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Comments (64)

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Oct 11, 2020 - 8:54pm

My first IB interview (applied blindly but got an interview somehow) they asked me what IB is and I couldn't tell them. Followed up with walk me through a DCF and I had never even heard of a DCF. Literally a nightmare and still cringe to this day lol. I had no idea about the IB industry and just applied cuz I saw on my campus recruiting job board "investment". After that interview I found wso and thank god.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Oct 11, 2020 - 10:21pm

Similar story here. I somehow landed a phone interview at a top PE firm. Didn't know anything (had been prepping a little but only for IB style questions) and the interview went horribly. I found out the next day from HR that the class had already been filled anyway so I took the L and ended up finding a role I'm quite happy with. Moral of the story: no need to botch an interview, but if it happens just take whatever lessons you can from it and then forget about it. I think some of the kids who go through 10+ interviews without landing a gig end up psyching themselves out.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 11, 2020 - 8:56pm

My first interview went pretty well actual. Luckily it was for a firm that didn't ask too many technical questions. Got the second round after that as well.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 11, 2020 - 10:35pm

First time I really crashed and burned was at my first superday. I had been making it through phone screens well enough by just googling common IB questions,  but the superday was stacked with questions from the M&I guide (which I didn't even know existed at the time). I was literally asked to leave early it was so bad. 

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  • Intern in IB - Cov
Oct 11, 2020 - 10:46pm

Applied to MM firm (think Baird/WB) early before I even really knew what IB was, but somehow knew these firms move earlier. Got on the phone thinking it was an informational interview and immediately started off "just want to hear about your and your story spiel" and the guy immediately just said he would ask me a few questions and we'd go from there.

First question, what are the three financial statements and how do they connect?

My answer: Uh um...I don't know exactly the answer to that but I have heard of a comprable companies analysis and DCF...

Guy: okay what are comps?

Me: Me sputtering shit i halfway read out of rosenbaum and pearl...after that he just said "Thank you for you time-we'll get back to you" and hung up.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Oct 11, 2020 - 11:29pm

Bad, I said that you project out revenue by using the CAPM???

Oct 12, 2020 - 3:03am

First real "L" was in a superday. Not having notes on technicals in front of me was rough to say the least.

Dayman?
  • Business School in IB-M&A
Oct 12, 2020 - 5:49am

In my first IBD AC I become so flustered that I couldn't even tell my interviewer whether the EV/EBITDA multiple should be bigger or smaller than EV/EBIT

  • Intern in IB - CB
Oct 12, 2020 - 10:54am

One of my first SA interviews was a phone screen with a big FoF. While I was on the phone in my dorm suite living room the fire alarm started going off and when I looked in my bedroom there was a ton of smoke coming out of the AC unit. I completely panicked and just left my dorm and continued the interview in the middle of the quad, acted like nothing happened and just told the interviewer the alarm was going off in my building. Texted all my roommates saying "get back here right now the room is on fire" and finished the interview...got a second round email and then was totally ghosted by the company. The electrical fire in the AC kind of burned itself out around the time my roommates got back, thankfully...in retrospect can't believe I almost burned down my entire dorm for a phone interview with fucking Man Group

Oct 12, 2020 - 5:30pm

Lmfao the first interview for my first super day was dog shit. I glanced over the accounting portion of the 400 question guide. (Rookie mistake) So this guy asks me a couple of accounting questions that I had no idea how to answer. I literally just stare at him as he's on his phone. He asks the question again and I blank. In the end of the interview he asks me if I have any questions and I respond with "nah". Anyways I obviously didn't get the offer but I interviewed the same day with another bank and got one. Was quite lucky to completely fuck an opportunity but land another one.

Oct 13, 2020 - 2:53am

Interviewer asked what PE meant, i answered the definition of P/E Ratio.

Interviewer then asked which interests you more between IBD and S&T, i said i'm more comfortable in Capital Market.

