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Bain First Round Interview

Anonymous A asked on Apr 11, 2019

I am interviewing for Bain first round in London. I was told that there are 2 interviews, the first being a market sizing question and no details were given for the second (I am assuming it will just be a random case). I have the following questions

1) How should I prepare for the market sizing question. And is the interviewer just going to ask me questions like 'What is the market size of iPhones in London' or can is it going to be a case format? I am assuming I have to layout my structure and have a logical flow for both scenarios, but I am hoping to understand more on what I am getting before going in.

2) Does Bain not have any fit questions/interviews for the first round?

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Serhat replied on Apr 26, 2019
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Hi there,

1- I can share some good sources to practice market sizing for free. Please feel free to reach me.

2- If you be ready for the following questions, you can easily answer almost any potential question during the interview. (bolded ones are the priority)


  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why MBA at that point of career?
  3. Why Your school?
  4. Why consulting
  5. Why Our Company?
  6. What would you be doing as a consultant?
  7. What is the most important consulting skill?
  8. When did you demonstrate it?
  9. When was the time when you demonstrated team skills or team work?
  10. What was the most important thing you learnt in your earlier job? What skills did you gain in your earlier job which would prepare you for consulting?
  11. When did you have to work with data? How are your data analysis skills?
  12. Why should we hire you?
  13. Have demonstrated all 4 skills that you look for (use examples above)
  14. What is the most important thing I should know about you that I cannot learn from your resume?
  15. How would a friend or professor / colleague who knows you well describe you?
  16. What serves as your biggest motivation? What are the key metrics for measuring success?
  17. When did you receive constructive feedback?
  18. What are your weaknesses?
  19. Which boss / mentor has had a clear influence on you? What do you admire about your previous boss?
  20. Follow-up: Constructive feedback –
  21. How do you work in a pressure situation / short on time / short on resources
  22. What has been your biggest achievement?
  23. Link this answer to leadership / problem solving
  24. Tell me about a leadership experience
  25. Tell me about a time when you had to analyse data
  26. Tell me about a time when you had to analyse financial information
  27. Tell me about a time when you had to face a challenge
  28. Tell me about a time you have failed
  29. What are your short term and long term goals?
  30. Tell me about a time when you set a goal for yourself and what steps you take to achieve the goal?
  31. Describe a situation when you were unable to reach a goal?
  32. Tell me about a time when you overcame failure?
  33. Have you ever had to change your priorities to meet another person’s expectations?
  34. Tell me about the time you had to compromise
  35. Tell me about a time when you didn’t meet a deadline
  36. Tell me about a time when you had to multi task
  37. Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a project schedule because you did not have enough resources
  38. Describe a situation in which you used different communication styles to influence stakeholders with differing perspectives 
  39. Tell me about a time when you had to be assertive to get your point across
  40. Difficult situation that required careful communication (Crisis Management)
  41. Describe most rewarding customer experience
  42. Tell me about a time when you had to accept an unreasonable request from a client
  43. Dealt with a customer that tested your patience
  44. Tell me about a time you took a difficult decision and had to explain it to others / Tell me about a time you took an unpopular decision
  45. Tell me about a time you took a quick decision
  46. Tell me about a time when you identified a problem and then solved it
  47. Tell me about a time when you built a rapport with client / colleague
  48. Tell me about a time you resolved a conflict in a team
  49. Have you led a team where different members of the team do not work well together? How did you deal with this situation
  50. Describe a time you gave constructive criticism to someone
  51. Tell me how did you determine priorities / Handling multiple deadlines at the same time? How did you handle the situation
  52. How did you deal with ethical dilemmas?
  53. Team experience that you found rewarding / Tell me about you had to work in a team to accomplish your goal
  54. Team experience that you found disappointing
  55. Describe a situation when you were a member of a team (not leader) of a team and conflict arose. What did you do?
  56. Team member not pulling his weight. What did you do?
  57. What is important in a job environment?
  58. Why do you think you can put up with long hours?
  59. Tell me about your college experience
  60. What else do you do at school apart from studies?
  61. How do you manage stress in your life?
  62. Favorite Class and grade you got in it
  63. What do you read?
  64. Fun fact
  65. What do you hate the most?
  66. Favorite website?
  67. Tell me full names of people who interviewed you before
  68. Do you have any questions?
Vlad replied on Apr 11, 2019
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1) It can be either as a standalone market sizing or as a part of the case.

