Bain Capital Internship Interview

I have an interview coming up with Bain Capital in few days. Can you guys suggest me that what kind of questions I might face. I am given this information:

"Each interview will last approximately 45 minutes and will be primarily case-based in format although there are typically a few resume-based questions as well. Interviewers will try to get a sense for analytics, business judgment, strategic thinking, etc. in an effort to understand how you would look at a particular deal/investment."

bain case interview preparation

Our users shared that Bain Capital interviews are largely case based. These cases are consulting style and the best way to prepare for them is to review a consulting interview guide such as the one available through

You can read more about the interview process and how to navigate it on Bain's corporate website.

See a clip from the website below describing how to prepare for the case interview:

Our users shared their experiences below:

moneypants3:

Walk in, idle chit chat for 2-3 min on the CV, 2-3 min of some random finance questions (but super simple, like walk me through a cashflow statement, what are the drivers of value in an LBO etc)

Then we get into the case study. They are exactly the same as a consulting case study which is not easy, and a lot of bankers fail Bain, as they are not used to thinking in the consultant mindset (by which I mean the consultant interview mindset, which is v diff to the usual PE interview mindset).

What do I mean by this? Knowing all of the usual Porters 5 forces, 4cs, 4ps etc is key, but also they will ask you a question, and you then have to structure it like an essay -- I think that the key drivers are 1,2,3,4, I will now take you through 1,2,3,4. Go through 1,2,3,4, and then conclude saying, in conclusion, 1,2,3,4 summary, and the main driver is 3.

Bain Cap are more organic than many of the usual consulting interview, as they don't just ask a question, and then discuss for 45 min. Instead, they break apart the question into 4 mini questions, in short 10 minute chunks.

User @moneypants3 went on to offer case examples they got in the interviews.

moneypants3:

So for me it was RBS World Pay, and they asked about the key value and growth drivers for the business, then about new legislation against high credit card fees, and how this might impact them (again they did not expect me to know, they explained the legislation, and then asked how this would affect).

The other study which I remember was on a canned tuna business, asking me to take them through the main cost buckets, what I thought was the main issue with this business (price volatility in fish -- non hedgeable, as you are buying from small local fisherman), how would I go about cost cutting etc etc

As you can see, super non finance based (but try and get in little nuggets here and there to show that you know), but I cannot stress enough, practice case studies before you go in. I would recommend learning the framworks, practice a few questions, and then get a buddy to play the part of the interviewer (hugely helpful -- esp. if they are mean and brutal to you)

valueisoverrated - Hedge Fund Analyst:

Three of the questions I received were valuing a frequent flier program, explaining the lack of profitability in the US airline industry, and walking through the value proposition of yellowpages for small businesses in rural areas and small towns.

Advice_Seeker - Sales and Trading Associate:

All was case-based along the lines of consulting cases. They had questions on the firms from their portfolio companies. Two questions were on why margin increased and decreased, another one was on the factors defining growth rate of an industry, and another was how would you analyze if you should invest in a company.

You can read more about Bain Capital on the Wall Street Oasis Company database.

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Comments (83)

Mar 13, 2013

i never understood these if ima pay you to make a strategic thinking idea you better take more than 45 minutes to think about it :X

Mar 13, 2013

Oh man Bain Capital and blastoise all in one thread? Someone frontpage this

Best Response
Mar 14, 2013

Hey,

Note this was in London, so all below may not be applicable to US)

Each round was the same, even up to final round. Note that there is no modelling test for Bain Cap (again, at least in London) -- the only difference between the rounds is that you go up to progressively more senior people throughout the process

Walk in, idle chit chat for 2-3 min on the CV, 2-3 min of some random finance questions (but super simple, like walk me through a cashflow statement, what are the drivers of value in an LBO etc)

Then we get into the case study. They are exactly the same as a consulting case study, so practice from the vault guide, any other consulting case studies you have seen -- this is not easy, and alot of bankers fail Bain, as they are not used to thinking in the consultant mindset (by which I mean the consultant interview mindset, which is v diff to the usual PE interview mindset).

