Critique my answer for: "Tell me about yourself" question (Investment Banking)

Hey guys, I am applying for boutique/middle market IBs at the moment. I was wondering if you could give me feed back on my "Tell me about yourself" answer. This is still in the works, but out of a scale of 10, what are your thoughts. (If I recited this, it would probably be around 1.5-2 mins.)

I am currently a sophomore at XYZ Uni. majoring in finance, minoring in mathematics. I am a first generation student that comes from a hardworking blue collar background that has created a living through working at a restaurant and managing real estate, and learned the importance of hard work and focus from working under my father at a young age. After going through many financial hurdles throughout my life, I immediately began working at 14 years old in order to support my family, and worked hard in school despite the lack of an educational environment. I never really was interested in anything besides basketball until my best friend introduced to me about the stock market. I was perplexed, yet fascinated by the concept of owning a piece of a public company, and deciphering candlesticks, technical and fundamental analysis. Within a span of several months, I saved up $2000 and began trading penny stocks where I learned invaluable lessons about being a disciplined, strong-gutted trader. By my senior year, I co-founded my high school's first stock market club, where I taught our 100+ members the basics of fundamental and technical analysis, (this is one of the largest and elite high schools in America) and prepared them for stock market competitions. My love for the finance had grown with every financial-related experiences such as learning about the hedge-fund business as an intern, and also working as a summer analyst at a real estate acquisitions company which gave me a different perspective of the broad financial industry.

I want to join investment banking because it is a multi-dimensional and fast-paced field which require strong analytical, problem-solving, and communication abilities. I want to be surrounded by the most ambitious and intellectually-sharp people so that I can maximize my potential and help create value for the company.
(Last Paragraph is so basic tbh, how can I improve this last paragraph?)

Other things about me that I could Incorporate: I have a strong passion for music (performed in talent shows, etc.), played CYO/AAU Basketball, was a City-Champion Wrestler (But quit after a year due to severe leg problems.)

*I don't care for grammar, I care about the concepts/meanings

Comments (10)

Sep 22, 2017

It sounds like you are more interested in the stock market than in investment banking.

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Sep 23, 2017

My thoughts as well. You need a pivot, something like; I enjoyed following the stock market, but rather than trying to become the next Buffett like so many kids - I realized I wanted to take a company to the next stage of its life cycle and take it public through an IPO or change the course of an industry by merging two giants together.

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Sep 22, 2017

You are revealing a lot of information. Keep it short and sweet. You will likely get the "why investment banking" question so why not let them ask and waste more time. Remember you only have 30 min, so less is more.

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Sep 23, 2017

As mentioned above, your story fails to explain why you're interested in IB specifically. The whole main body describes your interest in the markets and then you abruptly switch over to the usual BS reasons on why you want to join IB.

This would be good if you were applying for buyside roles, however in this case you should try to make it clear how your interest in IB grew over time as you learned more about finance (ex. you worked in real estate where you enjoyed your work but wanted more of x and y which can be found in IB etc).

To infinity... and beyond!

Sep 23, 2017

Sounds like you're more interested in trading than IB.

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Sep 23, 2017

I would ask "What would be most helpful for you to know?" Your time is short and you should try to make the questions specific and your answers brief and to the point.

Sep 23, 2017

You lost me after the personal background part

Keep it really short, you want to focus on why banking. My name is xx, went to xx, also did wrestling/basketball at xx and won national championship (or anything cool) then why banking

Agreed with all of the above, the bankers would totally write you off after you mention fundamental analysis and stock market, technical stuff is probably only 20% of what analysts or associates do. I would focus less on stock market and more on deal market

Best Response
Sep 23, 2017

Your answer conveys absolutely no desire to go into Investment Banking. If you left off the boilerplate last couple sentences you would think you were pitching to some sort of Real Estate / ABF / REPE role.

Being on the other side of an interview table, I can tell you that one of the most important factors in deciding who gets an offer is how interested that candidate is and how well they were able to tell us exactly WHY Investment Banking is the perfect career for their interests and experience. Your background sounds like you want to be some sort of HF / AM investor that is also interested in Real Estate.

This is ok if you are able to draw a line through these experiences - for example, you like the markets and RE so you want to work on capital markets deals in the Real Estate group. That is a believable and congruent story.

Your biggest mistake is you are introducing new (unnecessary) information about your interest in the stock market. This convolutes things and makes interviewers want to boil down to the REAL reason you are interviewing for IB roles, which is most likely money or exit ops (which is fine, but you don't want to convey this in an interview).

Taking the most poignant aspects of your story, I would come up with a much shorter and more interesting story. My take on this would be as follows:

"I grew up in xxx, and went to school at xxx, my family works in the real estate business and I started working under my dad when I was xx years old. During my Sophomore year I was an intern at [Real Estate Firm] where I [Worked on Applicable Project A, B, C] and learned [Skills X, Y , Z]. I really enjoyed the transactional nature of the acquisitions team and the quantitative analysis associated with it. After the internship I have been focused on making connections in the Investment Banking world and teaching myself financial modeling skills. I was interested in this group after reading about [Deal Group Has Done] and speaking with [Individual You Networked With] and thought it was a great fit for my background working on [Project A you Alluded to Earlier]

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Sep 24, 2017

Thanks @jss09 , this is one piece of an actionable story. Will definitely try your take in mock interviews ASAP. SB'd

Sep 24, 2017
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