That's the first time i really flunked out of an interview and i still regretted not prepping after i received the email.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 13, 2020 - 8:25am

My first interview was 2 on 1 in person interview on campus. Was so nervous and barely had studied the guides at that point so stumbled through simple accounting questions to start the interview completely messing them up. The interview didn't even last 5 minutes. At about the 3 minute mark they asked me if I had any questions for them lol said nope thanked for them their time and got out of that room as fast as possible

Oct 13, 2020 - 11:47am

It was at Evercore and I pitched them using their balance sheet to become a Bulge Bracket investment bank. I read a discussion about that on this website, but let me tell you...it did NOT go over well. 

Most Helpful
Oct 13, 2020 - 12:30pm

Fuck yeah, I can contribute to this. My first real banking interview was for a SA position at Lazard Middle Market (why does everyone here have an aversion to calling out specific banks?). I made it past the first behavioiral interview on campus because my interviewers no-showed. They just auto-invited me to the super day in Chicago. 

I made it pretty clear in my introduction/networking calls that I was very interested in banking, but that I literally just started taking accounting and finance. I was like one fucking week into these classes. Did not matter. I was absolutely annhilated at the super day. Grilled on technicals that I had no fucking clue about. I was so nervous and rattled I think I probably looked like I jumped in a pool of sweat during this painful 4-hour day. I remember two douchebag interviewers realizing I was not going to be hired and they just started firing off stupid questions to kill the time. "What kind of car do you want to drive?" stuck out. They fucking grilled me on my answer. 

Oct 13, 2020 - 12:42pm

Never really understood this, especially for college kids. I can see being a little dissatisfied if someone hasn't taken the time to look at the guides or whatever, but that interview was overkill. Recruiting starts so early now that it is hard to expect someone two weeks into classes to fire off a paper LBO or something. 

Oct 13, 2020 - 2:26pm

Banks recruit majority of their FT analysts from their intern pool, so the questions on the SA interviews reflect that; SA interview questions are very similar to FT analyst questions in many aspects, though not too advanced.

Oct 13, 2020 - 12:43pm

I applied to Centerview earlier this fall on a whim and didn't expect land a 2 on 1 first round. I had two days to prepare so I tried studying the 400 question guide and looking over their recent deals. I was asked an incredibly easy question to start off: calculate the market cap of a company given its stock price and total number of shares. Completely froze up, and the MD had to walk me through every single follow up question he asked.

After that, I made sure to do a lot more studying so I was ready for the BB IB superday I had a couple weeks ago. Feeling like a dumb rock during that interview definitely helped push me to prepare better for my other interviews.

Oct 13, 2020 - 2:28pm

This post! Candidates, almost always, get their asses handed to them on their first few interviews; the ones with thick skin still continue to pursue banking others just opt out.

  • NA in IB-M&A
Oct 13, 2020 - 12:45pm

First superday was at Rothschild. Was pretty well-prepared interview wise as I had a solid amount of practice the year before. First interview first question I get asked tell me ab yourself etc. Start answering and the interviewer pulls out his phone and starts going on it (this was an associate or analyst can't remember) Thought it was odd but didn't think too much of it, just kept answering. Few minutes go by, he asks some half-assed questions, then proceeds to WALK OUT of the interview room with no comment for 10 minutes. This dude finally comes back and says let's continue. Then starts grilling the fuck out of me on mental math / tough accounting questions. Was so pissed and frustrated at that point I literally couldn't think of what 20% of $5 was.

Long story short, didn't get the offer and fuck that associate at Rothschild that was a literal prick.

Oct 13, 2020 - 2:32pm

Yeah, associates/analyst who had to break into banking the hard way tend to grill SA candidates, which I find kind of ironic. You're supposed to know your fundamentals in-and-out but they ask you super complex questions to start the interview to throw you off your game; it is a slippery slope from there.

Oct 13, 2020 - 12:59pm

Was interviewing for a position at Evercore in London. At the time they used Dartmouth Partners for recruitment (fuck DP). It was going okay until the interviewer began to lead the interview towards Brexit, at which point I basically said that I was sick of hearing about Brexit following years of having to hear about it as an international student. There had been essentially no changes since the referendum vote and it was a long way off from when the UK would leave the EU.

Oct 13, 2020 - 2:11pm

I'll preface this with saying that I was prepping for months before my interview so I would say I was a lot more prepared than your average interviewer.

