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10/12/12

Moderator Note (Andy): Best of WSO - this post originally went up 3/31/2009 and we thought it deserved to go back on the homepage for those who may have never seen it.

How about a thread where we post some of the worst mistakes we've made in interviews, or perhaps an interview that just went REALLY badly for you.

For a Goldman internship back in college, the interviewers asked me to tell them about myself. This was one of my first interviews so I was very inexperienced, and I was pretty nervous. I didn't know where to begin, so I panicked and ended up giving them my life story, from where I was born all the way to college. The rest of the interview was very harsh and they really grilled me on every single thing on my resume. It was more like an interrogation than an interview. It was a typical stress interview, and I ended up finishing it with a headache, and clothes drenched with sweat. I didn't get called back.

Interview Coming Up? Be Prepared.

Comments (161)

In reply to Chris_Marlin
11/10/10
Chris_Marlin:

Phone interview with citi: interviewer asked me what my biggest regret was in college.. i had never been asked this before and was caught a little off guard.. i didn't know what to say so I said "i wish i worked a little bit harder (i have a 3.2gpa)" she said "why?" i said "so i could've potentially been in a better position in terms of recruiting" she said "what's wrong with citi?" there was a bit of awkward silence and i said.. you're right.. i have no regrets

LOL

i did not advance.....

Hahahaha

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11/11/10

this was actually my first finance interview when i was a sophomore interviewing for ibd at a bulge bracket firm. it was all fit and there was good cop / bad cop so i was already pretty stressed. the guy asked "tell me about a time when you got into a confrontation"

so basically since it was my first finance interview and i was completely unprepared the only thing i could think of was a heated confrontation with my roommate the week before. basically i was eating fried chicken and since my waste basket was filled i went over to his side of the room and dumped my chicken bones into his garbage can. he went apeshit and then proceeded to dump his entire garbage can over my garbage can which basically became a pile of trash in my corner of the room since the garbage was overfilled. and then we argued about it for like a week. my resolution was basically that i shouldn't be eating fried chicken in my room in the first place =(

it was the only answer i could think of. needless to say they weren't very impressed.

In reply to myblackberryblinks
11/11/10
myblackberryblinks:

this was actually my first finance interview when i was a sophomore interviewing for ibd at a bulge bracket firm. it was all fit and there was good cop / bad cop so i was already pretty stressed. the guy asked "tell me about a time when you got into a confrontation"

so basically since it was my first finance interview and i was completely unprepared the only thing i could think of was a heated confrontation with my roommate the week before. basically i was eating fried chicken and since my waste basket was filled i went over to his side of the room and dumped my chicken bones into his garbage can. he went apeshit and then proceeded to dump his entire garbage can over my garbage can which basically became a pile of trash in my corner of the room since the garbage was overfilled. and then we argued about it for like a week. my resolution was basically that i shouldn't be eating fried chicken in my room in the first place =(

it was the only answer i could think of. needless to say they weren't very impressed.

Did you tell them how you took the trash and threw it in your roommates face before beating him retarded? Because that would have shown that you're aggressive...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

In reply to blastoise
11/11/10
squirtlez:

Had a interview with Renaissance Technologies and they asked me to write a proof for 1* (a*0) = 0.

Gonna pull this one out my ass but here goes:

Claim: 1*(a*0) = 0.

Proof. 1 is the multiplicative identity of the real field, and thus 1*(a*0) = (a*0). Suppose for a contradiction there exists a nonzero a such that a*0 = b for some nonzero b. Since a belongs to the ring of reals, there exists a nonzero inverse element a^-1 such that a^-1*a = 1. Thus 0 = a^-1*b. But the ring of reals is closed under multiplication and so a^-1*b cannot be zero, leading to a contradiction.

11/27/10

In early January, I had a Superday with a BB for a SA spot in their Asset Mgmt division. I got in touch with a person at school who did the SA with the same BB the previous year and he told me the 1st 3 interviews were all from HR, piece of cake. Turns out, the 1st 4 interviews were with different groups each (quant, research, ops, p-wealth), and even though they were all behavioral and relatively easy, they all asked the same question at the end - "What group do you see yourself working for?"

Nervous, I decided to answer the question by tailoring it to each group i met (when i met with quant i said "The quant group! because blah blah blah", etc.) even though what I really wanted to was research.

