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3/12/15

Mod note (Andy): Throwback Thursday, this post originally went up on 6/4/12.

Andy note: some of the quotes below were published on CNBC / Yahoo awhile back: Want This Job? 'Let Me Sleep With Your Girlfriend', also check out WSO's response to their article

---------------------------------

This thread got me thinking... Interviewees: what is the hardest / most nerve-wracking question you ever got asked in an interview, how did you handle it, and what was the end result?

Interviewers: what is the hardest / most nerve-wracking question you ever asked in an interview, how did the interviewer handle it, and what was the end result?

Did you ask it just to see how they would respond (ie all that mattered was that he/she gave a good effort / didn't get flustered)? OR did you ask it to actually see his/her knowledge and/or intelligence?

mod (Andy) note: hope I never have an interview with Blackhat...

BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to f*ck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a f*ckin' deer in the headlights.

Interview Coming Up? Be Prepared.

Comments (298)

In reply to Will Hunting
Best Response
6/5/12
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My response would be: "Is that a risk you're willing to take? I mean, how do you know I'm not into fat chicks?"

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6/4/12

Where are you from? I didn't realize I was actually supposed to give them an elevator pitch.

6/4/12

Q: Do you view this as your dream career?
A: Yes.
Q: If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career?
A: Silence.

In reply to Dank Nugs
6/4/12
Dank Nugs:

Q: Do you view this as your dream career?
A: Yes.
Q: If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career?
A: Silence.

lol... eventually you said something, what was it?

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

6/4/12

Hmm..from a job interview for a GS analyst position: "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/30/job-inter...

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

6/4/12

If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?

6/4/12

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

- Schopenhauer

6/4/12

How did being a bullying victim during high school shape the way you viewed the world? (among other similar questions)
- Bridgewater

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

6/4/12

What is your number? (as in what amount of money I would need for retirement)

In reply to chicandtoughness
6/4/12
chicandtoughness:

How did being a bullying victim during high school shape the way you viewed the world? (among other similar questions)
- Bridgewater

That's rather presumptuous, lol...Sure says something about the candidate...

6/4/12

How about...

Q. Where do you want to be in 5 years

A. Your bosses, bosses, bosses job

In reply to ItsJustNumbers
6/4/12
ItsJustNumbers:

How about...

Q. Where do you want to be in 5 years

A. Your bosses, bosses, bosses job

A. Retired

6/4/12

In.

The difference between successful people and others is largely a habit - a controlled habit of doing every task better, faster and more efficiently.

6/4/12

What makes a good company? What makes a bad one? Why is X a bad company?

6/4/12

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

"Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill you. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

6/4/12

"From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?"

I honestly don't know how I would answer this. The true answer is probably yes, but I'd be afraid to be so forward in case thats not what theyd want to hear.

6/4/12

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

I hate victims who respect their executioners

In reply to Will Hunting
6/4/12
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I don't know the background behind this question, but from just this excerpt...

If someone had the balls to ask you this, he must have thought pretty lowly of you.

6/4/12

What's your greatest weakness?

If I had one I wouldn't want to tell my interviewer. It's such a BS question that only HR asks the question. For me at least, it's always tough answering it with a straight face.

In reply to Dank Nugs
6/4/12
Dank Nugs:

Q: Do you view this as your dream career?
A: Yes.
Q: If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career?
A: Silence.

Oh Jesus

6/4/12

Q: "What's your outlook for US cucumber prices over the course of 2012?"
A: ..................

6/4/12

What changes would you make if you were the CEO of [firm I'm interviewing at]?

In reply to David Aames
6/4/12
David Aames:

Hmm..from a job interview for a GS analyst position: "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/30/job-inter...

Really brilliant question, given that you happen to be in the market for lateral thinking kinesiologists. Bravo, Goldman.

Actual questions I've received:
What is your beta?
Tell me the one line on your resume that demonstrates best why you would be great for this job.
Tell us something interesting about you that would surprise us.
One bond has an 8% coupon and a 10% current yield, the other has a 10% coupon and an 8% current yield. Which bond is cheaper?
Tell me a joke that is not racist or sexist.

I heard of one BB interview (perhaps an urban legend) conducted in a hotel room where the windows didn't open. The interviewers (two) said "Jeez, it's hot in here, you mind opening that window?" and the interviewee went wild and through his chair through the window. I hope it's true. Even if it's not I'll pretend it is.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

In reply to Will Hunting
6/4/12
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Me: I'd offer you my sister.

In reply to SFTechUES
6/4/12
SFTechUES:

Q: "What's your outlook for US cucumber prices over the course of 2012?"
A: ..................

A: Well, it seems I am in a pickle.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

In reply to kidflash
6/4/12
kidflash:
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I don't know the background behind this question, but from just this excerpt...

If someone had the balls to ask you this, he must have thought pretty lowly of you.

Someone has never been on a desk before... You don't need to know the context-- any candidate can LBO on a fucking napkin... It's more about who is chill and will be able to kick it on the desk.

6/4/12

What would your entrance theme be if you were a pro wrestler.

You're born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you're up in the rarefied atmosphere and you've forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake, son.

6/4/12

Interview with MS in Singapore:

Q: You're going to be working 110 hour weeks here, can you even handle that?

In reply to SFTechUES
6/4/12
SFTechUES:
kidflash:
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I don't know the background behind this question, but from just this excerpt...

If someone had the balls to ask you this, he must have thought pretty lowly of you.

Someone has never been on a desk before... You don't need to know the context-- any candidate can LBO on a fucking napkin... It's more about who is chill and will be able to kick it on the desk.

So basically what you're saying is you'd let other dudes fuck your girl just so you can "kick" it with them.

In reply to Will Hunting
6/4/12
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Me: "She doesn't do charity work, sorry!"

In reply to goodL1fe
6/4/12
goodL1fe:
SFTechUES:

Q: "What's your outlook for US cucumber prices over the course of 2012?"
A: ..................

A: Well, it seems I am in a pickle.

IMO this answer is pretty bad ass. You could even take it further. "I don't relish the fact that your question leaves me in quite a pickle." If the person asking isn't completely smug then there is no way they couldn't laugh a little bit.

In reply to Nefarious-
6/4/12
Nefarious-:

What would your entrance theme be if you were a pro wrestler.

This is one I've actually thought about before. I think this might be my entrance tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPOQE_LUESs

6/4/12

"Why don't you have any offers yet? What's wrong with you?"

6/4/12

Interviewer: Do you always wear jorts to an interview?

Me: Doesn't everybody?

In reply to luccabananas
6/4/12
luccabananas:
SFTechUES:
kidflash:
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I don't know the background behind this question, but from just this excerpt...

If someone had the balls to ask you this, he must have thought pretty lowly of you.

Someone has never been on a desk before... You don't need to know the context-- any candidate can LBO on a fucking napkin... It's more about who is chill and will be able to kick it on the desk.

So basically what you're saying is you'd let other dudes fuck your girl just so you can "kick" it with them.

You over analyzed it and ultimately did what the interviewer set out to do-- see if you have a personality. The point is technicals are usually seamlessly answered or not expected to be answered... therefore, behavioral questions are the bread/butter where one can see if you have a sense of humor or can carry a conversation... that person's answer satisfies that fact that you can take a joke without breaking a sweat and ideally fire back with one..

