Mentioning my standup in an interview

BreezyUK's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 16

Long time lurker, now interviewing for typical IB BB roles in London.

Luckily when it comes to fit questions I have the typical sports team, investment society answers ready to tick those boxes. However, my real passion is comedy, having done a lot of standup to increasingly larger crowds. I feel like theoretically this is a perfectly valid extracurricular. It requires excellent communication and people skills, hours of hard work perfecting a joke (attention to detail) and is a real high-pressure, sink or swim environment. The parallels to IB are easily drawn. I'd also like to think it would increase my chances of passing the "airport test". In practice I've never risked bringing it up in an interview for fear I wouldn't be taken seriously. Would any other monkeys ever chance it in my position (probably still won't)?

Comments (11)

Most Helpful
Oct 16, 2019

My take: better for this topic to come up after you're hired.

While you might want to argue that there are parallels or similarities to IB, you could run the risk of trying to suggest, even in the most passing and fleeting of ways, that IB is a joke.

Also you don't want to run the risk of a prospective employer thinking that you're not serious about your banking career, if you've already "invested" so many hours of hard work in perfecting a joke... it may suggest to them that you won't give your all to their company.

Good luck.

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Oct 17, 2019

Are you trying to legit make it as a standup or is this a hobby? Doesn't it take most standups like 10+ years of being on the road full time before they really take off? Got any videos you'd share?


Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Oct 19, 2019

UK and American standup scenes are very different and having done a bit of both I'd say the US is more cutthroat (despite being just as saturated) where people really want to see you "do your time" before they'll support you. Definitely just a hobby, it's a huge rush of endorphins/validation when you don't bomb on stage which I'm not sure is a healthy enough reason to pursue it full time.

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Oct 17, 2019

Yep - in casual conversation this topic always leads to the counterparty requesting for you to share some jokes, and likely will be the same in the interview where 1 of 2 things will happen:

  1. You make a non PC / dark humour / unfunny joke: things just get awkward and you don't seem like a good / achieving comedian
  2. You somehow manage to avoid PC / dark humour and make a funny joke: now this might just be me, but clean funny jokes are rare so your odds are low - you get some laugh from the interviewer. Won't add too many points to your candidacy

TL;DR: huge downside, low upside, not worth it

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  • Associate 3 in IB - Ind
Oct 17, 2019

This. We had a candidate who had beat boxing on his resume. Guess what he was asked to do during the Superday? We didn't hire him and I don't remember his name, but he will be the beatbox guy forever.

Oct 17, 2019

I think the more likely binary outcomes would be:
1. You make a funny, non-PC joke - fall victim to the horrible culture we find ourselves in
2. You concede to PC and make a horribly unfunny joke - you fall victim to the horrible culture we find ourselves in

Oct 19, 2019

You're definitely right, it's a real shame

Oct 17, 2019

For typical IB BB roles, yeah, probably don't. For a small, more open company it just might give you that extra charm bonus.

Vincet Voluntas - Will shall win

Oct 17, 2019

I'd definitely hire you, it's always great to have analysts that can entertain the client when the MD is late.

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Oct 17, 2019

Bring it up if the "airport test" comes up

Oct 17, 2019