What do I mean by this? Knowing all of the usual Porters 5 forces, 4cs, 4ps etc is key, but also (even though it makes you sound childish) they will ask you a question, and you then have to structure it like an essay -- I think that the key drivers are 1,2,3,4, I will now take you through 1,2,3,4. Go through 1,2,3,4, and then conclude saying, in conclusion, 1,2,3,4 summary, and the main driver is 3

Bain Cap are more organic than many of the usual consulting interview, as they dont just ask a question, and then discuss for 45 min. Instead, they break apart the question into 4 mini questions, in short 10 minute chunks. So for me it was RBS World Pay, and they asked about the key value and growth drivers for the business, then about new legislation against high credit card fees, and how this might impact them (again they did not expect me to know, they explained the legislation, and then asked how this would affect) -- cant remember the other 2 questions.

The other study which I remember was on a canned tuna business, asking me to take them through the main cost buckets, what I thought was the main issue with this business (price volatility in fish -- non hedgeable, as you are buying from small local fisherman), how would I go about cost cutting etc etc

As you can see, super non finance based (but try and get in little nuggets here and there to show that you know), but I cannot stress enough, practice case studies before you go in. The Vault Guide takes you over the main types of case studies, the main frameworks (porters 5 etc), and example questions. If you google case study practice, a bunch come up. I would recommend learning the framworks, practice a few questions, and then get a buddy to play the part of the interviewer (hugely helpful -- esp. if they are mean and brutal to you)

Others do chime in, as I may be way off base for the USA, but at least this was my exp in London
M

    • 5
Mar 14, 2013

Thanks moneypants3. Your advice is really helpful, thanks for that. Really saved a lot of time for me.

moneypants3:

Hey,

Note this was in London, so all below may not be applicable to US) ....
M

Mar 14, 2013

No probs! Everyone else has been super helpful to me here, so thought id do my bit!
m

Mar 14, 2013

Interviewed with them back in the day and obviously given their consulting heritage they are very focused on process-oriented case questions. Can't remember the exact question, but three of the ones I received were valuing a frequent flier program, explaining the lack of profitability in the US airline industry, and walking through the value proposition of yellowpages for small businesses in rural areas and small towns. Afraid I can't be much more helpful than that since I absolutely tanked it (I was a senior in UG and had only finance experience with no case prep).

Mar 14, 2013

Hey moneypants3,

You mentioned about the question value and growth drivers for RBS World Pay. Can you provide me a sample answer for the same. That would be really helpful. I understand growth drivers, but not so sure about value drivers. Thanks.

Mar 14, 2013

Value drivers i.e. what drives their value beyond just growth:

Internal: Margins, cashflow dynamics (capex, wc etc)
External: Broader economy effect on the above, value / positioning / metrics vs. peer group

m

    • 1
Mar 17, 2013

Good luck with Bane!

Mar 18, 2013
John Daggett:

Good luck with Bane!

Hope he doesn't break your back.

    • 1
Mar 18, 2013

Ditto what moneypants3 said for Bain Cap in the US. Case studies very similar to what you might get at Bain & Co.

Mar 18, 2013
seamlessftw:

Ditto what moneypants3 said for Bain Cap in the US. Case studies very similar to what you might get at Bain & Co.

Crap should've though of that name. Nice one.

Mar 27, 2013

I reached till round 2 of the interview process. All was case-based along the lines of consulting cases. They had questions on the firms from their portfolio companies. Two questions were on why margin increased and decreased, another one was on the factors defining growth rate of an industry, and another was how would you analyze if you should invest in a company.

Mar 27, 2013

Do they interview any bankers - and if they do, do bankers go through the same consulting-style interviews?

They seem to recruit straight out of undergrad as well for analyst positions

Mar 28, 2013

Am a banker -- so yes, they interview bankers and consultants with the same style of consulting case study interview --- however of course if you are from a consulting background, they would have higher expectations on the consulting side, lower on the finance side (and vice versa for a banker)

Mar 28, 2013

Also interested

Mar 28, 2013

instead of having to go through that inane task of sizing the US market for mattresses, I'd just look up and memorize the number.