6/4/12

Interesting to see these responses-seem to be mainly fit oriented and not math/technical based which seems is a reflection of the majority of this board to be focused on the IB/advisory side.

Here's four tough ones I've gotten-all for top firms

1. When would the price of a call option decrease as the price of the stock increases?

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

3. Suppose f(t) is a continuously once-differentiable strictly decreasing positive function for all t >= 0 . Must the derivative f'(t) = 0 as t approaches infinity? Why?

4. Given a polynomial function Sum of (a of n)*x^n from 0 to n-if you give me a number I can give you what the polynomial equals. In how few numbers can you figure out each constant a of n ?

The hardest interivew problems I've gotten haven't been for finance but for aero. eng.

In reply to solb22
6/4/12
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

I have to know, does anyone have a strategy?

In reply to SFTechUES
6/4/12
SFTechUES:

Q: "What's your outlook for US cucumber prices over the course of 2012?"
A: ..................

up. dee dee dee.

In reply to Honthro
6/4/12
Honthro:
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

I have to know, does anyone have a strategy?

Haha ill let this sit for a day before I let you know the answer. Lets see how many WSO monkeys it takes to save 100 prisoners.

All the prisoners meet up before to discuss a strategy. Afterwards there is no passing of information at all.

6/4/12

"What do you think of this room"

@JustinDDuBois
WSO Company Database | Job Board

6/5/12

Luca you are real close! You said that prisoner #1 should step back after seeing paper number 28 in box one and let prisoner # 28 go.

Instead of switching a prisoner-what else can you switch? Where should prisoner #1 check next?

A little hint: the prisoner will check boxes based off the info he has up to that point. You are on the right track

In reply to solb22
6/5/12
solb22:
Honthro:
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

I have to know, does anyone have a strategy?

Haha ill let this sit for a day before I let you know the answer. Lets see how many WSO monkeys it takes to save 100 prisoners.

All the prisoners meet up before to discuss a strategy. Afterwards there is no passing of information at all.

I'll take a stab at it.

I would have prisoner #1 open box #1. If the box contained say #28 this information would be communicated to him. Prisoner #1 would then close the box and move back in line. Prisoner #28 would open the box #1 to find his number.

Now prisoner #1 has opened a box so he now has 49 additional tries. I would keep repeating the same method until he was down until the last try. The next available prisoner in line would continue with the process with an additional 50 tries.

Of course this is all assuming the prisoners would be able to communicate with each other and they don't have to open 50 boxes consecutively. If that's the case then my explanation above is flawed.

6/5/12

Two situational ones, not the hardest around, but something to think about:

1) Two MDs come to you with a deliverable each for their high-level, equally important, clients. That shit needs to be done in 10 minutes. Problem is, it takes 10 minutes to get each deliverable done. The other members of the team can't help, they're busy as hell. What do you do?

* Btw, trying to squeeze it in 5 minutes each is impossible.

2) You, the new guy, get tasked with bringing 3 copies of a deck to a client meeting. Being the forgetful dunce you are, you drive to the meeting place only to realize you forgot to pack that in the car. Meeting's in 5 minutes, you've got no time to jet back. What do you tell your MD?

6/5/12

what beta would you use when valuing the target company in a cross-border valuation.

6/5/12

Most of my interviews were fairly standard. Two questions; however, were particularly memorable:

1) On a scale of one to ten, with one being normal and ten being weird, how weird are you? (DB Associate)

2) What line on your resume is the most bullshit? (UBS MD)

When one man, for whatever reason, has an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.

In reply to BanditPandit
6/5/12
BanditPandit:

1) Two MDs come to you with a deliverable each for their high-level, equally important, clients. That shit needs to be done in 10 minutes. Problem is, it takes 10 minutes to get each deliverable done. The other members of the team can't help, they're busy as hell. What do you do?

What would be an appropriate (and/or clever) answer to this?

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

In reply to kidflash
6/5/12
kidflash:
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I don't know the background behind this question, but from just this excerpt...

If someone had the balls to ask you this, he must have thought pretty lowly of you.

My answer: who the fuck you think you are?

In reply to BlackHat
6/5/12
BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

What did he say next? Did the kid get the job?

6/5/12

One time I asked an interviewee what my name was a few minutes into the interview. Ding.

In reply to olafenizer
6/5/12
olafenizer:
Will Hunting:

From GS:
Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My response would be: "Is that a risk you're willing to take? I mean, how do you know I'm not into fat chicks?"

+1

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

6/5/12

1. Q - What single word would you use to describe yourself so that I don't walk out of here and forget you?
A - Unforgettable.

2. Q - If going to the gym three times per week for one hour for the rest of my life increases my total life expectancy by five years, is it worth doing?

There are tons of lines you can take on this, what would you guys say?

In reply to DrPeterVenkman
6/5/12
DrPeterVenkman:
BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

What did he say next? Did the kid get the job?

He didn't answer, he just sat there staring at us like we just told him he had terminal cancer. Dead silent for about an entire minute... then my partner in the interview asks him if he has any questions for us, he says no and we shake hands with the poor kid and leave. Hilarious, but kinda terrifying if you're the interviewee...

Ding!

I hate victims who respect their executioners

In reply to BlackHat
6/5/12
BlackHat:
DrPeterVenkman:
BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

What did he say next? Did the kid get the job?

He didn't answer, he just sat there staring at us like we just told him he had terminal cancer. Dead silent for about an entire minute... then my partner in the interview asks him if he has any questions for us, he says no and we shake hands with the poor kid and leave. Hilarious, but kinda terrifying if you're the interviewee...

Ding!

you'd be a damn good interrogator

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

PM me if you're traveling to Buenos Aires in 2016 (I live here) :-)

6/5/12

Direct me turn-by-turn from your house to this office

6/5/12

Was asked by a Quant Executive at a BB:

"Whats your philosophy on fitting polynomial functions to statistical data sets? Would you aim for a lower order polynomial to ensure monotonicity or fit to a higher order polynomial to fit the raw data?"

I had no idea how to answer this question, I was interviewing for a Risk internship. I sat stunned for a few moments and told him that I had no idea, but I was a big picture guy. Made it through to second rounds.

In reply to Will Hunting
6/5/12
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

"I've been with my girlfriend for three years, love her, and plan to marry her. If you so much kissed her neck, I'd fucking knock you out. That being said, I have a beautiful sister I'd be happy to hook you up with..."

6/5/12

While these questions are not particularly hard, they are two of my favorite technical questions to see if you really understand your basic technicals. While they might not seem hard at face value, during the middle of a super day when the pressure is on you can see how they might get screwed up....

Question 1:

Q: While looking at a company's Income Statement, you notice that it reports three consecutive years of increasing net income just before it declares bankruptcy. What are some plausible scenarios that could explain this?

A: The key is that CAPEX and inventories are not expensed on the income statement until they are depreciated or accounted for as COGS. Therefore, a plausible solution is that the company overinvested in PPE and inventory (or they have a bunch of inventory they cannot sell) or both. A good follow up question is: how could you confirm this on the balance sheet/SofCF? Growing A/P and PPE....stuff like that.

