What questions to expect for phone interview in sell-side ER?

mbag's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 48

I apologize if this thread was covered before but I couldn't find an actual list of questions that a person can expect to prepare for an interview with the Hiring Manager/Analyst. Can anyone point in the right direction or have a good list to be prepared for? I'm really trying to do well on this upcoming interview and I would really appreciate the help.

Investment Banking Interview Course

  • 7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
  • Technical, behavioral, networking, case videos, templates. All included.
  • Most comprehensive IB interview course in the world.

Comments (16)

Mar 20, 2015

Why ER, what makes you a good candidate, pitch me a stock, plus the valuation/accounting questions that you will find in any investment banking interview guide.

Mar 23, 2015

Any particular accounting/valuation questions to be aware of?

Mar 23, 2015

Nutella mentioned the bulk of it. As for valuation you should understand public comps and dcf well. Know your statements inside and out (particularly understand how you go from your top line sales to gross margin to ebit to net income)

I also found it helpful to be passionate about a few sectors and be able to talk about some of the players in those sectors.

Mar 23, 2015

What's a good answer for why sell-side vs buy-side other than mentioning client interaction? I couldn't find any thread talking about this on this forum

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Mar 23, 2015

MDs these days... they're not like the MDs back in the day, that's for sure.

Mar 23, 2015

Considering it is for the Life Insurance Research group. I would learn everything there is to know about that industry. Major companies, future growth, regulation, ect. I would have several stocks analyzed in detail about what their size is, biggest competitiors, competitive advantages, and the all important buy, or sell rec. If possible, have one company you would buy and one that you would short.

Apart from that, I am sure the MD will give you questions to test how analytical you are and whether you are a good fit for the firm.

Mar 23, 2015

Life Insurance is a very hard sector to analyze, try going through the filings of some of the larger firms and get a feel for the industry. I believe they use a DDM for valuation.

Mar 23, 2015

While it would be nice to be familiar with the industry, I don't think it's entirely crucial to the success of the interview. Be sure you have reasons why you're interested Life Insurance though. Brush up on some of the bigger players in that space (maybe find his coverage list somehow?) and any relevant news/trends that you can dig up - that should be enough for the purpose of this interview. The MD is trying to assess whether or not you have the capability of doing the job. If you're smart enough, he knows you'll be able to learn the industry as you progress through your days as an associate.

Things to focus on:

-Have a stock pitch on a company you're familiar with. You're only going to get ripped to shreds if you analyze one of his companies under coverage so avoid those companies.

-Be familiar with different valuation techniques (DCF, comps [EV/sales, P/E, EV/EBITDA, P/Sales, P/Book], and anything else that might be relevant). Also, any other technical questions that might come up in every typical banking/ER type interview.

-Be familiar with equity research and its role in the investment bank. Also, have something prepared on why you're interested in the position and that firm.

-Understand the job of an associate (writing reports, communicating w/sales and trading, talking to clients as you become more knowledgeable on the space, updating company/industry models, keeping analyst informed while in/out of office on any relevant news and supporting analyst with any other adhoc type projects).

-Be able to tell your story (walk me through your resume). Not sure what you've been doing since graduating in '09 but if you've been out of work for that entire period, hopefully you've been doing internships, volunteer work or something productive.

Hope that helps.

Mar 23, 2015

Thanks so much for your inputs guys.

I know the general purpose and role of ER, but to be quite frank I don't know how the process is. Can anyone shed some light on what the process might look like for resarching an equity. What is the turnaround time from receiving the equity to research and recommendation (Buy, Sell, Hold)?

I am also not familiar with some of the ratios presented such as EV/saes, EV/EBITDA, P/Sales, P/Book. Thanks guys.

How would a chimpanzee such as myself go about researching an equity?

Mar 23, 2015

you are hosed, dont waste the guys time.

Mar 23, 2015

you are hosed, dont waste the guys time.

Thanks I will do just the opposite.

Mar 23, 2015

How do you expect to sound even remotely competent, if the weekend before your interview you have never heard of basic terms. Oh and btw life insurance coverage is completely different than any other coverage area: you need to have a basic understanding of risk based capital, amortization of deferred policy costs, new fair value accounting, interest rate impacts on the business, etc. The industry in general very complex due to regulations and weird accounting. If you dont understand simple basics of financial statement analysis, your interview will not go well . If I were you I would find an insurance industry primer (bofa and kbw have good ones, i like sephar's the best) and read Schweser's secret sauce for CFA level 2 (good overview of fin. statement analysis). Btw most insurance company stocks currently trade based on book value (~70-90% of book) due to the low rate environment and high percent of dac relative to book equity. Good luck, you have a long weekend to learn about one of the most highly complex industries for equity analysts.

Mar 23, 2015

Is the only place I can find schweser online? Where can I get these insurance primers? I tried google, but to no avail. Bash me if you must, but I need to know places I can obtain this information. Thanks guys. Picture yourselves when you were in my shoes. I appreciate the compassion.

Mar 23, 2015

Know how to walk through a dcf perfectly

Mar 23, 2015