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Real Humans of Bain & Co.: Sylvia Shi, Rochester Simon MBA ’23, Consultant

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Sylvia Shi forged a non-traditional career path through art and gaming, but yearned for something less niche. Consulting appeared to be an ideal option, and Rochester Simon had a close-knit community, recruiting support, and more to help her along this new path. Read Shi’s Real Humans: Alumni story below to learn how Rochester Simon prepared her for consulting and why she chose Bain.

Sylvia Shi, Rochester Simon MBA ’23, Consultant at Bain & Company

Age: 33
Hometown: Baltimore (and other places around MD), Las Vegas, and now Sam Francisco
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Johns Hopkins, Public Health
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration: University of Rochester 2023, Simon / Concentration: Strategy, Technology, Minor: Finance
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Artist, Coach, Self-employed 10+ years, Entertainment/ Gaming industries
Post-MBA Work Experience: Consultant, Bain & Company, 1, Strategy Consulting

Why did you choose to attend business school?
I have a very non-traditional career path. I was lucky enough to be able to make money from two of my passions (artwork and gaming). However, I wanted to be able to try out something less niche before it was too late. I specifically went to business school to try to transition (at least for now) into strategy consulting. Also, I figured an MBA couldn’t hurt even if consulting wasn’t what I wanted for the long term! 

Why Rochester Simon? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? 
I chose Rochester partially because they sent me a hoodie before I even applied – it was good vibes. 🙂 But in all seriousness, I liked the idea of a small, close-knit class, and I wanted to focus on an MBA and not be in a major city where I could be easily distracted. Also, Rochester is generous with scholarships, and it was significantly less expensive than any T15 school would have been. In hindsight, one other thing that’s great about Rochester is they prepare you so early so you can maximize your chances during recruiting. 

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
1. It introduced me to business concepts and terminology, which was super important considering I had a non-business background.

2. It allowed me a place to try a LOT of different things, between clubs, coursework, volunteering, pro-bono work, social scene.

3. Most importantly, we learned teamwork and leadership, both in classes and clubs. We learned how to communicate well and operate effectively in a business environment.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice of a Bain consultant? 
Strategy& – It did not change anything, as I still continued in consulting, but perhaps it affirmed to me that this was something I could do well.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work? 
My reason wasn’t so great – mainly, I just wanted to see what Bain was like! #1 place to work on Glassdoor for many years running was intriguing, and I also had a couple friends who worked there. After working at Bain though, I can say wholeheartedly, there is NO other better place to do consulting. Consulting is an inherently stressful job, and Bain does SO well to help us manage it, have fun, learn, and grow. The people are out of this world, but more than that, the structure is outstanding.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Start casing early and really crush it! One of my proudest moments was when one of my interviewers complimented me on my case during the interview. The case interview is everything for consulting, so if you are serious about consulting, be prepared. 

–One thing you would change or do differently as part of the job search? 
Since I ended up where I wanted, I can’t say I would change much – if anything, I would have tried to be more of an advocate for my abilities while networking as opposed to feeling like I had to at least partially follow a script. Now that I am on the other side, I sometimes feel that people who network reveal only the most generic parts of themselves instead of highlighting where they shine. 

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA? 
I was given this advice, and still wish I had taken it more to heart: ENJOY YOUR MBA. It will be an amazing time as long as you let it be.

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.