Bain & Co
Graduate Interview Process
Average length of process: 4 weeks
Glassdoor rating: 4.7/5
Salary: £45k + bonus
The initial application is done online and requires you to fill out your contact details and upload a copy of your CV and cover letter. The CV's are read by a computer so make sure that your CV is uniformly formatted and appropriate to be read. If you need a template then there are free templates here.
If you can, try to speak to someone at the Bain office you are applying to prior to submitting your application and do not be afraid to mention that you have spoken to them in your cover letter. Showing the effort of researching the company in this way will go a long way in the reviewers eyes.
The first of Bain's online assessments begin with a numerical reasoning test followed by a logical reasoning test and ending with a situational judgement test.
The question would ask you to combine the information on the graph with the information in the table to find a correct answer. You are able to use a calculator so the hardest part is identifying the right numbers to use as the maths does not get more complicated than basic maths:
An example question would be "Which founders had the most valuable shares at funding round C?"
The answer would be 'Healthy Brussells' as they have 51.41% of a company valued at £32m leaving them with a share value of £16.45m versus the next closest, Nightly AI, whose founders have a share value of £15m (20% of £75m).
As you can see, these types of questions may require multiple steps but the maths involved is not the hard part. To practise numerical reasoning questions in preparation for your online test, see our free download or paid numerical reasoning practice questions.
In a diagrammatical reasoning test you are looking to identify sequences such as these as quickly as possible and it is useful to start with a single object and follow its path through each image, this usually allows you to eliminate one or more of the potential answers.
For example following the top row of images we need to decipher whether A,B,C or D come next:
Taking the triangle in the top left corner of the first box we can follow its path: top left > top right > bottom right > bottom left. This appears to follow a clockwise rotation around the box so we can assume that the correct answer will have a triangle in the top left, this means that B is the correct answer.
To confirm this we can take another shape, the square in the bottom right and follow its path as well: bottom right > bottom left > top left > top right. Another clockwise rotation suggesting the answer would have a square in the bottom right corner. Therefore, we can now be certain that B is the correct answer.
Not all sequences will be as straightforward as that example and there may be two sequences happening simultaneously but the same process applies.
For more practice questions, see our diagrammatical reasoning resources.
Situational judgement tests are designed to extract personality traits, and in turn build a corresponding personality profile of the applicant. This helps the employer understand how an applicant may act in certain situations.
The first thing to know about situational judgement tests is that hiring companies often dictate which traits they are looking for so the "correct" answers can vary between employers. It is a chance for them to present you with a relevant scenario to the job you would be doing and see how you may act. The kind of traits they are looking for are:
Honesty & integrity
Situational judgement tests are designed to be good discriminators, this is to tease out clear personality traits. They do this by asking you to either select your response to the situation or rank the given responses in order.
There is a good incentive to simply be yourself and answer the questions honestly, especially if the "right" answers were determined by running the test on current employees. It is an indicator of your fit within a team and if you aren't honest you could end up working in a team that you don't get on with.
If you are successful in your online application and phone interview then you will be invited to a 'super day' at the company offices. The day consists of multiple interviews and you will be told whether you have made it through to the tests at the end of the day. The interviews used are a mixture of competency interviews, case interviews and market sizing questions.
The competency interview will consist of generic questions such as:
Why are you interested in consulting?
Why are you interested in the work we do?
Are you willing to travel with work?
What are your interests outside of work?
Why do you think you would be a good fit at Bain?
What is the toughest piece of feedback you've ever received and what did you do with it?
As well as specific questions about what is on your CV. Be aware that interviewers are not looking to find out if what you wrote on your CV is true but they want to see how you articulate that experience. Being able to communicate your prior experience in a confident and interesting way is very valuable so be prepared to talk around the points on your CV.
A case interview is a business case that involves a strategic problem such as entering a new market or increasing profitability and as the interviewee you are asked to recommend an appropriate strategy. An example question might be:
The CEO of Deutsche bank has become increasingly concerned about their declining profitability over the last 36 months and has asked you to determine the factors causing the decline as well as recommend a strategy to reverse this trend.
The most critical part of any case interview is the selecting, customising and presenting of the approach you are going to take to the interviewer. If you can do this well then you will score highly as long as you follow that approach through, even if it doesn't get you to the right answer.
If you have not come across a case interview before then you should definitely research them and practice them more than anything else as they are very easy to get wrong but are crucial to almost every consulting interview you take.
Read our comprehensive guide to case interviews to get yourself up to speed.
Market sizing questions (sometimes known as guesstimates) are often used in interviews because they require a mix of logic, maths and common sense. They can be asked as a standalone question or as part of a larger case interview. Candidates that are competent with market sizing questions can find them extremely easy to execute.
All the top tier consulting firms are likely to test their candidates with a market sizing question at some stage in the process as it is considered a “back-of-the-envelope” calculation. For instance, you may be sat talking to a UK clothing retailer about their growth strategy and someone may put forward the idea of opening an e-commerce store inviting the question “how much revenue could we expect to generate from an e-commerce store?” and on the back of an envelope (or more likely a piece of paper) you could estimate the size of the UK’s online clothing market and apply a market capture percentage for the client to give them a rough figure. Being quick with these calculations keeps the conversation flowing with the client and maintains a good impression.
There are two structures to know when answering a market sizing question; issue tree and tabular. It is sensible to practice these frameworks before an interview that involves a market sizing question because it can be the difference between being successful and unsuccessful.
If you are not familiar with market sizing questions, see our full guide here.