Bain BEL Program


The Bain BEL program stands for Building Entrepreneurial Leaders and was established to provide undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds with exposure to a career in consulting.

 

The Bain BEL program is an extraordinary opportunity for students to get to know Bain better, learn more about consulting, and have the opportunity to interview for an Associate Consultant internship position at the end of the program.

 

If you’re looking to apply to the Bain BEL program and want to know how you can give yourself the best chance of getting in, then this article is for you.

 

I’m a former Bain Manager and interviewer and I’ll cover what is the Bain BEL program, program requirements and deadlines, and tips for the application and interview.

 

What is the Bain BEL Program?

 

The Bain BEL program was founded in 2009 to help students from underrepresented backgrounds to explore a career in management consulting. It is a one-week, highly selective program in which participants will receive training, work on a case team, and have the opportunity to interview for a summer internship position.

 

The Bain BEL program is available in Bain’s US and Toronto offices.

 

Participants in the Bain Bel Program can expect to:

 

  • Spend a week in one of Bain’s offices in the US or Canada

 

  • Receive training similar to the training that all Bain Associate Consultants get

 

  • Work along with case team consultants

 

  • Gain exposure to a career in consulting

 

  • Strengthen leadership skills

 

  • Get paired with a mentor to provide coaching and answer questions

 

  • Attend social and networking events to get to know Bain BEL peers and others at Bain

 

  • Receive a stipend to cover expenses related to attending the program

 

  • Have an opportunity to interview for Bain’s Associate Consultant internship

 

If you have any further questions regarding the Bain BEL program, you can contact Bain’s recruiting team at [email protected].

 

Bain BEL Program Requirements

 

To apply to the Bain BEL program, you must be a second-year or sophomore student that is enrolled in a four-year undergraduate program in the US or Canada. Non-US citizens are eligible to apply.

 

There is technically no requirements regarding background, but students that identify as Black, Hispanic, Latin American, or Indigenous (e.g., Native American, Alaska Native, Inuit, Metis, First Nations) are highly encouraged to apply.

 

Additionally, Bain states that they look for students that are high academic achievers, outstanding leaders, and team players.

 

No prior experience in consulting is required to apply. Bain encourages all majors and backgrounds to apply.

 

Bain BEL Program Application Deadline

 

The deadline to apply for the Bain BEL program is typically in February for US participants and in March for Canadian participants. The application typically opens up in January.

 

Check the Bain BEL program website to see the exact dates once they are posted.

 

Bain BEL Program Application

 

The Bain BEL program requires you to submit your resume, cover letter, educational information, unofficial transcript, test scores, and office preferences.

 

Resume

 

The resume that you submit for the Bain BEL program is the most important component of the application process. It’s important that you spend sufficient time crafting your consulting resume so that it best highlights your qualities and accomplishments.

 

Application reviewers will spend most of their time looking at your resume when making decisions on who to interview. Your cover letter, educational information, and unofficial transcript may be glanced over or not read at all.

 

Cover Letter

 

Although the Bain BEL program asks you to submit a cover letter, it will most likely not be read. The majority of application decisions are made based on your resume and background information.

 

However, if you are a borderline candidate, a well-written consulting cover letter could push your application over the edge and help you get an interview.

 

Educational Information

 

You will need to submit some basic educational information, such as the name of the school you are attending and your intended major or degree. If you have not decided on a major yet, you can select “Undecided.”

 

Unofficial Transcript

 

The Bain BEL program requires you to submit an unofficial transcript to show the classes you have taken and your cumulative GPA. This does not need to be an official transcript that is directly sent from the school to Bain. Instead, you can submit a PDF document that you downloaded from your school’s website.

 

Test Scores

 

The Bain BEL program requires you to also submit your test scores for the SAT or ACT, depending on which exam you have taken. You will not need to submit an official score report. Just input the numerical scores.

 

Office Preferences

 

Lastly, you will select up to three Bain offices that you have a preference for. You will be asked to weight each of your office preferences such that the sum of all weights adds up to 100%.

 

For example, you may indicate your office preferences as 70% San Francisco, 20% New York, and 10% Chicago.

 

However, note that the second and third choice offices you select will not have much of an impact on your application. Bain typically will only consider you for your top-choice office.

 

If you are not selected for the Bain BEL program, you will still have the opportunity to apply for an Associate Consultant internship position in the summer prior to your third or junior year.

 

Bain BEL Program Interview

 

After submitting an application, the next step of the selection process is the interview stage.