Question 2:

Q: Show a piece of paper with Company A and Company B. For each company you have given three ratios: P/E, TEV/EBIT, and TEV/EBITDA and you ask if any of the numbers look suspicious.

A: For one of the companies you make the EBITDA ratio bigger than the EBIT ratio, which, of course is impossible. Extra points if the candidate points out that while the EBITDA ratio cannot be larger than the EBIT ratio, if the company had no Dep or Amort they could theoretically be equal.

I like those questions because they make you think about you technicals and not just spit something out that you have memorized like "Walk me through a DCF...."

In reply to couchy
6/5/12
couchy:

what beta would you use when valuing the target company in a cross-border valuation.

Interested to know this answer....

In reply to solb22
6/5/12
solb22:

Luca you are real close! You said that prisoner #1 should step back after seeing paper number 28 in box one and let prisoner # 28 go.

Instead of switching a prisoner-what else can you switch? Where should prisoner #1 check next?

A little hint: the prisoner will check boxes based off the info he has up to that point. You are on the right track

If the prisoner opens the first box and sees paper # 28, he can go to the 28th box to let all the prisoners know paper #28 is in box #1

In reply to BanditPandit
6/5/12
BanditPandit:

Two situational ones, not the hardest around, but something to think about:

1) Two MDs come to you with a deliverable each for their high-level, equally important, clients. That shit needs to be done in 10 minutes. Problem is, it takes 10 minutes to get each deliverable done. The other members of the team can't help, they're busy as hell. What do you do?

I would do the one that adds the most value to the firm, not the one that I think I can do best.

In reply to Clever Name
6/5/12
Clever Name:

Most of my interviews were fairly standard. Two questions; however, were particularly memorable:

2) What line on your resume is the most bullshit? (UBS MD)

No way hahha

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation +

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews.

6/5/12

Very last question at my interview yesterday
Interviewer: Do you have an good jokes?
Me... Is this a joke? ... lol
Interviewer: lol no...
Me....

6/5/12

For a cross-border valuation, I would use a Beta derived from the location of the target company. Since I assume this is leading up to a DCF - which is an intrinsic valuation - you want the Ke and therefore the WACC to reflect the risk of where that company does business.

In reply to FormerHornetDriver
6/5/12
FormerHornetDriver:

For a cross-border valuation, I would use a Beta derived from the location of the target company. Since I assume this is leading up to a DCF - which is an intrinsic valuation - you want the Ke and therefore the WACC to reflect the risk of where that company does business.

But where specifically are you getting that Beta?

6/5/12

Since Beta measures the rate of return of an asset compared to the rate of return of a portfolio, you would have to find an appropriate portfolio of assets for comparison. For example, a Canadian company's stock performance can be compared to others in a Canadian Index just like many equity betas for American companied measure performance in relation to something like the S&P 500 or Russell 2000.

If you are looking to value a company in Nigeria, it would be a little harder as I do not know if any kind of index or benchmark exists. The key with a DCF is that you want to compare apples to apples. This related to a very common interview question (and this is for a generic valuation, not cross border): Explain why you use the target's WACC as the discount rate in a DCF and not the Aquirer....

6/5/12

Recently got grilled on structural subordination, dividend lock-up covenants, restructurings but would have to say the hardest to give a satisfying answer to was when I was asked "how do I know you're smart?" Other than referencing test scores I struggled to give an answer...

"After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper

In reply to Unforseen
6/5/12
Unforseen:
solb22:

Luca you are real close! You said that prisoner #1 should step back after seeing paper number 28 in box one and let prisoner # 28 go.

Instead of switching a prisoner-what else can you switch? Where should prisoner #1 check next?

A little hint: the prisoner will check boxes based off the info he has up to that point. You are on the right track

If the prisoner opens the first box and sees paper # 28, he can go to the 28th box to let all the prisoners know paper #28 is in box #1

The prisoners aren't in the room with him-but you're answer is still right. Can you figure out why?

Prisoner #1 goes to the box with his number on it first (#1) which has a paper that says 28. He then goes to box 28-which has a piece of paper that says 17. So he then goes to box 17. He repeats this 50 times.

Why is this the optimal strategy? THINK. I'll post the answer to the other ones later tongiht

In reply to BlackHat
6/5/12
BlackHat:

He didn't answer, he just sat there staring at us like we just told him he had terminal cancer. Dead silent for about an entire minute... then my partner in the interview asks him if he has any questions for us, he says no and we shake hands with the poor kid and leave. Hilarious, but kinda terrifying if you're the interviewee...

Ding!

Wow. I can't believe he didn't say anything though. Kinda weird.

In reply to WACC-o
6/5/12

Was asked by a Quant Executive at a BB:

"Whats your philosophy on fitting polynomial functions to statistical data sets? Would you aim for a lower order polynomial to ensure monotonicity or fit to a higher order polynomial to fit the raw data?"

I had no idea how to answer this question, I was interviewing for a Risk internship. I sat stunned for a few moments and told him that I had no idea, but I was a big picture guy. Made it through to second rounds.

Lower - Long term
Higher - Short term - Few sec interval.

I would be very caustious about useing just polynomial functions though

my 2c

In reply to FormerHornetDriver
6/5/12
FormerHornetDriver:

Since Beta measures the rate of return of an asset compared to the rate of return of a portfolio, you would have to find an appropriate portfolio of assets for comparison. For example, a Canadian company's stock performance can be compared to others in a Canadian Index just like many equity betas for American companied measure performance in relation to something like the S&P 500 or Russell 2000.

If you are looking to value a company in Nigeria, it would be a little harder as I do not know if any kind of index or benchmark exists. The key with a DCF is that you want to compare apples to apples. This related to a very common interview question (and this is for a generic valuation, not cross border): Explain why you use the target's WACC as the discount rate in a DCF and not the Aquirer....

Whoops yours question is actually what I meant to write, what beta do you use in a cross border merger?
It's pretty tricky and the answer is both are important, but for the valuation portion, you use the targets beta because it's beta reflects its riskiness profile.

Right after however, you need to do a dcf or npv analysis ( depending on size of target ) of purchasing the target and receiving its cash flows and synergies, which gives you the acquirers value perspective and value of synergies.

But for cross border valuation, I think the other guy was wondering how do you value a global company in several countries. That's actually another trick question as it depends if you are doing sum of the parts or just valuing the entire company. And if you are valuing the entire company, there are several ways you can come up with a beta.

So bottom line is, dcfs are major bullshit

6/5/12

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

6/5/12

Interviewer: "Tell me something interesting."
Me: "about the tech industry?"
Interviewer: "about anything"
Me: "oh okay, I'll tell you about my spring break last year..."

got the offer

6/5/12
In reply to TheKing
6/5/12
TheKing:

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

Probably something similar to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQuYgbOTwQ4

I hate victims who respect their executioners

In reply to TheCity
6/5/12
TheCity:

2. Q - If going to the gym three times per week for one hour for the rest of my life increases my total life expectancy by five years, is it worth doing?

There are tons of lines you can take on this, what would you guys say?

Depends on how long the rest of your life is. Assuming a constant 3hrs per week and a 5 year benefit:
(3*52)L = (5*52*7*24)
156L = 43,680
L = 280

If you are going to live for less than 280 years from the moment you start going to the gym then you should do it.

