Interview Question: Why Finance? Sample Answers

I landed my first interview with an Investment Bank and I am going over all of the 'classic' banking/ finance interview questions. I do have my reasons other than the money for why I want to have a career in finance but I am not sure what's best to say while interviewing at an investment bank or any other finance company.

Why Finance: the best answer to this classic interview question

Finance interviewing season is here and whether you're applying for an analyst at an investment bank, or you are already in your finance career, this is the one question you need to know for every interview you will ever go on.

First off, this is a behavioral interview question and like all behavioral questions they are asking you this question to see your compatibility. According to one of our users:

rooster - Private Equity Associate:
The best answer is to ALWAYS say something about the people/ quality of people you will have a chance to work with and the deals that you will have exposure to. 

NEVER say anything about the money - while it is clearly the reason that 99.92% of people in finance are here, no one will ever admit so in an interview, so don't be the guy that does or else you will get dinged. Simple as that

This will allow you to show your interviewer that you are eager to be apart of the deal flow and it will also demonstrate you understand workplace prudence (which is the most important skill anyone can learn).

Never-the-less, this question is a tricky one because it depends where you are interviewing. For example, Goldman Sachs puts more emphasis on their applicants' personal traits. This is why it is important you research the firm and see what qualities they expect of their employees. If you know someone at the place you are interviewing, don't be afraid to ask what they recommend.

List of Finance Interview Questions

Finance questions are tricky because there's so many things you could be asked while interviewing-- and more times than not people forget to even think about the most common ones. The below linked page is a perfect guide of some of the most popular finance/ banking interview questions.

Educate yourself on more Finance Interview Questions and Answers

Preparing for Investment Banking Interviews?

The WSO investment banking interview course is designed by countless professionals with real world experience, tailored to people aspiring to break into the industry. This guide will help you learn how to answer these questions and many, many more.

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Comments (19)

12y 
surferdude867, what's your opinion? Comment below:

" I chose finance because I thrive in a competitive environment. I feel I am among the best and I need to be surrounded by like-minded people who challenge me on a daily basis. I derive a sense of satisfaction from hard work and dedication, and no industry values these traits more than investment banking/private equity/venture capital."

  • 4
Best Response
12y 
rooster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

the correct answer is ALWAYS to say something about the people/quality of people you will have a chance to work with and the deals that you will have exposure to. while this is obviously bullshit and the interviewer knows that for the most part it is bullshit, it's the same bullshit he fed many years ago to his interviewer as well, and if you do not have the same smarts that he did in your shoes, you will certainly not advance. specific references (i.e. I know a handful of analysts at your firm and they are the type of individuals that I would enjoy working with) are always an added plus.

NEVER say anything about the money - while it is clearly the reason that 99.92% of people in finance are here, no one will ever admit so in an interview, so don't be the guy that does or else you will get dinged. simple as that

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolfpack Buyside strongside
  • 6
12y 
CNB90, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is what I would say, mind you I have no interview practice - I got my internships through connections.

Finance is a fast-paced and competitve industry that demands proffesionals who are dilligant, focused, hard driving, and devoted. I believe my skills, personal traints, and ambitions make me a perfect fit for the industry. Furthermore, I excel in situations where my fellow co-workers and team participants share my hard driving worth ethic, devotion, attention to detail, and general drive to succeed. Finance houses such proffesionals and I believe it the perfect fit for me.

12y 
pistacie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Models and bottles!

Just kidding of course, but what the others have said are the same things I've heard should be said. Granted I have no actual interview experience, but I've read quite a bit on the subject (I'm by no means an expert). As you probably already know, just keep money and exit opportunities out of it. Even if they know a lot of people are planning to move to PE before they get the job, they want to hear that you're in it for the long haul. You could also try to talk about how you enjoy working with different types of people in a competitive, yet team-oriented environment.

It might also depend on where you're applying, for example I've read that Goldman Sachs puts a lot more emphasis on their applicants' personal traits and how well they think you would fit in with their corporate culture, so they might be happy to hear you talk about team-work and how well you think you would work with the people there. Any information you can get about the specifics of the bank you're applying to might prove useful, even if they are looking for the same qualities in general. Remember to show up with a positive attitude and try to display something unique about your interests or experiences, because nobody will remember a 3.8 GPA HBS graduate with zero personality or ambition.

Did you read the articles on interviews and recruiting at M&I? I've learnt a lot from those.

  • 3
8y 
SSits, what's your opinion? Comment below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpbbuaIA3Ds

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
  • 5
7y 
Black Star, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Cause you thought it would get you laid.

Bitch please, I love bananas! If you found my advice useful, hit me up with one.
7y 
El_Mono, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I wanna earn a lotta money

Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards. - Tacitus Dr. Nick Riviera: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!
7y 
UFOinsider, what's your opinion? Comment below:
kmzz:
interviewer: why finance? you: why not finance? interviewer: stumped

instant offer

Why finance? Because I enjoy staying up all night and having my weekends and social life ruined by staring into a computer cranking out bullshit for the shitty people that run this dump. You know what, punch me in the face and I'll like it.

Oh, yeah, and they pay well from what I've heard.

Get busy living
  • 4
7y 
karypto, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I pronounce finance like this

fin (like the flipper) + anc (like a British bloke saying ants)

As for why I pronounce it like so, because I'm good at meeting deadlines and being creative by playing with words (numbers need friends to). Boom...offer.

7y 
El_Mono, what's your opinion? Comment below:

notice you have to say fi-nance, not fy-nance while you answer.

Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards. - Tacitus Dr. Nick Riviera: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!
4y 
abhinayamk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Magni quo quasi corporis corrupti velit fuga. Cupiditate sit nisi aliquam. Quo dolores hic sed exercitationem. Non sed voluptatem cum voluptas sit aut. Est quis sint voluptatem vero voluptas quisquam dolor.

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