As I sat in the room with all the other interviewees, waiting for recruiters to call and tell us whether we move on or not, my name gets called. Recruiter tells me I did not advance, why? .........because when they were discussing me, they were unsure on what exactly I wanted to do and what group was best for me, since i gave them all different answers.......

My train ride back home was not the happiest, hahaha.

11/29/10

OCR 2006 I applied for an accounting job at a nice boutique (from a family of accountants--father was a corporate CFO of a F500 company. He's also dead and obviously has no pull). Because my GPA was 2.5, I kept it off my resume. So I went to the pre-interview information session and hit it off BIG time with the partners and associates that were on-campus recruiting. I DESTROYED the interview the next day and made up some excuse why I hadn't provided my GPA ("well, I honestly don't know what it is. I'll have to get back to you guys on that"). In the mean time, the company brought me up to its headquarters and the team interviewed me there. Afterward, the partner took me in a room by ourselves and said that I was going to be a future partner--that I had the personality, drive and intelligence to be a 7-figure partner in about 10 years and that they wanted me. BUT, they needed to see my transcript--and that since they liked me so much and since he was an alumnus, if I had something moderately respectable--like a 2.8--they could take me on. So that day, I wrote a letter to the company with my transcript enclosed explaining my college performance of 2.5 (which includes several Ds, a few Fs, and virtually no As at all).

I went from future 7-figure partner to never hearing from them again. I don't know if I'll ever get over that one fully.

In reply to ivoteforthatguy
11/29/10
ivoteforthatguy:
squirtlez:

Had a interview with Renaissance Technologies and they asked me to write a proof for 1* (a*0) = 0.

Gonna pull this one out my ass but here goes:

Claim: 1*(a*0) = 0.

Proof. 1 is the multiplicative identity of the real field, and thus 1*(a*0) = (a*0). Suppose for a contradiction there exists a nonzero a such that a*0 = b for some nonzero b. Since a belongs to the ring of reals, there exists a nonzero inverse element a^-1 such that a^-1*a = 1. Thus 0 = a^-1*b. But the ring of reals is closed under multiplication and so a^-1*b cannot be zero, leading to a contradiction.

1*(a*0) = 0 ; distributive property

a * 0 = 0 ; multiplication property of zero

0 = 0 ; ta-da!

anything times zero will give you zero.......

11/29/10

Blastoise,

You can't just say that anything times zero will give you zero, that is part of the proof.

It should be (and as far as I know is) more complicated than that.

12/29/10

I had a FT corporate finance interview. The question was 'What was the hardest part about moving from office x to office y (same company). I said I put on some extra weight (it's true) and laughed it of. Dinged.

In reply to balooshi
1/9/11
balooshi:

I was at an interview in IBD intern position. I had just come back 4 days earlier from a trip to southeast asia, and had mega ass blow! Basically if i farted, it wasnt all just air!

Anyway was in the interview and i had one coming, i was nervous and couldnt keep it in, let it out (it was silent), and it wasnt just fart, it was a shart!! anyway, i had worn especially tight underwear, 2 pairs infact, and luckily it held it in so it didnt run down my leg. but there wes a putrid smell.

Noone said anything, they mustve just thought I let rip a normal fart, that really hung around! luckily they ended the interview like 5 minutes later cos they couldnt handle the smell i suspect.

They probably thought I shat myself because i was so nervous, but truth was it was because I had the Squirts!!!

I totally laughed out loud after I read this.

1/13/11
In reply to theATL
1/13/11
theATL:

Blastoise,

You can't just say that anything times zero will give you zero, that is part of the proof.

It should be (and as far as I know is) more complicated than that.

Pretty sure he was messing around, but still. to prove 1* (a*0) = 0...

1*0 = 0, this is true

If there is some a for which a*0 = 0, then it is zero for all a's because: (a+1)*0 = a*0 +1*0 = 0. Multiplied by one, that's still zero.

It's zero for a = 0 (pick any number), hence it's zero for all numbers.