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art - Andy Warhol

In reply to TheKing
6/5/12
TheKing:

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

I would consider anything other than a roundhouse kick to the face as an autoding.

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art - Andy Warhol

In reply to TheKing
6/5/12
TheKing:

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

Samurai sword from his/her face to groin in order to prevent an open casket funeral-boom roasted

In reply to Will Hunting
6/5/12
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I'm the only one who feels the warmth between my girl's legs.

However, if you can convert my lesbian cousin, she's all yours.

In reply to Babbabooey
6/6/12
Babbabooey:
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I'm the only one who feels the warmth between my girl's legs.

However, if you can convert my lesbian cousin, she's all yours.

Least funny thing I have ever read.

"Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill you. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

6/6/12

At 4th interviewer of my superday the other week the guy was completely fucking with me

"Why do we have license plates"

And just super philosophical questions that were off the wall. I was just kinda BS'ing with him not really attempting to answer but hold a conversation. We went past schedule, he looks at his watch, picks up the phone and rings another MD "Bob come get 'em he's sweatin bullets in here!!" and they both bust out laughing on the phone

In reply to solb22
6/6/12
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

In addition to alternating the prisoners turns, they could switch the paper in each box, for example if prisoner #1 found #28 in box #1 he'd replace the number in box #28 with the number 28, that will increase the chances of others finding their numbers assuming they are able to communicate.

I'm trying to figure out how #1 can increase his chances if they weren't able to alternate or communicate, probabilities maybe?

6/6/12

As an interviewee: I had an interview at a hedge fund where the interviewer would reply with "wrong" to essentially everything i said. The majority of the time he probably didn't even listen to what I said. Most of the questions were tough because they were open-ended i.e. what do you think about the power markets?

As an interviewer: My toughest questions would be when a kid would say that they have a passion for investing. Without fail, i would ask them what they invest in and why. It doesn't sound like a tough question, but i never got a good answer (this was undergrad kids for analyst / summer analyst banking roles). None of the kids were able to formulate with they invested in the companies they owned. I also never expected to get a good answer so it didn't necessarily hurt their chances, but i think it hurt their confidence since they realized they had no idea.

In reply to BlackHat
6/6/12
BlackHat:
DrPeterVenkman:
BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

What did he say next? Did the kid get the job?

He didn't answer, he just sat there staring at us like we just told him he had terminal cancer. Dead silent for about an entire minute... then my partner in the interview asks him if he has any questions for us, he says no and we shake hands with the poor kid and leave. Hilarious, but kinda terrifying if you're the interviewee...

Ding!

Seems a little amateurish on your team's part. What were you trying to achieve?
I don't use any of these hazing / BS type questions, but we only hire experienced people at our firm.

In reply to TheKing
6/6/12

TheKing:
"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

Definitely the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique:

In reply to Relinquis
6/6/12
Relinquis:
BlackHat:
DrPeterVenkman:
BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

What did he say next? Did the kid get the job?

He didn't answer, he just sat there staring at us like we just told him he had terminal cancer. Dead silent for about an entire minute... then my partner in the interview asks him if he has any questions for us, he says no and we shake hands with the poor kid and leave. Hilarious, but kinda terrifying if you're the interviewee...

Ding!

Seems a little amateurish on your team's part. What were you trying to achieve?
I don't use any of these hazing / BS type questions, but we only hire experienced people at our firm.

We hired straight from IB, and as such had a pretty IB-esque, and perfectly put by you, amateur culture. I hated that place not because of the fact that they regularly pulled shit like this, but because they did it for essentially no reason. I'm not sure what answer would have made him a better candidate than someone else, though I know my answer would have immediately been "I'm straight, sir."

I hate victims who respect their executioners

In reply to seabird
6/6/12

"Dont compromise yourself; you're all you've got" - Janis Joplin

6/6/12

One of my personal favourites... "Tell me about your last thursday night?"

Not from personal experience but have heard of a few unique scenarios.

1) Interviewer - Please take a seat. (with no chair within close proximity)

2) Candidate stated he enjoyed meeting new people so the interviewer sent him to the trading floor where he could was to spend the next hour introducing himself to everyone.

6/6/12

This actually happened during my first FT interview after college.

interviewer - Do you think you're funny?
me - Yes, I think I have a pretty good sense of humor.
interviewer - Ok funny guy, tell me a joke.
me - Uhh... Two peanuts were walking down the street, when all of a sudden, one was asSALTed.
interviewer - .........
me - Get it? asSALTed? Because he's a peanut?
interviewer - .......

got the job. turned it down though.

In reply to BlackHat
6/6/12
BlackHat:
Relinquis:
BlackHat:
DrPeterVenkman:
BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

What did he say next? Did the kid get the job?

He didn't answer, he just sat there staring at us like we just told him he had terminal cancer. Dead silent for about an entire minute... then my partner in the interview asks him if he has any questions for us, he says no and we shake hands with the poor kid and leave. Hilarious, but kinda terrifying if you're the interviewee...

Ding!

Seems a little amateurish on your team's part. What were you trying to achieve?
I don't use any of these hazing / BS type questions, but we only hire experienced people at our firm.

We hired straight from IB, and as such had a pretty IB-esque, and perfectly put by you, amateur culture. I hated that place not because of the fact that they regularly pulled shit like this, but because they did it for essentially no reason. I'm not sure what answer would have made him a better candidate than someone else, though I know my answer would have immediately been "I'm straight, sir."

haha... good comeback/answer.

In reply to movingin
6/6/12
movingin:
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

You can't switch the papers in the boxes-thats the point. And again no switching of information

In addition to alternating the prisoners turns, they could switch the paper in each box, for example if prisoner #1 found #28 in box #1 he'd replace the number in box #28 with the number 28, that will increase the chances of others finding their numbers assuming they are able to communicate.

I'm trying to figure out how #1 can increase his chances if they weren't able to alternate or communicate, probabilities maybe?

In reply to oreos
6/6/12
Oreos:

Recently got grilled on structural subordination, dividend lock-up covenants, restructurings but would have to say the hardest to give a satisfying answer to was when I was asked "how do I know you're smart?" Other than referencing test scores I struggled to give an answer...

I'd probably say "because I applied to work at your firm" but then again I doubt I'd have the balls during an interview. Depends on how it was going.

In reply to solb22
6/6/12
solb22:
movingin:

In addition to alternating the prisoners turns, they could switch the paper in each box, for example if prisoner #1 found #28 in box #1 he'd replace the number in box #28 with the number 28, that will increase the chances of others finding their numbers assuming they are able to communicate.

I'm trying to figure out how #1 can increase his chances if they weren't able to alternate or communicate, probabilities maybe?

You can't switch the papers in the boxes-thats the point. And again no switching of information

I've done this riddle before (as part of a programming seminar, actually). I think the key here is to think of the minimum case- what is the situation in which it requires exactly 50 tries to find your number, and how do you ensure that all prisoners can do it that same way?

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

In reply to chicandtoughness
6/6/12
chicandtoughness:
solb22:
movingin:

In addition to alternating the prisoners turns, they could switch the paper in each box, for example if prisoner #1 found #28 in box #1 he'd replace the number in box #28 with the number 28, that will increase the chances of others finding their numbers assuming they are able to communicate.

