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Real Humans of Bain: Consultants

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We kicked off our Real Humans of Bain with a pair of summer associates, and now we’re turning to some more experienced consultants.  A summer internship may seem daunting, not to mention planning out your post-MBA career.  That’s why we’re happy to hear from Bain members with a few years of experience—and thereby perspective—on the professional journey consulting can be.

The Bain consultants 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 consultants  from Bain & Co. have some keen advice for you. Read on for their insights and stay tuned for more Real Humans of Bain!

Justin Major, Bain & Company Atlanta

Justin Major, Bain & Co. Atlanta

Years at Bain: 4
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Morehouse College, Economics
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 3 years in consulting at Bain & Company and 2 years in consumer products at Georgia-Pacific LLC
Business School and Class Year: Harvard Business School, Class of 2018

What advice do you wish you had received while in business school?
Enjoy every moment, truly. I can’t stress enough how wonderful of an opportunity it is to be a full-time student again. It’s easy to get bogged down with daily stresses, but it should be viewed as an exploratory period. Business school is a unique chance to learn more about who you are and what you want to get out of your career—and more importantly, what you want to get out of your life.

We all have daily stresses (e.g., budgets, career decisions), but try your best to live in the moment and to maximize the experience. Try something new. At your 20-year reunion, you probably won’t remember day-to-day minutiae, but you will certainly remember that cool internship and the people you made memories with on that random trek to that random country.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
Trust the process. Careers are long, and it’s easy to use others as a measuring stick. Rest assured that you’re on your own journey and that something that works perfectly for someone else—or at least appears to—may not work for you. Likewise, something that may not have worked for someone else, may work perfectly for you. It’s important to know that if you’re making decisions based on your passions and things that interest you, you career will be fulfilling and things will ultimately work out in the long run.

What lesson(s) about your internship and/or job search would you pass on to current MBA students?
Take a risk—a calculated risk, but a risk nonetheless. Internships are stressful because we often feel that they are the gateway to our first job out of business school, and therefore, to the rest of our lives. But second-year recruiting exists for a reason. Use your internship to test a career path or a geography that might otherwise seem too risky. For example, I interned in a city that I never thought I’d live in. And when it comes to full-time recruiting, remember that most of your classmates will change jobs at least once within the first few years following graduation, so even then, there’s room for as much risk as your personal appetite will allow.

Describe a typical day on your current case at Bain.
My current work stream involves me leading a micro-battle for a consumer products client. Micro-battles are Bain’s “agile” way of working and involve cross-functional teams coming together to quickly solve business problems in a similar fashion to how a startup would. My role is the “scrum master,” and I work hand-in-hand with the product owner to lead and remove barriers for the client’s “scrum team.”

Every morning, we begin with a 15-minute daily standup that highlights what team members accomplished the prior day, what they plan to accomplish that day, and anything that may be impeding their process. Following that, we spending the remainder of the day thinking of new ideas to test and/or launching those ideas in the market. We end every day with a quick check in on urgent matters for the next day before breaking as a team. After wrapping with the client team, I rejoin the Bain team to provide updates to our leadership team and game plan for the next day. We may leave the client’s office and grab dinner as a team or as individuals before returning to the hotel.

What is your morning routine?
I’m currently on a travel case, so my mornings begin in a hotel room. Most mornings start with a quick news flip on my phone—CNN’s 5 Things, Morning Brew, and theSkimm are some of my favorites at moment—and some type of physical activity (i.e., hotel gym or quick room workout). Depending on the day and the time of my first meeting, I usually meet my team in the lobby for a quick breakfast where we discuss updates coming out of the previous evening and plans for the day before heading over to the client site.

What superpower do you wish you had?
I wish I could speak every language. Travel is one of my favorite hobbies, and there have been more than a handful of times that I’ve been completely reliant on Google Translate while traveling. Being able to understand and speak every language would allow me to completely immerse myself in other cultures and would provide even more authentic travel experiences.

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.