Bain Consultant Quits To Work At ... Chipotle

Hasnain Zaidi graduated from Duke University in 2008, and soon landing a job at Bain & Company, the prestigious management consulting firm. But after a few years, he got itchy. He wanted something more. Something creative. So he left his job to go work at Chipotle.

On the burrito chain's assembly line, Zaidi told Huffington Post Live that he learned "some very real world skills that we didn't pick up in our high pressure jobs," like "dealing with people that make minimum wage or close to minimum wage, chopping chicken, grilling, dealing with customers."

These were important skills for Zaidi, who along with two old classmates Vijay Brihmadesam and Jason Pate, last year opened Tava Indian Kitchen in Palo Alto, his own Chipotle-style restaurant with an Indian twist (would you like any tikka on your burroti?). Six months later they opened up a second outlet in San Francisco.

"The dream was to go create something very real," says Zaidi. "We wanted to have a sense of ownership and creativity and control that we didn't get in our lives in finance."

More: Chipotle Is Hiring: What It's Like To Work There

Zaidi is one of a growing army of young people who are defecting from high-paying jobs in finance and consulting to pursue more passionate work. There's Mark Ramadan and Scott Norton, who were business and finance consultants, before they launched the gourmet ketchup company Sir Kensington's. And Benjamin Benton, who left his hedge fund job to start a fashion line. There's even a website, Escape the City, that helps corporate and finance types find more fulfilling employ, founded by Rob Symington and Dom Jackman, former Ernst & Young consultants.

Perhaps it's the collapse of the old corporate safety net, growing up with the Internet's entrepreneurial spirit, or just the greater craving for work-life harmony. But when the employer branding firm asked young professionals (average age 27) where they'd most like to work in 2011, no bank or hedge fund or consulting firm cracked the top 10. Instead, it was places like Google, Apple, and Teach for America.

"I think they realized that our generation is a different beast," Zaidi said about his parents' response to his career change. "It's not get in at the entry level and work 20 years to make your way to the top. It's much more about blazing your own path and finding what's going to be fulfilling to you."

According to, the average management consultant at Bain earns $125,000 a year; a Chipotle cashier earns $8.64 an hour. What do you think of the jump Zaidi made? Share in the comments section below.

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The most damage that he might cause now is heartburn, unlike the possiblitiy that he may lose the lifetime savings of innocent people or wipe out pension investment funds in financial services.

July 23 2013 at 10:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's great for him. Do what you love and you'll love what you do!

July 23 2013 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good for him. Hope you find a wonderful life!

July 23 2013 at 2:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Kids a genius! He left a high paying job because he was unhappy and wanted to be somewhere else...a really tough move (imagine you leaving a job paying $125,000 a year job and heading out into the uknown of todays economy). Lets be real though with this story, he never left with the intention of working at chipotle, he left with the intention of starting his own chain. He simply took the job to get some expierence at the ground level of the industry he wanted to be in....and managed to get some great publicity along the way!

July 23 2013 at 12:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Good for him. I prefer the story of the young man who started I met him, went out of my way to meet him in Baltimore, Maryland. I had read that he had given up his high paying job, I mean big money a year, tossed it all up so that he could bicycle across America with his own money in order to raise money for new bicycles for the children of our fallen and wounded troops. He did it, rode some 5,000 plus miles. Last Christmas, I read, that he was still giving away spanking new bikes to the little children making them feel all happy and free to ride around. His work, I understand is still going on. On the first trip, when he returned to Baltimore his other little side business had been stolen from him; so much for a hand-shake these days or the meaning or a "gentleman's-agreement. I have remained in touch with him, Paul LaBell, and I asked him about getting cheated. He had spend years and a bunch of his money to start an old time rock and roll dance club in the city. All that work and money, on top of his regular job, was just beginning to pay off when he took off to make kids happy. He was very nice about it, "that seems to be the way some people are," I feel great when I see the faces of these children with their new bicycles."

July 22 2013 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

yeah working for minimum wage is so freakin noble,,,,it sucks and anybody who REALLY does it know work for 50 bucks a day before taxes and see if your smiling at the end of the week,when you get your check you want to go out in the parking lot and blow your brains out...

July 22 2013 at 10:31 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

It is unfortunate that the HP thought that this should be considered a story. A rich kid with access to funding gets a "needed" job by someone else just so he can learn how to run this type of business and then leaves this job he never really wanted and took away from someone who did need it so he could go out and open his own business with the information he stole from another company. Wow, this is news? I guess maybe the HP should start interviewing in the prisons where I'm sure they can get more stories from theives. There are right and wrong ways of business no matter of the persons age. This man was properly educated and obviously smart enough to know better, but like most people his age wanted the "quick results" and did what should be considered an illigle act in accepting a job under false pretense and having a company pay you to steal from them. This is disgusting! Shame on you HP for highlighting it.

July 22 2013 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to malvarezcore's comment

This kid didnt break any laws or steal anything....he may have gone to chipotle to learn the industry at ground level, but that in itself isnt illigal or immoral in anyway. The fact is, that kid is now a CEO who has some expierence of being a minimum wage worker, and he will therefore be more understanding of these workers situations. As far as taking someones "needed" job.....I wonder how many jobs he has created between the two resturants he now has open (and how many more jobs he will create in the future.)

July 23 2013 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this post is a waste of time, telling people to work for min. wage. the men were rich and only experimenting. What a crock.

July 22 2013 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a retard,,,,I hope he doesn't blow the place up.

July 22 2013 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ppllaanntt's comment
rhonda gayle


July 22 2013 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

so funny...and so appropriate to huff puff...only stupid people at this institute called HP

July 22 2013 at 8:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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