I'm trying to figure out how #1 can increase his chances if they weren't able to alternate or communicate, probabilities maybe?

You can't switch the papers in the boxes-thats the point. And again no switching of information

I've done this riddle before (as part of a programming seminar, actually). I think the key here is to think of the minimum case- what is the situation in which it requires exactly 50 tries to find your number, and how do you ensure that all prisoners can do it that same way?

There is no way to ensure you find your number. There are 100 boxes (all numbered) that contain pieces of paper that are also all numbered. You only have 50 tries. So if you check randomly-you have a 50% chance of finding your number. The chance all of you find your number is (1/2)^100. So you need to devise a better strategy.

Because there is no passing of information and you can't switch numbers-everyone is going to use the same strategy.

The answer is the following: Lets say you are prisoner #1, you check box #1 first. That box has paper #28. So you check box number 28-and this box has paper # 12. So you go to box #12 and so on.

Why is this the best strategy. Well what you are basically doing is hoping there is no cycle with a length greater than 50.

Cycles or loops are hard to imagine with such a big number, so lets make 3 boxes. How can you construct a loop with length 2? Put paper 2 in box 1 and paper 1 in box 2 and paper 3 in box 3. Here we get a loop of length 0 and 2. What about length 3? Put paper 2 in box 1, paper 3 in box 2 and paper 1 in box 3. Is this the only way to get a length of 3?

Well I won't prove this here-but it should be pretty easy for anyone to prove that probability of having a length n is just 1/n. It's not intuitive-but it can be proved pretty easily. IllinoisP why don't you run these kids through it since I know you value STEM as much as myself. You can use permutations, or if you're really bold-higher order levi-civita notation.

So the final answer, or probability of you getting your paper is the probability of there existing no cycle with a length greater than 50. This is just the sum of 1/n from 50 to 100.

Soooooo...our probability o surviving is 1-sum (1/n) from 50 to 100. We can approximate this sum with an integral and get 1-ln(2), or about 31% !!

For those who aren't impressed or as appreciative of statistics-consider this. If each prisoner checked randomly, the probability of survival would be (1/2)^100. With this new strategy-the new probability of survival is now 31%. That's a markup on the order of 10^29!

6/6/12

If I don't know the answer to a brainteaser, I just take my pants off. I guarantee you the brainteaser won't be why you got dinged.

I hate victims who respect their executioners

6/6/12

During my last interview of the day I was asked to name everyone I spoke to since entering the building.

In reply to solb22
6/6/12
solb22:
chicandtoughness:

I've done this riddle before (as part of a programming seminar, actually). I think the key here is to think of the minimum case- what is the situation in which it requires exactly 50 tries to find your number, and how do you ensure that all prisoners can do it that same way?

There is no way to ensure you find your number. There are 100 boxes (all numbered) that contain pieces of paper that are also all numbered. You only have 50 tries. So if you check randomly-you have a 50% chance of finding your number. The chance all of you find your number is (1/2)^100. So you need to devise a better strategy.

The answer is the following: Lets say you are prisoner #1, you check box #1 first. That box has paper #28. So you check box number 28-and this box has paper # 12. So you go to box #12 and so on.

Why is this the best strategy. Well what you are basically doing is hoping there is no cycle with a length greater than 50.

That's not my solution, but I also didn't see the constraint that switching of papers within the boxes are not allowed. My bad. In the case of paper-switching, however, you could ensure two cycles of length 50 so that everyone is guaranteed to live. Regardless, a great brainteaser, and thank goodness I was never asked it during an interview.

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

In reply to jack_donaghy
6/6/12
jack_donaghy:

During my last interview of the day I was asked to name everyone I spoke to since entering the building.

I've gotten this too. Let's just say that I'm horrible with names.

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

6/6/12

I'm amazed at some of these questions, some of these are intense, some downright psychotic. Maybe i'll start asking harder questions when hiring new interns :)
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/nothing-to-do-...

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

PM me if you're traveling to Buenos Aires in 2016 (I live here) :-)

6/6/12

I'm glad that I'm past the brain teaser part of my career...

In reply to Dank Nugs
6/7/12
Dank Nugs:

Q: Do you view this as your dream career?
A: Yes.
Q: If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career?
A: Silence.

Use your heads. Just spin it off and say you'd have to carefully evaluate your situation at the time and the atmosphere of the conditions at the time. Say you have no intention of switching sides in the slightest but if the conditions on the sell side are sub-par, you would obviously change jobs..

In reply to solb22
6/7/12
solb22:

.
2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

this is pretty easy. assume they can all communicate with each other. send one guy to count 49 boxes. as he's counting them, shout out the number inside and let the commensurate prisoner come and claim it. now you're left with 51 boxes, and do the same thing with another unclaimed prisoner. After his 49 boxes, you'll have two left, and the two remaining prisoners can figure it out on their own

In reply to dwight schrute
6/7/12
dwight schrute:
TheCity:

2. Q - If going to the gym three times per week for one hour for the rest of my life increases my total life expectancy by five years, is it worth doing?

There are tons of lines you can take on this, what would you guys say?

Depends on how long the rest of your life is. Assuming a constant 3hrs per week and a 5 year benefit:
(3*52)L = (5*52*7*24)
156L = 43,680
L = 280

If you are going to live for less than 280 years from the moment you start going to the gym then you should do it.

That is certainly one line you could take. I took the personal preferences and utility approach - it depends on the opportunity cost of those three hours per week. If you gain more utility from money than health, then the three hours each week are better spent working (assuming an hourly wage or increased bonus as result of increased working hours). If you have higher personal preference for health than money, then it is worth doing, according to the algebraeic approach you have given.

In reply to TheCity
6/8/12
TheCity:
dwight schrute:
TheCity:

2. Q - If going to the gym three times per week for one hour for the rest of my life increases my total life expectancy by five years, is it worth doing?

There are tons of lines you can take on this, what would you guys say?

Depends on how long the rest of your life is. Assuming a constant 3hrs per week and a 5 year benefit:
(3*52)L = (5*52*7*24)
156L = 43,680
L = 280

If you are going to live for less than 280 years from the moment you start going to the gym then you should do it.

That is certainly one line you could take. I took the personal preferences and utility approach - it depends on the opportunity cost of those three hours per week. If you gain more utility from money than health, then the three hours each week are better spent working (assuming an hourly wage or increased bonus as result of increased working hours). If you have higher personal preference for health than money, then it is worth doing, according to the algebraeic approach you have given.

Yeah I suppose that would work. Probably the most "complete" answer would involve inserting your personal utility into my equation somehow. With this question, they're trying to see your thinking process so any intelligible response would suffice.

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art - Andy Warhol

In reply to BuyersRemorse
6/10/12
BuyersRemorse:
chicandtoughness:

How did being a bullying victim during high school shape the way you viewed the world? (among other similar questions)
- Bridgewater

That's rather presumptuous, lol...Sure says something about the candidate...

