Fit questions

Your story

Walk me through your CV. Why should we hire you?

  • The main idea is to sell yourself as a compelling candidate. Why finance? Why Investment Banking? How does your relevant work experience tie into relevant job tasks? “I decided to attend [insert university] because of its focus on (finance/business). I became interest in Investment Banking throughout my [insert finance course], which led to pursue internships in this field. I interned at [insert relevant internship] where did [sample highlight 1] and [sample highlight 2], which both tie in with Investment Banking because [insert reason 1] and [insert reason 2]. These experiences allow me to bring [e.g. initial experiences with Excel and PowerPoint] as well as [e.g. an understanding of financial statements]. Both qualities will help me contribute to your team.”

Why our bank? Why us?

  • The main idea is to demonstrate that you know the bank well. You know what you are doing and won’t quit within 6 months. Know the type of people who work there (if you know someone the better). Know their type of deals (i.e. product focus, such as mid-cap M&A, and sector focus). “I want to work for [insert bank] because I have noticed [insert transaction 1] and [insert transaction 2]. I very interested in [e.g. industrials] and [e.g. M&A mid-cap] because [reasons 1] and [reason 2]. Your bank will offer me the perfect opportunity where I can both help out as an intern as well as greatly learn from your current deal flow.”
  • Boutique – Emphasize your individualism and ability to handle higher responsibilities. A story with you randomly handling a much harder task where you have to figure things out by yourself will build a connection with your interviewer
  • Middle Market – Highlight how you like join a growing team that is competing with the “big boys” while still remaining entrepreneurial and “down to earth” catering to middle-sized companies. Mention the latest highlight transaction to build rapport
  • Bulge Bracket – Explain why Bulge Bracket is the best: (1) best platform to learn from industry leading professionals, (2) strong brand means strong deal flow and (3) big size means established processes and ability handle the larger deals

What do you think we do all day? What is Investment Banking? 

  • M&A – You are a real estate broker for companies. You find potential buyers for the company that has mandated you or you screen for potential targets to be bought. You collect a fee for every successful transaction. Highlight their latest hot deal to start the interview with a positive note
  • ECM/DCM – You help companies raise debt (DCM) or equity (ECM), such as IPO. Emphasize your salesmanship more because you’re going to be doing tons of pitches and chasing deals. Again, paid when a deal is completed
  • Consumer/Tech/Financials – This is an industry team. They do all products (M&A, ECM, DCM) but for one vertical. Know the metrics on how a company is valued in your sector on and drop them in the interview. Emphasize why you are particularly interested in that sector

You worked in [e.g. Management Consulting / etc.]. Why the switch? Why us and not them?

  • Flip your past experiences: Spin your past experiences into relevant Investment Banking tasks and demonstrate why you are now more interested in Investment Banking by highlighting the differences. “Throughout my Management Consulting internships I learned to quickly grasp different business models while putting my research onto slides, which will come in handy in Investment Banking as you also work a lot with PowerPoint. However, I do miss the financial aspect and the lack of precision in Management Consulting and I want to work on real deals.”

Adjust accordingly to your interviewers

  • Managing Directors – They are only interested in growing their business in a low risk manner, aka you not complaining & quitting after 3 months and you being decent in-front of the client in the long-run. Have a SUPER strong grip on your story and be happy, not nervous. Why his team? Why this sector? Drop recent deals and demonstrate you’ve done your research. All of that with a positive and happy attitude. You want to appear as a people’s person who can deal with clients
  • Vice Presidents – Have your intensity up with these guys! You will be challenged technically. Be SUPER professional. Give very conservative answers. No joking around. Give humble, professional and technically correct answers. No rounding or shortcuts. Write down the numbers and make it obvious that you are double checking your work
  • Analysts & Associates – Towards the end, you may be able to lighten up. But veer on the side of professionalism while trying to make some sort of connection. You can sometimes joke a bit. However, if they are serious, remain professional. They set the tone. Technical questions should be a tad more relaxed, but no excuse to mess things up

Strengths & weaknesses

Tell me about negative feedback you’ve received. How did you handle it?

  • The main idea is that you are aware of your weaknesses and are willing to work on them. If you’ve done an internship in Investment Banking, fair weakness are (1) attention to detail (interviewers will always agree), (2) industry knowledge and (3) improving your Excel and PPT skills. “Overall, the feedback was positive. However, attention to detail is definitely a point where I can improve on. The more my work has zero errors, the more I can help my team as they need to check my work less often. In addition, knowing a specific sector definitely helps when reviewing documents as well as understanding the transactions I’m working on better.”

Tell me about a failure

  • Give an example of a set back and how you have recovered from it. However, your “failure” should not be so terrible that people loose trust in you. If you know your weakness, you can tell a story about the actual incident. “I once received a pretty bad mark up and got cited into the conference room by an Analyst/Associate. There way too many careless errors and typos and I couldn’t answer questions regarding the content I produced. It felt pretty embarrassing. Since then I have learned to check my work multiple times as well as keeping notes of my reasoning so that I can answer clarifying questions. It never happened again (IMPORTANT!).”

How would you describe yourself in three words?

  • The main idea to be (1) a positive and happy person, (2) willing to work hard without appearing overeager and (3) a clear thinker. “Happy, hard working, methodical”

Leadership questions

Tell me about a leadership role you’ve had

  • Less likely to come up at a lower end hiring. A decent answer would be 1) a position in a club, 2) position in a sports team or 3) team leader in a project (college or work related). Emphasize how you convinced (sold) team members to do X of the project and how you handled the situation when the performance was not on par (aka you doing the work yourself)

Why do you believe Investment Bankers work so long hours?

  • Simply show you know what you’ve signed up for. “Investment Bankers work anywhere from 60h to 100h per week because they are usually involved in multiple projects from winning new deals or executing live mandates. Investment Bankers are always on call for clients meaning the hours can be very variable.

Commitment questions

What would you do with an offer today?

  • “I would accept the offer. After having the chance to interview with multiple team members and getting to know your company better, I believe this would be a great company to work for.” You need offer to get offers. Just say yes. You can always push the signing date back as you are busy attending event X and are out of town and don’t want to burn bridges.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • (1) In finance and (2) tough to call beyond 2-3 years. It’s a competitive Wall Street interview. You do not give a single ounce of doubt that you would not stay in finance. If you are not 100% committed, you will be shown the door. “Five years is a pretty long time horizon. However, I know that I want stay in finance and gradually develop from an Analyst into an Associate. That would be more of a realistic near-term goal.”

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