Why Bain & Company ranks as a top employer in India

20 December 2018 Consultancy.in 7 min. read
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Popular job search and review site Glassdoor has named strategic consulting firm Bain & Company the globe’s best place to work. Consultancy.in interacted with Karan Singh, the Managing Partner of Bain & Company's India offices, and several other India-based ‘Bainies’ to hash out what makes the company such a great employer.

The analysis by Glassdoor takes into account its database of 45 million company reviews provided by current and former workers, who (anonymously) comment on their jobs, rating key workplace attributes like compensation, company culture, senior management, and work-life balance. Of all organisations listed on Glassdoor – nearly 800,000 companies globally have received reviews on the platform – the firm’s researchers found that across North America (US, Canada), Europe (Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, UK), and Asia-Pacific (Australia, India, New Zealand), Bain & Company earned the highest average employee review score.

Globally, Bain & Company has 8,000 employees. The consultancy was founded in 1973 by William Bain Junior, and has since established itself as one of the world’s largest and most prestigious strategy consulting firms – alongside 'Big Three' rivals McKinsey and BCG (collectively known as the 'MBBs'). Headquartered in Boston, Bain has 57 offices in 36 countries, of which three are in India: New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.

Bain & Company’s strong double-digit growth over the last 26 years hasn’t conflicted with its emphasis on being a great workplace. The firm knows from internal research that employee engagement and commitment are essential for workplace happiness and productivity – positively impacting financial performance. Also, Bain works with the top talent in the market, so creating an attractive culture is key to attracting and retaining some of the brightest minds in the business world.

Why Bain & Company ranks as a top employer in India

Commenting on the importance of workplace culture, Karan Singh, who leads Bain’s Indian operations, said, “At Bain, we have a strong belief in a workplace environment that is conducive to creating holistic, well-rounded career development opportunities for all our employees.” 

Singh is therefore delighted that the firm’s focus on top-tier workplace dynamics is continually commended by the most important judges: its own employees. “It is heartening to be ranked at the top of the Glassdoor Best Places to Work list again this year,” he relates. “To be able to provide this while delivering high-impact, relevant solutions to our clients is indeed an outcome we take pride in.”

In the US, Bain ranked top of all companies, including the likes of tech juggernauts Facebook and Google. The feat in the US came one year after Bain achieved the same recognition in two European markets: Germany and the Netherlands. In the UK, Bain came second overall – just behind water utility Anglian Water – though it still claimed the title of being the UK’s top-ranked consulting firm.

Top employer in India

While Glassdoor did not release a specific Best Places to Work list for India, Bain nonetheless averaged a stellar score of 4.8 out of 5. Employees consistently lauded the firm’s supportive environment, its excellent professional development opportunities, its strong perks (externships, events, etc.) and compensation/benefits. In a bid shed some more light on why Bain is so beloved among its employees, Consultancy.in spoke with five Bain workers, affectionately called ‘Bainies’ (not unlike Yalies from Yale). 

Delhi-based Senior Partner Parijat Ghosh – who is also VP HR – points to the firm’s high performance culture as core part of giving clients the results they expect. “At Bain & Company, it has been our abiding belief that a critical driver of our success in meeting our clients’ expectations and delivering high impact solutions, has been our focus on a high-performance culture in a supportive work environment for our employees.” According to Ghosh, the firm has also maintained a strong focus on diversity and balanced personal and professional development to create a top workplace. 

Megha Chawla, Partner and leader of Woman at Bain (WAB) in India, echoes her colleague’s emphasis on an effective and supportive workplace culture. “We take great pride in our culture, which is rare blend of high performance in a highly supportive environment. Every incoming ‘Bainie’ is selected on the basis of not just rigorous problem solving skills, but also their intellectual curiosity, teaming abilities, and the conviction that they will reinforce and further build on this unique culture.”

“At Bain, we have a strong belief in a workplace environment that is conducive to creating holistic, well-rounded career development opportunities for all our employees.”
– Karan Singh, Managing Partner of Bain & Company India 

Thus, at Bain, smart and effective people are surrounded by other smart and effective people. Their teams don’t have to worry about weak links derailing a project, causing stress and issues for project teams (and clients). “What makes our culture unique is a bunch of really smart people working together in a very down-to-earth and friendly environment, always willing to help each other,” added Delhi-based Partner Deepak Jain.  “Each one of us truly believes and exemplifies the principle – a Bainie never lets another Bainie fail.” Jain was recently ranked a Fortune India ’40 under 40.’

Mumbai-based Partner Sriwatsan Krishnan echoed the appraisal of a supportive environment – a workplace of friends, despite the high-stakes cut-throat image of management consulting. “Bain’s unique culture is exemplified in a commitment to creating a sustainable, supportive, and fun work environment despite operating in a market with demanding and challenging clients who force us to up our game every-day."

Beyond work: friends and mentors

The endeavor is to create a workplace filled with employees who are more than colleagues, but friends and mentors – effectively creating an atmosphere where everyone wants to come to work every day not only because they work on challenging and complex problems, but also because they have an immense amount of fun during the good times and get adequate support during the tough times – that’s unique,” Krishnan added. 

Bengaluru-based Partner Lalit Reddy, meanwhile, highlighted the company’s leading capability in professional development. “Consulting is a unique career among professional services – because more than any other one – it has to be learned ‘on the job.’ This isn’t a job that is disproportionately quantitative or qualitative – it is a unique combination of both. Therefore, the only way people get good at this is through apprenticeship. 

“It is for this reason that Bain excels and stands out in the field – we have a culture where folks know each other at a deep, personal level,” Reddy added. “The supportive atmosphere encourages people to take risks frequently and ask for help whenever they need it. This has been a huge driver of our success.”