Or says something about the interviewer, depending on how the interview went

In reply to chicandtoughness
6/10/12
chicandtoughness:
BanditPandit:

1) Two MDs come to you with a deliverable each for their high-level, equally important, clients. That shit needs to be done in 10 minutes. Problem is, it takes 10 minutes to get each deliverable done. The other members of the team can't help, they're busy as hell. What do you do?

What would be an appropriate (and/or clever) answer to this?

It's not especially clever, but the right practice is to send a single email (or if possible a call or something) to both MDs to communicate the situation to them and let them decide which one you will work on. Since there's no time, you could also send an email to the entire group asking for any analyst with free 10 minutes to meet you at your desk right away..

In reply to JDimon
6/10/12
JDimon:
BuyersRemorse:
chicandtoughness:

How did being a bullying victim during high school shape the way you viewed the world? (among other similar questions)
- Bridgewater

That's rather presumptuous, lol...Sure says something about the candidate...

Or says something about the interviewer, depending on how the interview went

The worst was that I never said I was bullying victim... I answered the, "Tell me about a challenge" question and she interpreted my answer incorrectly :/

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

6/10/12

What color would you be and why?

I stuttered and he said he was kidding. Thank god for that shit because I had no idea what I was going to say there.

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

6/10/12

GS 2 on 1 interview --> "What is your favorite thing to think about, or what do you think about the most?"

My answer, "sex." I figured they had heard answers all day that made the candidate sound smart, serious, and studious; so I decided to cut the bullshit. They thought it was hilarious and it definitely was a positive. I took the "risk" with the joke because they were two mid 20's males with finance hair and one had mentioned having a rough night years back when he visited friends at my school.

Instead of thinking up answers to all these hypothetical wildcard questions, realize that the point of them is to throw you off your game. Accept that you can be asked a random question out of nowhere that does this, so it is probably smarter to spend the time practicing your technicals, networking, etc. rather than thinking about what you should say is your favorite thing to think about.

Takeaway=> when you get stuck with one of these questions that that forces you to pause and panic, you can do yourself a favor by analyzing the audience and tailoring your answer to that. A young, outgoing analyst might appreciate humor where a soft-spoken VP/MD might prefer a professional answer. The answer isn't as important with questions like these as is the manner in which you answer it.

TCB... you know taking care of business

In reply to Enjayes
6/11/12
Enjayes:

GS 2 on 1 interview --> "What is your favorite thing to think about, or what do you think about the most?"

My answer, "sex." I figured they had heard answers all day that made the candidate sound smart, serious, and studious; so I decided to cut the bullshit. They thought it was hilarious and it definitely was a positive. I took the "risk" with the joke because they were two mid 20's males with finance hair and one had mentioned having a rough night years back when he visited friends at my school.

Instead of thinking up answers to all these hypothetical wildcard questions, realize that the point of them is to throw you off your game. Accept that you can be asked a random question out of nowhere that does this, so it is probably smarter to spend the time practicing your technicals, networking, etc. rather than thinking about what you should say is your favorite thing to think about.

Takeaway=> when you get stuck with one of these questions that that forces you to pause and panic, you can do yourself a favor by analyzing the audience and tailoring your answer to that. A young, outgoing analyst might appreciate humor where a soft-spoken VP/MD might prefer a professional answer. The answer isn't as important with questions like these as is the manner in which you answer it.

yeah, but did you get the job?

6/11/12

Haha, "finance hair" is gold

In reply to Relinquis
6/11/12

Relinquis,

It was for an internship, and yes, I got the offer.

TCB... you know taking care of business

6/11/12

"If you had to drive from here to Moscow and you could pick any two persons to accompany you, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?"

In reply to Enjayes
6/11/12
Enjayes:

Relinquis,

It was for an internship, and yes, I got the offer.

Nice. Sounds like a good team.

6/11/12

Will Hunting: From GS:
Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My Answer: I would certainly allow you to sleep with my partner, were all about polygamy. His name is Jim by the way...

LOL then see what the interviewer says or the comment above ^ thats funny too.

In reply to FormerHornetDriver
6/11/12
FormerHornetDriver:

While these questions are not particularly hard, they are two of my favorite technical questions to see if you really understand your basic technicals. While they might not seem hard at face value, during the middle of a super day when the pressure is on you can see how they might get screwed up....

Question 1:

Q: While looking at a company's Income Statement, you notice that it reports three consecutive years of increasing net income just before it declares bankruptcy. What are some plausible scenarios that could explain this?

A: The key is that CAPEX and inventories are not expensed on the income statement until they are depreciated or accounted for as COGS. Therefore, a plausible solution is that the company overinvested in PPE and inventory (or they have a bunch of inventory they cannot sell) or both. A good follow up question is: how could you confirm this on the balance sheet/SofCF? Growing A/P and PPE....stuff like that.

Or excessive amount of debt maturing at once.

6/11/12

Ironically, the hardest question I was asked was for my college honors program. The professor told me to sit down, smiled, and said "Why?" Then stared at me until I answered.

A year and a half later I was interviewing candidates for the same program. I asked a Fraternity president to pretend that I was a freshman and rush me.

I also asked a girl who was a Victoria's Secret cashier to pretend I was a customer and try to convince me to open a credit card.

Leadership can be defined in two words: "Follow Me"

6/11/12

Hardest one I have ever come across came during this recruiting season. The MD of a large boutique IB asked me simply "Do you think you're smart?" I answered simply "My mom always told me I was" he absolutely loved the answer, +1

In reply to Will Hunting
6/12/12
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My response: Is that how you got your job?

In reply to solb22
6/12/12
solb22:

Interesting to see these responses-seem to be mainly fit oriented and not math/technical based which seems is a reflection of the majority of this board to be focused on the IB/advisory side.

Here's four tough ones I've gotten-all for top firms

1. When would the price of a call option decrease as the price of the stock increases?

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

3. Suppose f(t) is a continuously once-differentiable strictly decreasing positive function for all t >= 0 . Must the derivative f'(t) = 0 as t approaches infinity? Why?

4. Given a polynomial function Sum of (a of n)*x^n from 0 to n-if you give me a number I can give you what the polynomial equals. In how few numbers can you figure out each constant a of n ?

The hardest interivew problems I've gotten haven't been for finance but for aero. eng.

For 1, I'd think that a) it's out of the money and b) the time value is eating away at the value - close? Does it have to be at least two things going on in addition to the underlying stock appreciating?

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

6/12/12

"how bad do you want this job?" as the interviewer stood up and started to undo his belt...easily the hardest ive had

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

6/12/12
6/12/12

You can only save one person Your mother, your wife, and your daughter.

Who do you save?

Eventus stultorum magister.

In reply to Johnny Ringo
6/12/12
Johnny Ringo:

You can only save one person Your mother, your wife, and your daughter.

Who do you save?

You Johnny..I'd save you.

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

In reply to frgna
6/12/12
frgna:
solb22:

Interesting to see these responses-seem to be mainly fit oriented and not math/technical based which seems is a reflection of the majority of this board to be focused on the IB/advisory side.

Here's four tough ones I've gotten-all for top firms

1. When would the price of a call option decrease as the price of the stock increases?

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

3. Suppose f(t) is a continuously once-differentiable strictly decreasing positive function for all t >= 0 . Must the derivative f'(t) = 0 as t approaches infinity? Why?

