Critique my "why IB" answer

Here's what I am planning to say for "why IB"-- please feel free to rip it to shreds, need some help (putting it in bulletproof form)

  • Interested specifically in learning about M&A 
  • Internship company this summer underwent a merger, got to see how it works internally
  • Would like to see the process for how a bank does M&A and see how they work from start to finish

Please give any feedback-- have edited it a few times and definitely need more criticism!! This anecdote is more personal, not sure if it's too specific or if it's completely irrelevant to the question

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Comments (17)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 3, 2021 - 11:14am

I would caution with using the interest in numbers so heavily. What I really tried to focus on in my answer was coming up with a response that demonstrated a) I knew what IB was b) I knew what the work entails c) the foundation IB will build

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 3, 2021 - 12:11pm

I mean this sounds more like your story rather than why IB and it's too broad, doesn't really highlight IB's key points.

I don't see 3 clear reasons of why you want to do IB: Is it the learning? Is it the environment? Responsibility? Transactional work? Etc.

Pick 2 or 3 of those and give a bit more detail, tying the reasons back to your experiences as you try doing above and more importantly why is it something you like doing and see yourself doing in the future.

Would recommend writing your answers in bullet/sections forms so it's easier to prep going forward rather than paragraphs.

Most Helpful
Aug 3, 2021 - 12:21pm
  1. Answer is a bit long
  2. You spend way too much time talking about the stock market and investing (which are fairly irrelevant to IB for all intents and purposes unless you're in ECM), and only have 1 throwaway line about "working on deals" for why IB - this is completely flipped in where your focus should be
  3. Expanding on point #2, need some actual specifics about why IB
  4. Your point on being a class tutor is completely off topic and doesn't add anything (may come across as 1st time you successfully worked on something start to finish)
  5. "Working with #s" is so generic and the wrong focus for IB

Going to be blunt here but overall this is a bad answer. Other than the "working on deals" throwaway comment you can copy and paste your answer above to multiple fields w/in finance and it still works, which is not a good sign. I mean it probably works even better for like ER than it does for IB. Doesn't demonstrate any true interest in IB and you don't come across as somebody who actually knows what the job entails. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Aug 3, 2021 - 1:10pm

Seconding this. I don't really have much to add but your answer is boring and I would roll my eyes at it. Not that you can't come back from it through the rest of the interview but if you want to polish your foundational answers, Penguin's advice is good.

I light up when students talk about wanting to work around a specific industry/sector but not wanting to be in operations at a company and wanting to see different businesses from a higher level with a caveat that consulting isn't a fit because of reasons x, y and z. If you can loop me into how doing deals fits into your longer-term goals and really dig deep on an emotional level, you've won the interview because I'll likely value and relate to your honesty. Bonus points if you can tactfully address the harsh demands of the job and explain why the sacrifices are worth it to you and those long-term goals. You could fuck up 80% of the technicals I throw your way assuming you're not too far off and still get my vote for an offer because I related to your root goals hard enough that I'd want someone I see myself in succeed. It's not easy, though, and requires you to be selectively vulnerable in your answers.

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Aug 3, 2021 - 1:38pm

Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it. I updated my answer to something different and got rid of the deal aspect completely, it's still a reason why I want to do IB but I'm not sure how to make it sound articulate enough that I won't just sound like an inexperienced idiot hahaah

Aug 3, 2021 - 1:55pm

Thanks for the feedback, really really appreciate it. I edited my answer now to something that I think is a little more conventional but it may still sound stupid

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Aug 3, 2021 - 3:09pm

This is so overly generic to the point I could switch IB to anything even the PeaceCorp and it would still work.

Here is what I would do to try and craft a story. Yes, it's too long but you need to go back to the drawing board.

1. In 3 sentences tell me how you got interested in finance. 

2. In 3 sentences how did you become interested in ib?

3. 3 sentences about what interest you most about IB.

4. What specifically would you like to get out of your 2 years? 3 sentences.

5. Where do you hope to be career wise and personally in 5 years? Write 3 sentences.

6. 3 character traits that you have that would work well in IB and how are they shown on you're resume.

7. Based on what you know, name 5 things people like about working in banking.

hopefully these questions help guide you. Lmk if there's anything I can do to help!

Aug 3, 2021 - 3:26pm

This might be redundant to points above but it is key to have a story or personal experience as to why you chose IB. When i recruited this past spring, I always got "Why Finance" or "Why IB" and I briefly explained that the law firm my dad works for deals with ECM, DCM, and M&A deals and found that the type of work & vast outlets of Finance IB offered was something i knew I wanted to explore. 

TBH, I don't even think my answer was the best but it got me very solid offers and eventually signed UMM. Hope this helps!

Aug 3, 2021 - 4:59pm

I think the key to why IB (if you dont have a 4.0 GPA and super smart), is you need to understand what the job entails (80+hours / week), and most of it is bullshit work.

you really should say more like "really enjoy financial modelling", "helping out with analysis on pitchbooks"

  • Always have valued learning-- know IB is best place to do it -> I don't even think this is true lol
  • Interested specifically in learning about M&A -> this sounds like bullshit lol common
  • Internship company this summer underwent a merger, got to see how it works internally -> I like this, and this shoold be CORE to your why IB "I saw a merger, read up online on M&A, then dug into models, really enjoyed that aspect, want to do IB to learn how to do M&A, I understand it's a lot of hard work, but really motivated to put my head done and help out with the team" - this is a much better answer
  • Would like to see the process for how a bank does M&A and see how they work from start to finish > I like this answer
Aug 3, 2021 - 7:59pm

Great feedback, thank you! The only thing I'm worried about is if they press more into the part where I would say I read up on M&A and the modeling. I always get fucked when I say something and they ask a follow up question that I don't know how to answer, so would they press me more on models and stuff like that? Sorry if I sound really stupid, but I understand a DCF, comparable comps, LBO analysis, and precedent transaction valuation pretty well-- are there other types of models I should know? Super sorry for so many questions, I just know how important this question is and would hate to fuck up on something that I know is going to be asked. Thanks again for all of your help.

Aug 3, 2021 - 8:52pm

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