I transferred schools after my freshman year to one that was very similar but slightly higher in prestige.

One of my interviewers for my superday went to my first school and asked why I transferred, and then told me he went there.

I already knew he was an alum because I looked up my interviewers beforehand, but that was pretty funny.

 

I was interviewed by Wolfe Research a while back and the guy interviewing me was a complete dick (to say the least). He immediately starting grilling me about my education (I went to a state school and was applying for a sell-side ER position @ WR). He asked me questions like "Why would anybody in their right mind go their?" "This basically makes you unmarketable" Just an FYI, the state school I went to is ranked #2 in a major metropolitan city in the US and has a very reputable business school, but he made it sound like I went to some community college.

I defended my position calmly and gracefully and then he jumped topic and asked me about my opinion on the market (this was in 2012). I was long-only tech then (and now) and he told me that tech "isn't working" and "energy is working." I guess this guy was a perma-bear and thought that the market was going to crash again shortly after 08'? He then asked me to pitch him a stock, I pitched him CRM (Salesforce)....after my pitch he called me a "fool." Which was interesting, because every analyst I pitched CRM to, loved it. 

He basically ended the interview after that and I never heard from him again.

Energy stocks outperformed for the first time......10 yrs later. Guess he was early. 

That was by far my worst interview ever, I was bullied for 25 mins. 

 

Pitched some bonds trading at par as a short in a HF interview. Knew the interviewer was a PM on the CLO side of the business, but did not know he was the largest owner of the senior bank debt. Basically screamed at me for 20 minutes about how I was wrong, didn't know anything, etc. At the time I was pretty mortified, and definitely didn't get a call back. Took about 18 months, longer than I thought to be fair, but the company filed bankruptcy, those bonds got 0 recovery, and his takeback bank debt trades with a 6 handle now.  

 
Funniest

**Interviewer walked into the room, picked up my resume, read it for 3 minutes in front of me without saying a word**

Interviewer: "Let me ask you a question... Why is it that people would put their GPA on their resume?"

Me: "Well, um, it is an indication of academic achievement.  I guess it could be an indication of intelligence?"

Interviewer: "That's exactly right"

Me (non-verbally): Nice, 1 for 1, lets keep it going baby

Interviewer: "Why is your GPA not on your resume?" 

 
Most Helpful

Walked up out career center for my first banking internship interview. Saw the greeter outside and made small talk. He eventually checked his blackberry and said the interviewer is ready. 
 

I open the door, see the interviewer, shake hands and he says “shut the door and let’s gets started” I reach behind me to grab the doorknob but little did I know that the “greeter” was the other interviewer in a 2x1 setting and had walked in behind me. So instead of doorknob, I got a fist full of the front of his pants. 
 

the md (whose last name was Cox) looked at me and said “that’s a f***ing great way to start an interview” 

did the interview and an hour later I get a call from their team asking me to meet at their hotel for a drink (really wasn’t sure how to take that). Turns out they decided to cxl internship super day bc I was the guy from my school they wanted (hopefully not because of this). 

 

Had an interview at a boutique IB in Boston a few days before Christmas in my senior year of college, well over a decade ago. It was snowing and I trudged through wearing my new Allen Edmonds, financed through my summer internship.

Killed time drinking a hot chocolate in Starbucks and then went to the office and was led to a conference room by the receptionist. Soon realized I had to take a massive shit. I thought I could wait it out until after the interview, but then realized I had to get the F out of there before the interviewer came into the room. Was panicking about trying to stick it out vs. just run to the bathroom as I sat there waiting. So I go back into the office, ask the receptionist where the bathroom is, and take a massive dump. 3 guys then came into interview me soon after and the whole thing is quite brief and perfunctory. They sent me a brief case study to walk through and asked me if I had any questions; I said no, thinking we would get then get into it to discuss, before they just wrapped up the interview.

To this day I wonder if one of them walked into the bathroom after I used it and decided they can't have someone who shits that badly working there.