 

The Bain BEL program interview process includes two 30-minute interviews that consist of behavioral questions, motivational questions, and a case interview.

 

Behavioral Questions

 

Consulting behavioral questions ask you to draw upon a time or experience in the past in which you demonstrated a particular quality or trait. For example, you may be asked common consulting behavioral interview questions such as:

 

  • Tell me about a time when you led a team

 

  • Give an example of a time when you went above and beyond

 

  • Tell me about a time when you failed

 

  • Describe a problem that you solved using data

 

  • Tell me about a time when you resolved conflict while working on a team

 

Bain asks behavioral questions because how you’ve handled situations in the past is a predictor of how you will handle problems and challenges in the future.

 

Additionally, these questions also give Bain interviewers a glimpse into who you are as a person. Your answers will show what qualities you demonstrate and what values you hold important to you.

 

Lastly, these questions give the opportunity for the interviewer to go deeper into your resume. They’ll be able to dive deeper into the details behind your accomplishments and achievements to see if you actually accomplished what was on your resume.

 

Motivational Questions

 

Bain asks motivational questions to assess your genuine passion for consulting and to see if you are actually interested in working at the firm.

 

The Bain BEL program has an extremely limited number of spots. Therefore, Bain wants to ensure that the applicants that they accept will have a high likelihood of wanting to work at Bain full-time as a consultant after graduation.

 

There are two common motivational questions that you should prepare for:

 

 

 

The first question evaluates whether you know what you are getting into. Do you actually have an idea of what consultants do and what you should expect on the job?

 

The reasons you provide for why you are interested in consulting will also help interviewers determine if you are interested in consulting for the right reasons. Are you motivated by the challenging, fulfilling business problems that you will solve? Or, are you motivated by the wrong reasons, such as the money or prestige.

 

The second question evaluates whether you’ve done your research on Bain. Do you know what makes Bain special among all the other management consulting firms? Are you interested in Bain for the right reasons?

 

Case Interview

 

A case interview is a 20 to 40-minute interview in which you are placed in a hypothetical business situation and asked to develop a recommendation to solve a business problem. Case interviews are a special type of interview that all management consulting firms use in their interview process.

 

Examples of common types of case interview questions you could get asked include:

 

  • What is causing profitability to decline and what can we do about it?

 

  • How can we increase revenues?

 

  • Should we enter a new market?

 

  • Should we launch this new product?

 

  • Should we acquire this company?

 

  • How should we respond to this competitor?

 

The business problem that you will be asked to solve can be from any industry or function. Expect to see case interviews in industries ranging from retail to pharmaceuticals to financial services. However, know that no prior knowledge or experience in the industry is required to successfully solve the case interview.

 

Case interviews are used because they closely simulate what the consulting job will be like. In a case interview, you’ll need to use problem solving, quantitative skills, business judgment, and communication to work through the business problem, uncover insights, and make a firm recommendation.

 

Consulting firms, such as Bain, like to use case interviews in their recruiting process because they can assess a variety of skills and traits that are required to be a successful management consultant.

 

Tips for Getting Selected for the Bain BEL Program

 

1. Perfect your consulting resume

 

Your resume is the single most important component that will determine whether or not you are extended an interview for the Bain BEL program.

 

Therefore, you’ll want to dedicate at least a few days perfecting your resume while also getting feedback from peers, your school’s career center, or even consultants that you know.

 

Make sure to follow the tips below to perfect your consulting resume.

 

  • Keep your resume to one page only. If it is longer, you’ll need to make your resume more concise and less wordy

 

  • Every bullet on your resume should start with a verb in the past tense to show that you have completed or achieved something

 

  • Every bullet should have some kind of number or metric in them so that you can quantify your accomplishments and make them sound more impressive

 

  • Your resume’s bullets should show a mix of quantitative skill accomplishments (e.g., analyzing data) and qualitative skill accomplishments (e.g., managing or working with others)

 

  • Avoid using technical jargon, unfamiliar abbreviations or acronyms, and buzzwords with unclear meanings

 

  • Your resume should prioritize showcasing your work experiences, particularly if you have worked at a brand name company

 

  • Include personal interests at the end of the resume to give resume reviewers something interesting to read about

 

If you need professional help crafting the perfect resume that will land you consulting interviews, check out our resume review and editing service.

 

2. Practice answering behavioral interview questions

 

If you receive a Bain BEL program interview, expect to be asked a few behavioral interview questions at some point during your interview.