In reply to Virginia Tech 4ever
1/13/11
Virginia Tech 4ever:

OCR 2006 I applied for an accounting job at a nice boutique (from a family of accountants--father was a corporate CFO of a F500 company. He's also dead and obviously has no pull). Because my GPA was 2.5, I kept it off my resume. So I went to the pre-interview information session and hit it off BIG time with the partners and associates that were on-campus recruiting. I DESTROYED the interview the next day and made up some excuse why I hadn't provided my GPA ("well, I honestly don't know what it is. I'll have to get back to you guys on that"). In the mean time, the company brought me up to its headquarters and the team interviewed me there. Afterward, the partner took me in a room by ourselves and said that I was going to be a future partner--that I had the personality, drive and intelligence to be a 7-figure partner in about 10 years and that they wanted me. BUT, they needed to see my transcript--and that since they liked me so much and since he was an alumnus, if I had something moderately respectable--like a 2.8--they could take me on. So that day, I wrote a letter to the company with my transcript enclosed explaining my college performance of 2.5 (which includes several Ds, a few Fs, and virtually no As at all).

I went from future 7-figure partner to never hearing from them again. I don't know if I'll ever get over that one fully.

VT, how did you have a 2.5 from tech when you werent even drinking?

1/13/11

Depression, ADHD (legitimately), lack of career focus, strong desire to drop out of school, focus on friendships and college football and basketball (close to obsessions at the time), and a semseter or so in a fraternity. People can do poorly in school without being dumb or dealing with a death in the family. I was just a teenager ("17 without a purpose or direction").

1/27/11

1*(a*0) = 0
Pf:
Suppose not. Then 1*(a*0) = b where b != 0. Then rearrange to get 0 = b / (1 * a). Add 1 to both sides, and we get , 1 = b / (1*a) + 1. This is the same as 1 * (1*a) = b + 1 * (1 * a). Subtract 1*(1*a) from both sides, and this implies that 0 = b. A contradiction because we stated that b wasn't equal to 0.

So by proof by contradiction, 1*(a*0) = 0.

1/27/11

Then again, 0^0 = 1 :)

3/2/11

There are too many assumptions being made in the 1*(a*0)=0 question.

If we are working with a non-commutative ring there can exist 'a' such that for non zero 'b', ab=0. If a belongs to an integral domain then we don't have to worry about non-zero divisors.

3/2/11

AC Morgan Stanley S&T graduate program. A trader asked me what company I liked. Said Apple but didn't know shit about them except they build iphone and their share price was $x. So I wanted to show off and told him I liked them because they have a very low spread on their 5Y CDS. He asked me how much is it. Said 100bps. He noted on his paper. Once at home, I found out that Apple doesn't have any debt on the market and so their CDS doesn't exist.

Never heard back after the AC...

3/2/11
2/22/12

Anyone else think that telephone interviews are the worst? I much rather do it in person. I had a guy ask me what the definition of TVM was and I completely went blank even though I knew the answer. I wasn't even articulate enough to even to explain it. He explained it to me like I was 5. There was no way to spin out of that question either. I can't stop thinking about it.. FML X20

2/23/12

First interview ever - got asked a question about ethic problems, I misheard and thought the interviewer said "ethnic problems." I then proceeded to go on some semi-racial rant..... needless to say - I didn't get a callback. Definitely one of the most embarrassing moments of my entire life.

3/1/12

I've got two.

Macquarie IBD SA, 2:1, NYC office. Cruising along, not my best performance but not my worst. Get a wicked brainteaser, reply using a strong methodology. I made one shaky assumption, but addressed the mistake before they did. Not fatal, that said I was on edge at this point.

Then I get asked by a VP: "what is 99 times 99."

Fuck. Blanked. The second year analyst ends up trying to teach me mental math - and I'm still not getting it. I did college calc in high school, but I can't figure out how to do (99*100)-99 without pen and paper. They were gracious about it though, moved on to the rest of the interview, and let me ask them all of my carefully researched questions at the end. Macquarie runs their graduate recruiting better than any other firm I've encountered, especially the BBs.

Jefferies FI S&T SA, Superday, NYC office.

I had applied to Jefferies IBD SA, but someone flagged my resume for FI, probably based on a prior DCM internship. I had no basis in S&T, but I did some homework and passed the 2:1 phone interview. The Superday was my third interview in two days and I was very sharp. First 2:1, I overstretched a little bit with a thesis on why I thought treasury yields were detaching from economic indicators (QE, I know), but the next few rounds were great. Had a 2:1 with two guys I loved - tried to get me with a couple of good cop/bad cop traps, but I was a pro and they were loving it.