 

- Interviewed at a BB bank for a macro investment role. First round, was suppose to last ~1/2 hour, person interviewing is the person I would be working under, is on TV regularly. We talk for 15 minutes in which they state "3" times that I have the exact qualifications of the person who left the role and would be a great fit. Never hear back. 

- Interviewed at a mid level bank for a research role. Person giving me the interview really liked me, decided to send me a modelling test/write up to do over the weekend (interview was on a Friday). Got a call about an hour later from them saying they had regrets because the last person who they hired had their roommate do the test, so the person they hired was clueless. They didn't want me to do the  test based on this (I already worked in the industry). Guess they found someone better in the mean time between my interview and the call. 

 

My first IBD interview was one for the books. Small boutique, and I was referred by a friend who worked there the past summer. They were looking for an off-cycle spring intern, so it made sense to touch base around October. For some odd reason, the Director I was meeting with opted to hold the interview at a Starbucks as opposed to at his office. New to the process, I didn't think twice about it, and made my way to the Starbucks in Chicago.

My friend had done me a huge solid, and given me the list of Finance questions they ask every single prospective intern, and I had them nailed down to a tee. I asked multiple times if there had ever been any deviation from these questions, and he assured me there had not. However, what I didnt factor in was that I was an Accounting major, and all past interviewees had been Finance majors. I combed through the Vault guides a few times, but was less diligent than I normally would have been due to my friends recurring reassurances. 

It was a brutally cold morning, and I arrived at 8:30 AM for the 9:00 AM interview. However, whenever I get really nervous, my stomach acts up, and I really had to take a shit. No problem, this is why you arrive early. However, the Starbucks bathroom was out of order. Panic setting in, I started pacing up and down the street, looking for anything open at 8:30 in the morning. I wasnt familiar with the area, and after trying 4-5 nearby stores I realized I was out of luck. I slowly walked back to the Starbucks in despair. 

Eventually the Director made his way over and introduced himself. We made small talk as we ordered coffee and I could feel my temperature and heart rate rising in parallel as the nerves went from bad to worse. 

After ordering, the Director requested I follow him outside, and we proceeded to take the interview outside in the ~40 degree F weather. To make matters worse, I was looking directly into the sun for the entirety of the interview, and was essentially blinded. 

We start going through normal fit questions, and I am shocked by how well things are going. That is, until we turn to the technicals. The Director begins by asking me about the different accounts that affect the cash flow statement. At my uni, we covered the cash flow heavily in the first semester of Y1, but didnt touch it at all during Y2. Now in Y3, it has been ~2 years since I've spent any meaningful time analyzing a CF statement. I stumbled over the most basic CF questions, describing the key accounts by section, and how they linked to the other financial statements. While I stumbled greatly, nothing I said was incorrect, but it didnt seem to matter. My lack of confidence in my answers told the Director everything he needed to know, I was underprepared. Not a single one of the questions my friend sent me were asked.

To make matters worse, as we chatted outside in the borderline freezing temps, a homeless man had set up camp right next to us. He was bellowing, at the top of his lungs, about how he wanted to return to Africa throughout the interview. It was next to impossible to keep my composure throughout the interview. 

The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth. 

I was unsurprised when the Director ignored my follow up emails in subsequent weeks and months. With that said, it was nice to have all the curveballs thrown at me at once, so my following IBD interviews seemed far more normal. 

 

Aside from your stomach how is any of this a curveball? This was a good lesson not to prepare by rote memorization from study guides, you need to know the material. 

 

1. Being blinded by the sun because the interview was held outside at 9 AM

2. Homeless man yelling obscenities as I tried to talk through "why banking" 

3. Only being asked accounting questions for a finance position 

4. My friend assuring me that the questions would be boilerplate and that not being the case

5. The interview was held in a Starbucks

Or are those all things you've experienced as well?

 

LOL this is why i love zoom interviews. I felt like if anything became super bad, I could just get out of it by exiting the zoom room/switching my laptop off, but one couldn't do that if it were an in-person interview. Like what can you do? Sit there and there wiggle your way out to end it and leave? Rush out of the room? 

