Prestige management consultancy firm Bain & Company is on track to snap up a record number of MBAs in 2017.
Keith Bevans says the world’s most sought-after advisory firm is planning to grow recruitment of consultants, most of whom are MBAs, past last year’s biggest ever haul of more than 400.
Boston-based Bain has 6,000 employees in 53 offices across 34 countries.
“MBAs are always a good source of talent,” says the global head of consulting recruitment. He adds that MBAs bring a wealth of experience across industries — an essential toolkit for Bain consultants, who join the firm as generalists.
Bain hires from the top 15-20-ranked business schools but is branching out as its business grows 15% year-over-year. The firm’s clients include Dell, Ford and Starbucks. “If I can’t get the best talent I can’t satisfy that growth,” says Keith, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
But that does not mean it will be easy to land a coveted job at Bain. The firm is the fifth toughest company on the planet to interview at according to a ranking by Glassdoor.
Keith recommends candidates practice their case interviews with other people. “We are looking for a succinct way of communicating solutions to complex problems.”
He says there are three attributes Bain consultants tend to possess: Problem solving and client facing skills, and the ability to work well within teams.
Bain consultants also tend to possess humility. “You have to check your ego at the door,” says Keith.
Last year was a buoyant one for consulting firm recruitment, led by McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group and Bain. At Virginia’s Darden School of Business, consulting firms doubled their hiring of MBAs to take 38% of the Class of 2016. At Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, consulting firms hired 36% of the Class of 2016, up from 34% a year before.
“We have great relationships with the Big Three firms and there is an increase in interest. They all say their biggest concern is a lack of staff,” confirms Stephen Pidgeon, global consulting careers advisor at the Tuck School.
The focus on general management in MBA programs and their use of the case study method make MBA graduates well suited to consulting jobs.
While the percentage of b-school graduates going into financial services and particularly investment banking has fallen, management consulting has long endured. The exposure to different industries, lucrative pay packages, vast alumni networks and rapid career progression make the sector particularly attractive to MBAs. At Bain, consultants can be promoted once every two-to-three years.