Mar 28, 2013

They have good sample case interviews posted under "Join Bain".

Mar 28, 2013

the people i know at bain describe it as an overgrown frat (orit gadiesh is apparently scary good at quarters), so try not to act like too huge a nerd.

Mar 28, 2013

This is how you need to do it, I'll give you the inside scoop.

Case:
"blah blah... evaluate entry into ping pong market"

Response:
"Listen none of that market sizing shit matters. It's all about EBITDA and so let me walk you through how to pick Accretive Ping Pong acquisition targets."

We're talking about Bain Cap right?

Mar 28, 2013
Mar 28, 2013

see <a href=http://www.todubheja.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=23...">bain interview case study ebook

Mar 28, 2013

Bain tends to use more structured interviews than BCG and McK, meaning that they might hand you ppt slides with graphs and tables and ask you to do calculations. This is not always the case, but from my experience they do it much more than the two other firms.

Consulting case interview casebooks and guides
www.simplythecase.com

Mar 28, 2013

Bain is more structured than BCG and McK in my experience too.

MBB all hand you ppt slides, graphs and tables to do calculations. I wouldn't necessarily say Bain does so more than the others.

Mar 28, 2013

My experience doesn't jive with the posters above - I always got the most structured cases from McKinsey. There were some more structured Bain cases, where it was clear there was a "right" answer they wanted you to find, but I also had some screwy ones ("You're a high school senior. Should you rent a stand at the beach for the summer to run a business? The stand costs $xx."). I never got anything nearly that open ended from McKinsey.

Mar 28, 2013

seconded, i've interviewed with all three and I have to say that Bain was for me the least structured of the consulting interviews I've ever been in.

My personal favorite was that old classic, "Sporting Goods, Inc, wants to open a location in ; what information would you want?" By contrast, the other two had interviewers who generally had "checkpoint slides"

Key takeaway: there's no consistent theme from interview to interview. Just prep for this interview as you always have and you'll probably be fine...

Mar 28, 2013

Bain was by far the least structured. McKinsey cases may well be given each time word-for-word as the time before. They are super structured, more so than both BCG and Bain. BCG does have a bit more leeway, especially in the final rounds. I had a principal just make up a case based on my resume. But overall, BCG cases were still more structured than Bain. Bain seemed the most out-there, which kind of reflects their culture.

The key is to practice a ton, be smart (or at least act that way), and not freak out.

Mar 28, 2013

I agree with the last 3 posters. Bain interviews are less structured than McKinsey and BCG. Be confident, have well thought out answers and demonstrate comfort with the case. Best of luck!!

Mar 28, 2013

aren't you already at Mck?

btw one key ingredient for success in associate interviews is being good looking. at the younger levels of Bain, the people are ALWAYS good looking, the older people not so much but you seriously have to be hot. Don't believe me? Go to a bain office and take a look at the junior people, they aren't scrubs by any mean and are fairly attractive. Attractiveness is the rule, not the exception. GL

=========================================
We are excited to formally extend to you an offer to join Bank of Ameria

Mar 28, 2013

I've done Mck and Bain. I would say Mck was way more unstructured but that was for an associate position as an experienced hire. The Bain one had a definite answer which I got. The Mck case had one too but they were open to a slight deviance from the 'right answer' as long as you were making sense. Best prep for Bain is to go on preplounge and bang out at least 20 cases.

Mar 28, 2013

Hope is not a strategy.

my .02

Mar 28, 2013

Skim case and point- I don't think reading it cover to cover is necessary. Do some practice cases with friends so that you understand the general framework, how the case works as a conversation, and the general things to think about (which hold true for most cases). People blow case interview prep way out of proportion- with 2 weeks you should be fine to get prepared.

