You have networked like a ninja. You've tapped all connections available. (Or you go to a target school or something of that nature.) You've read through WSO, M&I, WSJ, DealBook, and all relevant literature. Through persistence, dedication, etc. you now have an interview. You know how the statements link together; you can walk through a DCF with ease; you know multiple ways to value a company; you know the treasury rates as well as LIBOR; you know what the market is doing and have an opinion on where it is going. Hell, you have even been studying brainteasers. There is no reason you should not be able to knock the interview out of the park right? Wrong! See "The Why Credit Suisse Question"

While technicals are of absolute importance (especially if you are a finance/ accounting major), the fit portion can actually be more difficult. Why? No matter what bb/mm/boutique you go to, a fact will be a fact. There is no mystical way to do a DCF. The bankers will be reading the same publications as you albeit they will have access to some more in depth information. However, culture can be a nebulous lightening cloud set to strike down your hard work at any moment.

It's been my experience with banks where they will tell you that fit is extremely important. Note: my experience comes from BB & MM interactions. I've had a friend that worked a lot with boutiques whose interviews were very heavily weighted towards technicals. But typically banks feel that they can and will train you so beyond a certain point of knowledge the real question is do they want to invest in you.

The first interview starts at the company dinner (if applicable). You'll get wined and dined. It is extremely important to be both relaxed and take mental notes. This dinner will give you a wonderful view into the culture of the bank. Don't be the idiot that brags about underage drinking to the bankers then proceeds to order an alcoholic drink after admitting that he/she is underage.

Don't be the attention whore that never lets other candidates get a chance to interact with people at the table. Don't be that awkward shy person that never says a sentence that has more than 3 words.

Don't be the person that asks a question then randomly excuses themselves (or doesn't excuse themselves) to go to the restroom or somewhere else in the middle of the response. Know etiquette. I heard of a guy last year that went to a target get dinged for sipping liquor through a stir straw. Know a few jokes. Know that this dinner is an interview for you and for the bank. But really just relax. No one wants to go out with an extremely awkward person much less work 100 hours with one.

If you don't have a company dinner and you didn't get your interview through an information interview, try to conduct one or at least do some background research. It is good to be able to slightly adjust your responses. But have your story down!

Shouting VS Mumbling
This sets the tone of the interview. It signals everything from preparedness to confidence. Speaking clearly and confidently gives you the opportunity to direct the interview somewhat. I've seen people drool or get spittle at the mouth when speaking.

Eye Contact VS Staring
In the U.S. eye contact is of utmost importance. No one wants a fidgety person who can't keep their eyes on one thing. Likewise for staring, if you're trying to find the soul of a person through their eyes that could do you in too. Remember, in a competitive process, everything is fair game.

Concise VS Thorough
Too short responses sound a little like lies. You don't want someone to have to force information out of you. During an interview there are a decent amount questions they want to ask, if you spend the entire interview on one question because they need to keep asking questions to get what they want to hear. It will not work in your favor. The same can be said about the incredibly long responses that over tell. They want to ask more than one question.

Cocky VS Confident
Please don't walk in like you own the place, unless your dad is the president. In that case, you probably wouldn't be interviewing. Being confident is pretty much a requirement for working in high level finance. Being overly confident, rude, or asking inappropriate questions is bound to get you dinged.

Humble VS Unambitious
You have to strike a balance between not sounding like you are flawless and giving other people for credit for everything. You have to sell yourself HARD. However, you have to be aware of your weakness and know how to improve them. Also please never give a weakness that would significantly harm you in an actual analyst position. Ex: Saying you're bad with excel, or you need a lot of sleep.

This Bank VS That Bank
Before interviewing with a bank, know it. Know it like the back of your hand. Check out league tables. Research recent deals. Know the role you're interviewing for. Check WSO for threads like this //www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/the-why-credit-suis.... Simply not knowing the bank could hurt you even if you nail everything else.

Who You Are VS Who They Want You To Be
Lastly, it is ultimately about being prepared and authentic. A warning sign during an interview (I have actually heard this) "You have a lot of great experience, but I just can't figure out who you really are." You should come across as someone that fits with what the bank is looking for. You should seem like you care about the firm not like someone who may jump ship for something better.

For some banks, an "incredible" fit may triumph over poor technicals. For some banks, very good fit paired with average technicals may land you a spot. In any case, if both are excellent, you WILL get something.

For those who are still looking for contact information for banks check out the database or this thread: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/searching-for-a-sum....

Comments (15)


great post

Investment Banking Interview Course


I'm just going to bring a hammer.


this deserves bananas

Because when you're in a room full of smart people, smart suddenly doesn't matter--interesting is what matters.


i first read the title as "how to nail the interviewer".

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?


i first read the title as "how to nail the interviewer".

In that case you want to be 'cocky' and continue staring. A little drool wouldn't hurt either.


Best place to find league tables?


Thanks for this great thread.
Do you think you could provide a few examples on how you answer/answered fit questions during your interviews?



Thanks for this great thread.
Do you think you could provide a few examples on how you answer/answered fit questions during your interviews?


Hope, I'm not too late for this question. I use the STAR method (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situation,_Task,_Acti...) to frame my questions. I've done enough mocks and things of that nature so I can go through them pretty quickly without it seeming like I'm really thinking about something b/c I don't.

Specific examples of actual questions (paraphrased):
Some answers via star method

Tell me an example of a very strong challenge to your leadership skills:

S: I was a female RA on an all male floor and I had been physically threatened.
T: I needed to work to establish respect and loyalty.
A: I assessed the behaviors of different guys. Some got called out in public, others in private.
R: I ended up establishing really good relationships with the floor. Applies to banking because communication styles must differ and it's important to maintain control under pressure.

What makes you a good fit for this location? (Regional MM)

I'm a non east coast native. I think location isn't important when you love what you do, but I know that (insert relevant facts about city/town) and I could see my self fitting here. Plus the awesome people who (insert something you really love about their culture) will help me adjust if there was any problem.

How do you feel about recent change in management (CEO got ousted)? Do you agree, and what would you have done in that situation?

This was the worst question I ever responded to...

My suggestions for this would be to REALLY know the key players in a company as well as how they feel each other.

Then you could say something along the lines of, I agree/disagree with this decision because of _____. Then related it back to something you've done in the past to show you're a person of your word.

Remember always relate it back to banking.
Remember you're going to be an analyst not a MD, be aware of the role you need to play.

Give me a specific type of question, and I can be of more help.


A+ Stuff +1

"Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin


Thanks for divesting your knowledge, it was a great read!


God bless. Authentic stuff.

Death is certain; Life aint.


Any comment on what your professional (or educational) background is and what the interviewers want it to be?


Any comment on what your professional (or educational) background is and what the interviewers want it to be?

Education: non target, finance/ accounting major

Interviewers typically prefer targets because it's just easier.
Regional banks prefer regional students even over Ivy/ targets.
If you're a target, major/minor does not matter as much, just know your stuff.
If you're a non target, take accounting/finance courses; you will be more scrutinized.


We can't rely on anyone these days, we just have to do things ourselves don't we?

Add a Comment