12/22/06

Hi - first post here, but I have been looking around for bit.

I have a few questions - some have been covered, but I was looking for specific answers.

1 - I am preparing for an interview right now as a first year analyst. What are good things to focus on for the interview - Questions to ask, questions to be prepared for, etc.

2 - There seems to be a chance I would start mid-year if an offer is given. I read how it is bad idea unless your bonus is prorated. What do you think is the best way to approach this - say summer is the best time for me to start? And if so, what do you think is the best way to present my reasoning for this without saying "Uhh, I'd like my bonus thanks!"

3 - What groups are a healthy balance of hours and pay? Are you asked were your interest is at or are you placed by management?

4 - Any other advice?

Thanks!

Comments (10)

12/31/06

Bump - interview is coming up soon! Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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12/31/06

I'll handle the start date/comp questions. Let someone who interviewed for banking more recently answer the others.

Be honest and ask for details. Odds are they'll be specified in the letter but if not, ask the following questions (don't lead with comp - ask other things first). These questions are all once you have the offer by the way. Don't ask before that!

1) What would the start date be?
2) Would I wait until the summer to go through training?
3) Would I be a 2nd year analyst in June when the new analysts come in?
4) How would compensation be handled? When I would I be bonus-eligible and salary increases?
5) Is the offer contingent upon the early start date or is a summer start also possible?

12/31/06

they'll ask you the usual, i.e. why the career path, why the firm, etc. and if there was a piece of significant news regarding the firm in any way, shape, or form that was recent, you bet your butt you better know it.
They will want you to be very specific with behavioral questions they ask you, i.e. give an example of a time when you took on a leadership role regarding a group/team project you worked on.
Describe a moment of stress. How did you handle it, and would you change anything.
The behavioral questions are centered more towards your personality in relation to groups/team/project oriented situations. They also want to see how you would react to being battered with questions that all seem to sound the same. It's also a test of how well you communicate. Be eloquent, but don't be all Green-speak about it. Avoid these words/expressions at all costs- "like" "you know" "umm" "cause." It's also a test of your social skills. Some of the questions they ask ARE supposed to make a turn towards conversational, and don't be afraid to get comfortable, but not too comfortable.
If you have a colorful resume, they will ask you to go into specifics, like what you did when you interned at firm A. What did you like, what did you not like. What group did you work with.
If you put proficiencies in excel they will ask you to what extent you used it, i.e. did you write your own macros? did you go beyond v-lookup, types of if..then.. logic/solver questions, what you ran a regression for, built a key-rate duration calculator, whatever it is you did, be able to explain it in detail and in a language that even your grandmother, who has no finance background, can understand.
Unfortunately, every interview is different even if it is for the same firm, and I speak only of my experience and by no means anyone else's. I had four interviews, 2 BB, one of which I had a summer internship with, and 2 international banks. My interviews with the banks, I felt, were much tougher than the BB's for some reason. I got offers from all four.
As for placement, I was actually very specific in what I wanted to do, and the BB I interned at was extremely accommodating. I had a great rapport with the whole office, and yes, a good family friend was a top insider, so getting placed where I wanted (city and group) was easy, but staying in is another story.
I have heard though that it depends on where bodies are needed in terms of placement, but also that it depends on your strengths. Some people will go through a rotation with 2-3 groups in the division hired into, and depending on both need, performance, and dynamic, then you get placed, but it could also depend on the firm, the situation, etc. Again, it is a different experience for different people.

1/1/07

This is all great information. I appreciate the time you guys have spent on the responses. If I am not bonus eligible or at least compensated for an early start what do you think the best way to approach HR with starting in summer with the other analysts?

I am not from a top school, but I worked full time at a major insurance company as an underwriting assistant and attended school full time concurrently and receieved a low level honors. My biggest strengths are self-motivation and work diligence so I need to highlight that as much as possible.

I am going to try to be prepared for as many mind game and logic problems they could throw at me as well as have a solid platform of my interest in the company and job as well as my background.

Although, I have Excel experience and can handle entry-level to intermediate functions, I have no experience with macros or if/then functions. However, I don't see myself having trouble learning it. This should not be a deal killer I wouldn't imagine- helpful yes, but not a deal killer - am I right do you think?

What do you think are good questions to ask at the end? Obviously, firm specific questions are great, but from those in the industry, are there any questions you wished you would have asked before or questions in which you feel would be beneficial?

Thanks for reading all of this - I tend to over-research a bit :)

1/2/07

You sound like a great candidate. I am sure that the strengths you highlighted above are reflected in your resume as well as the effort you are putting into this. Your responses will also reflect that; as I said above, some questions will be from what is on your resume, and the fact that you worked, interned, and was also in school full time is probably part of why your resume made it to the yes pile. Just be confident in your responses, especially the ones regarding your credentials. Let them know that what you know, you know very well, and what you don't know, you can learn.
Be straightforward with HR and let them know that you are interested, willing, and available to start in June. I don't see any harm in expressing the interest.
I would ask a question specific to the division or department. I work in structured finance, and I asked one of the interviewers what their thoughts were on the implementation of basel II and its possible effects on existing client relationships regarding derivatives trading, sales, origination, and securitization fees. That got their attention as no one had asked that before, and it was totally unexpected but significant.
Feel free to use the question above, but it's more of a capital markets question. My goodness, Boise State just did the statue of liberty play and totally fooled OU. Great game.

1/2/07

Thanks again for the info. I think my interest is in M&A and LBO, but I am open to anything as long as I knee deep in it. (Sicko perhaps?)

I know every scenario is different so playing by ear will be key. I don't want to ask to too involved of question so that if it turns more conversational I will still have good knowledge of similar topics.

As usual thanks for the time - I know questions like these have been asked a million times.

1/3/07

Sorry to double post...

Although I come from an econ background, I am not a finance guru, just a bright, hard worker that picks up very quickly and has an interview coming up for an analyst position. I hope I am not asked some of these questions because I would not fair well. In the event I have no clue, what is the best response do you think? The logic ones I would rather get since I can think on the fly and show thought process.

So how should I handle a finance questions? And if you don't know what do you say?

Thanks

1/3/07

Be honest. Don't try to bluff your knowledge - your interviewers will pick up on it if you don't know what you are talking about. All the big banks have training programs that will teach you everything you need to know. I just finished interviews in the fall, and I was only asked finance-specific questions at one interview (out of about 12-15 banks) - although I'm not an econ major, so it's possible that my interviewers took this into account. I'd suggest picking up the vault guide and being familiar with the stuff in there, but I would suggest being open with your interviewers about your level of knowledge with finance-specific topics.

1/26/07

Well a little update with some unknown status news.

I have HR and some of the guys in the group talking to me about coming in and interviewing etc, long story short I am finally told today that the class is full and that my only option of getting in will be in corporate banking. Now I have a good idea of what corporate does, but its not what I wanted really. I was told I can wait until fall of 07 to get in, but I am not sure if I should wait, take the corp banking route or something else.

Can someone give me a bit more insight to corporate banking day to day, hours, compensation, etc. My mind has been geared in at IB the whole time. Craziness - not sure what to do yet.

Thanks as usual!

1/29/07

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