In an inspiring and completely unexpected turn of events, Princeton senior Alexander Douglas has overcome the odds and received a job offer from Bain & Company.
“I honestly cannot believe it,” says Douglas, a student in the Operations Research and Financial Engineering department. “This is the greatest day of my life.”
According to friends and family, the offer from Bain represents Douglas’s achievement of a longtime dream.
“Alex always wanted to be a consultant,” explains Douglas’s mother. “Just look at his ‘What I want to be when I grow up’ drawing from first grade. Sure, it may look like a drawing of a firefighter, but we prefer to see it as Alex extinguishing the flames of inefficiency in the private sector using his strong analytical skills and meticulous attention to detail.”
But the journey to Bain was not an easy one. Growing up in Lawrenceville, NJ, Douglas faced many hardships throughout his youth.
“We couldn’t afford an indoor pool, so we’d have to go to the local YMCA whenever we wanted to swim in the winter,” explains Douglas. “As a kid, that bothered me a lot. There were other things, too. My mom would always buy a generic brand of Greek yogurt because it was three dollars cheaper than Chobani, and it just didn’t taste the same. And then when I got my license, my parents bought me a Camaro, but our garage could only fit two cars, so I always had to park by the curb and walk up our driveway to get to the house.”
Despite these challenges, Douglas found his way to Princeton, and by senior year, he was ready to turn his dream into a reality. Between September and October, he attended 78 consulting information sessions and from there narrowed down his applications to just 75 firms. Out of all of them, Bain was the first to call Douglas in for an interview, and Douglas was determined to get the job. Yet getting through the last phase of the interview process brought a new set of obstacles, including reading though all 562 posts about Bain interviews on Glassdoor and figuring out how to answer the question “Why Bain and not McKinsey?” But Douglas worked hard and emerged from the hiring process with not only the offer but also two free pens and a Bain quarter-zip sweatshirt.
Douglas attributes his success to his personal perseverance as well as to the support of his friends and family (“I got so many likes on my job hunt Facebook posts!” Douglas tells us), his thesis advisor’s understanding of his busy schedule (“I sent him a screenshot of my packed Google calendar as a thesis proposal, and he still hasn’t replied.”), and the encouragement of his professors, both present and past.
“Back in 2012, I thought Alex would be a great candidate for Teach for America, so I was initially a little sad to hear that he was going into consulting,” says Dr. Deirdre Meade, professor of Douglas’s freshman seminar Touching Ourselves: Humanity’s Most Inspired Memoirs. “But then I went to the Bain website and read that commitment to social impact is in their DNA, so it’s all good. In fact, this is probably the best thing he can do with his life right now.”
President Eisgruber has echoed this sentiment and hopes to offer more support to students following career paths like Douglas’s.
“There are a variety of initiatives underway to make Princeton a more supportive community for all of our students headed for Wall Street,” he wrote in a recent email to the student body. “In December, I charged the Special Task Force on Finance and Consulting Career Opportunities with the objective of making it easier for our students to pursue careers in these oft-neglected but crucially important fields. We have accepted every recommendation that the task force made – from additional funding for networking events to the designation of a room in Career Services as a safe space for crying after an intimidating interview. More remains to be done, but I am confident that Princeton’s extraordinary community is up to the task.”
Though he still has some applications pending, Douglas says he will likely accept Bain’s offer. The 21-year-old has high hopes for the opportunities a career at the company could generate for him in the long run.
Said Douglas, “Once you go Chobani, you never go back.”