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Vault’s Verdict

Long known as the most employee-centric of the Big 3, Bain’s results in our survey this year come as no surprise. At a time when many corporations are struggling with post-pandemic burnout, Bain insiders note that their firm has shifted seamlessly to a hybrid model—and is seeing morale improvements to boot. Throw in a surge in both capabilities and new business over the past couple of years, and you  have a very compelling mix for any would-be consultant to consider.

Of course, one of the great perks of a career at Bain is its ability to set employees on a path to success, both within the firm and beyond. Those industry-renowned training programs and development tracks also appear to have survived and thrived throughout the pandemic, and the exit opportunities on offer are as impressive as ever.

With all of that said, the only real question for most successful applicants to consider is one of fit: those who approach career development as a competition and client engagements as opportunities to show your individual brilliance will likely fare better elsewhere. But if teamwork and sharing credit with high-performing peers are your thing—this may well be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

Firm Culture

“Approach - Bain has always cultivated a ‘results, not reports’ mentality that helps us deliver greater value for clients. Teaming - Bain invests significantly in, and cultivates actively, the ability to team well with clients and internally.”

“Bainies are a really talented group of individuals who understand that 1) they are more powerful when they team together, and 2) they are here to make their clients the heroes. This attitude sets our firm apart.”

“Consistency. A lot of consulting firms feel like individual fiefdoms where local Partners have autonomy and create major variances in both client service and employee experience. Bain has a high level of coordination from regional and global firm leadership that helps it create a consistent experience. I have now worked across multiple offices. In each, the expectations for teams, performance and client delivery have been the same. From the client perspective, this means they can expect the same great work regardless of where they are and which Partners / teams serve them. From an employee perspective, this greatly reduces the chance of outlying terrible experiences (e.g., being staffed to a role with insufficient preparation, getting relegated only to terrible work).”

“How we work with clients is very differentiated, I hear it time and time again from clients. We really collaborate and listen and aim to team with our clients.”

“The ability to work with some of the smartest -- and most humble -- people on earth and learn from it every day.”

Quality of Life

“A lot of emphasis on work / life balance. Expectations are very reasonable, and we try to deliver the most value for clients in the most targeted way possible.”

“Bain is making strides to promote work life balance in a demanding, client-focused industry. The ability to work on a variety of projects, choose if you travel and even go internal has helped the work stay variable and interesting.”

“Hours and intensity are highly variable and can sometimes reach very taxing levels. This is highly dependent on leadership and client dynamics—as a professional services business with a partnership model, there is only so much Bain can do to improve this. I believe Bain is doing almost everything they can, given the constraints of the model and industry.”

“There is a consistent effort to continue improving the quality of life of everyone in the firm, and we have become very honest in our conversations that tackle the fact that this is a 'challenging industry' for quality of life.”

“We have found a much more balanced travel schedule after COVID—with my team only travelling once every 3-4 weeks rather than every week and co-location 3 days per week as the norm, meaning there is flexibility for folks to work from home as well during the week. Travelling less has really helped the overall quality of life, but COVID has made the job more intense day to day as we keep up a similar pace of meetings to what we had during WFH where we had nothing else to do but work.”


“At Bain one needs to presume trust. We are not exactly competitive with the market at every moment in a career, but over time the economics are very attractive. I trust the firm leadership to pay people fairly and it has always worked out for me.”

“I just feel we don't pay enough compared to the number of hours we work. I could be making the same amount of money at Google (where I used to work), if not more, and work 2/3 of the hours.”

“Make more money than I ever could have expected, compensation progression feels fair, and compensation system promotes the right type of collaboration between Partners.”

“On a risk-adjusted, hours-adjusted basis, it is very hard to do better than Bain pay. We also have some of the best health insurance available. 401K policy is generous (though perhaps not ‘stand-out’ in the same way other benefits are).”

“The monetary compensation package is outstanding. The health insurance is equally outstanding. I don't think I could ask for more when it comes to compensation, health coverage, and family-oriented benefits (26 weeks of paternity leave!).”

Career Development

“At Bain, career development is very structured. At every step of the way you know where you stand and what is required of you to reach the next level. Performance reviews, upward feedbacks and informal feedback are taken very seriously and performed several times a year. Moreover, there are formal trainings associated with each career level where you get exposed to the critical skills you need to perform to your full potential. In addition, with training venues being global you get to interact and network with consultants from multiple offices.”

“Bain offers a wide set of career opportunities, from general management consulting (which is what Bain is still most known for), to advanced analytics (Pyxis, among others), digital marketing (FRWD), technology development (Vector), innovation and design. Promotion processes are transparent, clearly laid out, and clearly connect performance to reward. Diversity is top-of-mind and training on unconscious biases are on of everyone's learning path. Global training sessions are offered to consultants at each grade (~1 week long at global, rotating locations), and allow participants to reflect on their experience, learn from mentors, and meet fellow Bainies in incredible places. I've found these training sessions mind-blowing - and very fun.”

