Amol Goel - Bain & Co.

Hey folks! I’m Amol Goel, a final year undergraduate student at IIT Bombay, majoring in Economics(BS Economics). I’m from Faridabad, Delhi NCR. Academically, I’m inclined towards research in Game Theory and its applications in different microeconomic/macroeconomic problems (for instance, game-theoretical simulation models to capture tax-payer - tax-authority interactions, hmu anytime you’d like to have a chat about it). More professionally, I’m interested in business strategy and management, and outside of work I enjoy traveling, cricket, kick-boxing and binging Netflix. I’ve also spent 4 months of university at Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva as an exchange student, but let’s not digress there because that itself can make for an entire blog :D

Now, deep diving straight to the main subject for today, I’ve been working as an Associate Consultant Intern at Bain & Co. for the last 6 weeks and I’m gonna be doing so for another 3 weeks. For the uninitiated, Bain & Co. is one of the leading Management Consulting firms in the world along with BCG and McKinsey. I scored this internship through the well-known internship season/ process at IITB (It’s a process where the meticulous folks at Placement Cell and the IC team work hard to bring different companies to our campus for hiring interns across various fields and roles). Unwinding a bit to July 2021, I was very confused about which company to target for during the internship season, however, I did have the clarity that I wanted to work either in an Investment Banking role or a Management Consulting role, since I had been reading a lot about them in my second year and I knew I could be a good fit there because it matched my interests and temperament. But sooner than later, I realized that there is not a single reputed firm that comes to hire Investment Banking interns from our campus, so naturally I decided to go after Management Consulting firms and put all my efforts there. Now, I know many of you might not have this clarity about going after which firm or field, but don’t worry you’ve got ample of time right now and what you should really do is scorch the internet to find out more about the work profiles of different companies/ fields that come to our campus and try to identify what interests you and could be a good fit for you based on your temperament. Coming back to July 2021, we got the news that Bain and BCG are coming for internship season this time, which was surprising because this was the first time that Bain and BCG decided to hire undergraduate interns. This news really lifted my spirits since now there were a greater number of firms offering an internship in the Management Consulting domain, which simply increased my chances to score one. With my elevated spirits, I attended PPTs of all the big consulting firms that come to our campus – Bain, BCG, LEK and Strat&. After carefully listening to all the PPTs, talking to a few seniors and doing some research on my own, I was very clear that Bain is where I wanna work at the next summer (largely because of its work culture, people, growth opportunities and its seamless hiring process) and so I signed up IAFs and filled my priority order accordingly.

Now, let’s talk about the interview/selection process and my preparation strategy for the same, which I think you’d be most interested in :) So, the selection process for consulting firms is fairly simple and straightforward but very exhaustive since it examines you on multiple fronts. The process is divided into 2 stages – 1) Resume Shortlist and 2) Case Interviews. As far as the first stage is concerned, they’re looking for very detailed yet streamlined resumes which typically demonstrate peaks in 2-3 sections (could be academic, previous work experiences, extra-curriculars, international exposure etc.). What I did - jotted down all the points I could think of on a word document and then I started arranging them in different sections and refining them. After 4-5 iterations and getting feedbacks from seniors, I was finally ready with what I thought could be a winning resume. After that, all I had to do was sit tight and wait for the resume shortlist to come out, and prep for the case interviews at the same time. Case Interviews prep was actually a very interesting process for me since it exposed me to a plethora of business problems and their potential solutions (however shallow or preliminary, they were, which I now realize). Yeah, so I think around July end, the shortlists came out and I made it to Bain’s shortlist – that was a hooray! moment for me. After that, I was assigned 2 buddies (primary and secondary) from Bain who basically helped me prep for case interviews and tried bringing me to the level that interviewers would be expecting. This went on for 2 weeks, wherein I did multiple mock case interviews with both of them and also with my friends with whom I had been practicing cases earlier too (Key resources I used – CIC YT videos, books – CIC and Day One). Yeah, so these two weeks of constant feedback and improvement went on and finally the interviews took place. I had 2 sequential rounds of interviews – one with a senior manager and other with a partner, both rounds entailed different cases – one on cost cutting and the other one on business expansion. Both rounds went smooth, I had a good conversation with the interviewers and amidst the 2nd round, the partner gave me a spot offer. I remember shouting “YES!” and throwing a punch in the air without realizing my mic and video was on the entire time :D Later had a fun conversation with the interviewer about the same.

Right, so next I’ll jump into my internship experience so far. I opted for the Gurgaon office majorly because of my liking for the city (metro, food, privilege to go home once in a while and more). In consulting, you’re basically staffed on a case in a specific industry depending on the requirement of the case team. I’ve been working with a leading player in the Indian consumer electronics sector on their business expansion strategy across a particular vertical. My work so far has been concentrated around market research, competitor benchmarking and price-demand elasticity analysis. I wouldn’t go any further into the technical details but to give you an overview it has been pretty exciting working with a leading company in consumer-tech space, understanding their business model, seeing how business problems are solved in real life and what kind of a structure is typically followed while devising a growth strategy. Team has been very accommodating and super helpful throughout. Moving to the softer aspects now, the firm has been pampering us with gifts even before the internship started, we’ve been placed in a 5-star hotel in our respective locations for the entire duration of the internship. And on top of that, we just had our mid-term presentation in Goa, where the firm put us in a fancy resort and organized a flamboyant party later in the night. Pretty exciting right? Apart from the knowledge that I’ve gained while working on the case, I think I’ve definitely grown as a person through this internship, learning how to approach a particular problem, structuring my thoughts, presenting something in an efficient manner and of course getting comfortable with Excel and PowerPoint since they’re what you use day-in and day-out. The sustainability (working hours) is very case specific but for me and most of my friends it has not been a problem so far.

Finally, I’d like to end this long monologue with a few words of advice for all of you, who’ll be entering the internship season this year. First, please relax, I know all of it is overwhelming and there would be times you’d be stressed but panicking or comparing yourself to others is not gonna do you any good. However, entering this process with a positive mindset, a calm head and an attitude to genuinely learn and come out of this process as a better version of yourself would go a long way in ensuring that you come out winning when its over. You should always keep in mind that this is not the end of anything, it’s just an internship that you’re after and that you’ll get many more opportunities in the future. Having said that, please also don’t enter this process with a callous attitude too, it’s a great opportunity to learn and work at very reputed firms at a young age and you should give your best to make the most out of this opportunity. At this point I’d like to bid you adieu and thank you for your attention and sticking till the end. All the very best for the upcoming internship season and feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions :)