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What are some of the more technical questions I can expect during the finance interview? I have heard from many people to expect how to valuate companies, etc. Should I start describing formulas verbally or should I bust out my drawing skills?

Comments (43)

  • FreeCashFool's picture

    you can expect an array of accounting questions... remember, accounting is more key to this job than finance

    the lay-up tech question asked at almost every interview is: how does depreciation flow through the sheets? so you just want to go through and verbally explain what the effect is of a depreciation charge on each of the sheets and compare it to a "status quo" scenario where there is no dep'n

    another common, like you said, is how do i value a company. you already know a few, so just talk about it high-level... "well there are a variety of ways to value a company, three of which are commonly used:
    1) comparable company analysis - where you'll take multiples of comparable companies and compare them to your own... for example P/E, EV/EBITDA, EV/Sales... if you want, you can explain why you use Enterprise Value instead of Equity or Market Cap
    2) comparable transaction analysis - where you'll compare deals in the industry similar to your own and explore the metrics/valuation used for the target and see how that compares to your own company
    3) discounted cash flow - essentially every company is worthless without cash as a going conern yada yada, so we can discount a company's future cash flow by taking its weighted average cost of capital (which they may ask about in more detail).. and discount them to the present value... also talk about exit multiples and terminal values (perpetuity growth rates, etc)

    those are the two most basic ones... accounting questions i've been asked:
    -minority interest
    -deferred tax assets/liab
    -how are 3 statements linked

    obviously, if you have no background in acct / fin, they'll take that into account, but you should have a basic understanding

  • In reply to ZiggyMon
    nychimp's picture

    they'll focus more on WHY you want to do banking and whether they think you're a fit. they may question your desire if you've taken no finance or accounting classes if they've been available to you. otherwise, get some story together how you are intrigued by markest and the financial world, how a deal is finanaced, how a merger or spin-off is done. There is an incredible amount to learn but you love throwing yourself int things "head-first". You know your learning curve will be steep, but that is how you like it., etc etc

  • In reply to
    FreeCashFool's picture

    you have a BB internship interview during the fall? my experience was that the BB's only recruit for interns during the spring around feb-march or so... you can use some of your free time over winter break to prepare for those

    at any rate, if you have no background, you should have a basic understanding at the least... you can pick up the Vault Guide to Finance Interviews, as it breaks things down pretty well (although it's not as comprehensive as you might like)

    with accounting you should just understand the basics... hopefully you'll have taken an intro accounting class by then, but the finance guide will also mention some basic accounting. it seems like you don't have that strong of a background in either so i wouldn't sweat it if you can learn the fundamentals from your finance course... and pick up an accounting textbook and go through it if you can

    with regards to strange interview questions, you can expect a number of brainteasers / trick questions / mental math q's... the purpose of these is to see how you think, not that you get the right answer. so think out loud, show them your logic, you should be good... the brainteasers / guesstimates are, however, rarer in banking than in consulting

  • In reply to
    Dawgie's picture

    I'm not very good with this stuff, how come it wouldn't be 9x9x9 cubes not painted?
    It's a dawg eat dawg world.

    It's a dawg eat dawg world.

  • In reply to
    • ?
    • (Chimp, 0 )
    •  on 7/28/06 at 1:31pm
    Anonymous Monkey's picture

    This is probably not the fastest way, but it's my initial thought. Seperate them into groups of 3 and see which group is heavier. That eliminates 3. Then take the remaining 3 and measure 1 against the other until you find a heavier one.

    with this method you'd know the answer in as little as 2 measurements or as many as 4.

    but i'd be interested to hear the correct solution.

  • PE Chimp's picture

    It's 3:15 - what's the angle between the hands on the clock?

    You have a 3 liter jug, a 5 liter jug and a continuously running hose. Using those 3 things, how do you get exactly 4 liters in the 5 liter jug?

  • In reply to PE Chimp
    Dawgie's picture

    These suck I don't know how to do any of these, should I not try to become an I-Banker? (Serious question)
    It's a dawg eat dawg world.

    It's a dawg eat dawg world.

  • In reply to PE Chimp
    FreeCashFool's picture

    if the hour hand doesn't move, it's 0 degrees, but because it does, it moves 15/60 (or 1/4) of 360/12 degrees so it's 30/4 so 7.25 degrees

    fill up the 5 liter, pour into 3-liter, you've got 2 liters left over
    pour the 2 liters into the 3 liter
    fill up 5 liter again, pour what you can into 3 liter (1-liter)
    5 liters - 1 liter = 4 liters

    these aren't skills necessary for banking, they're just to test your thought process... think out loud, and you'll be okay. they'll use these to throw you off your game too, so just be calm and poised... they'll also ask mental math q's that should be relatively easy
    (e.g. 5^5 or 12*24)...

  • In reply to PE Chimp
    Ratgoo's picture

    0 degrees.

    fill 3 liter, empty into 5 liter, fill 3 liter again, fill into 5 liter, the 3 liter will have 1 liter left, empty 5 liter, empty the reaming 1 liter from the 3 liter into the 5 liter, fill the 3 liter, empty into the 5 liter and the 5 liter will contain 4 liters.

    or you can figure out the rate at which water is emptying out of the hose, if it's constant function, take an integral.

    or, take the dimensions of the 5 liter jug, assuming it's a cylindrical shape, the volume fct will be 5 = PI*(radius sqaured)*height, given the radius and volume solve for height, mark off at which height the jug will contain 4 liters.