My first interview was with a leveraged finance group that was known for being incredibly intense, technical, and modeling heavy. It consisted of an hour and a half of complex LBO, debt, recapitalization, and other related questions. I did okay considering it was my first, but I just wasn't ready for that level. Although I didn't get it, I found every single interview after this one incredibly easy.

Array

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  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Oct 13, 2020 - 6:35pm

Was doing an accelerated first round this year during covid so had a virtual interview. Don't ask me how I got an accelerated for my first ever interview - I'm coming from a semi-target with a non-finance major so no fucking clue. Anyway, it was two back to back interviews, 7 A/As interviewing me in total. Yup, 7. The 3/4 from the first joined the second afterward, so I was getting my ass torn open on technicals in front of them all. These guys asked me 'tell me about yourself' and then went into a full hour of straight technicals. I started off well with valuation qs, but they were having a great time watching me tweak out when the advanced accounting and M&A math questions came out. I had prior coffee chats with 2/7, and one of them didn't go so well (guy was a complete robot and had no time for me) so I think they just wanted some entertainment. Considering there were 7 people there to witness this, I'm pretty sure I can never apply to this bank again lmao.

Oct 13, 2020 - 8:27pm

I was interviewing for 2 positions in the same company on the same day. Had the first interview with just one dude. The next position I interviewed for had 7 FUCKING PEOPLE IN THERE. Wasn't technically supposed to be a superday, I ended up getting offered on the first position but not the second. Knew some of the interns in the department I didn't get offered and they all said they had 2, 3 max interviewers. I don't know what the hell happened but it threw me off. Had someone from each division from their RE department like private debt, REPE, CMBS, etc. and it was wild. 

Oct 13, 2020 - 6:36pm

I had the hiccups before the interviews that I couldn't get rid of. 

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • 1
Oct 13, 2020 - 9:02pm

It went a little something like this, "Thank you for your interest in our company, unfortunately..." 

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
Oct 14, 2020 - 1:52pm

Got intro'd by someone who thought I knew what I was doing. I had literally 0 clue. I'm serious, I never pursued IB until last minute senior year. I didn't know this website existed. Someone told me to say something about a DCF, it's an excel model. Ok, sick.

I get on a call with MD of 2nd tier M&A group (BAML, Citi, CS), super friendly and obviously going to be an easy interview. Awesome! I come out guns blazing. They're blanks.

Him: how do the 3 statements connect.

Me: they're all connected, and there are a lot of other things in the annual report so frankly I think 3 statements aren't enough. I believe it's the income statement, the balance sheet and....not sure what the third one is, maybe the breakdown of operating segments. Also, you can do a DCF with them.

Oct 15, 2020 - 10:31am

I still have PTSD from Moelis...in fact every single recruiting round I've gone through (sophomore internship, junior internship, full time, even PE!), I've gotten destroyed by a Moelis / Moelis alumni interviewer at the start... For some reason, they are always the sweatiest interviewers. Maybe I just got unlucky, who knows.. 

Oct 15, 2020 - 3:49pm

First round interview with a BB during my sophomore year. I thought I knew my shit because I had landed an internship at a local boutique a couple weeks before. Took so long on the first accounting question that the analyst took out a bag of chips and ate it in front of me.

  • Developer in RE - Comm
Oct 16, 2020 - 1:24pm

Late to this, but my first interview was sooo BAD. The first question the interviewer asked me was "walk me through your resume." I was ready for all technicals (I actually aced all the technicals later in the phone screen), but was no ready for "walk me through your resume." In my head I was thinking "wtf kind of question is this...my resume is literally in front of you." I ended up LITERALLY walking the interviewer through my resume. Unsurprisingly, I did not get moved on. It was extra bad because I had a very strong connection (my uncle is head of their commercial and investment banking division) and he referred me to the MD and my resume was pushed through. Learned a lot that day. 

