How can I stand out in an interview?

Hey I have a few questions on interviews and looking for any tips or experiences you've had.

How can I stand out in an interview? How do I prepare for IB interviews? I mean, what should I already know going in to the interview, from where should i study, what should i do during an interview that will make me standout? 

Were there any questions that made the interview particularly difficult for you.


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In 99% of interviews for PE, IB, HF, etc. you will be competing with Ivy League grads, other industry professionals with more experience, or people with higher degrees of education. Just having a couple technical questions down or having an internship or class on a resume isn't going to make you standout. Honestly, just answering the questions correctly is getting through the filter of "are they competent?". The best way to standout is to be likeable. If you're working 80+ hours a week with the same people, you want to enjoy being around them and not miserable every time you have to interact with them. Be charismatic, interesting, and not come across as if you're entitled to a job because you went to such and such school or had "connections" at a certain firm...and obviously answer questions correctly when asked about it.  

Oh yeah of course. But, you must have those questions right as you say at the end of your answer. So my questions is more about, how can i get those questions right? How can i prepare myself to answer those questions? Because in college and university most of that knowledge you dont see it in class, you learn it by yourself and by experience. So, where can i find study material and prepare for those questions?

On the "social aspect" of the interview thanks for the help, i think this "not come across as if you're entitled to a job because you went to such and such school or had "connections" at a certain firm" is very important.

Thanks Crerepe21!

Got it. You can find guides online if you google Investment Banking Interview Prep. Those guides will have hypotheticals like "what happens if you increase depreciation by $X across the 3 financial statements?", walking through a DCF model, how to calculate WACC, how would you value a company, and then typically a couple softball questions like "which is cheaper, debt or equity?". I'm sure the process has changed since the last time I was interviewing new candidates/when I was interviewing for a position myself, but in general the questions aren't going to be some hidden knowledge that you couldn't otherwise either find online or deduce yourself in real time if you understand the functionality of the basic financial concepts. 

Wall Street Prep and WSO have lots of guides on this. Even though many of them are paid so thats a bummer. 

I studied a lot on the company, I think knowing about the company and the role you are interviewing for is essential. It shows interest and for the interviewer it surprises them when a graduate is talking about the company with great knowledge, or that is what i have felt. 

I was asked:

"Describe the 3 main financial statements. If you have access to only 2 of these financial statements, which ones would you choose and why?"
"What are some of the different valuation methods used in IB? Which factors would you consider to use one over another?" 

A few tips from Experts/Professionals already working:

Do your homework. Research what the firm is about and the professionals you will be meeting. This entails understanding what the fund does, its portfolio companies, how long it has been around, its investor base, and the stage at which it invests. You can also research their latest investments and could go a step ahead to assess two or three companies to see how they fit with the fund’s overall strategy of investment. This homework will help you have intelligent conversation, be more involved, and ace on-spot case studies.

Follow the right dress code. Although most firms portray themselves as a casual work environment, it’s always good to think twice before going casual in your interviews. A rule of thumb: when in doubt, wear a suit. Remember that you will not be penalized for over-dressing but may lose points for an inappropriate choice of attire.

Always reflect professionalism in behavior. Some firms go out of their way in making the final round candidates comfortable. It can include wine and dine opportunities. What more? You could be flown to their offices on a Friday and stay there over the weekend. Always remember to maintain a level of professionalism – during the process, office dinners, and casual outings sponsored by the firm.

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