 

I was interviewing for a construction job senior year of college and when the interviewer found out I was studying mechanical engineering he asked me what the third law of thermodynamics was. Of course I knew the answer, I concentrated in thermal system design, and I repeated it to him. He confusedly chuckled and said it was a joke, that there is no third law of thermodynamics and it was something his buddies used to joke around in school. He was completely wrong, and I couldn't pay attention to anything he said after that because he either completely forgot his own joke (maybe it was asking what the fourth law is? but even then you could argue the zeroth law is the fourth one, blah blah blah) or he didn't know there are three laws of thermodynamics, which makes me seriously question his own engineering background. 

 

Funniest one:  Was interviewing for an SA gig at BX.  Booked a study room in my school's library to do the interview in.  Everything is going fine, when suddenly the lights turn off in the study room and won't come back on. As they turned off, the interviewer was looking down at his notes.  He looks up, notices that my screen is now black and asks "Oh, are you still there." I freeze for 5 seconds and say "Yeah...fuck"  Don't know why I said that, and obviously didn't get the gig. 

Best one:  Final round interview for FT recruiting w/ the firm's head of IB.  He asked me about my background and why it would differentiate me from other candidates.  I had a pretty non-conventional background (blue-collar / lower class, worked blue-collar job after HS, JUCO, etc.).  Get finished telling my story and he says "That's great stuff...we'll find a spot for you."  No idea if that discussion actually factored into me getting the job, but got my offer the next day. 

 

Love both of these, especially the latter. As a bit of an underdog as well, love seeing folks make it into IBD with less than cookie-cutter backgrounds. Keep killing it. BTW, hearing a story like that would absolutely move the needle if I was interviewing someone. For you to come off so polished that he had no idea says a lot. 

 

I had an interview recently with a sell-side analyst who covered internet stocks. I was in my school's investment fund where my coverage included overlapping stocks like Netflix, Amazon, and Meta.

The analyst asked me what my thoughts were on Meta. I was very bearish on it, they are spending too much money on the "metaverse" etc. It turns out the Analyst was a Meta bull, and I didn't think they liked it when I explained my bear thesis. There were no follow-up questions and we just moved on.

In another interview for sell-side research, an analyst asked me "how do you make sure your balance sheet is balanced" I didn't realize until much later that he was asking if I knew that Assets = Liabilities + Equities but I pulled a blank and said something like "you just plug it into  cash like I usually do" 

In another interview, this time a boutique buy-side internship in Miami, the guys interviewing me were just extremely rude, asking a question, when I say 2 words they just talk over me and ask another question. I couldn't get a word in with these guys talking over me. Gave me a very blunt "thanks for your interest" and hung up 

I have a really bad stutter so pretty much all of my interviews go to shit anyways lol but these are my highlights

 

Had my first interview in college for PWM going into sophomore yr. First question he asked me was “how many finance classes have you taken?” He wasn’t impressed to hear that I had only taken 3 as a freshman. He then said “thank you for your time” and I left. Surprised I didn’t get it

 

Had a super awkward PE interview that I didn't realize was supposed to be a case study vs. straight LBO model test. I was supposed to ask questions about the business but I only asked a few around model inputs. 

45 minutes later we start the verbal portion and his first question to me is "What does this business do?". Had no idea cause i didn't ask any questions about it. The guy then proceeds to go down the entire list he's has to ask (Who are their competitors? Why are margins x?, etc.) knowing full well I didn't ask a single question that would give me the answers to them. It was super awkward cause we both knew I didn't have the answer to any of them.

Never heard from them again after that haha 

 

This was law firm recruiting, but the same could've happened with IB or other finance/consulting. 