Then I have the last round, a 1:1. He was finishing up with the previous interview. I showed up as the kid asked him for a business card - he didn't have any, but gave him his email address. I walk in, sit down, and the MD introduces himself as the S&T Global Head for the asset class to which I had prior exposure. He says that he wants to talk shop, but HR needs him to cover a couple of form questions first. I get a weakness question, working with teams, etc - crisp answers, and I think he was genuinely intrigued by my responses.

I was in the zone - there was zero slack in the conversation, and it was great. We wrap up the basic fit stuff, and discuss Jefferies' practice within his asset class, Jefferies' business model, and so forth. I knew my shit, so I start asking some higher level questions about Volcker rule and Dodd-Frank, and how that would affect the business. He starts to discuss how, even though the firm doesn't have prop trading, they've had to juice up risk management and rein in market making - and I actually cut him off, to point out that Jefferies isn't a holding company and isn't subject to Volcker.

He looks at me open-mouth, tells me that he has read Dodd-Frank, and it is his job to understand what's going on to his business. He clarifies why Volcker still affects Jefferies - marketplace is demanding that all broker/dealers get in compliance, even if the law does not - and we chat for another few minutes. He was affable enough towards the end, so I thought maybe I wasn't screwed. But then time is up, I ask him if he has a business card: "no."

I've learned so many valuable lessons through these two failures. I still feel like an idiot and an asshole every time I think of them.

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."

3/5/12

This was fall of 2007. I was interviewing at a Tech Boutique, but didn't know squat about tech. The interviewer asked me what stock I liked, I said Apple. If only I had stopped talking after that...

I proceeded to give a ~20 minute monologue on how great the i-Phone was, what sort of different features it had, how much it costs, if the price was justified, how many of my friends had it, blah, blah, blah. I did everything but reach into my pocket, and shove my i-Phone in his face.

I didn't get the offer. I still wince every time I remember that interview.

Calling Ron Paul an isolationist is like calling your neighbor a hermit because he doesn't come over to your property and break your windows.

3/5/12

But you were basically right...

3/19/12

How technical are sales/ibd interviews?

I'm gonna get that bish some binary
Bishes love binary
---------
Kind Regards,

Bin_Ban

3/20/12

Sophomore year, SA for some quant trading firm that I don't even remember the name of. They selected me on OCR so I said, "Meh, why the hell not?" and went in for the interview. Didn't know jack shit about S&T at the time, especially since this was just the beginning of my finance interest and I could barely explain what a DCF was. We sit down, one or two fit questions. The interviewer is pretty nice and welcoming, leads forward and engages me in conversation. Then he puts his pen down, sits back in his chair, and says, "What's 17 x 25?"

I take like, 5 seconds to calculate in my head. Open my mouth to answer. He cuts me off - "Too slow."
I apologize. He shrugs. "What's 99 x 99?" I repeat the same thing, he gives the same answer - "Too slow."
"What's 1/8th of 120?" This time, instead of calculating silently, I walk him through the calculation like so: "1/8th of 100 is 12.5, 1/8th of 20 is 2.5, so it's 15." He looks at me and says, "I asked for the numerical answer, not a long winded explanation."

We both stare at each other in silence for about 20 seconds. Then he says, "I think you might want to consider other career options" at the same time I said, "Yeah, maybe trading isn't really right for me."

Currently: becoming a clinical psychologist... yep, I quit finance
Previously: M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM), business research (HBS)

The WSO Advantage - Land Your Dream Job

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation.

Wall St. Interview Secrets Revealed

30,000+ sold & REAL questions.

Resume Help from Finance Pros

Land More Interviews.

Find Your Mentor

Realistic Mock Interviews.

4/1/12

LOLLLL a few month ago I hit a new record with interview fail.

Interviewer at a very respectable prop shop asked, "how did you hear about us?"

idk what was wrong with me, but I said "well, I saw this ranking on a forum......"

WOW. W.T.F. After I said that I immediately knew I was dinged.

I don't accept sacrifices and I don't make them. ... If ever the pleasure of one has to be bought by the pain of the other, there better be no trade at all. A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud.

In reply to Virginia Tech 4ever
4/1/12

.

I don't accept sacrifices and I don't make them. ... If ever the pleasure of one has to be bought by the pain of the other, there better be no trade at all. A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud.

In reply to Virginia Tech 4ever
4/1/12

.

I don't accept sacrifices and I don't make them. ... If ever the pleasure of one has to be bought by the pain of the other, there better be no trade at all. A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud.

4/1/12

.

