Story time: My horrible BB Analyst interview experience
What's up folks-
I recently became a poster here from a lurker dating back a year ago. I really wanted to share this with you guys to get your thoughts. Forgive me for the length, but writing this all out actually felt really good and I think it will really help paint the picture.
Recently, I had an interview for a FT Analyst spot at a BB (MS/JPM/GS/Citi). I'm a non-target so I landed it by studying sites like WSO/M&I and it was my first regular interview for a true IBD firm. I was excited and committed early to doing everything right to be prepared. I had reached out to a number of analysts and got good responses. I picked up the vault guide and read textbooks to learn valuation and the investment banking business. Everything was going swell.
Now fast forward to after actually landing the interview. I got the notification about a week out to respond with my availability, which I did. I did my reviews to ensure that I was up to par and updated my contacts to let them know I was excitedly invited for a phone interview. On the day of, it was raining. My network is Sprint. As it turns out, it is a pretty crappy service because I got to my chosen location to take the phone call, but I got no ring. Nothing. Not even a voicemail.
As you might have guessed, I was devastated. The weight from not understanding what happened kept me seated in that chair for 5-10 minutes. I was already working somewhere else because this was post-graduate. But before I could go back into the office, I needed to walk off the shock I had just found myself in. After about 15 minutes or so, I walked back into the office and sat down at my desk. While working for 10-15 minutes, I noticed a notification popped up on my screen: it was a voicemail from the interviewer from 40 minutes ago! Fucking Sprint!! Arghh!
Anyways, I responded right away and informed him I had 'technology issues'. He was nice about it and said that he was willing to reschedule. Being confused and not knowing how the missed call was going to affect my candidacy left me worried about my chances. I ended up unable to reschedule at his convenience, which led to the exchange going cold for the rest of the night (I had been working at my role for about 6/7 months, and these women whom I work with tend to take anything you do for yourself personally). I waited the next day, hoping that the interviewer would reach out with a response for a time. It never came. So I decided to follow up that afternoon. In about 20 minutes or so, the interviewer came back and asked me if I could chat in about two hours, which I accepted.
This was not unexpected, but still somewhat sudden to interview in two hours. Also, given that I was at work for the day, I hardly had time to really get myself in the mood for the interview. When the time finally came, I ended up taking the call in a Five Guys and this place was playing music all day way too loud, with characters shuffling through ever so distractedly. I was not very happy, and even more irritated by it today because there are quiet rooms in the office that I didn't want to use out of fear that the ladies I work with would use the situation to antagonize me further for not doing things the way they want.
The call was scheduled for 15 minutes but ended up going for 25. The questions were mostly technical as only one was behavioral. Actually, the behavioral question was 'tell me more about yourself,' and led to him revealing that we were from the same state and grew up within fairly close proximity of each other. I was nervous of going off on a tangent, so I simply replied "that's awesome!"
The technical questions were your basic ones: walk me through a DCF; what happens to the three financial statements when depreciation increases; can you tell me what is free cash flow. I nailed all of them which as much gusto as I could muster with rock roaring in my other ear! On the last one, the FCF question, I started from net income uncomfortably because I had a brain freeze and couldn't think of why one can start from net income or EBIT, in a classic case of temporary lapse in brain power.
Ultimately, I thought that once we were able to finally have the interview, I did things that were good to help my candidacy. Of course at the end he allowed me to ask him some questions. I already knew about the firm and had distinguished it from its peers and others based on its merits, so I decided to ask him questions that would get him to detail more about his experiences. All in all, I feel like the interview went well despite the fact that I was so unmatched coming from a non-target/non-traditional background, with the unfortunate shakeup of missing the call. I recently came across the interviewer's profile online and it made me recall the experience, somewhat eerily.
I started to wonder, "what went wrong?" But I guess everything went wrong from the hesitation on the FCF question to the short of fully confident background story to the lack of proper preparation to prevent some trivial network issue or distracting background noises. Honestly, I had to write this out because thinking about it made me feel like I am hopeless for making these blunders when I probably didn't deserve the chance in the first place. What do you guys think?