2) Bain fit part is very limited: Story about yourself, Why Bain, Why consulting, your questions to the interviewer. Of course, interviewers might have their own favorite cases

MS question are all about the tools that you use:

1) First of all, there are 2 ways to structure market sizing:

  • Formula - basically a math formula to come up with a solution. The problem with the formula is that it is easy to forget something or get lost.
  • Tree - same as with regular cases you build a tree. A very simple example: you need to calculate the number of dogs on manhattan. A number of dogs = share of households having a dog * # of households. # of households = population / average household size. In the end, you'll have a pyramid where you have to fill the numbers on the base of the pyramid. This approach is much easier and help you track all the numbers

2) You should learn the key market sizing techniques:

  • Making assumptions based on personal experiences (Use the example of your house where out of 100 apt-s 10 have dogs)
  • Adjusting numbers (NY is a busy city thus fewer people have dogs)
  • Sanity check - try to apply your calculations to the real environment
  • etc.

3) You should learn the key tools:

  • Using age even age split (suppose life expectancy is 80 years. Assuming even age split we have 4 mln people in US of each age)
  • Using 80/20 split (suppose 20% people earn 80% wealth and the average salary is xx...)
  • Using approximations (Length of NY-SF flight and plane speed to calculate US length)
  • etc.

4) Learn the key numbers: populations, gas price, gas consumption, Boeing speed and nmber of seats, average salary, # of gates in the airport, GDP growth rate, inflation, etc.

5) Practice 10-15 cases and you'll be fine. Almost all casebooks have good market sizing examples and the solutions

Feel free to PM for clarifications

Good Luck!

replied on Apr 11, 2019
Bain & Company | University of Cambridge | CV/Resume writing | 770 GMAT
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Hi there,

Actual answers based on London Process:

1) The first interview will be a standalone market sizing. Furthermore the market sizings tend to be more "bottom up" market sizings - i.e. "what is the revenue of a bicycle shop in London" rather than these "top down" questions like the one you mention. The question will also have some commercial elements (e.g. how would you improve revenue?) to test your business acumen

2) You are correct, there are no fit questions in Bain first round. In fact, since last year, Bain has implemented a CV Blind interview where your interviewer won't see your CV or know anything about you beyond your name, to avoid bias (E.g. from university attended or course studied). As such, in first round we also don't ask any fit questions, as this would make it harder to remove bias. In the final round, there will be an entire interview dedicated entirely to FIT and behavioural questions.

Hope this helps.

replied on Apr 11, 2019
Arthur D. Little Consultant | Coached 150+ cases | Created 10+ cases | Multiple offers
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Thanks for your questions.

Let me first tackle the second one.

  • I've never interviewed at Bain London, but I believe it's recommended to always prepare for fit questions. Better safe than sorry. Also, by preparing for these questions you will be able to decide for yourself if you feel a fit with the interviewers and company. It's even more important you feel comfortable around these people, who you will spend plenty of time with on the job! Really, if you don't feel like hell yes, don't even bother.

Second one:

  • To prepare for market sizings I would just perform some randomly for yourself. Find a topic you're passionate about and try to size the market for it. (e.g. cold brew coffee in East London, Boulder gyms in central London, ...) Whatever you feel like :)
  • For market sizings structure is key. Arguably even more so than for normal cases. These questions aim partly to judge your quant skills, but mainly to judge your structured thinking --> Can this person tackle a huge problem, by breaking it down in smaller chunks which are digestable.
  • Always start by laying out a structure, without any numbers at all. First align on the conceptual thinking before going into the math!
  • The numbers per so do not matter that much. It's all about your assumptions behind them. Always, always give your rationale for making these. Never just pull numbers out of thin air.
  • E.g. when working on the coffee market sizing, when you're in the part where you explain your assumptions, a good answer would sound like this: "For the number of coffees a day, I would propose to take an average of 1,5. Based on what I experience around me I see my peers consuming around 3 cups a day. However, recognizing I'm in a biased environment, with all type A students, I would propose to lower the number towards 1,5, since many people don't drink coffee at all. Does that sound alright to you? "
  • In the above example, also note the conversational way of thinking. It's not an interrogation, it's not you against them, it's a collaboration. You're here together with the interviewer to solve this problem & have fun along the way!

I truly hope this helps, always happy to do a coaching on this topic. Since I just registered yesterday on the community I can still share some discount codes! :)

Have a nice day

Hi there, did you have to pass online test at Bain to get to the interview rounds? — Eugene on Apr 11, 2019

From my experience: No - However, things might be slightly different from market to market — Sibren on Apr 11, 2019 (edited)

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