Bain Consulting vs Audax PE

Trying to decide between a summer offer for Bain Consulting vs Audax Private Equity. Not sure if I want to be on the buy side long-term, but would like the option to do PE. Long term looking to get into VC.

What's the general reputation/tier for Audax?
How easy is it to transition from Bain Consulting to PE? What sort of firms would I be looking at?
If I transition to PE from consulting will I be able to go to business school?
What's a better path to VC?

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Comments (19)

Most Helpful
Oct 18, 2019 - 2:17am

Audax is a well respected UMM PE firm. It is a solid exit opportunity from MBB or BB investment banking. The analyst program is known to give good training and many analysts have stayed on or lateraled to larger PE firms.

A Bain consultant is likely competitive for MM - MF PE opportunities. High performers can get jobs at Bain, Advent, etc. while many will end up at jobs similar to Audax, Golden Gate, Sycamore (all very solid jobs). Oftentimes consultants do 3 years before making the PE move.

Yes, you can go to business school after any of these (Audax, Bain, Bain then PE) and will likely get into one of H/S/W.

You should know that Audax has a lower return offer rate than Bain. It used to be around 50%.

Probably could do either and make it to VC, although I am less knowledgeable about this.

Jan 11, 2021 - 6:03am

I think as opposed to IB spending 2 years at their old banks (recruited after college), MBBs spend 3 years (recruited a year after)

Oct 20, 2019 - 1:09pm

Depends on if you're targeting early or later-stage VC.

Bain consulting would be better for exiting to early-stage VC. I say this having spoken with partners at a few top early-stage VC shops who have expressed their general dislike for hiring PE types and how this mindset is fairly common throughout early-stage. Audax would be better for later stage VC, think shops like Insight and Summit, who will typically require more modeling and deeper emphasis on cash generation compared to early-stage since they have less time to get a lower multiple on their invested capital. In terms of business school both are definitely solid roads to any of the top 10 programs, but I would probably put Audax > Bain. Top reputation UMM shop with a strong training program and is the type of exit people looking to move from an MBB to PE would dream for. Definitely harder to land than an MBB role and exclusive jobs are one thing BSchool loves.

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Oct 20, 2019 - 5:43pm

Bain will keep more options open and be a more pleasant experience. And Audax doesn't place any better than Bain & Co - Tuck is not an uncommon landing spot for Audax whereas M7 is pretty much a layup from MBB.

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Oct 21, 2019 - 9:05am

Take Bain.

Most of the analysts at Audax did not get BB IB or MBB offers. The culture at Audax is also significantly worse vs. MBB and exit opps will be same if not worse. It is a decently respected MM PE shop, but better keep your options open with Bain and stronger B School placement as well.

Biggest argument pro Audax would be pay would be much higher, but that is really a short term reason, not worth basing the decision on in my view.

Oct 21, 2019 - 10:22am

I don't know if it's changed in recent years, but I thought Analysts at Audax spend 80% of their time sourcing. And when I saysourcing, I mean calling up random companies on D&B asking if they are interesting in selling their company. Seems like Bain is a no brainer to me

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Jan 30, 2021 - 2:59am

Former Audax employee here. There is no sourcing work (and certainly not any cold calling) done at the Analyst / Associate level at Audax. Vast majority of deals at Audax come in from investment banks and other institutional deal sources.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 11, 2021 - 12:46am

Unsure what your long-term goals are (you mention all of PE, VC, and b-school) but I would personally accept Audax if in your shoes. Very unique opportunity to be PE analyst at a solid shop out of school.

Jan 30, 2021 - 6:43am

Bain consulting is likely to provide a wider range of opportunities, particularly if you aren't dead set on buy out. If you value a generalist skill set, getting trained properly and having a network of talented alumni to reach out to then Bain would be the better option. Bain has a PE ring fence which provides a nice set up into PE. However, I am not as familiar with Audax PE, other than PE firms tend to hire individuals who have gone through structured training for a couple of years.

If you want to be in VC long term, then would recommend trying to see if there are any opportunities you can go after now (e.g. tech / start up which has a bunch of VCs on the cap table). My understanding of VC firms is that they are backing individuals that are entrepreneurial so neither role would be a  required pre-requisite to join VC. Chris Dixon (A16z) has an interesting post about this: cdixon | Climbing the wrong hill. TLDR end up staying way longer than you think in these roles that aren't taking you to VC.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jan 30, 2021 - 8:46am

curious to hear which one you choose and how everything is going

  • N/A in PE - Growth
Jan 30, 2021 - 6:04pm

Worked previously at Audax

Overall: great training and you'll learn a lot because you do a ton of reps since they love the "buy and build" add-on strategy

BUT, sweat shop with super long hours (esp bad because of COVID and remote work) - culture is also so-so, not a lot of diversity and very fratty

I'd prioritize Bain for the greater optionality (particularly if you want to pursue VC), solid exit ops, and brand name / network

  • Prospect in Consulting
Jan 31, 2021 - 6:42pm

Was in a very similar spot and chose MBB, mainly because of the unparalleled optionality and because I was not deadset on finance/buyside. The only advice I can give you is not to base your decision purely on compensation, as money will come in due time anyway (if you are good enough to have this choice). Make sure you go for what you are passionate about and you learn as much as possible early in your career. Finally, the social aspect of MBB really appealed to me, compared to the more solitary nature of working on the buyside.

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