Investment Banker Interview Preparation Guide
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Investment Banker related Frequently Asked Questions in various Investment Banker job interviews by interviewer. The set of questions here ensures that you offer a perfect answer posed to you. So get preparation for your new job hunting

84 Investment Banker Questions and Answers:

1 :: How long should I spend "walking through my resume?"

You should plan on spending 3 - 5 minutes talking about your background. If you notice that the interviewer looks bored, then speed it up. If the interviewer looks engaged, then be more detailed. Some interviewers will let you finish your story before asking questions and others will interrupt you repeatedly.

2 :: Are you interviewing for jobs other than investment banking?

This can be another tricky one. If you are interviewing out of undergrad or B-School, I would emphasize that you are only interviewing with investment banks or at least that banking is by far your main focus. If you are trying to switch careers, interviewers are going to understand that getting a job in banking is more difficult and that you may need to cast a wider net. In these instances, I think that as long as you state that banking is your top choice, it's okay to mention that you are interviewing with other institutions, provided that they are in finance and require similar skill-sets (e.g. equity research, corporate banking, etc.) Whatever you do, don't state (even if it is true) that you are looking at banking, consulting, hedge funds, private equity and also considering going to cooking school. You'll come across as unfocused and not serious about being an investment banker.

3 :: What is investment banking?

The investment bank performs two basic, critical functions: acting as an intermediary for capital raising, and as an adviser on M&A transactions and other major corporate actions. As an intermediary, it connects companies that need capital with investors who have capital to spend. It facilitates this through debt and equity offerings. As an adviser, an investment bank counsels companies on such corporate actions as mergers, acquisitions, spinoffs, and restructurings.

4 :: What qualities do you think would make you successful investment banker?

I can be successful in investment banking because I have a "whatever it takes" attitude. In many ways it can be inconvenient and draining to do so, but it's been ingrained in my head to have an entrepreneurial mindset and to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

I had my first work internship with a paint company, during my freshman year of college. During the spring semester, interns were expected to go to their hometown once a week or once every two weeks in order to have enough time to do marketing and sales work. Obviously for freshmen in college, this can be very taxing. I knew it was going to be tough, but I tried to dedicate as much time to the program as possible. Some weeks I went home twice a week if I had to get marketing work done for the company. It was through this experience that I learned how hard I can work when I'm put to the test. I believe I can be successful in investment banking because I'm a grinder who will do whatever it takes, whenever it takes.

Importantly, as I to go into banking, I know what I am getting myself into. I know the grueling hours; I know what level of work is expected of me. This isn't a position I am applying for simply because I "see the dollar signs." I know banking could be an invaluable experience that would help set me on the right course for professional success in the future.

5 :: What are 4-5 skills that you think are essential for banking?

► Strong work ethic
► Positive, courteous attitude
► Strong attention to detail
► Ability to learn quickly
► Not afraid to ask questions when stuck

6 :: Why did you attend [insert school] college?

Upon graduating high school, I was accepted to 8 schools, among which were UNC and IU. Relative to other schools I visited, the combination of business curriculum, research facilities, specific professors, atmosphere on campus and personal fit allowed me to make this decision and I felt without a doubt that [insert school] was the school I wanted to attend.

I knew going in that I would have to work extremely hard to differentiate myself not only from my classmates, but also from the candidates I would be facing in the banking interviews. I have pressed myself to learn as much as possible about the banking industry. While I understand that I have an incredibly long journey ahead of me, I believe that my personal, professional and academic accomplishments to date have positioned me for success in the banking world.

NOTE: To the extent that it's honest, be sure to say that you looked at a lot of colleges and you chose this college because of a strong business/finance/economics program or a strong academic curriculum. If you attended the school for some sort of scholarship (academic, sports, musical, etc.), be sure to point that out.

7 :: While "walking through my resume," can I refer to the copy of the resume in front of me?

No. Even if you have a copy of your resume in front of you, you should be able to talk about your background and experiences without referring to your resume. Referring to, or worse, reading off of your resume makes it seem like you don't even know your own history.

8 :: What are your weaknesses as Investment Banker?

Even more so than the question about strengths, it's unusual to be asked about your weaknesses. There is no good way to answer this question so the best advice is to try to move on as quickly as possible. Obviously you don't want mention real weaknesses (I'm dumb, I'm lazy, I require 12 hours of sleep a night). You also don't want to say things that make you look silly like "I work too hard" and you can't say you don't have any weaknesses because you'll come off as too arrogant. So try to think of something relatively innocuous that also might highlight a strength. For example, "I can get occasionally get impatient with peers/coworkers who don't have the same abilities as me or don't show the same commitment that I do." Or, "Sometimes I can be so focused with or driven by the task on hand that I wind up tuning out other aspects of my life." You can also usually say something like, "I think my skills are very good compared with my peers but, of course, I'm new to investment banking, and I obviously need more experience. Experience which I'm confident I'll get working for you…"

Occasionally, a really difficult interviewer will ask you for 3 weaknesses, knowing that your first 2 will be bullshit answers. To which I would respond that my major weakness is, "I'm really bad at bullshit interview questions."

9 :: Do you have any question for me?

At the end of almost every interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to learn more about the job and the firm. By asking good questions, it is also a chance for you to open up the interview into more of a conversation.

However, even if you have little interest in the job, or if you've already had all of your questions answered by the other 8 people with whom you interviewed that day, you should always be prepared with 3-4 questions that you can ask an interviewer. Here's a few examples:

- How long have you been with the bank and how has your experience been?
- What do you like best about working here. Worst?
- How do you compare working here with other banks at which you have worked?
- How is the dealflow?
- On what types of deals are you currently working?
- What kind of responsibility does the typical Analyst/Associate receive?
- Can you tell me about your training program?
- How do Analysts/Associates get staffed?

10 :: What do you think an analyst does on a typical day?

I know analysts are expected to go through 2 years of intensive finance boot camp. I expect the hours to be long, mostly doing financial modeling, making pitchbooks, doing due-diligence, and yet again having to reschedule plans with friends!