    • 1
Mar 28, 2013

1: Look at the video case tutorial they have on their website. That will give you an idea about the format.
2: Read "Case interview secrets". You need to apply the thinking described in this book in the interviews. I didn't find "Case in point" at all structured enough.
3: Look at the frameworks in Wharton 2010 Casebook and read through the cases and solutions in this casebook and Kellogg 2011.
4: Practice as many cases as you can over Skype. This is where you really learn. However, tell your case partners that you want "high probability" cases, such as P&L, market entry, cost cutting, growth or a mix. Don't waste time on some weird arbitrary cases that you will likely not get. And keep in mind that many interviews are interviewer-led and not interviewee-led. which most people practice.

Good luck :D

    • 1
Mar 28, 2013

how do you have yours so early? non-target?

Mar 28, 2013

my target's interviews are scheduled for the first week of February, so doesn't seem particularly early

Mar 28, 2013

It's really about working out how to tear apart a problem to figure out the drivers of the issue. So if it's a declining profitability problem (pray you get one of these) you'll need to break it into costs and revenue drivers, then guess if you think it's costs or revenue. If it's revenue, look at volume and margin etc etc until you find the thing that's driving the decline in profitability.

You really need to know a few basic frameworks (no more than 10) but to be honest they're not enough. You actually have to understand the thinking behind them to work out how to pull cases apart.

For my part, I found the business situation framework of costs, competitors, customers and product one of the most useful.

PM me if you want to ask something specific.

Mar 28, 2013

Fuck you kids chatting about targets and non-targets. I need some fuckin' interview advice! Thanks Black Jack, Santini, and Bismarck, I'm definitely going to be keeping these things in mind.

If anyone knows what pdfs I was referencing in my OP it would be greatly helpful. The ones talking in-depth about culture, types of deals, and other shit that you can't just get by googling. They had them for firms like McKinsey, GS, and a bunch of other ones too.

    • 1
Mar 28, 2013

I realize this is over a week old, so have you already had your interview? If not, I could provide some insight as I just finished with their interview process! Please post on the thread or pm me if you still need help.

Mar 28, 2013
Future.Consultant:

I realize this is over a week old, so have you already had your interview? If not, I could provide some insight as I just finished with their interview process! Please post on the thread or pm me if you still need help.

Over a week old? It's about four years old.

Mar 28, 2013

Haha strong bump.

Mar 28, 2013

bump!

Mar 28, 2013

interested as well

Mar 28, 2013

Sankaty is Bain Capital's debt and credit arm-they do various strategies including distressed, levered par, etc. I have a college friend who works there and he said that the interview wasn't that different from his banking interviews, though there was a bigger focus on credit metrics (leverage ratios, cash flow coverage, etc) and on debt instruments.

Mar 28, 2013

@Kenny_Powers_CFA - I know this is a really old post but can you elaborate on strategies that Sankaty's special situations team look at in addition to distressed and levered par? Thanks in advance.

Mar 28, 2013

Given that you are posting this in the Consulting section makes me wonder whether it's even worth it to begin preparation...

lots of information on this if you do a search!

Mar 28, 2013

Vault has a guide to case interviews that is about 400 pages long if you are interested...

NEVER lose your BlackBerry
www.conveniencesoftware.com

Mar 28, 2013

You need to just practice, preferably with a friend or someone. It's a lot different when you listen to the case versus reading it. The Bain interviewers don't give you a written study (I think Monitor does this). Instead, they tell you the situation and expect you to ask intelligent questions to deduce the answer. That being said, if you don't have "good listening skills", you could be in trouble.

From what I remember, don't get. A bunch of my friends practiced a lot before their interviews and still screwed up even though they thought they had the "formula" down. If you are intuitive about this sort of thing, you can definitely be ready by Monday.

Mar 28, 2013

if you are good at basic business math ( break even, and the def. of profit/operating margin) you are good to go...

also watch your zeros and your units

pay attention to detail in the questions

use cosentino

be upbeat!

good luck

Mar 28, 2013
therock555:

- Client: China Southern Airlines.
- Our client currently flies twice a day from Guangzhou to Sydney and back and offers a connection Perth, Syndey.
- Want to know if they should create a direct flight from Guangzhou to Sydney.

