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Mission Possible – Social Impact Engagement at Bain

At Bain, we aspire to bring about positive and sustainable change through our consulting activities. ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) themes are very important to us, not only in our client work: We also offer lots of opportunities to get involved in social projects – for instance, through our collaboration with the initiative The Mission. Max, a Manager at our Düsseldorf office, is an active contributor. We asked him how he got involved, what his responsibilities are, and what The Mission is all about.

First off, Max, what made you join Bain?

My sister was an intern at Bain. Her stories inspired me to pursue an internship as well during my biotech studies. I was able to work on a very exciting project in Stockholm. The work was truly challenging, but what eventually got me hooked was the close cooperation in the team, the unique spirit and, above all, the intensive coaching I received. So I applied for a permanent position.

What were your first milestones, and what are you working on at the moment?

At first I mainly worked on healthcare sector projects. I then joined Bain’s Innovation & Design team for a few months, driving a variety of digital innovations. But it isn’t only in the digital sphere that innovation is important; we also need it in the area of social impact to meet the challenges of our time. A key driver of such innovations is the initiative The Mission, which I currently have the great pleasure to support.

How is the field of social impact anchored in the Bain organization?

Bainies have a range of options at basically three levels of involvement: working with partner organizations, contributing to local initiatives, and in our everyday client work.

For many years, Bain has been working with local and international partner organizations and initiatives committed to positive societal change. Examples include The Mission, Vision Lab, UNHCR and Medair. As a Bainie, you can, for example, support student founding teams as a sparring partner or get involved in sustainable fundraising.

Local initiatives we support through charity auctions and special events, such as our Community Impact Day, which are dedicated to charitable projects such as renovating playgrounds or social facilities for people of all ages. In addition, Bain offers so-called externships: Over a period of 3-6 months, you bring your expertise to NGOs, social enterprises, or public-sector organizations.

Finally, sustainability is high on the agenda in our everyday work for client companies. Bain is superbly positioned particularly with regard to ESG, and brings substantial expertise to these projects.

You are presently working at our partner organization The Mission . What’s the story here?

Working with start-ups has always been something I particularly enjoyed. A little while ago, I had the opportunity to work on a strategy for a corporate venture capital fund. It provided our client with a vehicle to directly invest in start-ups and to get access to innovations early on. That boosted my interest even more.

Tell us a bit more about The Mission.

The Mission is an accelerator program for start-up companies. An ecosystem that puts sustainable business solutions into practice, so as to drive positive change for business, society, and the planet as a whole. Members of the ecosystem are start-up teams and corporate partners, such as Deutsche Bank, Handelsblatt Media Group, PreZero – and Bain, who is also a founding member of The Mission. The program is coordinated by Futury, a platform focusing on innovation and sustainability. Throughout the year there are so-called missions, each of which takes a three-month period to deal with a key sustainability topic. One example is food: how it’s produced, how we consume it, how to develop crisis-proof food supply chains. The cooperation between start-ups and corporate partners creates a fruitful environment where everyone benefits: start-ups from the expertise of corporate partners, corporates from gaining early access to relevant innovations

What Mission are you currently working on, and what is your role in this?

Our current mission deals with the topic of waste, the goal being to change the way people handle it. With our help, participating start-ups develop products such as alternative packaging solutions or innovative materials. We Bainies support them with strategic issues, such as developing a market entry strategy or structuring their sales pitch. We discuss with them and offer workshops on topics such as agile work, prototype development, or user research. So my tasks are very varied.

Was The Mission your first pro-bono project at Bain? And will it be your last?

No, it wasn’t my first; I’ve also worked on a strategy project for an NGO. And it certainly won’t be my last either. Social impact work gives me great personal fulfillment, so I would be super happy to do more projects in this field.

What do you personally value about Bain’s cooperation with The Mission?

Oh, there’s a lot. But three things stand out: One is working with the start-up teams; usually our recommendations are implemented very quickly. The second, of course, is working with Futury: I was warmly welcomed into the team from day one. Last but not least, working in the general field of sustainability. Start-ups can have real impact here, in their respective sectors – and I truly enjoy accompanying them on this journey.

What are the criteria for teams to join The Mission ?

They need a concrete idea for solving a current sustainability challenge, and lots of passion about putting that idea into practice. Also, they should enjoy working on a mixed team and with corporate partners.

Finally, Max, here’s a chance to make your own personal call for applications for the next The Mission program. What would you like to tell our readers?

Does the notion of being in a very unique ecosystem appeal to you? The opportunity to get close to relevant companies in your field, get their feedback on your early-stage ideas, and implement pilot projects? If the answer is yes, The Mission is your mission. Here’s a special tip: We are currently in the application phase for The Mission Construction, a program providing unique opportunities to shape the construction industry of tomorrow and to create solutions around digitalization, new construction materials, and much more. Hurry up and apply! The deadline is October 31, 2022.

here you can find more information on The Mission.

Click here for addition info on social impact work at Bain.

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