2/11/11

Hey guys I got a big day Monday. I have a first round interview for an operation's analyst position at an Investment Bank. I am meeting two different directors back to back. My question is what should I study and prep myself for? Any insight and advice will be most helpful. Thanks.

Comments (57)

2/11/11

Probably a good idea to go over basic accounting and get a lot of physical exercise on Sunday. If there is a product area attached to the position you're interviewing for, it would be good to study how that product works as well.

Bear in mind that ops isn't trading or even risk management and it's not quite as competitive. Just know that they're probably looking for an organized guy who can pay attention to detail who happens to be easy to work with.

I spent two years in IT doing some work with Ops. There's a lot of brilliant people in both divisions, but they also tend to have a few more Dwights and a few more idiots than the front office. Show them that you're competent and a nice guy to boot, and there's a good chance you'll get the job- there's a strong market for operations right now as the regulatory overhead increases.

If you have offers from research, trading, or anywhere else at a similar firm and you don't absolutely love the people in Ops, I'd kinda steer you towards a more front-officey role. But ops is a perfectly good place to start a career.

Financial Modeling

2/11/11
IlliniProgrammer:

ops is a perfectly good place to start a career.

well, that gives me hope

Get busy living

2/11/11

I guess the corrolary is that it's just not necessarily a good place to finish a career.

You stick it out in ops for one year, get a good review, and then see if you can transfer into the front office or risk management. Laterals are easier to do on the markets/research side than IBD, IMHO.

2/11/11

Coming from ops, if you have dreams of moving into IBD or anything FO, I would suggest not working for Ops. At the minimum have an exit plan within a year.

2/11/11

regarding your question, first round will likely be questions about your resume, and largely behavioral / fit

best of luck

"Major in economics; use your economics degree to get an analyst job on Wall Street; use your analyst job to get into Harvard or Stanford Business School; and worry about the rest of your life later"

2/11/11

edit: try and ask a few intelligent questions at the end of your interview

"Major in economics; use your economics degree to get an analyst job on Wall Street; use your analyst job to get into Harvard or Stanford Business School; and worry about the rest of your life later"

2/12/11

Entirely behavioral interview. Know your resume thoroughly and use it to leverage yourself as the most qualified candidate.

dum vivimus vivamus

2/12/11

illinoisprogrammer constantly trolls for risk management.

why?

2/12/11
boutiquebank4life:

illinoisprogrammer constantly trolls for risk management.

why?

Because he is the WSO protector of the weak and defender of the innocent.

2/12/11
boutiquebank4life:

illinoisprogrammer constantly trolls for risk management.

why?

I've met a lot of smart quants who work in risk management- two of them are in my Bible study at work and I knew a few others from analytics, but I sit under a trading P&L right now.

Why does B4L troll against everything that's not IBD? Oh yeah, he works for a no-name firm and gets paid less than the people he makes fun of. That must really piss him off.

Because he is the WSO protector of the weak and defender of the innocent.

Well, actually, when I see a competent person in a less "desirable" position than me, I have the wisdom to quietly tell myself, "The only difference between him and me is luck. This guy deserves my respect."

Now, B4L makes less than the folks in BB Ops, but he'd still qualify for my respect. However, I haven't seen any wisdom, competence, or respect come out of him. Hence, I have to embarass him until he stops trolling.

2/12/11
IlliniProgrammer:
boutiquebank4life:

illinoisprogrammer constantly trolls for risk management.

why?

I've met a lot of smart quants who work in risk management- two of them are in my Bible study at work and I knew a few others from analytics, but I sit under a trading P&L right now.

Why does B4L troll against everything that's not IBD? Oh yeah, he works for a no-name firm and gets paid less than the people he makes fun of. That must really piss him off.

Because he is the WSO protector of the weak and defender of the innocent.

Well, actually, when I see a competent person in a less "desirable" position than me, I have the wisdom to quietly tell myself, "The only difference between him and me is luck. This guy deserves my respect."

Now, B4L makes less than the folks in BB Ops, but he'd still qualify for my respect. However, I haven't seen any wisdom, competence, or respect come out of him. Hence, I have to embarass him until he stops trolling.

LOL. I always thought that B4L worked for an elite boutique. Not that gives him the right to trample anything that isnt top tier.

It is amazing how someones spiteful and jealous nature can shine through so easily on a damn blog. B4L, you have to earn your right to undermine and criticize Operations guys.

Everything > Operations > B4L, especially with regard to salary. Please do keep begrudging others though as it is mildly entertaining.

2/13/11
Situation:
IlliniProgrammer:
boutiquebank4life:

illinoisprogrammer constantly trolls for risk management.

why?

I've met a lot of smart quants who work in risk management- two of them are in my Bible study at work and I knew a few others from analytics, but I sit under a trading P&L right now.