4. Given a polynomial function Sum of (a of n)*x^n from 0 to n-if you give me a number I can give you what the polynomial equals. In how few numbers can you figure out each constant a of n ?

The hardest interivew problems I've gotten haven't been for finance but for aero. eng.

For 1, I'd think that a) it's out of the money and b) the time value is eating away at the value - close? Does it have to be at least two things going on in addition to the underlying stock appreciating?

I'm not sure if your answers are wrong-the first looks wrong as the stock price could be approaching the strike price.

This question was asked by D.E. Shaw. I'll give you a hint- this is mainly an IB board, so consider some financial moves by companies outside our strictly trading sphere that might effect the price of the option, even if the stock price is increasing. The answer is simple but arriving at the answer can be pretty tricky.

6/12/12

Yes IP that is correct-the acquisition price for the stock is less than the strike price and above the current stock price.

Pretty neat how they asked it-went from doing some tough option theory to throwing this curveball at the end. I instinctively went back to look at the formulas before realizing it was a special situation question.

In reply to solb22
6/12/12
solb22:
frgna:
solb22:

Interesting to see these responses-seem to be mainly fit oriented and not math/technical based which seems is a reflection of the majority of this board to be focused on the IB/advisory side.

Here's four tough ones I've gotten-all for top firms

1. When would the price of a call option decrease as the price of the stock increases?

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

3. Suppose f(t) is a continuously once-differentiable strictly decreasing positive function for all t >= 0 . Must the derivative f'(t) = 0 as t approaches infinity? Why?

4. Given a polynomial function Sum of (a of n)*x^n from 0 to n-if you give me a number I can give you what the polynomial equals. In how few numbers can you figure out each constant a of n ?

The hardest interivew problems I've gotten haven't been for finance but for aero. eng.

For 1, I'd think that a) it's out of the money and b) the time value is eating away at the value - close? Does it have to be at least two things going on in addition to the underlying stock appreciating?

I'm not sure if your answers are wrong-the first looks wrong as the stock price could be approaching the strike price.

This question was asked by D.E. Shaw. I'll give you a hint- this is mainly an IB board, so consider some financial moves by companies outside our strictly trading sphere that might effect the price of the option, even if the stock price is increasing. The answer is simple but arriving at the answer can be pretty tricky.

Easy. Company gets bought out for above the stock price but less than the call strike.

Leadership can be defined in two words: "Follow Me"

In reply to warmpi
6/12/12
warmpi:
Will Hunting:

From GS:
Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My response: Is that how you got your job?

Crash and BURN.

DeanPortman:

"how bad do you want this job?" as the interviewer stood up and started to undo his belt...easily the hardest ive had

What was your response?

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

In reply to chicandtoughness
6/12/12
chicandtoughness:

[...]

DeanPortman:

"how bad do you want this job?" as the interviewer stood up and started to undo his belt...easily the hardest ive had

What was your response?

he said it was the hardest he's "had"... so i guess its self evident...

In reply to Relinquis
6/13/12
Relinquis:
chicandtoughness:

[...]

DeanPortman:

"how bad do you want this job?" as the interviewer stood up and started to undo his belt...easily the hardest ive had

What was your response?

he said it was the hardest he's "had"... so i guess its self evident...

;)

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

In reply to frgna
6/15/12
frgna:

One bond has an 8% coupon and a 10% current yield, the other has a 10% coupon and an 8% current yield. Which bond is cheaper?

First one, right?

In reply to Lubyanka
6/15/12
Lubyanka:
frgna:

One bond has an 8% coupon and a 10% current yield, the other has a 10% coupon and an 8% current yield. Which bond is cheaper?

First one, right?

Spot on! Though I think the folks'll want to see the work :) It's a good question for anyone in the debt side on entry level - just enough to make you go 'oh crap...wait...ok...yup.'

For super points, you could also say depends on the underlying risk of the bond (price/yield isn't everything...you should strictly define 'cheap'). But ceteris paribus yes.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

6/15/12

Haha yes, I did the work in my head. It's pretty simple if you think about the formula for Current Yield.
But yeah good call about the riskiness of the bond. I'm fresh out of school and need to get used to the fact that "assume no default risk" is not a common situation outside of academia haha.

In reply to Lubyanka
6/15/12
Lubyanka:

Haha yes, I did the work in my head. It's pretty simple if you think about the formula for Current Yield.
But yeah good call about the riskiness of the bond. I'm fresh out of school and need to get used to the fact that "assume no default risk" is not a common situation outside of academia haha.

'No costs to financial distress' is one of my favorite assumptions of Miller Modigliani...ask any restructuring advisor what they think of that one...

For anyone curious CY = Coupon/Price
So
Bond 1: 10% = 8%/price, so price = 8/10 = 80
Bond 2: 8% = 10%/price, so price = 10/8 = 125

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

7/1/12
In reply to TheKing
7/1/12
TheKing:

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

you don't kill your most hated enemy. that's too easy.

7/1/12

"explain how a mortgage prepayment swaption works". I got asked this by CS in London for a FT role in EM FX, didn't have any clue what to say, especially as it seemed completely irrelevant to the desk

In reply to swagon
7/1/12
swagon:

Beyonce or Kreayshawn?

Jay Sean or Raekwon?
Good Sean or great Shawn?
Stay long or Kreayshawn?

I hate victims who respect their executioners

In reply to BlackHat
7/1/12
BlackHat:
swagon:

Beyonce or Kreayshawn?

Jay Sean or Raekwon?
Good Sean or great Shawn?
Stay long or Kreayshawn?

Elton John.

"Every man should lose a battle in his youth, so he does not lose a war when he is old"

7/1/12

Some of the questions I've asked:

1. What are we doing wrong here and what would you change?

2. Tell me something cool (or odd) that you've spotted in the markets recently

3. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (if the interview is going v well or v badly)

4. What is the term for fear of spiders/open spaces/long words.

4a. Why don't you use Google to look up a fear of long words?

5. Do happy people make better traders?

5a. Are you happy?

5b. Why

Questions I've been asked:

1. What is the difference between the position of Jesus in orthodox Christianity and Sunni Islam? (Boston-based AM)

2. What are your top 10 movies? ($30bn US HF)

3. You only want this job because you're desperate, why should we hire you? (C)

7/1/12

Oh yeah, responses:

1. I ask this just for kicks, never been at a big company so the answers are usually to do with getting more market share. Lots of people like social media for some reason.

2. This is a biggie, only want to hire people who actually find markets cool/interesting. Tough to bluff.

3. If interview going badly, this usually pushes them over the edge. If going very well I always get a nice answer and some requests for additional info plus a laugh. All about thinking outside of boxes.

4. I ask this to interviewee out of closed mode and to see how they find out information (usually ask them to walk me through how they'd find various pieces of information), plus discuss societal structure. Nobody's got that last one right.

5. I've been trying to figure this out, plus it gives a nice insight into what people know about trading as they talk through it. Also, happy workers are more fun than sad ones.

On the other side:

1. Gave a full on answer gently pulling in the interviewers own views to find common ground. Didn't make it through to the next round.

