I-Banking Interview Last Minute Advice

I just graduated from an Ivy-League university with a graduate degree in engineering (No prior finance experience besides some financial modeling in class projects). And I just got an interview call for an associate in the investment banking division at one of the bulge bracket firms. (This is my first ib interview)

Honestly, I am surprised that I even was considered. Even though I am fairly clear on the basic finance technical know-how (Valuation, Ratio Analysis), I wanted to pick your brains about what I could do to not completely embarrass myself during the interview. Any advice on what I should be prepared to answer would be immensely helpful. (I am freaking out a little as I am scheduled to meet with only the higher ups of the firm, directors and VPs)

I am looking at some of the older posts as well to help me out in this. Thanks for your time.

Comments (34)

Jun 20, 2015

Differences between comparable companies, transactions and DCF valuation methods and when appropriate to use them.
DCF model in practical sense: how forecast items (Equity research report/tops or bottoms down), rationale behind capex = depreciation in terminal
Common multiples used in different industries and why (e.g. EV/EBITDAR in retail, EBITDA-Capex in telecom), Equity to Enterprise Value bridge
Different cash flows (to equity or to debt or only eq holders): e.g. what multiple would you use with net income? would PE look at unlevered or levered cash flow?
M&A process steps from both buy/sell perspective

You may also want to consider reading up on m&a motivations and rationales (e.g. PE wants to exit investment, should it IPO or sell?) but I think this should be enough for you to not embarrass yourself. When you say you know DCF they might try to test your understanding by asking what levers do I change to maximize my DCF valuation, so know and understand the basics well.

Jun 20, 2015

I'm too lazy to go looking for them now, but there was a thread called "Credit Suisse phone interview" or something similar not too long ago that had a bunch of good questions & answers.

Jun 20, 2015
Jun 20, 2015

good look ny

Jun 20, 2015

I'm about to read the vault guide to ibanking. Good idea?

Jun 20, 2015
sleepyguyb:

I'm about to read the vault guide to ibanking. Good idea?

No. ABSORB THE GUIDE INTO YOUR BEING! haha j/k. That is definitely a great starting point but I think more importantly might want to read Vault info on your company vault guide to Finance interviews.

Jun 20, 2015

ya im on page 34. dont feel like i've learned anything yet. (finance major)

Jun 20, 2015
sleepyguyb:

ya im on page 34. dont feel like i've learned anything yet. (finance major)

yeah I'm a finance major also. Hit up the finance interview part, work on the questions, DCF and do the one about your firm/firms.

Jun 20, 2015

More useful is the one for interviews. The banking one is fairly useless unless you have no idea what finance is.

Jun 20, 2015

Vault has some good stuff...wetfeet has a really good guide to interview questions, etc...check it out

Jun 20, 2015

Agreed, the "Beat the Street" guides are definitely solid prep.

Jun 20, 2015

Bone up on your valuation skills and your accounting skills and know what is going on in the markets and you'll be fine.

Jun 20, 2015

There is a post in which myself and another monkey gave a long detailed answer, but I'll try to summarize.

-strengths/weaknesses
-why IBD/why firm xyz
-why school xyz/why major xyz
-wacc and capm
-basic valuation techniques (see vault)
-how the 4 financial statements link
-how to calculate FCF
-brain teasers/mental math
-vault guide to IBD, vault guide to finance interviews, vault guide to firm xyz
-company news, stock price, recent earnings
-basic market info including DOW/S&P levels, oil and gold prices, and Treasury prices and yields
-your story --> know your resume from top to bottom

This is just a start. Talk to other people at your school who have interviewed for IBD positions. The most important thing to do is to connect with your interviewer(s). Look at both of them in the eyes even when you're responding to a question asked by one. Try not to be nervous. Firm handshake before and after the interviewer. Make sure you ask a couple pointed questions at the end of the interview - ones that you want to know the answer to! (If you bullshit with them, they will know) Act interested and sincere. Be sure to not mention anything that you are not comfortable talking about or being asked about. For example, don't say you're interested in hockey and then not be able to talk about a team you're following etc.. Don't say one wrong thing or you're done...not to put any pressure on you or anything.

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Jun 20, 2015

good stuff. i know most of that, minus current market stuff. i never read/watch the financial news :(

Jun 20, 2015

The vault interview guide is the most helpful. Just run through the part on valuation. You should know that cold (after a refresher) if you are a finance major.

This site is helpful as well, but has no answers.

http://www.getibjob.com/site/IB_InterviewQuestions...

Jun 20, 2015

chill out

Jun 20, 2015

^ yup. Make it personal, there's plenty of geeks that know that stuff....you want him to walk away thinking "I LIKE THAT GUY"

Jun 20, 2015
UFOinsider:

^ yup. Make it personal, there's plenty of geeks that know that stuff....you want him to walk away thinking "I LIKE THAT GUY"

so you mean I should definitely know all that stuff but try to strike a conversation about mutual interest? I am thinking would 15 minutes be even enough..damn!! i am little stressed now

Jun 20, 2015

Completely agree - just relax buddy. You are sounding high strung and not much fun - while it's great to do your research, know the technicals, know the industry, etc - he won't remember that NEARLY as favorably, if at all, as just being an interesting person to talk to - someone he can connect with on more than a "where do you see tech M&A going in the next year" basis.

It's a casual 15 minute deal - don't expect technicals - expect him sitting there ready to answer some questions - the goal should be to ask some questions on strategy to break in, etc and then take it into a more granular level or group interests, culture, etc - this is your way in to connect - and bond on related hobbies and interests- if you can do that, he will be much more likely to want to continue touching base as you near recruiting season and more likely to help when that recruiting season kicks off.

Jun 20, 2015

dude...relax. He is not going to ask you to run an LBO model over coffee/lunch. Express interest, be confident, and likable. If you are not the sociable guy who doesn't talk about cars/sports/bars, just be ready to ASK HIM questions. How did he get there, why did he choose ibanking, why M&A. People naturally like talking about themselves, keep a smile on your face and look amazed about his life story...you might even learn something or even have something in common.

You should know techincals regardless at this point. Save those for the interview though..lol.

Jun 20, 2015

The bottom line is GET THEM TO LIKE YOU and then all that other stuff is secondary....savvy?

Jun 20, 2015
Jun 20, 2015

Thanks everyone for great inputs!!

Jun 20, 2015

Don't get a boner when you walk in...

Jun 20, 2015

advise?

Jun 20, 2015
kmzz:

advise?

I can only imagine what the resume looks like... :)

Jun 20, 2015

also, don't be so eager to talk about yourself and how much you know. Try to steer the conversation to the banker, his career path, his work, etc....

Jun 20, 2015

You should be able to figure out the e-mail format for the investment bank if it is a major one. Search this forum.

Jun 20, 2015

Not a big deal, just ask politely and maybe thank them for what they've done to coordinate the process. I've done this twice this season. Once was a phone interview (didn't catch the last name spelling) and the other was on site but over videochat. Made it to offers both times.

Jun 20, 2015
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