You’ve finally graduated, and now you are looking to get the job of your dreams in investment banking. It’s not going to be easy, and you’re probably the most nervous you’ve ever been in your whole life.
However, you’re still confident in your skills and what you can bring to the table. You’ve done your research, found the most common and important questions, and studied a lot. You’re ready for this, and we know it too.
Nonetheless, after years of experience, experts have found out some crucial actions you must take and behaviors you must have to stand out in investment banking interviews.
Read on to find out what you should do in an investment banking interview to succeed and get the job.
Large investment banks and boutique firms look for somewhat different recruits.
Large firms mostly look for juniors that have a strong work ethic and that seem to fit in their team. However, boutique investment banks will surely look for juniors that already have experience in the industry as they don’t have the resources to train newcomers.
Keep this in mind during your interview to let them know that you have the qualities they’re looking for in a candidate.
The right attitude will get you an offer
Maybe this is surprising for you since you might have thought that what you needed to get an offer was a bunch of technical skills. However, you need to think about it this way. Juniors spend approximately 15 hours a day around other people, and they need to have an easy-going, pleasant personality to be a good fit in any team.
Take into account that your interviewer will pay attention to the way you hold yourself, how you communicate, and the type of character and personality you give off.
Financial knowledge is indeed needed. But if you don’t ace this part of the interview, there’s still a big chance you will be taken into account if you show the right attitude. If you have both knowledge and personality, you will have two significant factors in your favor. Also, if you have any more questions, check out Quora because people always as questions about investment banking interviews and interviews in general. It is a huge resource to prepare.
Let yourself loose and smile
Following the previous points, many candidates forget to smile during their investment banking interviews.
Remember that this is an exercise they will be doing to know if you’re qualified for the job and if you’re going to be a great teammate. The person interviewing you will appreciate a warm, genuine smile that shows you’re excited about the interview.
Be humble and respectful
In such a hierarchical industry like investment banking, you will always be around people in a higher position than you, and you will have to be polite. As mentioned before, this interview is an exercise. Don’t be cocky or make yourself look like a know-it-all, even if you are.
Show that you’re determined and ambitious in a way that doesn’t come off as arrogant because it won’t make you look good. Allow your interviewer to ask entire questions, never interrupt them or try to look like you know more than them. It won’t benefit you at all.
This might seem a bit contradictory; however, you have to show your interviewer that you’re confident in your answers. You will achieve this if you’re honest about your opinions and show conviction.
Even if you think differently than your interviewer, if you state your opinion with confidence, honesty, and respect, you will be seen as a mature, trustworthy candidate.
Fit questions are crucial
To succeed in your investment banking interview, you will have to prepare for the behavioral section.
Think of this as your elevator pitch. In just 150-300 words explain who you are, how you behave in a work environment, why you chose the industry, bank/firm, and why they have to choose you. Three minutes of your story will be enough.
Keep it short
We know you’ve studied hard for this interview and that you know the answer to every possible question; however, keep your answers short and to the point. People will appreciate this both during the interview and in your job position if you get the offer.
Additionally, speak slowly and clearly and let the interviewer ask for the details they need.
Just knowing about valuation is not enough
Even though you might be prepared to answer every technical question about valuation, you will most likely get questions about accountancy as well. Knowing about financial statements, accountancy principals, and how they interact will significantly improve your chances.
This part of the interview lets them see if you’re qualified for the job in one way or another. To master this section, you will have to dedicate a couple of months learning about different finance topics that will be useful throughout your investment banking experience.
Include brain teasers in your preparation
It might surprise you, but these hold more weight in your interview than you might think. Even if you answer everything correctly, neglecting this part of the process is never a good idea.
These questions are mostly meant to see how your mind works when it faces a challenge. If you dismiss them, you will make yourself look like a person that quickly gives up, which is not in line with what these banks will ask from you as a junior recruit.
Show that you are excited to learn
If this is your first experience with investment banking, you probably won’t bring much to the table. Just have in mind that banks and firms are not exactly expecting you to, they bring juniors in so that they can learn how the industry works.
Nonetheless, it won’t be an easy job. You will be working more hours than you can count, and you will learn everything through experience. Demonstrating that you’re eager to learn is a must.
Reach out to people
Having contacts in this industry will help you a lot. Try reaching out to people that already work in your target firm and learn about the bank through their experience. You can do this in person or through social media. Ask a couple of questions and get an idea of how things work.
Having this information beforehand will help you a lot during your interview. Even when every firm tries to set itself apart from the rest, you will soon find out that all of them have the same type of corporate culture and people. When your interviewer asks why you chose their particular firm say that you’ve talked to people that already work in the firm and that you want to learn from them. This way, your answer won’t sound cliché.
However, if you don’t know how to get to these people, try connecting with them through your school’s alumni network and recruitment forums.
Investment banking is a fast-moving industry that will need your absolute focus and effort every time you work. This interview is the perfect opportunity to show your target firm that you’re everything they’re looking for and more.