I don't accept sacrifices and I don't make them. ... If ever the pleasure of one has to be bought by the pain of the other, there better be no trade at all. A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud.

4/2/12

I work in ops at a BB and I wouldn't
mind working at UBS IBD

4/2/12

Interview asks a question where do you see yourself in 10 years. I go off about how I say working at GE and then I say I wasn't sure if you were aware but GE has created x CEO and I hope to see myself in that position one day.

The company she works for happens to place interns at GE.....

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

4/2/12

I do some really stupid shit in interviews when I get nervous.

Once I said "Yeah Im gonna keep my ears peeled" in response to a question and on the way out I was so nervous that when he walked me to the elevator, I said goodbye by giving him a thumbs up and saying "Cya later man!". We just stared at each other then and it took a fucking eternity for the elevator doors to close...

4/2/12

One of my very first interviews:

interviewer: Tell me about a misconception people have about you.
Me: I am a really driven and serious person, so sometimes it seems people think i'm a jerk and I don't come off as friendly.

woops

In reply to BulgeBracket
4/2/12
BulgeBracket:

I do some really stupid shit in interviews when I get nervous.

Once I said "Yeah Im gonna keep my ears peeled" in response to a question and on the way out I was so nervous that when he walked me to the elevator, I said goodbye by giving him a thumbs up and saying "Cya later man!". We just stared at each other then and it took a fucking eternity for the elevator doors to close...

LOL! I was just picturing this scene in my head. Too funny!

In reply to blastoise
4/10/12
blastoise:
MagicKarp:

My only bad interview was my first one. And it was horrible. True story:
Background, I was born in Eastern Europe, but had lived in the US for some time and usually spoke with a normal, American accent.

Before I walked in to my interviewer's office, I was given a visitor's pass to put around my neck.
This was for Equity Research; One of the first questions was: "How do you stay motivated."

I was a freshman then and kind of obnoxious.
I said, "Every morning, I wake up ready to bite the ass off a bear."
Apparently he hadn't read Liar's Poker and seemed to be offended.

About 5 minutes later, after a few easy technicals, he asked me which databases I was familiar with.
I said "Ummm not sure. But I could always ask a librarian." He stared for a few seconds. After this I got nervous and began to speak with a farily heavy Eastern European accent.

Towards the end of that interview he couldn't find one of my achievements on my resume and I walked over to his side of the desk to point it out.

At the end of the interview, he accompanied me to the elevator, and at this point I was aware of how horribly I did, and I swear he must have asked me a couple of questions just to initiate small-talk but at that point I was completely oblivious to my surroundings and didn't say a word to him. I had also forgotten about my visitor's pass until I reached my car in the parking structure. I had to go back to the floor and give it to the secretary.

It was a mess.

look at the bright side you get to evolve into gyadose i evolve into a tank with a flower on it

haha!

4/10/12

Sad to say, I have never had an interview with any of these big firms but recently I had an interview for a financial advisor position which is pretty much all commission ...

and...

question was " What would you tell a client if he/she asked you why are you doing this job"

My answer after a weird long silent pause: To make money....................................................
As soon as I said it I thought to myself, you should just walk out right now.

Correct answer should have been, beside for putting food on the table, I am doing this because I have good interpersonal and technical skills and this position combines them (or something along those lines)...
Nerves can be a bitch!

4/11/12

F500, new team, great role.
"What are your plans for the team if this project proves to be uneconomic?"
Knew it right as it was coming out of my mouth, but couldn't stop.

More is good, all is better

4/11/12

Lol! You should be shot, Argonaut. :)

4/12/12

When I was a freshmen, some painting company called College Works tried to "recruit" me.

Me: So you mentioned that you were on the Princeton Review's List of Top 100 Internships, right?
Interviewer: Yes, this is correct! That's why this is an extraordinary opportunity for you to build a competitive resume and gain marketable skills.
Me: Unfortunately, I was not able to find this list anywhere.
Interviewer: (pause) Oh...

(followed by a prolonged awkward moment of silence)

End of interview.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." - DT

4/12/12

I've fucked up the 'tell me about yourself' on two different occasions, which turned out to be my first two interviews. Guess it's common.

10/12/12

A few years ago I had my first phone interview. Needless to say, three people conference-calling my cell phone did not work out so well. Recently, I had another phone interview where I had to take the calls outside because reception in my room was so terrible. I wish they gave us land lines in our rooms, at least...

