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How much does Bain care about "fit"? Can it be an unspoken reason for rejection?

advanced degree Bain & Company MBB USA
New answer on Apr 15, 2024
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 14, 2024

US MBB advanced degree candidate, recently went through the Bain Advantage Interview and unfortunately did not pass. However, the feedback given to me did not makes sense. My first interviewer called me and stated that I was not “conversational” enough during the interviews and didn't engage the interviewer enough. However, I've cased with multiple MBB consultants and applicants and this has never been an issue, neither did I notice that during my interview with Bain.

For more context, my second interview with another interviewer at Bain went well. I had an enjoyable time with the interviewer in general, and interviewer told me unprompted that I did an excellent job and I don't need to worry about the results. I also felt that I did similar during my first interview, at least case-wise. 

However, I remembered distinctively that my first interviewer asked me specifically which practice areas I'm interested in for my target office, and I mentioned briefly that I'm interested in two specific practice areas given my background but also open to other options. However, in hindsight I probably shouldn't have done that given that target office basically has no work in those two areas (aiming for that office due to family being there). I'm wondering if me saying those areas got me labeled as a bad “fit” for that office.

I have McKinsey and BCG interviews coming up, and those target offices have plenty of work in my two desired practice areas. Will it be okay for me to express my interest in those areas during my interviews with the two other MB? Thanks!

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Apr 14, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Fit is usually cultural fit (and well… Bain really has a bias/preference towards extroverts/ outgoing people, in my humble opinion).

If there's an issue regarding target industries… then they would usually let you know, and have you decide what your preference is, unless you are an experienced candidate.

Moreover, Bain consultants (at earlier levels) are generalists, meaning that target industries don't matter that much. So this would only be an issue if either you are recruiting for a higher level or show a very strong preference towards being a specialist at a lower level.

Now, based on what you wrote there's a mistake in there. You were asked practice areas that interested you in the target office, and you answered practice areas that are not in that office. Here the real issue is that it suggests you don't know much about the target office / or have a wrong understanding (although in reality  you actually now those practices are not in that office).

Finally, yes, it is ok to show your preferences - if your preferences align with the office practice areas. [but that in itself is not a reason to reject a good candidate].

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 15, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Sorry to hear about how the interview went. 

And it's impossible to tell what actually went wrong based on the amount of info we have. 

But if you do receive the feedback that it wasn't conversational enough, typically, that can mean two things

1. In the case, it didn't feel sufficiently like a conversation. They'd ask questions and then you'd give a long answer without inviting them to give feedback on it or pulling them into the discussion. 

2. In the personal fit, similarly, your part felt more like a content download than an invitation to a discussion. This often happens when candidates overpractice in the wrong way. 

Do reach out if you need help to work on the feedback. I also developed a course for personal fit storytelling that you might find useful:

Best,

Cristian

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Dennis
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 15, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

sorry about Bain not working out but good that you still have two more interviews coming up.

The feedback you received sounds pretty high level and sufficiently vague - and this is usually how companies like to keep it in order to protect themselves against candidates trying to sue them or something. They are very unlikely to give you a very specific reason as to why they didn't choose you. 

If you actually aced your two cases, it would also be strange to not let you pass at least to the next round based on you not being “chatty enough” or your stated areas of interest not being fully aligned with your target office. Those are things that could be figured out along the way and don't strike me as major no-gos. 

So it was probably just an overall impression that the interviewers got. They compared your performance to the other candidates they talked to and made the cut somewhere. Maybe you didn't ace your cases but “only” did fine but then there were some other factors that in aggregate didn't make you stand out against your competition. Of course all of this is just speculation.

There are always factors influencing the decision that you cannot control, such as individual interviewer preferences. So applying to a multitude of firms does increase the chances of getting an offer somewhere.

Best of luck

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 15, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Will it be okay for me to express my interest in those areas during my interviews with the two other MB? 

I don’t see any issues with that, given those practice areas are present in their offices. For what concerns Bain, the feedback they provided doesn’t seem related to the target areas of practice, thus I don’t think that was the reason for the rejection.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Pedro gave the best answer

Pedro

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