At the beginning of each year, Lucy Tan writes down her goals for the year and is clear on the non-negotiables. Perhaps the important question to ask, as recommended to her by one of Bain & Company’s Partners is whether she wants to stay at the company and to make an active decision rather than reactively be swept up by the job. Lucy noticed every year’s list of non-negotiables is almost identical. She always writes down the importance of a strong feedback culture, access to talented, motivated people at the top of their game, ownership and collaboration.
Bain & Company delivers on the important criteria, which is why six years on, she is still enjoying her career. Lucy has worked on international projects, progressed through many different roles and completed an externship at a start-up for six months. It seems the opportunities at Bain have no boundaries and we were excited to hear about her journey from law to consulting.
Feedback is a gift
Lucy is big on giving and receiving candid feedback. At Bain, feedback is the norm – when you first arrive at the job, you’re taught that you can set up weekly or fortnightly chats with your supervisor to discuss your professional development. This high velocity feedback has two benefits – first, rapid learning and second, ability to course correct early rather than wait six months or a year for your next review.
“We have a culture of ownership and collaboration. I have a strong aversion to being micromanaged, so I really appreciate the level of trust between Bainies. The attitude here is very much ‘go think independently and tell me your view. Then let’s collaborate on the problem and take the work to the next level’.”
“Taking ownership and accountability has led to both my personal and career growth.”
I’ve ‘Bain’ around the world
Lucy was previously a lawyer. She left the profession because she wasn’t feeling it in her heart.
“I completed a graduate program with a law firm. I did three rotations and at the end of it, I couldn’t choose what area of law to specialize in. While I loved working with the people, I realized that I didn’t love the work.”
Lucy has progressed in many different roles at Bain & Company.
“A recruiter reached out on LinkedIn about joining Bain. I then messaged a friend who worked at Bain at the time to get the insider view and he convinced me it was a great place to work. And I can honestly say that it was the right choice for me. You start off as an Associate Consultant then Senior Associate Consultant, Consultant, Manager and then Senior Manager. I know there are a lot of titles! Each role has a very clear learning and development path and local and global trainings with your peers, so you are well supported.”
Bain values external skills, so she also took up an externship with a start-up company.
“At Bain, you have the opportunity to step out for 6 months for an ‘externship’ – a stint at another company you choose. For six months, I worked with a start-up called Go1, who are an exciting company in the e-learning space. It was a fantastic learning experience and something completely different from my usual day to day.”
Lucy shares a bit about her role in consulting. She says you focus on one client at a time. She likens the Senior Manager role to the linchpin in the team for project delivery.
“When you need to bring in experts, you pull them in. You provide guidance and coaching to your team. It’s exciting. I’ve worked on projects across many different industries including financial services, telco, retail and private equity. Bain recognizes the people they attract want to try different things. It starts as a generalist model, then over time as you figure out what your interests are, you can choose to align to an industry or capability.”
“I’ve also had the opportunity to go overseas with Bain. I did a year stint in New Zealand on a project and a transfer into the San Francisco office, working in the Advanced Digital and Product Team.”
Inclusion in leadership conversations
Lucy has seen the biggest shift in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) in the last three years. It’s now ingrained in the culture and DE&I is a regular part of every leadership conversation. We all want to see more women in senior leadership. Lucy is excited to see the progress Bain is making here – in December last year, six out of eleven promotions to the Senior Manager position were women.
She takes a lead role in the Women at Bain
In 2020, Bain dedicated a day to anti-racism, taking all employees through a number of education sessions. Creating a psychologically safe and inclusive workplace is a priority for the company. There is still a lot of progress to be made but it is encouraging to see the early positive indicators.
When Lucy is not working, she is likely to be doing one of three things:
- Obsessing about Formula 1 on ungodly hours of the weekend.
- Bouldering and brunch – the brunch is the reward for actually exercising.
- Playing Legend of Zelda or Overcooked with her husband (somehow cooking in a video game is more exciting than cooking in real life).