Why does B4L troll against everything that's not IBD? Oh yeah, he works for a no-name firm and gets paid less than the people he makes fun of. That must really piss him off.

Because he is the WSO protector of the weak and defender of the innocent.

Well, actually, when I see a competent person in a less "desirable" position than me, I have the wisdom to quietly tell myself, "The only difference between him and me is luck. This guy deserves my respect."

Now, B4L makes less than the folks in BB Ops, but he'd still qualify for my respect. However, I haven't seen any wisdom, competence, or respect come out of him. Hence, I have to embarass him until he stops trolling.

LOL. I always thought that B4L worked for an elite boutique. Not that gives him the right to trample anything that isnt top tier.

It is amazing how someones spiteful and jealous nature can shine through so easily on a damn blog. B4L, you have to earn your right to undermine and criticize Operations guys.

Everything > Operations > B4L, especially with regard to salary. Please do keep begrudging others though as it is mildly entertaining.

Wait, how do you make less than ops while in FO? Is this real?

Get busy living

2/13/11

I made 150k all in last year.

2/14/11
boutiquebank4life:

I made 150k all in last year.

That's because you're a MD.

2/14/11
Situation:
boutiquebank4life:

I made 150k all in last year.

That's because you're a MD.

OK, no boutique for me.

Get busy living

2/14/11
boutiquebank4life:

I made 150k all in last year.

Have you considered upgrading your career like they say on those subway posters commuting in from the nether regions of Queens? If you go back to CUNY and get a math degree, you can work in the MO at a BB, earn a little more, and maybe be able to afford Manhattan rent. It's not too late- if you're nice, they'll take you.

Wait, how do you make less than ops while in FO? Is this real?

If you're a middle-aged guy working at a no-name boutique with no deal flow like B4L, it's entirely possible.

Financial Modeling

2/14/11

King of Opz here. Questions will probably range from what is your favorite kind of pizza to what brand acne solution you use. The closest you get to IBD when in ops is a a whiff of the young first year analysts farts as they walk by your cube..probably after they decided to venture over to the area to check out the new Ops girl who's apparently a drunken 7.

Don't waste your time.

Respectfully,
King of Opz

2/14/11

As a sophomore Ops is a good starting point. Just know, why financial services, career goals, why that bank, typical behaviour stuff and you will be fine.

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."

2/14/11

Also if you know any Microsoft Excel work such as macros and pivot tables. I know at least one BB looks for that kind of work so if you have any knowledge of in addition to the basics about the bank

2/14/11

Probably:

Can you handle an extremely boring job day after day?

Do you have experience as a clerk?

Will your self confidence dwindle from getting beat up day after day from the front office?

Do you understand that by taking this job, you serverly limit your future opportunities?

These are probably 80% of the questions you will hear...

2/14/11

Are you really serious??

2/14/11
uppereastside:

Probably:

Can you handle an extremely boring job day after day?

Do you have experience as a clerk?

Will your self confidence dwindle from getting beat up day after day from the front office?

Do you understand that by taking this job, you serverly limit your future opportunities?

These are probably 80% of the questions you will hear...

He's just being a jerkoff. They won't ask you that stuff, they will just expect you to know it. Get ready for questions about how well you work in teams and whether you are interested in moving to the front office later - which they hate.

2/14/11

I am being a jerk - but at the same time being realistic. It is important to understand what you are getting yourself into.

2/14/11

If your really lucky, and you work really hard, maybe you can get promoted to the mail room.

2/14/11

Don't go into operations thinking you can get some experience and then move into the front office.

That was my thinking and its something I am paying for right now!

2/14/11
iice74:

Don't go into operations thinking you can get some experience and then move into the front office.

That was my thinking and its something I am paying for right now!

What are you doing now?

2/14/11

I'm in OPS trying to get out!

2/14/11

Horrible

2/14/11

From my understanding, it's usually 2. Sometimes 3, depending if you have OCR.

2/14/11

Discounted Cash Bro:

From my understanding, it's usually 2. Sometimes 3, depending if you have OCR.


Thanks. Any idea what the level of proficiency with excel should be?
2/14/11

stockjock:

Discounted Cash Bro:

From my understanding, it's usually 2. Sometimes 3, depending if you have OCR.

Thanks. Any idea what the level of proficiency with excel should be?

At the SA level, pretty basic functions, you should know how to create a Pivot table. Definite bonus if you can do macros or vlookup, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY doubt they will expect that from you though.

2/14/11

Discounted Cash Bro:

stockjock:
Discounted Cash Bro:

From my understanding, it's usually 2. Sometimes 3, depending if you have OCR.

Thanks. Any idea what the level of proficiency with excel should be?

