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Real Humans of Bain & Co.: Anuj Padia, UNC Kenan-Flagler ’20, Consultant

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In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, we meet Anuj Padia, a consultant at Bain & Company. As an entrepreneur working in food sustainability, it was important to Padia to find a school that shared his ideologies and principles. UNC Kenan-Flagler not only expounded similar beliefs, but the MBA program’s community and faculty helped prepare him for his consulting career with Bain.

Anuj Padia, UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA ’20, Consultant at Bain & Company

Age: 33
Hometown: Mumbai, India 
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Mumbai, BBA
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School, 2020, Operations, Marketing, Business Analytics and Management Science, (Data, Digital Analytics and Technology), Strategy
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 7 years spread across Finance, Social Impact and Manufacturing and Distribution 
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): ~2 Years CPG/Healthcare; Currently at Bain & Co.

Why did you choose to attend business school?
To expose myself to new experiences and grow both personally and professionally.

Why UNC Kenan-Flagler? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? 
As a social entrepreneur working in the food rescue space, I wanted to start my new journey at an institute that shared similar ideologies and beliefs. UNC Kenan-Flagler has a food sustainability conference called FoodCon in collaboration with NC State and Duke, which essentially provides a platform to drive conversations around food sustainability and transparency. This was a big factor, but not the only one as to why I chose UNC Kenan-Flagler. Some others include:

  1. Community – As textbook as it may sound, UNC does have a great community. A community that goes beyond the business school and encompasses all other schools, including the undergraduate school. Every single person, irrespective of which UNC school they are in, is always welcoming and happy to help in any way possible – all you need to do is ASK! 
  2. Professors / Faculty – Due to the diversified offerings of UNC spanning public health, business, music, film making etc., the faculty is just as diversified and incredible. The professors don’t just teach but also do some cutting-edge research that has a widespread impact on our day-to-day and on the world at large. Our professors frequently travel all over the world to teach at other well-known business schools. This opportunity to learn from such accomplished professors was something that I could not pass up on.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
It’s hard to narrow it down to a few experiences, since there is so much that is interwoven. My perspective is that it’s up to the individual as to how they want to tailor their experience for their career. I went into the program with the purpose of learning and growing as an individual. Honestly, I didn’t have a career aspiration or planned trajectory in mind and that is where the MBA program guided me. It reiterated that the possibilities are endless, and at the end of day, it all boils down to what you enjoy doing. 

Though I’ll say this, the overall MBA experience gives you lifelong friends, a support system, and your own cheerleading squad – and that has been amazing for me.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned with Nestle HealthScience as a Brand Management intern. The internship experience was instrumental in my returning to the firm on a full-time basis. I like to think of an internship as the synopsis of a book – if you like the synopsis, you read the book, so similarly, if you liked the internship, you’ll most probably like working there.

Nestle HealthScience does some incredible work – work that intersects CPG and Healthcare – this was quite exciting for me. Working for a company that empowers people through nutrition was exhilarating. Moreover, NHSc reiterated that people are important and it’s always beneficial to choose your workplace if you like the people, and that’s why when I decided to find a new challenge, Bain was a no-brainer.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
There is nothing that I can say about Bain that hasn’t been said. Bain is truly an exceptional place where people are valued as people and not widgets. That being some of the key reasons why I chose Bain are:

  1. People – Bain truly is a people’s place. Everyone is invested in your growth and success. At all points in time, there are resources that you can leverage to grow as a person. And this really stood out for me during and post-recruitment. I remember whatever queries I had were addressed head-on and still are. Most importantly, people call a spade a spade – no one will mince words when addressing areas for improvement for the firm and that truly is unique.
  1. Work – Bain is a true partner when it comes to working with its clients. Rather than coming up with the answer for the client, we work and collaborate with the client to arrive at the answer. I think that shows the strong ethos of the firm and the pillars on which it is built and that was a key criterion for me in selecting Bain.
  1. Home office model: This model is truly unique to Bain. Working with the members from the home office, you are bound to build strong relationships and camaraderie that go beyond the workplace. This was another important factor in choosing Bain.

How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
I think COVID had an impact that goes beyond career plans. It fundamentally altered lives and changed the modern world. The impact of COVID was so multifold and so interwoven, it’s hard for me to isolate it from a career standpoint and make a comment.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Network to know people and their experiences and not just to land an internship or a job.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Enjoy the non-academic aspects of business school.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
How no topic was out of bounds and the candor of everyone I spoke to – calling a spade a spade.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
You aren’t defined by your resume – the resume is defined by you.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.