I didn’t entirely know what to expect before beginning as a summer associate at Bain & Company in Washington, D.C., in June. Although I enrolled at Fuqua with the intention of pursuing an internship in consulting, I realized that I didn’t exactly know what consultants did all day, every day.
On my first day, I nervously entered the office on K Street, a street I knew well after having lived in D.C. for almost five years prior to school. I immediately felt at ease upon seeing everyone’s smiling faces. The Bain team made me feel at home and excited about what the next 10 weeks had in store.
No two days were exactly the same, but often, my day went something like this:
7:00 AM – Wake up and get ready for work
Check emails, but typically not much happens by way of email traffic after we get home for the night. My client happens to be in Washington, D.C., so I don’t have to catch a plane or a train to get to work.
8:45 AM – Coffee!
Arrive in the Bain office on K Street in Washington, D.C. Bain offices have snack areas with food for employees, so I always grab a quick bowl of cereal and coffee when I arrive in the office.
9:00 AM – Emails and meeting prep
Check emails and brush up on any work I did the night before in advance of our team meeting.
9:30 AM – Meet with team
I am staffed on a growth strategy case with a technology services company operating in the aerospace & defense industry. It’s been a great learning experience in an area in which I have little prior knowledge.
During our team meeting, we each recap any work we’ve each done since our last meeting and discuss the plan for the day. We collaborate on any outstanding questions and give each other feedback and ideas related to our workstreams.
10:15 AM – Start on my workstream
Back at my desk, I settle into the day’s work. My workstream involves producing a model related to base case, upside, and downside financial scenarios for our client based on industry trends. I found out during our team meeting that content I developed will be used in a presentation to the CEO of our client company the following week—a very exciting development during my first week on the project.
12:30 PM – Team lunch break!
We typically order food and eat together as a team in the Rose Garden, one of the large open rooms in the Bain office.
Every day during lunch, our team gets a discussion going based on questions like “what is your number one upcoming travel destination,” “what is your favorite and least favorite state and why,” “if you weren’t working at Bain, what would you be doing,” and one of our favorites: “who do you think will win ‘The Bachelor’”? Our team typically gets other teams talking about the question, too.
1:15 PM – Meeting prep
Today, we have a meeting with our partner team to brainstorm for next week’s client meeting. I take some time to brush up on the content that I’ve prepared before the meeting.
Sometimes I feel a bit out of my comfort zone given that I worked in government and public policy for five years before Fuqua. However, I have found great support in my teammates, to whom I can go whenever I have questions or concerns.
2:30–4:30 PM – Brainstorm meeting with partners
The team consists of three partners, a manager (we called him our fearless leader), a second-year consultant, a senior associate consultant, an associate consultant, an associate consultant intern, and myself. Many thoughts, ideas and plans are considered throughout the meeting.
One of the best things about the summer was that I was continually impressed by how valued every member of the team truly is. We worked hard, collaborated, and had fun. I was so grateful to be accepted by my team wholeheartedly and was always surprised that the team counted on me and the associate consultant intern to share our thoughts and insights (despite my lack of prior consulting experience).
6:00 PM – Meet with case team (minus partners)
Recap from partner meeting and lay out the work plan leading up to our next client meeting. We have a lot of content to develop, but with a good structure and path in place, we feel good about the next steps.
8:00 PM – Team dinner in the office
We sometimes eat dinner at the office when we have an upcoming client meeting to prepare for, and tonight we found a new Indian ‘fast casual’ restaurant that we all enjoyed (Merzi, for D.C. residents…check it out). Sometimes we turn on the Olympics to catch up while eating.
9:30 PM – Head home
The day wraps up and it is time to head home. Before leaving, I finish a bit of research, edit a few slides, and schedule a professional development chat with the consultant on my team for later in the week.
While I still have a lot to learn, I was fortunate to be able to spend a summer working hard for a client in an environment that I find challenging and fulfilling. Thankfully Bain’s training, Fuqua, and my prior work experience prepared me well to deliver impactful results as a consulting intern from the get-go. I’m excited to be returning to Bain full time after graduating from Fuqua and know that I will continue to grow and learn throughout my time there.