2. Took a while but figured it out in the end. Got an offer, didn't take.

3. Got a bit defensive as I wasn't at all desperate, should have just walked out. Got an offer, didn't take.

In reply to RichardPennybags
7/1/12
RichardPennybags:
BlackHat:
swagon:

Beyonce or Kreayshawn?

Jay Sean or Raekwon?
Good Sean or great Shawn?
Stay long or Kreayshawn?

Elton John.

u wood bang elton john over beyonce and kreay? u cray.

In reply to somebody
7/1/12
somebody:

Some of the questions I've asked:

1. What are we doing wrong here and what would you change?

2. Tell me something cool (or odd) that you've spotted in the markets recently

3. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (if the interview is going v well or v badly)

4. What is the term for fear of spiders/open spaces/long words.

4a. Why don't you use Google to look up a fear of long words?

5. Do happy people make better traders?

5a. Are you happy?

5b. Why

Questions I've been asked:

1. What is the difference between the position of Jesus in orthodox Christianity and Sunni Islam? (Boston-based AM)

2. What are your top 10 movies? ($30bn US HF)

3. You only want this job because you're desperate, why should we hire you? (C)

With the exception of both #2's, every single one of these questions would make me want to walk out of the room and never consider that firm ever again.

I hate victims who respect their executioners

7/1/12

Lol, if an interviewer asked me to say any good jokes I'd be like "i banged your mother ha ha ha ha"

7/1/12

"Name 3 strengths and 2 weaknesses of yours." Who the fuck asks for that many? To be honest, I probably couldn't answer properly just because I was so nervous. It was my first ever ibanking interview, and likely the worst I'll ever have. It's quite funny in retrospect.

7/2/12

Sounds like all you guys would have benefited from a shady cold calling job. The name of the game is persistence, quick thinking and the ability to verbally sell your soul.

I just hope they don't ask me any high level stats questions.

Competition is a sin.

-John D. Rockefeller

7/2/12

how many squares on a checkerboard?

I said 64.

In reply to illiniPride
7/2/12
illiniPride:

A year and a half later I was interviewing candidates for the same program. I asked a Fraternity president to pretend that I was a freshman and rush me.

I would pretend ball you for asking such a stupid question.

In reply to Will Hunting
7/2/12
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Oh, I think I know the answer to this one. It's "Yes. As Snoop said, it ain't no fun if the homies can't have none"

7/3/12

Brainteaser:

Walk me through the potential US market ($ value and # of consumers) for high-end dresses costing $10,000 that would only be worn once or twice to fancy galas for women in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

This was at a no name boutique and I knocked that shit out of the park.

My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

In reply to FLAMING_HIPSTER
7/3/12
FLAMING_HIPSTER:

how many squares on a checkerboard?

I said 64.

204*

My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

In reply to TheCity
7/3/12
TheCity:

1. Q - What single word would you use to describe yourself so that I don't walk out of here and forget you?
A - Unforgettable.

COXSWAIN

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

In reply to JD-MBAMonkey
7/3/12
JD-MBAMonkey:

Hardest one I have ever come across came during this recruiting season. The MD of a large boutique IB asked me simply "Do you think you're smart?" I answered simply "My mom always told me I was" he absolutely loved the answer, +1

Gotta admire Jeff Skilling's response to Harvard; "I'm fucking smart"

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

In reply to junkbondswap
7/12/12
junkbondswap:

Interviewer: Do you always wear jorts to an interview?

Me: Doesn't everybody?

This is hilarious. Seriously though I'm glad I haven't gotten those types of question. Some of you guys are asses.

Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

In reply to solb22
7/12/12
solb22:

Luca you are real close! You said that prisoner #1 should step back after seeing paper number 28 in box one and let prisoner # 28 go.

Instead of switching a prisoner-what else can you switch? Where should prisoner #1 check next?

A little hint: the prisoner will check boxes based off the info he has up to that point. You are on the right track

If the prisoners can communicate with each other this is very easy. Prisoner 1 tell Prisoner 28 that he needs to check Box 1. But Prisoner 1 won't do that right away. He can open 49 other boxes before he MUST go open Box 1. Each time he can communicate to other prisoners which boxes each of them need to open. And each of them don't need to open their respective boxes right away. They can first check other boxes. It will take just basically 3 prisoners to get the job done. If the prisoners can communicate with each other, then this is a retarded question.

7/12/12

Dreamer.

The prisoners can't communicate with eachother. They go in the room, check the boxes they want-and if they find their number at the end another prisoners comes in the room. If not they all get killed. No passing of information.

I already posted the answer here but you can choose not to look at it and solve it again if you like.

7/12/12

Me: Tell me a time when you have had to tell a white lie to accomplish a task that needed to get done?

Interviewee: (some bs answer)

Me:........Do you consider yourself an honest person?

7/20/12

Interviewer: "What DON'T you want me to know about you?"

In reply to Will Hunting
7/20/12
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Well, I believe that would be considered incest, because I'm banging your daughter...

In reply to solb22
7/20/12
In reply to youngblood90
7/20/12
youngblood90:

What is your number? (as in what amount of money I would need for retirement)

More...

I think- therefore I fuck

In reply to worklikeamachine
7/20/12
worklikeamachine:
youngblood90:

What is your number? (as in what amount of money I would need for retirement)

More...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Humfsis-QLI

This movie ruined that line forever, now nobody can use it even though it's been around forever. Once Shia's involved though, there's really no going back... Gotta get more creative now.

I hate victims who respect their executioners

In reply to aempirei
7/20/12
aempirei:

Brainteaser:

Walk me through the potential US market ($ value and # of consumers) for high-end dresses costing $10,000 that would only be worn once or twice to fancy galas for women in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

This was at a no name boutique and I knocked that shit out of the park.

OK here is my thought process - I have zeroed in on the number of women, but I know nothing about income distribution to be able to figure out how many of them could afford the dress - Anybody want to take over?

Number of Pregnant chicks in their 3rd trimester:
300MM Americans
150MM women
To make it easy, let's say the average women lives to be 80, and the average woman has 2 kids, meaning she is pregnant for 18 months (1.5 yrs) of her life.
This means that at any time (assuming the population is evenly distributed, which it isn't) 1.875% of women are pregnant. (1.5 years / 80)
This means there are 2,812,500 women pregnant at any one time.
937,500 of them are in their 3rd trimester

Who can afford these gowns - This is the hard part (without looking anything up or cheating)

Gut estimate: I'd say it would be less than one percent of these women, maybe .1%, so that would be 938 or so dresses per year. BUT you could also argue that if you are the type who goes to Galas wearing 10k dresses, you go to a lot of galas, so at most one a month, so the market is between 10-30MM if I had to guess.

In reply to BlackHat
7/21/12
BlackHat:
worklikeamachine:
youngblood90:

What is your number? (as in what amount of money I would need for retirement)

More...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Humfsis-QLI

This movie ruined that line forever, now nobody can use it even though it's been around forever. Once Shia's involved though, there's really no going back... Gotta get more creative now.

You think there's going be a sequel? The movie did fail to disappoint, but Shia did play a great "Bud Fox".

I think- therefore I fuck

In reply to animalz
7/21/12
animalz:

If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?

three more wishes lol. Then if I use two, ill just ask for three more wishes. see i just turned one wish into an infinite amount and I just maximized my gain