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Bain & Company Associate Consultant Interview Questions

Updated Jan 21, 2015
Updated Jan 21, 2015
171 Interview Reviews

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65 people found this helpful  

Associate Consultant Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
Application Details

I applied through college or university. The process took 3 daysinterviewed 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 Questions
  • 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
Reasons 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.

Declined Offer
Average Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Bain & Company

  1.  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took a dayinterviewed at Bain & Company.

    Interview Details

    I applied through on campus recruiting and managed to score a first round interview with Bain. They were really great from start to finish, super efficient, organized and very caring. For first round interviewees, Bain held a case workshop to teach us how to handle cases interviews. The next day (and the day before my interview) I also received a call from one of the consultants of Bain to do a mock interview run through with her.

    The first round was about 90 minutes, and there were 2 cases, both were interviewer led. The cases were fairly easy and the interviewers were really nice and encouraging. I don't think I did an outstanding job so I doubt I'll get a 2nd call back but it was definitely a good introduction to the world of consulting and Bain culture.

    Surprised to get a callback to the second round. Will update this review as I go through the process. One thing that stuck out to me was how caring Bain was, my "buddy" reached out to me to congratulate me for getting through to the next round and offered great advice.

    Interview Questions
    • Nothing really. They just ask you questions about the case. Very little calculations too.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  2.  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Basic campus recruiting process. Had two 30 minute interviews with Consultants, back to back. Both interviews involved about half behavioral and half case. Behavioral is mostly just knowing your resume really well. One of the cases was very structured and the second was extremely open ended which threw me off since I didn't initially realize that was all the information I was going to be given.

    Interview Questions
    • Some case about Dunkin' Donuts and what you would look for in deciding on whether to expand.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  3. 19 people found this helpful  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Bain & Company in October 2012.

    Interview Details

    Bain just started interviewing at my school (non-target in the Midwest) in the last few years, and I decided to attend a practice case info session at the business school put on by two consultant alums. During the info session I volunteered a ton (probably answered 75% of the questions, and luckily with pretty good answers) and afterwards I made an effort to meet both consultants, introduce myself and put a face to my name. I submitted my resume to the applicant pool, and I was called the following week by one of the alums who I met with to inform me they'd like to bring me in for a first round interview. Not sure how much of a difference it made, but I definitely think it helped taking the time to attend the info session, actively participating, and making a connection and strong impression on the recruiting contacts from the start rather than just hoping my resume would get noticed.

    First round consisted of two 30 minute cases, pretty much zero behavioral. I actually felt really pessimistic leaving the interview, and even called some friends and told them I didn't think I would be advanced to the next round. I was taking a nap the afternoon of the interview when my phone rang, with one of the consultants who interviewed me inviting me to a final round office interview in the near future. Goes to show you want to stay calm on the outside even if you feel like you're struggling and totally lost with a case. In between the first and second rounds, I reached out to the alums I initially met at the info session, and between them and some of the ACs on their teams I was able to go through ~8 live practice cases over the phone with different Bain employees. Can't stress enough how much this helped me prepare.

    Second round was three 30 minute cases with a partner and two senior managers, as well as a 30 minute behavioral/fit interview with a consultant. Saw two private equity due diligence cases, the key to these is looking at the overall market, then the competitive landscape, then the client's specific product offering and how it compares to the rest of the industry. I would definitely anticipate a few cases of this sort if you plan on interviewing with Bain. All the cases were pretty straightforward, pretty structured where the interviewer had several slides with key information which they would provide if you asked the right questions. After the final interview I kept anticipating a call, as I'd heard that top firms will often extend offers the same day as the interview. When I didn't hear I was somewhat nervous, but I did my best not to think about it. I received an offer a week later over the phone.

    Interview Questions
    • Believe it or not I struggled most with the question "Tell me about yourself". It was my last interview of the final round with a very successful partner, normally I feel pretty good about my 30 second elevator pitch/self promotion blurb but I definitely froze up and got nervous for some reason. I sort of stammered that I was a smart and laid-back kid, immediately regretted the use of "laid-back", randomly threw out that I ran an ironman with no real connection to how it would make me a better consultant, etc. After that we went through a case together which went well, but definitely sell yourself better than I did when given the chance.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    As others have stated no negotiation for entry-level employees. My negotiation phase consisted of me giggling like a little girl when the partner asked if I would like to join Bain, and trying to hold it together over the phone.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5.  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Bain & Company.

