Ayush Maiti has recently graduated from IIM Lucknow in 2021. Next, he is going to join Bain & Company as a Junior Consultant. At IIM L, he was a core member of the consulting club, where he played an instrumental role in launching a YouTube channel for consulting preparation and 'CSC Briefcase', India's first-ever Consult preparation mobile app by a B-school consult club. In this article, we bring to how Ayush had prepared for his summer placements, received an internship offer from Bain & Company, his internship experience, why he thinks he received the coveted PPO, and his advice to future aspirants planning to make a career in Consulting.
Please Note: In case you're interested in sharing your PPO journey with InsideIIM's readers, please click here!
1) Hi Ayush, Tell us in brief about how you prepared for summer placement interviews?
Ans. I primarily prepared for MBB firms during summer placement which mainly consists of case-based interviews. I would divide the preparation into 3 phases –
Phase 1 (Learning phase) – Initially one needs to get acquainted with the basics of case solving. For that one can refer to any casebook. I referred to Victor Cheng videos, IIM Lucknow casebook and attended sessions organized by Consulting Club of IIM L. Post that I would recommend everyone to watch few mock interview videos on YouTube (available on Bain, McKinsey, IIM Lucknow Consulting Club, Aditya Agarwal’s channels) to get hang of how actual interview happens.
Phase 2 (Practice phase)- Next, I got into the practice mode. This is the most important part of case solving. To prepare for that I took multiple mock case interview slots from seniors in IIM Lucknow who had prepared for similar firms previously. Preparation of case interviews cannot be done by studying any book and needs much more hands-on approach since it requires much more dynamic thinking. Mock case interview slots help in gaining that. Also, I practised cases with my friends (formed 2 case groups), buddies (allotted by consulting firms), and some alumni. I would suggest candidates should always keep the first principles thinking approach, rather than relying heavily on frameworks. Overall I solved ~80 cases, 10-15 guestimates in a span of 1-1.5 months. I started with profitability cases, then moved on to market entry, growth strategy, and abstract type cases. I also maintained a log of mistakes I made in each case (or how it can be solved better) and kept on revising it.
Phase 3 (Revision and final phase) –
- Revise all your previous cases. Revisit all the mistakes and learnings.
- I developed my detailed set of frameworks (for example breaking each bucket of the value chain or 4P till 4/5 levels). Making master frameworks prepares you for standard interview case types, makes you think exhaustively about various dimensions (hence develops your structuring as well), and makes you more confident.
- Based on my performance till then I prepared a list of my weak points and worked on each one of them. For example, if you are weak in growth strategy cases, then a good approach is to pick up IIM A casebook (which has segregated cases as per case type) and practice from there.
- I studied past interview experiences of candidates from IIM Lucknow and ISB casebooks. Going through previous interview experiences helped me in multiple ways – it helped in getting exposure to a lot of real interview cases, understanding finer differences in expectation of each firm, and different types of cases being asked.
- Prepare HR answers in the last week of prep.
2) What is the summer placement process like for Bain & Co.?
Ans. The summer placement process for Bain & Co. starts with CV shortlisting. Post that a buddy is allocated (roughly 1 month prior to interview day) who helps in your case preparation. Multiple sessions (PPTs, case workshops, alum sessions, and a formal dinner) are also conducted where you can get to know about the firm more and get your doubts clarified. Lastly, it involves 2-3 case (and guestimates) interviews on the D-day.
3) What are the reasons you think that you cracked the interview?
Ans. There are essentially two things I feel are important for cracking any MBB interview (apart from company-specific nitty-gritty) – firstly you need to be good at solving cases. Secondly, you need to be well prepared to take on the stress of Day Z interviews. You need to be confident about your preparation and need to believe in yourself. I have seen my friends, who are good at case solving, facing issues with handling stress especially if they get rejected from 1-2 firms. Come what may it is important to keep on believing in yourself and stay confident. Apart from that, the likeability aspect is important in consulting. So how you present yourself and interact with the interviewer is also important. I worked on each of the aspects during different phases of the interview preparation, which helped me in finally acing the interview.
4)Tell us about your day-to-day work as an intern at Bain & Co.?
Ans. My day started with a client catch-up call followed by a team meeting where every day’s progress and targets were discussed. Then I used to work independently on my task throughout the day with assistance from my supervisor wherever required. Work may entail anything and everything right from making a presentation, doing some analysis using an excel model, interviewing an expert, talking to clients to get some data, support team members in their work, and attending client meetings. In the end, we were constantly trying to get answers to some of the questions related to the larger problem statement. My day ended with a catch-up call both with my supervisor and the team where I used to update them about my progress and share results if any.
5) What according to you, you did right to achieve the PPO from Bain & Co.?
Ans. There are few things that are important for getting a PPO in a virtual internship set-up –
- First and foremost, taking weekly feedback is important (even if it’s a small session, please do have it). It helps you in keeping a check on your progress and taking corrective actions well in time.
