the cases mathematically, I was less detail-oriented but more right-brained, and that the firm valued liberal-arts students like myself. (His exact words were "your left brain is teachable.") I was extended an offer in writing three days later.

Interview Question – Being flat-out told "You're wrong. Why are you wrong?" in a case with a partner.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – There really wasn't that much negotiation there — I didn't have any other offers and was happy with what I had been offered, so it was an easy sign. Perhaps I should have fought for it.

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