In reply to blastoise
10/12/12

This should be relatively easy. I had that one as well when I got my interview with Ameren Energy for junior trader position. All you need to do is put up an assumption about product of a non zero number and zero is not zero, then use contradiction.

But when it comes to call option and put option (on commodity trading), I kept thinking about the call and put option feature on bond which confused me back those days, as I couldn't distinguish the call/put option feature effect on underwriter and bondholder. I was feeling that the interviewer was grinning his teeth trying not to blow over me for wasting his time with my bullcrap answer although it was just phone interview.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

10/12/12

Phone interview for an internship with a boutique IB in NYC. (I'm from Europe). Was really nervous which made me talk loads. Was asked to go through my CV as well as my personal background. I took 20 minutes to do it, constantly going off-topic about my traveling experience and my reasons for doing this and that, after which the MD I was speaking to said she had traveled the same places as me. Accidentally mistook the interview for a casual conversation and started asking "Did you go there? Did you do that? That place is nice isn't it. That's cool!." etc. The MD kindly reminded me this was an interview and said "We're here to talk about you, not me".

Oddly enough they loved me and I got the offer. Most enjoyable interview of my life as well.

In reply to harry12
10/12/12

.

This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

10/12/12

I have interview today I 'll let you know how it goes guys

10/12/12

One of my favorite interview stories -- heard it from the HR person at my company. Apparently an interviewee once asked his interviewer for a sip of his coffee. He did not get a call back...

10/12/12

I had one of those 3/4-hr case study epics for a position (Assoc/VP-level role) at a MM. I wasn't interested in taking the role but wanted an offer to then get my boss to bump up my bonus/salary. Anyway...

I had 5:1 interview/presentation about an underwrite I was proposing. Except the person who was to be my direct boss did not agree with my revenue projections:

Potential boss: "that is half way between a management case and an underwrite"
Me: "I am forecasting that these guys lose market share... how is below-market revenue growth aggressive"
Potential boss: "but I want an underwriting case"
Me: "this is an underwriting case. I have never worked on any underwrite where we have done to market saying a company is going to lose market share to all their rivals."

After another 5 minutes of arguing around why I am right and potential boss wrong, the head of cepartment stepped in and said "Enough, next".

Funnily enough I didn't get the job or even an offer to bump my pay!!!

But I was right.

10/12/12

Boutique IB 2010/11 season. Classmate and I scheduled a phone interview with the same firm. We went over our thoughts and answers to some of the Qs, one of which was "how far could you walk into the woods?" See at the time, we recently went over some Aristotle book. Going back to the Q, friend tried to tie in school work to career work and compared the "woods" to some body/soul shit that Aristotle touted about in his book (from what I remember on sparknotes). I bursted out laughing and asked if he realized he was in an IB interview! After rambling on for 20m, he asks if the interviewer understands - "no." Needless to say, he didn't get passed it.

Quick aside, I met with one of the partners. Spoke about ethics the whole time, a solid hour. Didn't pay attn in my classes, did not care, obviously bs'd. Got an offer so I guess this worked for me but I turned it down because I realized how boring it could be working with these guys.

10/12/12

Acquisitions Analyst - MM REIT. Met with several analyst, associates and a VP. I was calm, collective and seemed to B/S an awful lot. I think I still believe some of the shit I said. Needless to say, no call back.

10/12/12

Proof is easy, for those who care.

Claim: 1*0 = 0

Pf.: Assume 0 = (-a + a) for any "a". 1*(-a+a)=0. Distribute the 1: -a + a = 0.

"square box"

"An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Check out my blog!

10/12/12

My first interview after college (elected not to do campus recruiting #fuckingidiot) was with a commercial bank. First behavioral question, "so what have you been up to since graduation?" "I've been playing a lot of golf."

10/12/12

Haha these are awesome.

Also guys this is how u prove a*0 = 0 for any a. Remember that the only thing we kno about 0 is that it's the additive identity. So a*0 = a*(0+0) = a*0+a*0, then subtract a*0 from both sides to get 0 = a*0

If u wanna avoid subtraction from both sides and only use axioms, then do 0 = (a*0 + -a*0) = (a*(0+0) + -a*0) =
(a*0 + a*0 + (-a*0)) = (by associativity) a*0 + (a*0 + (-a*0)) = a*0 + 0 = a*0.