    Interview Details

    I got selected for interview from my university at Europe for Dubai office. As I was on exchange in US, I went to give my first at local Chicago office as communicated by Bain. Went through the normal expected two case interviews. There was lot of data/graphs in second case. I did the first one in 20 minutes...Interviewer was happy. Got the call for the interview result in the evening with feedback saying that the competition was very tough.

    Interview Questions
    • There was nothing unexpected. Just that Bain normally gives lot of graphical data in one or both cases.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Bain & Company in November 2012.

    Interview Details

    I attend a small liberal arts college in the northeast that is not a core recruiting school for Bain, but Bain has started to do info sessions on our campus and look at more of our applicants. I submitted an application through an online college career center job board. I think they probably selected people for first round interviews solely based on the highest GPAs in the applicant pool. Through this recruiting channel I believe they selected 4 people for first-round interviews through this process out of maybe 80 applicants.

    First round interviews were over the phone, two 30 minute back-to-back case interviews. Most Bain cases are the same, so I'm just going to lay out the basic structure they follow rather than go into the details: first they ask for factors or buckets of factors that go into your initial thinking on the problem. Then there's a market sizing question. Next, a break-even, profit calculation, or larger math portion of the case. There is always a twist in the math, so write out your equations carefully. Finally, a "curveball" qualitative question where the interviewer is looking for you to be creative.

    Second Round Interview was a similar format of two 45-minute case interviews back-to-back but in-person at the Boston office. Similar case format as the first round cases, but slightly more involved.

    Everyone who worked as an AC, Consultant, etc. at Bain was really nice and extremely helpful. However, HR and the people responsible for scheduling the interviews were a mess. Inconsistent e-mails, no clear details, etc. Also, if you go on to the next round they usually call you 2 days after the interview, and if you don't go on to the next round (or don't get an offer) they usually get back to you at the end of 2 weeks.

    Interview Questions
    • "We get thousands of high quality applicants that look just like you. Why are you different and why should we hire you?"   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Bain & Company in November 2012.

    Interview Details

    Case study + questions on resume & personal development

    Interview Questions
    • Case study about various industries with varying questions   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Bain & Company in October 2012.

    Interview Details

    Standard hiring process through college. Dates and deadlines announced online, with a generic info-session arranged at the college. Upload your resume, cover letter and transcripts online. First round is on campus, followed by at-office for the second decision round. Hardest parts are the resume screening and round 2.

    Notwithstanding what anyone says - it helps to network and know people at the office. Also, Bain arranges a mock case study session like most other big consulting firms before starting the interviews and after resume screening is done. DO NOT go into the idea that the mock cases are in anyway representative of what the actual interview are like. Actual cases are very intensive and need ample previous practice.

    Interview Questions
    • A round 2 case with the Partner. Case was about VAT (sales tax) recovery option for foreign tourists in a country. The agency that handles the VAT recovery is an investment target for a private equity firm. The task was to suggest growth strategies to the pr.eq. for the agency's business. Note the deliberate use of multiple confusing layers, and bringing up an industry that you are sure never to have heard of. The challenge is to be able to deal with such situations.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took a weekinterviewed at Bain & Company in October 2012.

    Interview Details

    Applied through university, got an oncampus interview- 2 30min cases, with 5 min at end to ask questions. The people were very nice and organized. The process moved along smoothly and the interviewers tried to help you out as much as possible. Good experience overall. Feedback was not very helpful; only one generic vague piece of advice.

    Interview Questions
    • Dry cleaning store with declining profits - assess the situation and come up with solutions
      Growth for comedy show - assess the potential
       
      Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10.  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university – interviewed at Bain & Company in October 2012.

    Interview Details

    I was shortlisted for the first round of interviews based on my resume and cover letter. We had a networking session on the previous evening. On the day of interviews, we dived into the case directly. There were two simple cases in industrial goods and computer hardware. Both were actual cases that the interviewers had worked on.

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

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