Oct 16, 2020 - 2:53pm

I remember receiving the invite for a skype interview. Being very early on in my college studies, I didn't know much finance or accounting but had some background knowledge. I remember spending the day before briefly brushing over some accounting terms while dreaming about my future "Wall street life". The money, prestige, and hours flashed before my young excited eyes. Pretty soon I stopped brushing over those terms and spent the rest of the night daydreaming about my future prospects as a banker. The next day I set up everything. The webcam and computer are working good. My dress is good, and I'm well-shaven. I'm ready to go. I look at my start time and there's no interviewer. At this point I'm starting to become extremely anxious. Was this interview for real? Was I given the wrong room? I just sit there staring at the computer screen blankly hoping something will happen. 7 minutes later the interviewer joins the room. Except her video is completely off. There's a small profile pic of her that is inanimate. I'm now mildly creeped out that she can see everything I'm doing, but I can't see her, but shrug it off and move on. Then she starts talking. I have had many asian friends over the years, many of whom were not born in the US. But none of them have had an accent anywhere near as thick as this woman's. I'm struggling to understand any word she says. I keep asking her  to "please repeat the question".  I should have been alarmed by this point, but I assumed that this was just a part of adapating to NYC, since NYC has many internationals. I cruise past the behaviorals and then the technicals start. It starts off with easy accounting questions, and I'm feeling really good. But then the question comes "What is EBIT?". I'm thinking to myself "Well EBIT is EBIT...". "No she means what does it stand for." And then it hits me. They say pride goes before a fall and I found that out that very day. I had spent way too much time daydreaming about the cool, rich banker I was going to be and didn't finish studying my accounting terms. The interview continued, but I was fairly sure it was over. I went back to the term sheet I was referencing and there towards the bottom I saw "EBIT - Earnings before Interest and Taxes" and was mentally kicking myself in the foot for not going through the entire sheet. The rejection came in a very strange form. The recruiter I was talking to on LinkedIn made her messages to me private. In other words, she managed to remove her name and pfp so that it simply said "Anonymous User." I found that weird, but didn't think too much of it at the time.

The anonymous skype interviewer. The thick  Asian accent. The recruiter who pulled her name and pfp. The fact I got a skype interview with almost nothing on my resume. All these things should have made me wonder about this firm or do DD. But I never did. I was so happy, stupid, young and naive that I really thought I was so close to becoming the dream investment banker. That firm was NYIC International. Yes, the boutique that was a complete scam. The boutique whose MD got caught for fraud and got charged. The interviewer was an anonymous analyst from mainland China, not NYC. The recruiter? Well, I forgot heri info but she would have pulled to remove any trace of what she was doing. I only learned these things much later after seeing a thread on NYIC on WSO. The day I saw that thread I realized that if I had gone down to the bottom of my terms sheet, I might have been cheated and caught in a scam. In hindsight, I'm thankful that I dodged a bullet that day.

Array

  • 3
Oct 16, 2020 - 3:12pm

Applied to many IB intern/analyst positions and never got an interview - not even the phone screening- and I had a decent resume but maybe because I went to super non-target community college is why. It is what it is. Got local investment management internships instead and made a name for myself in my state.

My last semester before graduating, I was vigorously applying to IB in NYC/SF/SEA with the hopes of getting into private markets someday. With only one month before my graduation, and not receiving any interviews, I found a LinkedIn post for an EB PE summer associate position. I applied and was asked to interview in three days. I was grossly unprepared to work in PE so a stress-induced all-or-nothing level of motivation kicked in. I began researching and reading everything I could. I learned about building LBO models, the acquisition process, value creation strategies, fundraising, fund structure, etc. I had a decent grasp to be able to finesse the first round interview. 

Now came the in-person second round interview. I have done my research this time on the management team that was interviewing me but what I didn't know was what I had in common with the CEO. The CEO asked me about my background. I told him the truth. First-gen American college student, Dad was cab driver and mom worked two jobs, and I am a quick learner that will grind for this opportunity. At that moment, he decided he wanted to hire me instead of the polished applicants that went to prestigious universities and have been breed their entire life just to work in PE. So he took a chance on me. His dad was also a cab driver when he was growing up and he was also a first-gen so he knew what it was like to be in my shoes. What are the odds. 

So, how bad was my first IB interview? Never had one. My first PE interview? I secured it. 

Follow on Twitter @WokeAssociate
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  • Intern in IB - Cov
Oct 17, 2020 - 9:55pm

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