 

To answer behavioral or fit interview questions well, follow these guidelines:

 

  • Prepare 6-8 different stories in advance that draw upon your professional and personal work experiences. This ensures that you have prepared answers and stories that you can draw upon no matter what behavioral question is asked

 

  • Only select and share experiences that are the most impressive, impactful, or unique. You want to showcase the highlights of your experiences, not just any experience that is relevant

 

  • Make sure that you the stories you prepare are collectively diverse. You’ll want to have at least one story that is relevant to leadership, teamwork, problem solving, resilience, integrity, decision making, communication, and interpersonal skills

 

  • Structure your answer to help keep your answer clear and easy to follow. Most candidates use the STAR method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result

 

  • When giving your answer, cover the Situation and Task sections quickly and spend most of your time focusing on the Action and Result

 

If you want to learn how to answer 98% of behavioral and fit questions in just a few hours, check out our behavioral interview course.

 

3. Prepare your answer to “Why Bain?”

 

In addition to behavioral interviews, you should expect to be asked “Why Bain?” at some point during your Bain BEL program interview. There are a variety of different reasons you could give for why you’re interested in Bain:

 

  • Bain works with an impressive roster of prestigious clients, working on solving their most important and difficult problems

 

  • Bain has a fun, collegial culture that fosters learning, professional development, and friendship

 

  • Bain has an extremely supportive culture, highlighted by their mantra of “A Bainie Never Lets Another Bainie Fail”

 

  • Bain offers a range of involvement opportunities outside of case work, known as “Extra 10s,” which includes various hobby and interest groups

 

  • Bain’s local staffing model cultivates close-knit connections with colleagues at your local office

 

  • Bain is the leader in private equity consulting work

 

  • A friend or mentor worked at Bain and highly recommended working there

 

4. Prepare your answer to “Why Consulting?”

 

You should also expect to be asked “Why consulting?” at some point during your Bain BEL program interview. There are a variety of different reasons you could give for why you’re interested in consulting:

 

  • You want to make a significant impact by working on the biggest, most challenging business problems that companies face

 

  • You enjoy the diversity of solving business problems across multiple different industries and functions

 

  • You see consulting as the quickest way to build a strong toolkit of both hard skills and soft skills that are needed to be successful in business

 

  • You want to get an insider view on how companies are run and operated

 

  • You want to develop knowledge and expertise in a particular industry or function

 

  • You value the significant mentorship and professional development that consulting provides

 

  • You find fulfillment in working with and servicing clients, helping deliver significant value to them

 

5. Practice solving case interviews

 

Case interviews are difficult and require a lot of time and practice to do well in them. Unlike behavioral or motivational questions, it is extremely unlikely you will nail your Bain case interview unless you have practiced at least 5 to 20+ cases.

 

Below, we’ve put together a 30-minute video giving you a solid introduction to case interviews.



 

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to learn case interviews quickly and save yourself hundreds of hours, make sure to check out our comprehensive case interview course. Whether you have no business background, rusty math skills, or are short on time, learn the most effective case interview strategies and become a top 1% caser.

 

The course also includes plenty of practice cases that you can do without a case partner. This will significantly speed up how quickly you can master case interviews.

 

Recommended Resources to Get into the Bain BEL Program

 

To give yourself the best chance to get into the highly competitive Bain BEL program, look into the resources listed below.

 

You don’t have to prepare your application and interviews by yourself. Getting professional help from a former Bain Manager and interviewer can significantly increase your chances of getting into the program and giving yourself a head start on your consulting career.

 

For help landing an interview

 

 

For help passing case interviews

 

  • Comprehensive Case Interview Course (our #1 recommendation): The only resource you need. Whether you have no business background, rusty math skills, or are short on time, this step-by-step course will transform you into a top 1% caser that lands multiple consulting offers.

 

  • Hacking the Case Interview Book (available on Amazon): Perfect for beginners that are short on time. Transform yourself from a stressed-out case interview newbie to a confident intermediate in under a week. Some readers finish this book in a day and can already tackle tough cases.

 

  • The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook (available on Amazon): Perfect for intermediates struggling with frameworks, case math, or generating business insights. No need to find a case partner – these drills, practice problems, and full-length cases can all be done by yourself.

 

 

For help passing behavioral and fit interviews

 

  • Behavioral & Fit Interview Course: Be prepared for 98% of behavioral and fit questions in just a few hours. We'll teach you exactly how to draft answers that will impress your interviewer