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Real Humans of Bain: Seth Hoesman, Stanford GSB ’21, Consultant

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In his quest to move to consulting on the business side of engineering, Seth Hoesman knew he needed to learn from real-world situations. The experiential learning process at Stanford GSB, together with the school’s culture, emphasis on soft skills, and location, was exactly what he needed to succeed. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Hoesman shares how Stanford GSB guided his path to a new career at Bain.

Seth Hoesman, Stanford GSB MBA ’21, Consultant at Bain & Company

Age: 29
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Goucher College – Mathematics, Computer Science, and Economics
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2021
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 3, Software Engineering
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 2, Management Consulting

Why did you choose to attend business school?
As an engineer, I found myself more and more energized by the business aspects of the company I was at. I’d grown up in a software engineering household, and I wanted to learn more about the options outside of engineering.

Why Stanford GSB? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
There were 3 main reasons I chose Stanford:

  1. Culture – from my interview to admit weekend to the first day of class, everyone I met was fascinating, welcoming, and genuinely looking for a connection
  2. Soft skills emphasis – all the talk around the famous Interpersonal Dynamics class, or “Touchy Feely,” could not have been more spot on. This emphasis in the curriculum allows a structured way to reflect on your life and make positive change.
  3. Location – Having lived most of my life on the East Coast, I wanted to see another area of the US. The weather didn’t hurt, either.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
The experiential learning process allows you to put yourself in the shoes of situations you’ll face throughout your career. Role-playing conversations in these difficult situations gives you a playground to experiment and understand who you want to be as a leader. The frameworks for approaching difficult conversations continue to help me both in my career and personal life.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned in consulting with Bain & Co. This confirmed that consulting was the best way to learn about a bunch of industries & continuing growing after business school.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I chose to return to Bain after my internship for a couple reasons:

  1. The people – every single person I met & worked with brought energy to the job and made work fun
  2. Opportunity to learn – Without a business background, pre-business school, Bain provided the best opportunity to continue building on business school

How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
Covid did not impact my industry/career plans. It’s brought a new aspect to solving challenges but hasn’t influenced my career decisions.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Leverage the GSB network and reach out to alumni at any companies you find interesting.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Invest in your relationships with professors. They are all incredible people who want to see you succeed and can open doors for you.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Nope! Consulting recruiting is standardized across firms.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
There will be hundreds of ways to spend your time. Before starting an MBA, be thoughtful on what you want to get out of it. Continue to come back to those goals as you prioritize activities, classes, personal time, etc., throughout your two years.

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.