London EB Interview: 1hr DCF modelling test

I have a 1hr DCF modelling test tomorrow for an analyst role at an elite boutique in London. I can build a complete DCF within 50 minutes to a good standard, so I am relatively confident of my intrinsic modelling skills going in. 

My main concern is the time it'll take to gather commercially reasonable assumptions (growth, margins, D&A % of capex etc.) from the information source they provide me with (I don't know what this is but assume it'll be broker notes).

I'd appreciate any last minute tips/recommendations you have from prior experience.

Most Helpful

For a 50 minute test, I think it's fairly unlikely that you'll be provided with an Information Memorandum or anything particularly onerous. More likely, they'll provide some sort of briefing document that's maybe a couple of pages and might even state explicitly most of the assumptions.

It's possible that bits of the model will be pre-populated even. They'd rather test you on skills you'll need on the job (e.g. do you know how to un-lever and re-lever a beta).

That said, if I needed to give some tips, then:

  • Skip things like formatting to save time
  • Make reasonable assumptions (e.g. D&A at 4% of revenue) rather than spend 20 minutes flicking through an IM looking for something minor
  • Get the mechanics of the model right
  • Add a comment or note to indicate where you've made a simplifying assumption due to time

Fair question (and apologies - it was meant as a throwaway example of the broader point but that wasn't clear) - I cover Consumer and usually it tends to be in this ballpark for, e.g. Food and Beverage companies.

More capex-intensive industries will see a much higher D&A rate. 

A much better "super simple" assumption would be to hold the D&A % equal to that in the last prior historic year (or maybe average of last 3 years or something to that effect).


Coming back after passing the modelling test I made this post for - honestly there is no hack, just practice, practice and practice. Focus on knowing the mechanics (formulae and layout) of a model inside out and once you've got this locked down think about what you'll do to make reasonable commercial assumptions (e.g. revenue growth, margins, cost items etc.) under pressure in a test scenario and practice a few different approaches to do so


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