This month WCC spoke with Jake Gudmundsen, a 2011 graduate from UW-Madison currently working as an Associate Consultant at Bain & Company.
WCC: What was your area of study while at UW-Madison and how do you apply those skills to your current everyday job at Bain?
I double majored in Economics and Political Science while at UW. As an Associate Consultant, I am often required to complete complex analysis and then pull that analysis up to a 30,000ft level and see the overall picture. My economics background provided me with the analytical toolkit as well as the ability to step back and see the Macro view of a problem.
The Poli Sci piece is interesting…I think Poli Sci really helped with my critical reasoning, big picture analysis, and even public speaking.
WCC: What was your previous work background and next steps after you left UW?
Following my sophomore year, I had internship with Congressman Steve Kagen in Washington D.C.. The summer before my senior year, I did an investment banking internship with PNC Financial Services. After the investment banking internship, I realized that I didn’t want to be tied to one industry and really wanted to continue learning and exploring different markets, businesses and people.
I interviewed with multiple consulting companies my senior year and ultimately decided to go to Bain.
WCC: What does your current role at Bain consist of?
I am currently an Associate Consultant, AC2, which is a second year Associate. My specific role involves owning a piece of the problem my team is trying to solve. My day to day role includes going out and collecting data, analyzing that data for insights, and ultimately piecing those insights together into a coherent story to present to the client.
WCC: What type of person succeeds at Bain?
I don’t think there is any specific formula to be successful at Bain. There are attributes that are necessary for success like the ability to do the complex analysis, but there is no singular type of person. The job also involves a huge amount of team collaboration, so enjoying working with others is also key.
WCC: Within management consulting, what do you see as the key niche or differentiating factor for Bain?
Bain is very results driven. Bain does not have a “niche”, we work across a number of industries and functions and also have a very strong private equity consulting wing.
WCC: What is the company culture like at Bain?
To sum up in one sentence: “A Bainie never lets another Bainie fail”. Everyone here truly wants everyone else to succeed. I can literally go throughout the office and ask anyone for help and they will drop whatever they’re doing to help me.
WCC: What would be your advice for a Badger trying to start a career in consulting?
Start early, make sure you do your research and really work on your resume and experiences. It is a huge advantage to show interest early on and try to start accumulating experiences in leadership, analytics, team work, etc. that will really be transferable to a career in consulting