At the SA level, pretty basic functions, you should know how to create a Pivot table. Definite bonus if you can do macros or vlookup, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY doubt they will expect that from you though.


Is there a superday for Operations?
2/14/11

stockjock:

Discounted Cash Bro:
stockjock:
Discounted Cash Bro:

From my understanding, it's usually 2. Sometimes 3, depending if you have OCR.

Thanks. Any idea what the level of proficiency with excel should be?

At the SA level, pretty basic functions, you should know how to create a Pivot table. Definite bonus if you can do macros or vlookup, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY doubt they will expect that from you though.

Is there a superday for Operations?

Yes.

2/14/11

It was 2 rounds through OCR for me.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/14/11

Flake:

It was 2 rounds through OCR for me.

1st round was a dick sucking contest amirite

2/14/11

Who the fuck let you out? Get back in the bullpen. Your associate said you fucked up the font on slide 47.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/14/11

Flake:

Who the fuck let you out? Get back in the bullpen. Your associate said you fucked up the font on slide 47.

LOL umad

2/14/11

The details should be in the initial application. The functions are explained on the website. You just aren't looking hard enough or aren't smart enough to notice. Look at the divisions listed on the application, then check out the website. It WILL be there.

Had several ops interviews myself as an undergrad.

2/14/11

Basically all fit questions, expect ethics questions as well.

2/14/11

The toughest questions at my BB ops interview were as follows:

- What's your favorite color?
- Do you have a belly button? Explain.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

2/14/11

Remember to tie your shoes and breathe through your nose.

I'm only half kidding; ops can mean a pretty wide range of of jobs ranging from the miserable to the not-half-bad. We'd need a whole lot more detail before we can pass judgment on you.

2/14/11

I just found myself in the same situation. My background is commercial banking and international treasury, and my HH landed this interview for me tomorrow. Would this be a legit role to give me a foot in the door?

Risk mitigation, ensure economic trade details are booked correctly in risk systems post trade execution. Create, manage and own close relationships and partnerships with business partners and external clients.
Deliver client service excellence through consistent, proactive and professional communication.
Close interaction with experts from various teams such as wider Operation teams, Technology, and sales/trading to resolve issues. This role will involve a large amount of facilitation and negotiation.
Work closely with other team members and management to achieve both industry and internal targets.
Demonstrate strong technical and Industry knowledge around Commodities including workflows, procedures and systems.
Develop and implement strategic changes to re-engineer processes and reduce risk surrounding the function.
Get actively involved with idea generation and implementation of creating efficiencies within the team to support regulatory changes as well as new client and business requirements.
Directly interact with the Firm's clients both internally and externally to mitigate risk for the firm and our client base.
Ensure that processes are continually reviewed and improved, risk is managed, and results are achieved that meet expectations for timeliness, quality and cost effectiveness within the Department.

2/14/11

Although I find the concept of generating revenue for the firm exciting, I think one gets a better understanding of the intracies across all of the lines of business in a back office position. This allows you to develop a broader skill set which will no doubt prove invaluable in the future. Or some other variation of this bs. Good luck!

2/14/11

Slickmac gave you a good answer. I guess you could probably also talk about how you might like to be in a more "supportive" type role, relative to the entire firm. Depending on your previous experience/employment, you might have some good stories to tell about being in a similar role. Good luck.

2/14/11

just got audited...f'n pain in the ass

2/14/11

what if they follow up with "do you ever want to be in FO?"

2/14/11

Well I feel like this is a really exciting time in my career to be able to gain as much exposure to the financial industry as possible. One of the things I'm really looking for is the opportunity to take on as much responsibility as possible and I feel that is something I can really do in a division like Operations where all the heavy lifting is done (they love the heavy lifting comment, read: FO does all the glamorous work but ops is really where the 'real' work gets done)

Do you ever want to be in FO?

Id modify above response to: great time in my career to learn/take on responsibility, ops- heavy lifting, learn alot over next 3-5 years, go to business school, learn more(optional), reflect on my experiences and determine where I could really see myself in the future.

edit: id be weary of saying you dont want to be in FO, cuz its pretty obvious everyone would rather work in FO including your interviewer but couldnt get there for whatever reason... more money, more prestigious, better opportunities... etc... Just admit that you dont know enough to map exactly what you want to do for the next 40 years... and make sure all your decisions sound well thought out and intelligent.

2/14/11

i already got dinged from 3 ops interviews because they think im too smart for the positions and that i'll up and run when given the opportunity. the one line i heard in all 3 interviews was "i think you'll be bored."

2/14/11

That is bullshit. I can't believe they actually used that line. What they are saying is that you don't sound like your interested in Ops. Try to sound more passionate. Also try to explore other alternatives on Wall Street, especially if you are "too smart" for ops (I guarantee you are....)

Good luck

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2/14/11
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