Real Humans of Bain: Consultants
John Wu, Bain & Company Shanghai
Years at Bain: 4.5 years
Hometown: Guangzhou, China and Toronto, Canada
Undergraduate Institution: Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Bain & Company Toronto, including a 6-month transfer to Bain’s South East Asia office
Business School: Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University (Class of 2017)
What advice do you wish you had received while in business school?
Don’t be afraid to pursue interests outside of your comfort zone. Business school is a fairly risk-free environment, where pushing boundaries and experimenting is rewarded. Maybe you take a class that you avoided in undergrad or take on a leadership position in a club. Perhaps you organize an international trek, or help run a conference on campus. These kinds of experience helped to broaden my perspectives and develop new skill sets, along with informing my career choice.
I’d also recommend networking, getting to know classmates from different sociocultural backgrounds than yours. And of course, having fun and travelling. Use every one of your breaks (and there are a lot of them) to travel to places you have never been. Participate in the international treks offered by your school—they’re a great opportunity to bond with your classmates and see the world!
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
Empowering people is the best way to help them grow. When I was working at Bain as a Senior Associate Consultant before business school, my supervisor taught me this by allowing me to work closely with the client despite being in a fairly junior role at the firm. He gave me the autonomy to prioritize analyses and client meetings as I saw fit, being there to offer advice and have my back along the way. His vote of confidence let me roll up my sleeves and dig deeper in my analysis for the case, pushing my own boundaries and learning a lot in the process.
What lesson(s) about your internship and/or job search would you pass on to current MBA students?
Have an open mind. Many people believe there is such thing as a “dream job.” However, the dream job your peers are chasing might not be the dream job for you. Plus, what you believe to be your dream job right now, might not appeal to you long term. I encourage you to speak with as many people as you can to truly explore your interests and find the job that’s uniquely right for you.
Describe a typical day on your current case at Bain.
I am currently part of the Private Equity practice at Bain, meaning I typically lead a team of three or four people, helping a private equity client to assess a given asset. I usually check in with my team between 9:30 and 10am to understand their progress on ongoing tasks and align on the priorities for the day. After lunch, I catch up with the leadership members of my team, typically a principal and partner, to get their input on any issues or impediments we are facing. At 5pm, I have group check in with my team to align on and prioritize any open tasks. If it’s an especially busy case, I will have dinner with the team while we finish up for the night.
What is your morning routine?
I typically wake up around 8:30 am, quickly checking email, showering and leaving my house by 9am. It takes 10 minutes to get to the office, where I eat breakfast, while catching up with colleagues and friends.
How do you unwind after a long day?
I typically take the long way when walking home from the office. It helps me to unwind and clear my head after a busy and intense day, while I focus on what I’m working on next.