I had my first interview in my first round at Bain & Company earlier this month. I almost got to the venue late because traffic was not smiling. I got in 15 mins to the time-I had to bike it there because the bigger transport vessels weren’t of any help. It was a skype interview but I don’t think it changed much. After barely making it, I had to wait a bit because the person before me hadn’t finished hers and it was the same interviewer. She later came and we spoke a bit she shared her experience and the only feedback she gave was she felt the Interviewer didn’t seem to affirm her as often as she would have loved, apparently he was giving her room to see how she’d use initiative. It was soon my turn, I got in and immediately we started.
Interviewer: So I have your CV in front me & it says you worked in an audit firm withing the past one year, can you tell about how you spent the last one year…
Me: oh okay, The last one year was my national service year, I spent it in the Southern part of Nigeria, I had never been there I wanted a different experience. I worked at an audit firm and that made me realize that I didn’t want to go into auditing because I didn’t find it exciting. I worked with children in my children church of my church, that’s something I had never done before, yet again I was looking for a different experience. I also carried out a training at a secondary school close. I think the most exciting thing I did was in my bid to get a feel what consulting was I worked with a consultant at Accenture, we carried out some benchmark studies for some organizations. I started out thinking I’d probably wing it but when I turned in my first work the number of edits that went into it made me realize that I had just started, by the time we did more benchmark studies I was much better at it.
Interviewer: Okay fine since we don’t have time let’s get into our case. A PE firm just acquired a firm that makes hunters wear.
A PE firm just acquired a firm that makes hunters wear. The hunters wear company is called Coat co, it has about 60% of US market, In 2011 it had $100M revenue and $10M profit. Coat co wants to increase its revenue by 10% and increase its Operating income by 25%, it’s looking at possible ways in which it can do that. Not however that it’s expansion is only limited to the US market, International expansion should not be considered. Okay, so this case would go this way you’d first tell me possible ways in which we can expand then we’d on from there to the case. Okay, can you tell me possible ways by which we can expand into new products or markets?
Me: So I’m going to segment this into 2 areas. within competence and areas that are not within their competence. Areas that are within competence: Clothes for normal people, Shoes, belts…, they can make cloth for the government corporations, Police, army… Areas not within competence: Beer- Hunting is a manly activity, I think it’s safe to say that most people that hunt drink beer, so they could leverage their brand to sell to hunters, Reality show-In Nigeria, we have Gulder ultimate search, we could also do something like that…
Interviewer: That’s good. So concerning government corporations, that’s where I’d like us to shift our focus to. So how large do you think the US Military Uniform market is?
Me: Hmm, So I have a couple of ideas concerning that but I’d like to ask whether you have any data that could help me
Interviewer: Data like?
Me: Number of soldiers in the US…?
Interviewer: Okay so we know that soldiers are only given their uniforms on 3 occasions: when they’re enlisted, when they’re deployed and regular replacement for wear & tear. They’re given 2 on each occasion.
Me: Hmmm okay that’s helpful, However, I’d still like to ask further if there’s still any information that could help ( I had to suck out data from the interviewer, I was right by not just rushing off to derive the US military Uniform market size on my own with my assumptions)
Then we got into the case…honestly, I can’t seem to remember the numbers. Lol, I kept following the instructions of the interviewer as it was an interviewer-led case and places I got stuck, I asked for help. An obvious mistake on my end was not closing the case well. I really didn’t know we had gotten to the end of the case as the interviewer throughout the case kept asking me “so what do you think/recommend” and I felt we were still working towards the answer till I heard “so do you have any question for me”. I’m pretty certain that’s what made me not make it to the next round as the competition was stiff.
I didn’t get pass this stage, to be honest, it did hurt a lot because I thought I did fair enough to proceed. Ok so I agree my performance wasn’t optimal I made a calculation error, wasn’t concise enough, I didn’t even know when we had finished the case. Lol, In all I was glad I got to do a real case interview ( I had done about 90+ cases, 13 of which were live practice cases so you see why I was pained that I didn’t even make it through the first interview) but oh well I’ve picked up myself. There’ll be other opportunities, two things are certain: Interviews are subjective and I need to improve.
I’d be glad to share resources/do practice with anyone who’s preparing for a consulting interview too or you can buzz my friend Ibukun she’s willing to do so too (We understand the struggle).
Follow up: 22/08/2019
I’ve gotten a lot of requests by people in consulting and I just thought to add this.
The first thing I’d say is Pick yourself – Please read this piece by Seth Godin.
Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.
Consultants simply help companies improve their process and deliver better results by solving problems.
The recruitment process is simple; one test then a series of interviews.
The major part of the recruitment process involves assessing how well you can solve problems. There’s a systematic way to approach business problems.
To get better at problem-solving, you should solve business cases.
Also, follow the news on what’s happening and get familiar with the business world – from a Nigerian’s perspective the best recommendations are Nairametrics and Cloout [ Shameless Plug, I lead the team at Cloout].
17 replies on “Bain Interview: S01 E01”
Hi, I’m preparing for a consulting interview. Please help.
Sure, we can talk via email. I’d buzz you rn
Your post was really insightful. Thanks.
I just concluded my undergraduate studies. I am really interested in management consulting, and I would like to apply at a consulting firm after my NYSC. I don’t know if I can have my NYSC program at a consulting firm, and how I can apply. I would appreciate more insights from you, and if I can’t serve there I would love to start preparing for case interviews from now with the use of sufficient resources and enough practice. Thank you.
Hello Tosin, Happy to hear about your plans.
I know Mckinsey has a program for NYSC. Please check it out here: https://globeopportunities.com/mckinsey-company-young-leaders-programme-fellow-lagos-2019/
As regards preparing, I can share materials, please contact me via social media or email.
Thank you so much for the Insight.
I have a couple of questions.
Was this interview fo the Lagos office of Bain & Company?
I am about rounding up my NYSC in Lagos and I would like to find out how can I apply for a full-time role at the Bain & Co in Lagos.
I would also like to ask you some follow-up questions so I really hope you reply.
Yes it was at the Lagos office of Bain & Co
Just visit their website and apply, please leave a message at
Currently in the process for a Consulting Company, would love your help with tips and resources
Sure, I’d be happy to help
I have just concluded my NYSC and I am really interested in management consulting. I want to apply to Bain actually and I’m hoping you can help with some tips on tailoring my CV for the role and preparation in general.
Sure, Please send a private message so we can talk better.
I am currently considering applying to a consulting firm, applied previously to one and didn’t get in. Want it to be better this time, I would love your help with tips and resources
Sure, we can talk more about this. I’d be happy to share what I know and have.
How long did it take them to respond after submitting your application?
Hello Daniela, about a month
It took roughly, 2-3 months
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and useful tips regarding applying for a role at consulting firms.
It is quite helpful
I’m glad to hear from you.