In reply to nebben2k10
10/12/12
nebben2k10:

My first interview after college (elected not to do campus recruiting #fuckingidiot) was with a commercial bank. First behavioral question, "so what have you been up to since graduation?" "I've been playing a lot of golf."

Not actually a bad answer, it's just a fit question.

10/12/12

Interviewed for FT position at a firm that did fair value opinions my senior year. I had a good friend who recommended me and was told by HR that I was a "top candidate" due to the recommendation and the interview would consist of 2 interviews lasting 1 hr and another 1 hour case study.

I had heard stories about the interviewer from my friend who says that he often doesn't have a "filter" and says and does pretty much whatever he pleases since he's so good at what he does and he knows it.

The interview started off normally with basic fit and intern/school experience questions. He looks at my resume and wonders why my gpa isn't there and I tell him that it is in the low 3's, he clearly looks flustered but we continue. Then asked what books have you read? I said "when genius failed: rise and fall of ltcm". He asked me 3 people from that book. I said: "uh...john meriwwether and..." I fumble around for names, nervous as hell since I had read the books several months prior. At this point he sees that I am clearly struggling and stops me right there. He takes folds my resume in half in a deliberate manner, pauses and then goes on this tear about how lazy I am, how I wouldn't be able to keep up in a 14 hr a day finance job, how he's wasting his time and "doing me a favor" by taking time out of his day to talk to me. And said that my friend should be embarrassed that I am sitting before him. The interview is over in about 10 minutes.

After having several new assholes ripped in my butt, he escorts me out and says that I can come back in a month to impress him.

As much as I wanted to prove myself again, I had a job offer that I accepted 2 weeks later. Even after explaining that I couldn't make it I have never seen or heard any response from him. But I have this gut feeling I will see him again, somewhere.

10/13/12

Had a Big 4 interview back at university. I was running late as the train's got delayed, but I had the courtesy to call ahead and mention that. Anyway, get to the office and ask for my interviewer and was told to take a seat. I sat down waiting and eventually two women come out & headed in my direction. One of the women asks me "X, you're the interview at 11am?" I said no, at 10. And she responds, "OK, so you do know it was 10am". At that point, I knew I was fucked.

In the interview, I find out the lady I was due to interview didnt want to interview me anymore because I was 10 minutes late and sent across these two bitches to make my interview as shit as possible. That same woman continues to pester me about all sorts of trivial shit like why I didnt bring a copy of the job spec along with me because I wanted confirmation about a particular aspect to the job I had heard about but wasnt mentioned in the job spec. When I said that it wanst in the job spec thus the fucking question, she got even more pissy by then saying to then call the HR person I was in contact with to get the answer before. It was a complete disaster. The lady was completely out to get me. Heard back the next day, and the HR person wanted to know whether I needed him to elaborate as to why I didnt get the job. I just hung up on him.

In reply to FinancialNoviceII
10/14/12

Hey man, i can't side with you there, you should always show up at least 30min early. These people are getting paid good money and they take time out of their day to interview their candidate. If you get an interview, they already want to hire you. You came in late, how would you feel?

10/14/12

Midst of the crisis, real estate prices globally plummeting, everything going bankrupt. In 2008 it was brutal - nobody was hiring, GS hired only 27% of their interns and no externals (or so I was told).

Well, one type of desk was hiring: distressed.

RBS Distressed/Special Situations, London. Some crappy office near Aldgate East (sorry to any RBS readers, but you know it's true ;) ). Went through all the hoops perfectly. My four in hand was impeccably 15 degrees off centre, my suit freshly pressed, shoes' hard parts shined to a mirror polish. I had read the last 5 years' worth of annual statements, knew their position on handling the restructuring, and even matched my tie to the one the CEO was wearing in the 2006 statement (if I recall well). I took over the discussion groups, showing leadership and steering my groups into the most impressive presentations. I aced the written tests. Every stage, more people were asked to leave by HR. The handful of us left made it to the final stage: meeting a partner (or MD or whatever stands as most senior in that group).

I walked him through my valuation of the company, explaining my decisions, I answered his questions as best I could (maybe it wasn't good enough). He seemed pretty happy, although he thought I was too nice to the CEO, he wanted to hammer the guy, take over his firm and asset strip it, I thought the business had a chance. At the end he says "want a drink?", I said "sure, I'll have sparkling please", so he hands me over a 1.5l bottle of those "branded" mineral waters so popular in banks. I don't know what happened to the bottle, but as I twisted the cap to open it, it sprayed a quarter of its content all over the senior guy. In utter silence, he wipes slowly the water off his face, looks down to his shirt and suit about a third of which were now darker than the rest. I say, in a weak voice "oh my god... I'm so sorry..."

