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Bain First Round Interview Tips

Bain Bain & Company Bain-style cases Case Interview Experienced Hire First Round
New answer on May 31, 2020
11 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 26, 2018

Hi everyone,

I am reparing first-round interview for Bain. What are the most important things? What should I pay attention most? What are the common case types for first round?

Thanks in advance.

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Anonymous replied on Nov 27, 2018

Hi there, my input as a Bainie:

Most of what Vlad has said is true, although it varies by office and some of the most recent developments:

  • On the "PEI/Competency side": Some offices (i.e. lLondon) have been piloting a new type of interview, called the "behavioural interview". This is 1 dedicated interview only for behavioural questions. While format is different, it is basically Bain's version of the PEI. Several questions are asked, a mix of backwards looking questions about previous experiences, and forward looking questions about hypothetical scenarios they might encounter at Bain and how to deal with them. Note that this means that, in the other case interviews, there will be a very limited (if any) presence of competency questions
  • In terms of industries, I would definitely agree PE cases are common. Further than that, especially first round will have a lot of either profitability or growth cases. Newer cases are also likely to have an element of "digital disruption" - e.g. how to sell goods online, so you should read up on these recent digital/e-commerce trends to be ready.
  • Case interviews in recent times have become more interviewer than interviewee led, with several prompts throughout the case. A good example of a the cadence of a typical bain case is shown in this video, along with examples of good/bad answers:
  • First round typically also involves a pure market sizing case (although this varies by office). More specifically, these first rounds are usually "bottom-up" examples - e.g. revenue of a gas station, rather than a "top-down" case -e.g. how many mattresses are bought in the UK every year
  • Bain places a very strong emphasis on "personality/fit", possibly more than BCG and McKinsey. Therefore, it's important you understand what Bain is looking for in terms of people, and trying to reflect that in the interview. Key traits are being a self-starter, showing humility, confidence without arrogance, empathy, and having a "one team" attitude.

Good luck!


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Chloe on Apr 15, 2020

Hi Alessandro, regaring the "bottom-up" / "top-down" you mentioned, can I understand as supply (bottom up) and demand (top down) ? That's the way I structure my market sizing

replied on Nov 26, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


There is no difference from the other rounds. The only difference - at the first round they may forgive you some mistakes / inefficiency. Other than that - you have the whole Q&A part of the site to read=)

Some general tips:

  1. Bain does not have a lot of PEI questions (Tell me about yourself, why consulting, why Bain, your questions)
  2. Bain cases are mostly about airlines, Retail, CPG, Private Equity
  3. Bain gives a lot of tables / charts
  4. A lot of Bain cases are not open-ended and you have to come up with a certain number in the end

Feel free to reach me for prep. I have over 100 real Bain cases in my library.


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Anonymous C replied on Nov 27, 2018


I had one recently and was rejected on creativity reasons. What they mean by this is to ask about the business (qualitative questions) and bring these factors into your answers and recommendation (what is the impact of the financial numbers, qualitatively?).

Good luck

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replied on Nov 27, 2018
Ex-McKinsey Engagement Manager / Ex-Diplomat - Perfect choice for non-traditional candidates. Let's get you an offer!

Vlad gave a great answer to your question (as usual), I would just add that Bain interviewer expect you to drive the conversation. You are responsible for deciding what problem you want to tackle first. Often the interviewer also expects that you are able to wrap the case up once you have come to a preliminary conclusion.

Secondly, remeber the importance of Bain's 'hypothesis first' approach - you should try to come up with an initial hypothesis early during the case and should revisit it several times to check if your initial assumptions still hold true

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Content Creator
replied on May 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


For the FIT -particularly relevant with BAIN-:

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Hope you find it useful!



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