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Real Humans of Bain: Summer Associates

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There’s no doubt that consulting consistently leads the pack for MBA graduates’ career choice, and Bain & Co. is widely considered one of the most elite consulting firms in the world.  As such, we’re excited to kick off our Real Humans of Bain series.  Just as we brought you the inside perspective from recruiting at Bain, we’re now on the ground with recent Summer Associates, who provide fresh firsthand perspectives on earning an MBA and landing at Bain.

The recent MBA graduates profiled below walk us through their MBA and career experiences, as well as a few “Real Humans” questions.  Whether you’re just starting the MBA application process or kicking off your own summer internship, these Summer Associates from Bain & Co. have some keen advice for you. Read on for their insights and stay tuned for more Real Humans of Bain!

Lyndsey Wilson, Bain & Company San Francisco

Lyndsey Wilson, Bain & Company San Francisco

Tenure at Bain:  ~9 months (+ summer internship)
Hometown:  Seattle, WA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA), Race and Ethnic Studies and Sociology (Pre-law)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Business School and Class Year: UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business, 2018

What advice do you wish you had received while in business school?
The MBA internship is a unique time in life where you can test a hypothesis in a totally risk-free environment; anything you try will provide valuable input into your future career decisions, if not turn into your post-business school job. Many of us, confronted with recruiting that kicked off right after classes began, felt as though our futures hinged on this one summer, and that our narratives needed to be air-tight (when we were still—5 days into our b-school experience—justifiably exploring!). There was a collective nervous energy I wish I could go back and replace with a sense of curiosity and risk taking. It is okay not to know exactly what you want to do and to explore multiple options—preparing for different industries and gathering more information can only make you a better candidate for the roles that are most right for you.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
You won’t necessarily get your dream job early on in your career, and you probably haven’t had enough experiences to know what your dream role actually is, but you can and should think strategically about which roles will best prepare you to qualify for that dream job.

What lesson(s) about your internship and/or job search would you pass on to current MBA students?
I spent my internship working really hard to prove that I could do the job, motivated to achieve my goal of a job offer and a longer-term career at Bain. Though that’s definitely a critical element of the summer and rightfully deserves your effort and energy, the internship is just as much an opportunity for you—as a business school student—to learn about the type of career you want, whether at the firm or elsewhere.

Bain’s community does an incredible job of investing in the Summer Associate program so that you get as much exposure as possible to the culture, the people you’ll work with, and what the job looks like as your career evolves. This included time carved out for intentional relationship-building and learning about the firm’s work.

Take advantage of these types of initiatives! I encourage future interns to fully engage with a lens toward your longer-term goals, building relationships that will carry through your career (I still meet regularly with my summer internship supervisor!) and spending time with smart, motivated people to ask questions and understand how they’ve used their experiences to grow professionally.

Describe a typical day on your current case at Bain.
I typically arrive at the client site and join my five teammates in the team room, which has as many coffee cups as laptops and chargers.

I spend about an hour in the morning reading emails and catching up on progress made by the European clients on our multinational team. Our Bain team takes 15 minutes to align on priorities for the day before we head into various client meetings. In my current workstream, I’m heavily involved in cross-functional marketing and product testing, so I typically have several hours of client meetings—either to review a brief for an upcoming initiative, or to debrief results from a test that has been in field.

Between client meetings, I work on developing materials to aggregate learnings and make recommendations to our leadership team—for example, an Excel model that extrapolates results to overall business impact or a slide deck that outlines recommendations based on test results. There are usually many quick meetings to update my manager on progress or issues, and several “hallway meetings” with clients. We usually head out to grab dinner, and sometimes eat out with the entire team. Depending on what time it is, I’ll squeeze in a workout or head back to the hotel.

What is your morning routine?
I’ve been on a travel case for a few months now, so I’m in a hotel most Tuesdays to Thursdays. I typically wake up around 6:30 a.m. and head upstairs to the gym, where I listen to NPR news and run a few miles to wake up. I get ready quickly, then head to the client site. I swing by a smoothie bar on the way and bring breakfast with me.

On days when I’m staying in San Francisco (and all Mondays and Fridays), I run outside–usually to Golden Gate Park from my house in the Castro—then make a big smoothie, pack my lunch (I try to meal prep on Sundays!) and take the muni to our office in the financial district.

What’s the best thing you read/watched/listened to recently?
The best book I’ve read lately is “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.