Shook his (dripping) hand. Didn't get the job. Will always remember his taking out a tissue to wipe his face slowly, keeping his cool, as I stood there helplessly with a dripping bottle that had just exploded. I think I detected a smile on the HR woman's ice cold face heading back to the lift. I never drank anything again in the presence of an interviewer.

In reply to FinancialNoviceII
10/14/12
FinancialNoviceII:

Had a Big 4 interview back at university. I was running late as the train's got delayed, but I had the courtesy to call ahead and mention that. Anyway, get to the office and ask for my interviewer and was told to take a seat. I sat down waiting and eventually two women come out & headed in my direction. One of the women asks me "X, you're the interview at 11am?" I said no, at 10. And she responds, "OK, so you do know it was 10am". At that point, I knew I was fucked.

In the interview, I find out the lady I was due to interview didnt want to interview me anymore because I was 10 minutes late and sent across these two bitches to make my interview as shit as possible. That same woman continues to pester me about all sorts of trivial shit like why I didnt bring a copy of the job spec along with me because I wanted confirmation about a particular aspect to the job I had heard about but wasnt mentioned in the job spec. When I said that it wanst in the job spec thus the fucking question, she got even more pissy by then saying to then call the HR person I was in contact with to get the answer before. It was a complete disaster. The lady was completely out to get me. Heard back the next day, and the HR person wanted to know whether I needed him to elaborate as to why I didnt get the job. I just hung up on him.

1. delayed train is no excuse. Don't know about the US but in London it was so frequent I always arranged to arrive within walking distance of the interview place an hour before the interview. Once saved my ass as my suit got drenched from 35 degree heat in the tube, I let it dry on my chair in Cafe Nero in Mayfair before meeting the head of commodities for one of the top 10 largest HFs in the world. Never lose an opportunity to something you can control, especially when the cost is so low.
2. Never piss off the gatekeepers. Yes, HR is retarded. Yes, secretaries can - in big corporate, anyway - screw up your timing, interview and be a pain (although HR will ALWAYS be the worst). At the end of the day, those positions get so many applications that for anything with a brand, they need a gatekeeper to filter to a manageable number. Doubly so since as a junior you are not that valuable, there are 20 people with your qualifications waiting to take the job, and a high chance you will bugger off within 2 years anyway. It was different at my firm - we kept a low profile, and hired few people but intended to grow them over 20 years, so at graduate season, every head trader, senior trader, senior manager got a pile of several hundred fresh grad CVs to sift through. But I can definitely empathize. HR women get so smug when they get in touch to let you know you've failed. It's their little moment of power, where they finally get to be front stage, after months of being treated like at best a dating pool for traders and at worst a cheap, disposable, "unfortunately need this function" asset.

10/15/12

This one is great.

So as a sophomore I get cold called from the local Morgan Stanley Smith Barney group, or whatever they call themselves these days. They want me to come in for an interview, which my young econ/finance major brain interprets as "Yea bro they already want to hire you".

So that is about how much preparation I did. Not enough. Interview progresses with me doing about every single thing they tell you not to do in an interview. Talk negatively about my last job, rare stints of eye contact etc. etc.

They end this interview with the standard: "So do you have any questions for me?" My response: "Yea what is the parking situation? Will the company pay for me to have a spot in the garage b/c i know it can get very expensive downtown." I look back at fucking laugh my ass off. Needless to say I did not get a call back.

"I want to fit in."- Patrick Bateman

3/7/13

This topic is gold. Let's revive it.

9/17/13

I had a pretty bad one for Lazard back in Sophomore year of college.. made the mistake of putting 'proficient in Excel' on my resume, when in reality I had barely used it over the past year. The two guys that interviewed me brought attention to it mockingly - "We have a real Excel whiz here. Tell us, what's your favorite Excel shortcut?" I completely blanked out, and stated CTRL+V like an idiot. They laughed and repeated my answer a couple of times, and naturally proceeded to ask me to walk them through writing a basic VBA macro, which I obviously had no idea about. Suffice to say I did not get the internship.

9/17/13

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yea, yea, yea

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