Was going through first round interviews at school.  You talk to like 30 firms in 4 days on campus.  So it's day 4 and I already know where I stand because all the very best firms (think Cravath) dinged me but I have callbacks for all the next-tier firms (Jones Day, Sidley etc).  So I'm talking to a partner from a lower tier firm, Dechert, and she's trying to neg me or something.  Telling me my grades could be better, my interview answers could be "tighter" etc.  Mentions a couple times that my grades are only good, not great, and asking how I stand out.  Meanwhile I've got 10+ final rounds coming up at better firms.  So I say hold on a second and I pull my schedule out of my folder, and look at it all confused and say "is this my Cravath interview or my Dechert interview?  You're from Dechert right?".  She gets pissed, I was pretty annoyed myself, and we give eachother the most sarcastic handshake ever and I leave.

She griped to the career office about it, they called me to say something about maturity.  OK.

In general I'm a big believer that the world is small, dont' burn bridges, swallow your pride etc etc.  But sometimes a situation gets so ridiculous that tolerating it actually reflects badly on you.  If someone is asking you for the pimp hand, give it to them.

 

Oh man I absolutely should have done that.  Damn.  Can't remember her name anymore so too late now.  I did end up at one one of those good but not outstanding firms ("V20" as they say in the business).  Only did law for a couple years though.  Turns out life is actually kind of long, and writing contracts for 40 years isn't a great way to spend it.

 

I did a co-op in undergrad, so I delayed graduation one semester. This gave me one extra summer to do an internship, and an extra football season (engineering UG at a big state school). I had previously interned in chemical plants but decided to try a new industry, and my dad suggested oil and gas because of the pay (this was in 2012). I got an interview with a medium sized offshore focused company and for whatever reason, I went in with basically zero prep. In hindsight, I have no idea what I was thinking. The interview was pretty informal and was at a restaurant. We started out talking about football and an online fan forum I was active in that one of the interviewers was also active on, so I'm thinking things are going great. They have a few vaguely technical questions, but they know I haven't worked in oil and gas before so they don't expect me to know much. When it's my turn to ask questions I completely put my foot in my mouth and ask "So you guys are involved in that fracking stuff, eh?" It's one of the dumbest questions i have ever asked anyone. It showed that I had virtually zero insight into the industry, that I hadn't done even the most basic research, and that I wasn't even self aware enough to try to hide the fact that I wasn't prepared. That would be the equivalent of asking a dentist "So you do tooth stuff, eh?" They answered graciously and we resumed talking about football for the rest of the interview. This is one of those moments that when I think back on, I still get a knot in my stomach.

I also had an extremely weird experience on the other side of the table. I eventually got a job in oil and gas, and was on the recruiting team for my UG university. The manager of the summer internship program was, frankly, a weirdo. When I originally interviewed with him, I got along well with him, and he gave me my first job, so I had some sense of loyalty to him, but after this experience my opinion was irreversibly changed. We were sitting down to interview a female candidate who was pretty attractive. She was wearing a very work appropriate black dress, and this guy just kept complimenting her on it. He told her his wife would love to have a dress like that, and asked where it was from. At the end of the interview, he was so smitten that he decided he didn't need to stick to our schedule for the rest of the day, and asked her to continue the interview over coffee across the street. It was one of the most brazenly inappropriate things I have ever seen, and this guy was my superior and had been recruiting interns for years. I don't remember exactly how we diffused the situation, but we managed to let the candidate escape (she got an internship and eventually a FT offer as well). As we were leaving the student center from the adjacent parking garage, I saw the manager get into his rental car and proceed to drive the wrong way down the ramps in the parking garage. When discussing this story with people who had been on interviews with him before, not many people were surprised. It then dawned on me why in my intern class we had a former Miss Kansas who didn't even have an engineering degree as an engineering intern (I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but its true).

He got into trouble for multiple baffling and inappropriate incidents over the next few months, which he blamed on painkillers for a back issue, and a couple months later sent a very abrupt email announcing his "retirement" effective immediately. It turned out that the timing of that coincided with the unsealing of a sexual harassment lawsuit from his prior employer which now was the top result on google if you searched his name. It contained some really creepy details about his behavior back then, and no one was sad to see him leave.

