• Role: Associate Consultant
  • Location: London
  • University: LSE
  • Degree: Economics
  • Organisation: Bain & Company

Shazia Mohamed

I’m an Associate Consultant at Bain having joined the London office in October 2014 as a graduate. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to begin my career, with Bain’s focus on professional development, diverse client base and drive for results. Since joining, I have worked across a range of industries solving varied business problems; from working closely with the CEO of a major beer and spirits company on the best way to design their organisation to support their strategy, to helping a company redefine their strategy under new regulation in the payments industry.

What did you study?

I studied Economics at LSE, but what you have studied isn’t important. One of the great things about Bain is that everyone comes from different backgrounds. Bain hires exceptional graduates and postgraduates from any degree disciple or university. Some of my closest peers studied English Literature at Warwick and History at Trinity College. The training and coaching at Bain provides all the skills and support needed to excel as a consultant.

Why did you choose consulting and Bain?

I think the most attractive aspect of the job for me is the diversity of the career – in terms of the industries you work in, the people you interact with and the actual work you do. I was also drawn to the fact I could really have an impact in the work I do. Consultants find out what is going wrong at the heart of a business and fix it – basically like a doctor for businesses! Due to the high profile nature of our clients, the work we do ultimately shapes an industry’s future landscape and the potential to do that gets me out of bed every day.

Bain has been a great place to begin my career, specifically thanks to the client results focus, the various flexibility options available and the dedication to professional development. The work carried out by Bain is guided by their True North principles: working as one team with a commitment to aligning with clients to produce unprecedented results with measurable impact. Throughout my time at Bain, I have seen these principles in action – every piece of work I have done has contributed to results for the client. The exposure I have received with the clients has also been amazing, for example, I was given the opportunity to present a model to the CFO of a major payments company less than a year into my career.

I was also attracted to the flexibility options at Bain, due to its global presence. Whether it be experiencing another industry through an externship, learning more at business school or taking some time out to set up your own business, Bain caters to your needs and empowers you to reach your career goals. It is also easy to tap into the Bain alumni network, with information sessions and events.

Lastly, the focus on professional development at Bain is something that really appealed to me. This comprises of both the formal structures and training as well as the informal support provided. When you start at Bain, you are given both a buddy and mentor who are your main support system and provide all the advice and guidance you want. As you begin working on projects, you build up a network of informal mentors either through the people on your projects, your peer group or those who sit around you! Everyone is so willing to lend a hand if you have a question or need some advice, you just need to ask! With regards to training, there is both the formal training (with two weeks local training in London, an amazing ten day global training session in North America and ongoing training sessions throughout the year) as well as the informal on-the-job coaching, which in my opinion is the most important. The team you work with will be dedicated to ensuring you get the experience, exposure and support you need as you progress. I receive weekly feedback to ensure I always know how I am doing in terms of performance and where I should be focusing in order to keep improving.

What do you wish you’d known throughout the application and interview process?

The application process is as much a process to help you choose your employer as it for the companies to choose you – it is your chance to get to know people at each firm.

What is a typical day like?

One of the things that makes my job so exciting and interesting is how varied my role is. The way I spend my time can be split broadly into four buckets:

  • Carrying out research/data collection
  • Developing the answer
  • Preparing client presentations
  • Team events/professional development/extra 10%.

Carrying out research/data collection
This consists of working out what data is needed (usually with the help of my team) and then gathering it through various means such as speaking to clients, primary/secondary research, carrying out expert interviews etc. As the Associate Consultant, you will be the closest to the data and become the ‘expert’ – the data you are able to find ultimately cracks the case and so it is an important role to have.

Developing the answer
The work we do is hypothesis driven so, with my Consultant, I will spend time developing an ‘answer first’ of what I think the outcome of the analysis will be. This helps keep me focused on proving/disproving the hypothesis with my analysis rather than getting lost in the detail or spending time on pieces of the data that are not critical to the outcome.

Preparing client presentations
As important as it is to get the analysis correct, a large part of our job is to ensure we can communicate the findings to our clients. To do this, I will spend time preparing impactful presentations to be used for meetings, tailored to the audience.

Team events/professional development/extra 10%
Along with the usual team catch ups and weekly case team meetings you will have, Bain has a culture of encouraging case team events i.e. fun activities the team does together outside of case work to have fun together and build team spirit. In the past, I have been go-karting, played football and eaten delicious meals. You will also spend some time on professional development through weekly meetings with your Consultant or training sessions. Lastly, you may also join the various extra 10% initiatives at Bain e.g. Bain Social Impact, Recruiting, the Green Team. I have chosen to be involved with supporting our recruiting activities and am also part of the Bain Social Impact committee overseeing all the education initiatives (mentoring, tutoring etc.) at Bain, which I find to be a very rewarding use of time.

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