Upcoming Bain Interview

Anonymous A asked on Jun 21, 2019 - 5 answers

Hello, everyone,

I have an Experienced Professional Interview for a consulting role at Bain Germany in the next months and would like to get your opinion and insights on four questions. Background info: I have been a consultant at a Tier 2 consultancy for 2 years.

1. What are current industries and issues where Bain is particularly strong compared to McKinsey & BCG? I looked on the website but did not find any meaningful results.

2 Which cases can you expect? Only market sizing, entry or others?

3. What preparatory materials would you focus on for 4 weeks of preparation while working?

4. Which personal fit questions do you have for Experienced Consultants?

Many thanks in advance!

(edited)

5 answers

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Anonymous replied on Jun 21, 2019

If you speak English and are able to post in English you will receive more + better answers :)

Francesco
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replied on Jun 23, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

below you can find the answers to your questions:

1) Vlad's point is correct, to have updated information in Germany besides basic information (eg Bain strong in PE) would be good if you could connect with some alumni there

2) For sure not only market sizing. The range of cases may cover all the main types, thus would recommend to prepare on all the typical ones (profitability, M&A, market entry etc). Given the focus Bain has on PE, be sure to review well the M&A structure.

3) I would recommend the following steps:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have before interviews, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the following points.
  2. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposed in the books though, as they are not good enough nowadays.
  3. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with at least 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
  4. After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both fit and case.
  5. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
  6. Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer – great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.

4) At your level of seniority they will still ask the classical ones and potentially some examples of how you managed projects. Typical fit questions include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why consulting
  • Why Bain
  • Give me an example when you led a team
  • Tell me about a time when you had to convince someone not agreeing with you
  • What has been your major achievement so far
  • Why should we hire you

Best,

Francesco

Vlad
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replied on Jun 21, 2019
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Hi,

1) Try to find friends / friends of friends who work in a particular office and ask

2) Any

3) See below

4) Why Bain, Why Consulting, Tell me about yourself, Your questions to them. That's it

I recommend the following approach to prep:

1) Start with "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Start practicing cases with partners here or find them locally. !!! Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide a good feedback!!!

3) Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website). I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

4) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo)
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

5) Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  • Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  • Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  • Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  • Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  • Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  • Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  • Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  • Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

6) Also, I would try to focus on the most common industries in the following priority(sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

7) ! Important: don't forget about the FIT interview part. Crafting you stories and backups stories will require a couple of weeks!

PS

Here is a good list of articles regarding the different parts of the case:

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) Communicating while making calculations:

  • Always tell the interviewer your approach
  • Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
  • Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
  • Check your assumptions with the interviewer

5) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables

  • Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  • Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  • Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

6) Communicating while having questions on creativity

  • Ask an interview for a minute to think
  • Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  • Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
  • Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) Communicating your FIT stories

Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

Best!

Anonymous B replied on Jun 21, 2019

Hello!

I'm just gonna jump straight in and answer everything I can (Experience: I have been there for interviews)

1. I think Bain Germany is particularly strong in all things Private Equity (PE, which I have heard is being reduced at McKinsey). However, the big three are pretty much all doing similar projects, but have strengths in some of the industries (Check out the brandeins rating for a first overview perhaps)

2. The cases I experienced where all very PE-focused, whether that was the group case (mini-Due Diligence), looking at profitability for certain investments and calculating ROI to determine if investment is deemed beneficial for investor, looking at M&A Cases and determining synergies and risks for certain industries (e.g. insurance firms) or classic profitability cases focussed on how to improve sales for a certain product portfolio

3. I would use the Bootcamp here, and also the material they provided you with in their invitation email

4. Cant say - I'm a university hire ;)

All the best

Alessandro
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replied on Jun 24, 2019
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Just chiming in to cover the first 2 questions, as the rest were covered by Vlad and Francesco:

1) Bain is globally the market leader in Private Equity Consulting, so this is a key strength. Additionally in Germany we have a very strong banking/Finance practice (created by poaching a number of senior BCG partners)

2) Definitely not just market entry. Prepare as you would any case and don't assume that the focus would be representative on specific industries or case types. I would however recommend you read up on PE cases - slightly different to M&A.

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