One of the most common peices of advice I recive while networking with Investment Bankers is to ask "smart questions". But what actually makes a smart question?
Is it ok or actually recommended to introduce yourself and your university before asking a question? Or does that just look cringy.
It is often suggested to not ask anything you can find out on your own in five minutes, but let's be serious, most technical questions can be answered by a quick google search. In general, my impression is that questions that are very technical or very niche like "How do you see the development of IB in South Eastern Europe given the macroecenomic changes in...." tend to put of speakers. But is that realy the case? Does it demonstarte technical knowledge if an undergraduate student asks these kind of questions? How far away from the original topic can you drift?
How many questions is enough? If there are 30 people in the room, how many questions should you yourself ask? One? Three? More than that? Is better to ask to little or to many questions? Is there some rule of thumb?
Also, how do you determine whether a question is relevant to an Analyst or MD and anything in between?
If you decide to go with a more personal approach like "What do you do if a client on an IPO is about to jump ship?" there is the danger of either getting a very basic answer or going too personal, considering questions are often asked in front of 50 people during a company presentation.
In general, how precise should a smart question be? How do you keep it open enough to allow the speaker to give the answer she is comfortable with while not appearing to basic or shallow by asking something like "Why did you decide to go into IB?"
Should you try to make yourself look good by asking a question?
And what about follow up questions? Annoying or a good thing?
Maybe it is actually easier to determine what a stupid question is and avoid those than actually try to ask a smart question.