Victoria Young has been at Bain for 2.5 years. She’s just finished a period of parental leave and returned to a promotion at work. This is on top of delivering high quality project work – so it’s been a busy time!
What consulting is really all about
As a successful consultant, it’s no surprise that Victoria is a high achiever in her personal life as well. She’s a skilled AFL player – although she’s taking a bit of a break while her daughter is still so young – and is hoping the City 2 Surf goes ahead this year so her competitive edge can get a workout.
In her role as Senior Manager at Bain, Victoria leads a team of consultants working on client projects.
“It’s my responsibility to own the ‘answer’, bringing together the thinking of our broader Bain team of Partners, Experts (for example, our Advanced Analytics group), clients and the working team into a plan that will drive results for our clients. Results may mean different things for each project – greater market share, a product prototype, leadership team alignment on a new operating model, or even a more sustainable future – but are always our clients’ most pressing issues.”
Victoria started her career in consulting in London after graduating from Oxford University.
“It wasn’t a difficult choice because I’d been an intern over my penultimate summer and had a great time.”
After a few years travelling around Europe and America working with airline and hotel clients, she moved to an in-house strategy role where she was given lots of opportunity to stretch and challenge herself. Following a move to Sydney, Victoria tried out marketing strategy in advertising.
“But I missed the buzz of corporate life, and more importantly, working on the ‘answer’ rather than how to market the answer, so it was time for me to go back into consulting. I joined Bain as an industry consultant hire in 2019 and have not looked back!”
Bain are focused on results delivery and problem-solving. The work is enjoyable, and Bain offer flexibility to do things outside of building your consulting career.
Having an impact
At Bain, the work has a real impact on the clients’ focus areas. Victoria has had a number of opportunities to really make a difference. In a previous role, being a market frontrunner for disrupting the industry is one of her proudest work moments, and she’s always looking for the opportunity to do the same for clients at Bain.
“My role helps clients to create commercial results. There’s nothing better than hearing that a client has gone on to succeed as a result of a Bain project, delivering on their targets or even moving into a new role.”
The approach at Bain is another huge part of what she appreciates about the company. Giving an example of a project where some data gaps impacted the team’s ability to make correct assumptions, Victoria was astounded by the level of support offered from the global team and all the way up to Partner level.
“I’d heard that ‘A Bainie Never Lets Another Bainie Fail’ but experiencing it was quite different.”
She enjoys that supportive aspect of her own role. Victoria describes herself as fiercely loyal and ready to come to the defense of her team in a heartbeat, so that internal impact is vital to her.
“My role has an impact on our Bain team, creating a case team environment where each of them is supported to develop and grow in their career. For example, spending time coaching an Associate Consultant on presentation skills so that they can confidently facilitate a working session, and seeing them succeed, is much more meaningful to me than doing it myself.”
The power of mentors
At Bain, the power of mentors doesn’t stop with an individual like Victoria who values her team’s successes, it’s part of the makeup of the organization. Victoria was assigned a mentor when she started, who instilled Bain’s belief in the value of inclusion.
“My wonderful first mentor at Bain said that those who succeed work out quickly how much they really need to do themselves, versus using others who are better positioned to succeed. She was completely right! We create a better answer and a more inclusive environment when we bring in inputs from everywhere.”
She’s had a number of experiences that have demonstrated the strength of relationships at Bain – and the impact they can have on your career. On one recent project she worked closely with an Associate Partner who is also the Class Captain for Managers, overseeing development and promotions.
“He made sure over the course of our project to constantly expand my role and give me opportunities to stretch myself, coaching me along the way.”
She also has sponsors who advocate for her success, through a formal relationship for all women at Bain when they become managers. One of them was the main Partner on Victoria’s last project, and helped boost her confidence and speak up on her behalf.
These formal and informal relationships provide a career turbo-charge and are valuable to cultivate throughout your career.
Doing it all with a baby
We’ve all heard the horror stories of women who told their employer about their pregnancy only to mysteriously be made redundant soon after. Victoria’s experience at Bain was quite the opposite! In fact, she was promoted three months into her parental leave.
“As I was building to my promotion to Senior Manager, I was also pregnant with my first child. During this time I was on the same client, with a consistent leadership team, who were all aware of the health challenges that I was facing, and who made it their business to provide me with different opportunities to demonstrate the skill set for promotion.”
Victoria has just started back at work now at 80% capacity. While the thought of returning into a new role made her feel nervous, she is well supported on her return.
“Bain have staffed me on a pro-bono educational strategy case working with one of our long-term charity clients. It’s a safe environment to ramp back up into the new role, working with a small team. My main client is a parent of young children too, and so we have been setting up our case routines to be flexible around our commitments, especially as we handle the lockdown here in NSW.”
Bain are set up to fully support Victoria as she returns to work, and to others returning from parental leave into a demanding role, Victoria shares;
“I’m hopeful that things will drop into place. Having a baby has taught me that any change in routine is hard but you always get there eventually – I’m sure going back to work will be much the same.”
There is a great support network of recent Bain first-time mums who are all returning to work at a similar time, and they’ve formed a Bain Parents’ Group to increase support. Now with her increased responsibility, young daughter, and passion for having a positive impact for clients, Victoria is ready to take on the world!