- Be proactive and be a go-getter in finding solutions, pushing for data, etc. Be result-driven. Take initiatives.
- Always set the expectation right as well as get your approach validated before you start the actual task (be it any analysis or making a presentation). Getting things right the first time is important. For this, you need to have clarity about the task at hand and how you will do it. Don’t hesitate in seeking any required clarification.
- Focus on communication. It plays an important part in consulting internship. Have clarity of thought. Be crisp and have a top-down/ Answer First style of communication.
- Be in constant touch with your firm’s seniors from your (or other) B-school and discuss with them the issues you are facing. It’s important to solve any problem on time.
- I prepared extensively for mid and end-term presentations, especially for the Q&As. I have prepared very simple, easy to explain slides and got that reviewed by multiple Bainies. I have done 5-6 mocks before the actual presentation. Also, I have adopted a very exhaustive approach to prepare for Q&As. I have prepared a list of possible ~150 questions based on slides I have submitted and the work I have done in the project. Both the things not just immensely helped me in acing my mid and end terms, but also helped me deriving better learnings out of my project.
6) What are the most cherished moments of your internship?
Ans. The most cherished moment of my internship is when I got the call offering me a full-time role with Bain. During the internship, the most distinct moment I had was during the preparation of mid and end-term presentations. My 3 team members cumulatively spent 8-10 hours preparing me for the presentation, even stretching late at night. It helped me a lot during the actual presentation. For me that was the ‘A Bainie never lets a Bainie fail’ (as we commonly say in Bain) moment.
7) One piece of advice to the candidates who are looking for consulting roles in Bain & Co.?
Ans. Along with preparation for the interview, prepare yourself to be a culture fit for Bain. Since Bain takes pride in its culture, that also plays an important role in the selection during the internship. Furthermore, the path to Bain will be a culmination of years of hard work. Don’t get bogged down by the obstacles. Keep on putting in the effort and one day you will definitely succeed. I wish future aspirants all the very best! Feel free to get in touch if you have any queries or need help.
InsideIIM presents the 8th Season of Summer Saga where you can share your bizarre, enriching, a-little-difficult-yet-fun experiences with everyone and win prizes for the same. We have changed the rules in the eighth season. You don't need to wait for your internship to end in order to share your experience. Instead, it will be a digital diary, where you will be able to document your learnings and experiences, during your stint.
Take part in Summer Saga 2021 now! Fill out Digital Diary 1 below using this link!
TIMELINE, PROCESS AND RULES
- You don't need to register on InsideIIM.com or on the Kampus App to take part in Summer Saga Season 8. Simply share your experiences in the Digital Diary. To maintain standardisation, every Digital Diary will have a few questions that you'll need to answer.
- Access all the Digital Diaries forms from here. You will receive Digital Diaries from us on the following dates:
-Digital Diary 1 - 02.05.2021
-Digital Diary 2 - 09.05.2021
-Digital Diary 3 - 23.05.2021
-Digital Diary 4 - 06.06.2021
-Digital Diary 5 - 20.06.2021
- After 20th June, we will collate your entries as a single article and share the same with the same.
- Your overall submission will be evaluated on the following parameters:
-Completeness: This depends on the number of Digital Diaries you have filled.
-Value Addition: This depends on how in-depth your answers have been. The score for this parameter will be given by our Judges.
-Reach: This depends on how many unique people have read your internship experience once we publish the article. We maintain fair play, we will publish all the articles on the same day, so that you can also share the same in your network.
- There is also a title called, ‘Campus With The Most Interesting Interns’ that will be awarded to (a) the campus that submits the maximum number of entries and (b) the campus that submits the best quality entries (based on the score given by our judges). The minimum entries from campus to be considered for this title is 10. So, if you want your campus to win the title then make sure your classmates and other students from your b school share their experiences in this year's Summer Saga Competition.
PRIZES TO WIN
This competition is broadly divided into four categories. Refer to the table below to know more about prizes in each category.
Banking and Finance
Sales, Marketing and General Management
HR, Consulting and Others
|1st Prize||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000|
|Runner Up||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000|
The 1st Prize winner will also get a one-hour 1-on-1 career guidance session with an industry stalwart, from our panel of mentors in Kounsel.
ABOUT THE JUDGES
Every year, we have Campus Managers from some of the top companies (such as Reliance, HSBC, Flipkart, ABG, HUL, TAS, etc) judging the annual Summer Saga competition. We will release the details of the judges of Summer Saga Season 8 soon!
Check out the previous year's winners!
Maybe this will help you reflect and recall these two months as well (which can come in handy when appearing for interviews in the future). InsideIIM is the perfect platform to chronicle your experiences, your highs, your lows and everything in between.
So guys, what are you waiting for? Start writing! You have a voice. You have the experience. Make the best of it!