 

Was interviewing for an engineering position at a startup awhile ago. Did 3 rounds of technical interviews, went great. Last interview of the day, to my surprise, is with the CEO. And he wants me to write a business equation for an imaginary business. In hindsight, this was probably a case study type interview. But coming off of three engineering interviews for an engineer gig, I was totally unprepared. 

The entire hour was him telling me everything I said was wrong. By the end, I just sat at the table in silence and he answered his own questions. Easily one of the weirdest experiences of my professional life. 

 

Had a superday with a Director in M&A, specializing in Tech/Media. He asked me which area of IB I was interested in, and I gave him the honest truth - Tech M&A, explained why too. He asked me if I was just saying that so he'd like me.

I said no, but every time I've seen him since then, he asks me which group I actually want to be in.

 

Interviewer: what's our ceo's name?

Me: ehhhhhhhhhhh...............Michael??

Interviewer: Not even close, let's wrap up here.

I still don't know why i said Michael

 

#1

Was given the advice to include something about sport to make my CV more personable, naively just included something about being a supporter of my home towns football team (this team sucked so any time it was brought up in an interview it would usually lead to a bit of banter/teasing before moving on).

Had a final in person interview with two MDs for an RX firm. Get to the interview and they have my CV printed out, asking standard questions then one MD reads the sports part and asks me my thoughts on how the team can turn around. I answered with a simple answer around a recent transition to a new coach and retirement of a star player and said something like "but it will really take a lot for them to not continue sucking". I get hit with several follow up questions which I didn't have the depth for, MD turns out to be a fanatical supporter and launches a 15-minute detailed spiel on what he thinks the team needed to improve, including his opinion that the team may need to improve the quality of their physios due to a disproportionately high amount of deep tissue injuries. Guess you can really make a case study from anything. I didn't get the offer.

#2

Had a second round interview with an Associate and VP equivalent for a consulting firm, however on my way to the interview I received an offer for a much better role. I didn't want to cancel last minute so I still went.

I made small talk with the Assoc, who was opening a bar on the side. The VP rocks up and orders coffees, I got a cappuccino. We continue small talk and get along really well. 25 minutes in they haven't looked at the printed interview questions in front of them and coffee arrives. As I go to take my first sip, the Assoc cracks a joke which completely caught me off guard, my laugh accelerates a sufficient volume of air through my nose at a velocity to launch the foam and chocolate dust aerial, spraying all over my suit, hair, and the table. 

They pause and I laugh it off with a light hearted comment. As I start cleaning myself with napkins they look down at the printed interview questions in front of them and go to ask me the first one. While still trying to get milk froth out of my hair I proceed to let them know I received an offer under an hour ago which I felt was a lot more aligned to what I wanted to do and wouldn't be continuing with this interview process but appreciated the opportunity to get to know them. 

After this they walked me to the elevators and nicely said bye but I felt an air of awkwardness. Unsure what they made of it.

 

You should have tipped everything you made + 50%. That’s what I had to do. When I went back to school I had to DoorDash the entire year

 

Most of my bad interviews were from lack of preparation or just general awkwardness, nothing to write home about, but I interviewed for a consulting role once and this time it was definitely not my fault. I did a ton of case practice because I knew I didn't have the prep, so when the case part came up I actually knew a) what to do and b) how to do it.

I was cruising through, it was a very simple problem, so I'm doing the whole thing of talking through it out loud while doing the math. Once I got into the serious number crunching the interviewer stopped me to ask what numbers I had written down, so I went through it again, but he then asked specifically about what I physically wrote down. I was using engineering notation (a form of scientific notation, i.e. 60E3 which is the same as 6x10^4, or 60,000) and I guess he had never seen it before and still looked confused when I said it's just a way of notating exponents, so I explained to him how exponents worked. It was so awkward. The only reason I did it was because the numbers were nice, round numbers but I wanted a good way of keep track of the zeros, which engineering notation does really well. Did not get the job.