While I was calculating profitability for to see if this direct flight would be profitable or not, I ran into a couple problems with the consulting101.com answers.

Basic info for calculating revenue:
- Flies twice a day to and back
- Price of one flight from Guangzhou to Sydney=$600
- Price of one flight from Guangzhou to Perth=$600
- About 130 ppl/flight from Guangzhou to Sydney
- About 20 ppl on the flight from Guangzhou to Sydney have Perth as their final destination.

When calculating revenue from the flight from Guangzhou to Syndey, consultingcase101 says you should do $600 x 40. i just have two quick questions about this:

1) If you're calculating quantity adjusting for 2 flights, shouldn't you also make price $1200?
2) Flying twice a day and back is a total of 4 flights right? So in order to calculate total revenue, you could calculate the revenue for one flight ($600 x 20) and multiply it by 4?

Consultingcase 101 is notorious for making math mistakes. Thanks, and happy holidays!

  • b
  •  Mar 28, 2013

2 rounds of 2 very standard oral cases.

Mar 28, 2013

Bain is about average in terms of consulting interview difficulty... process usually is:

-2 first round case interviews, maybe a few minutes of fit
-4 second round interviews, ranging from partner to associate. The more senior the guy, the more fit.

No frameworks are being "looked for", in my experience Bain was a little more big picture than other GMCs but it's totally based on the interviewer.

Mar 28, 2013

"I know strategy, I know frameworks, porters, swot - all that stuff."

If anyone has any good books or URLs recommended for someone wanting to learn about this kind of thing, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Mar 28, 2013
political panda:

"I know strategy, I know frameworks, porters, swot - all that stuff."

If anyone has any good books or URLs recommended for someone wanting to learn about this kind of thing, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

I've been browsing through this site: http://www.12manage.com/i_s.html
A good textbook is "Strategic Management: Creating Competitive Advantages," by Dess, Lumpkin, Eisner

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Mar 28, 2013
  1. For each slide/piece of information, look for anomalies and identify the "so what". (For example, if volume sales has increased consistently for the past 5 years, but profit has leveled off after year 3 (anomaly), either price dropped or costs increased (so what)).
  2. Use the "answer first" approach for your conclusion. (Ex: "In regards to this problem, I would do A because of X, Y, Z) Do not go through the process of how you derived X, Y, Z. Focus on what they mean for the client.

If you do this and can get the math right, you will perform well.

Mar 28, 2013

I had my first rounds recently and feel like I completely bombed one of my interviews. It was a pricing strategy problem and all I talked about were costs. I didn't even get to volume! Looking back I can't believe that I was so naive. Should I assume this will be the nail in my coffin? Or is there any reason to believe that I may still have a chance?

Mar 28, 2013

During my first round, I did really well in the first case and horribly in the second (even changed my recommendation after the interviewer challenged my initial one...huge no no). Still got moved to finals. I don't think it ends it for you, but you probably needed to kill the other case.

Mar 28, 2013

There's a always a possibility of that depending how much interest and knowledge you are able to show regarding the dept./position you want to transfer to.
I know it for a fact that this has happend in the past at TD Securities, RBC CM, and Citigroup.

Also, don't state in your interview that your interest lies in those front office position (as you need to get in first)

Mar 28, 2013

disclaimer: ZiggyMon has never held a wall street job in his entire life.

Mar 28, 2013

nothing is impossible, of course, but that being said, the distance, in terms of profiles, pay, status perception etc. between professionals and support staff at a pe firm would be even bigger than at a bank (although BC support staff is definitely top notch from interactions so far...)

Mar 28, 2013

Well is it in the middle or back? The back you can completely forget about. If it's a middle/back job you can likely forget about it to. If it's a true middle office job, preferrably at the better end of that classification, then perhaps.

Account Inactive

Mar 28, 2013

The position is Portfolio Administrator. I'd venture and say that's a back office role. Anyone have any experience with this type of interview? I'd appreciate any specific tips/suggestions/expectations or input unique to private equity portfolio administration interviews. Please also address if you can my original question.

Mar 28, 2013
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Mar 28, 2013