“Can't say enough about the training.  Robust during lockdown and now even better back in person!”

“I have done multiple international transfers, worked across our client facing and internal departments and have moved through the ranks from Associate Consultant to Associate Partner, staying at Bain because I love the level of challenge and the supportive environment. I have attended 5 global trainings as a participant and led 7 global trainings as a trainer or program manager and I believe we have phenomenal training programs that are really world class and set our teams up for success. I have been stretched over my time at Bain but also been able to chart my own path and timing through the promotion processes—Bain prides itself on being a meritocracy and lives up to that on this dimension.”

“The support system is very effective in helping people move upwards in their career, with formal training processes, formal mentorship programs, and opportunities for experience sharing.”

Community Engagement

“Bain is working hard to promote D&I, but given the decentralized nature of the business, success can sometimes be hit-and-miss.”

“Clearly a focus.  Clearly improving.  Senior leadership not yet diverse and will take time.”

“Pioneered a number of diversity recruiting programs that have been copied across the consulting industry.”

“The firm has always had a robust set of affinity group programs (including adding disabilities) and they have been even bolder around a DE&I agenda including inclusion training and awareness and also recognition of Juneteenth and also commitments and investments in our communities.”

“We are all on a journey! We are extremely receptive and ambitious in our goals, DEI is a high priority at the highest levels of the firm, and we invest time and resources to continuously improving. DEI is an issue that exists outside the walls of our firm also, so we are not fully in control of all the forces that impact our different groups. I am confident in our intention and level of resource commitment.”

Business Outlook

“Bain has phenomenal employees that are the bedrock of superior client impact and value. I'm often impressed by the caliber of my colleagues, and our reputation in the private equity sector. One area where I think Bain needs to pay attention is on specialization. Right now, consultants are generalists until they become senior managers. But every aspect of the functional areas we operate in (e.g.: digital marketing, environmental sustainability, data analytics) is becoming increasingly nuanced and complex and it will be challenging for industry and function-agnostic consultants to keep being relevant in the long term.”

“In a post-pandemic world, Bain's local staffing model is the most sustainable and economical. Instead of staffing a team from around the country and having the team all fly to co-locate, Bain teams are already all in the same city. This saves clients money, saves employees the travel time, and saves carbon emissions from travel. Teams only travel when it is necessary and helpful to engage with clients.”

“The firm has added an exciting set of growth opportunities via M&A and partnerships as well as continuing to invest in its reputation as a great place to work.  I think the outlook remains exciting on both the professional front and the personal front.”

“The economy feels as though it is on shaky ground and that is definitely being felt within the firm. That being said, we are coming off two years of insane growth and the firm has invested heavily in new capabilities (ESG, talent acquisitions, etc.). The next 12 months may not be the extreme heat of the last 24 but Bain will do very well going forward.”

“We are in a very strong position that we have strengthened in the past 5 years. We have expanded our ecosystem dramatically, engaged multiple different sources of talent, continue to compete effectively for the best talent, and continue to outperform out competitors on culture and people experience. We have increasingly deep spikes in specific industries/capabilities.”

Hiring Process

“Callback process is very efficient, and we aim to finalize it the same day we finish the interviews. We are looking for candidates that have deep and demonstrable problem-solving skills, that can react to feedback and have a creative way of thinking. There is no need to have a business background.”

“Definitely recruit with a strong eye towards fit for the culture, and ability to work together and not be competitive with your colleagues.”

“Looking for really smart people who communicate well and play well in a team environment (collaborative, fun).  Once you check those core criteria, we value diversity -- so you end up with a great group of people (quite different from each other, but who share that core set of values).”

“Seeking a candidate with high intelligence (and ability to develop strong pattern recognition for business situations and problems), highly focused and motivated (given long hours sometimes high degree of intensity), who is also an excellent communicator, likable, and skilled at developing relationships and resolving interpersonal conflict.”

Interview Questions

“Business cases based on real experiences, they can include questions from profit calculation, evaluation of options, market assessments... they are all unique for each interviewer.”

“Market entry, market sizing, strategy.”

“Two business cases where we are looking for structured thinking, analytical mindset, and business judgement. Experience interview where we ask about leadership and teamwork experiences, as well as interests and motivation.”

“Why Bain? Why Consulting?”

Bain & Company

131 Dartmouth Street
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 572-2000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
Worldwide Managing Director: Manny Maceda
2021 Employees (All Locations): 12,000

Major Office Locations

64 offices worldwide

Major Departments & Practices

  • Agile
  • Cost Transformation
  • Customer Experience
  • Learning & Development
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Operations
  • Organization
  • Private Equity
  • Procurement
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Strategy
  • Sustainability & Responsibility
  • Transformation
  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Automotive & Mobility
  • Aviation
  • Consumer Products
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Financial Services
  • Forest Products
  • Paper & Packaging
  • Healthcare
  • Infrastructure & Construction
  • Machinery & Equipment
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Metals, Private Equity
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Social & Public Sector
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation