Investment Banking Interview Course

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Comments (140)

Jan 7, 2007

Here are my favorites...
I went to the website and know that ____ would be the best fit for me.

I think (insert wrong bank) is great because....

My friend works there and tells me it so cool.

I am interested in doing two years and going into a top fund, I know _____ places very well.

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Dec 12, 2007
Tech Buyout:

I think (insert wrong bank) is great because....

ROFLMAO. So who do I sue/bill for my coke-soaked laptop?

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

Jan 7, 2007

I meant to clarify, but what is the actual best and most impressive answer you have received for this question?

Jan 7, 2007

how else am i going to pay for that mansion in greenwich I want?

Jan 7, 2007

This is the only bank where I have a realistic shot at getting a full-time offer.

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Jan 7, 2007

Please any good answers? I know there are a ton of bad answers out there, but what about that one amazing answer where they nailed it!

Jan 8, 2007

what answer have you given in the past, or what do you think is the best you've heard kmahajan?

Jan 8, 2007

because i just got let go from wendy's and my child support is due soon

Jan 8, 2007

kmahajan: obviously these guys are trying to say that if you don't already have a good answer for this and depend on input from others, banking is probably not for you or you're applying to the wrong place.

you should do research when applying. obviously it's easy to answer the question for a place like goldman, but for other places you can make up some BS about liking the "collegial atmosphere" (culture) or throw in some ass-kissing comment about a certain industry group you've read good things about in recent news.

Jan 10, 2007

I've never heard a good answer to that one. Partly because it's a silly question. I don't know why some people still insist on asking it. It's a manifestation of an intellectually lazy interviewer.

Jan 10, 2007

The question is meant to cause discomfort, particularly for lower-level employees. They know that you know that they are applying to a bunch of different places so it is up to them to find some reason they want to work at [insert firm here].

If you are applying to GS, it's easy. If you are going for some middle of the road firm, you may go with the type of exposure/experience you want.ls

Jan 10, 2007

No, if I want to cause discomfort, believe me there are plenty of ways I can do it. None of them are as lame as asking you why you want to be a banker, or why you're interviewing with Goldman Sachs.

It's a silly question because all it rewards is rehearsal. Who can give me a trite answer in the most polished and earnest manner? It's absurd. It's the sort of question that HR would come up with. We're bankers, we KNOW why you're interviewing. You're here because of the experience, the learning, and yes, the comp (and not in that order).

Why are you interviewing with us? Because we offered you an interview, that's why.

    • 1
Jan 11, 2007

Just say the money's great! Honesty!

Jan 11, 2007

Money does work...gotta work that into the answer.

Jan 12, 2007
okgo1234:

Money does work...gotta work that into the answer.

No it doesn't work, rather makes you look like a greedy bastard who doesn't know anything about the industry. I interviewed with one of the alum and thought saying that my personality and work preference are in line with Banking would make me sound weird, so i said the money line, but if he wasn't an alum from my place he would for sure have thrown me out of the building.

There is no set best or the worst answer, so stop looking for one, try and develop something to show that you know the industry and relate it your experience and tell that this is a place where your heart really lies.

the above works for a job and works for a girl, so now you would know why its hard to find a girl without a job....my 0.02

Jan 10, 2007

Certainly there are many ways to cause discomfort in an interview. I agree that it rewards rehearsal but then again, so do brain teasers and so do technical questions.

The discomfort doesn't come from the need to respond, it comes from the interviewer's response to the interviewee's response. Based on that response, the interviewee knows right away if this is going to be a cakewalk or a gauntlet.

Jan 10, 2007

In response to saying the money, that is not a good idea. It's kind of like applying to b school. Everyone on that side of the desk knows that you want an MBA so you can get paid and you want to go to [insert school here] because that gives you the best chance. But, you can't say that. You have to say that you want to solve world hunger.

Jan 12, 2007
  • ClichA(c) Warning...it only matters that you make it sound like you mean what you say and say what you mean.
    • 1
Jan 10, 2007
Poseidon:

* ClichA(c) Warning...it only matters that you make it sound like you mean what you say and say what you mean.

That very much depends upon the interviewer. A cliche is a very dangerous answer in an interview with me, and has signalled the end of the road for a great number of candidates.

Give me a trite answer, and I will grill you on it until it's painful enough that you think twice about ever given a "canned" response again. I'm looking for M&A bankers, not beauty queens whose goal is to achieve world peace.

In case you didn't get the sarcasm of some of the poster above, go ahead and say it's the money. You might as well just get up and walk out when you finish your sentence. Your interview day is over.

Jan 7, 2007

in my experience, telling them it's the money usually just begins a discussion about the salaries of what various levels at the bank make and what you can expect. sometimes they even start negotiating the salary with you right then and there in the interview if they like you.

Jan 10, 2007

We don't negotiate salaries. There's a package for first years. If you don't like it, there's a guy behind you that will take it.

    • 1
Jan 7, 2007
GhengisKhan:

We don't negotiate salaries. There's a package for first years. If you don't like it, there's a guy behind you that will take it.

theres a bit of wiggle room from what i've seen. my buddy negotiated a porsche into his associate package during the interview itself.

Jan 10, 2007

If he would have brought a lawyer to the interviews to help negotiate a more iron-clad contract, patek, he might have gotten a Ferrari out of it.

Jan 13, 2007

Watch out Ghengis....

Some of these guys are going to think you're serious.

Jan 10, 2007

Yeah, well, I suppose I asked for it by offering up advice on an anonynous message board. You see, I don't have a lot of patience for snide smart alecks who are asking me for a job (yes, chances are if you're applying for an analyst or associate job at the usual cast of top firms, your resume will cross my desk if you're being considered for my group - I'm a group staffer/recruiter). That attitude makes a lot of applicants feel better about a difficult and stressful process, so I understand the lip to an extent.

I've always had a soft spot for the underdog trying to get a shot in this business, so I'm trying to point a few people in the right direction. But I have a full time job, and if I don't take any shit from Boutros or Ben Lorello, I sure as hell am not going to waste my time debating reality with a kid who hasn't worked a day in my profession when I'm giving out free advice.

So if I sound a bit testy, Bracketracer, maybe that will give you a bit of color why.

Jan 8, 2007

ghengis when did you make the switch to hr and why?

Jan 13, 2007

Get 'em.

Jan 10, 2007

I'm going to assume I should take that question at face value.

I'm not in HR. I'm an M&A banker who has been saddled (not for the first time) with the job of also being the staffer and lead recruiting/placement person for the group.

Jan 16, 2007

What's the most promising way for the underdog to get his resume in throwing distance of your desk?

Jan 10, 2007
MetalJack:

What's the most promising way for the underdog to get his resume in throwing distance of your desk?

I'm probably not the right person to hit for that. Remember, I rarely make the decision of who to interview - the school teams do that. My role is to get final round candidates an offer/no offer decision, and a decision as to whether they should be given a slot in my group.

Jan 16, 2007

GhengisKhan,

I know that just about every resource on obtaining an ibanking job says that the best way is by networking with alumni. Assuming a student from your alma mater is able to obtain your contact information, what method of asking for your help would you prefer? Would you prefer that they request an informational interview with you, then display their ability or just outright send you a resume and ask for your help?

Thank you

Jan 10, 2007

Hehe, if you get my contact info, I generally prefer that you just call me. If I have the time, I'll talk to you and try to point you in the right direction. Emails rarely arrive at the right moment to really get my focus.

My issue with informational interviews is that they aren't really informational. They're just a way for the extra eager and motivated candidates to get in front of me for a stealth interview.

Still, sometimes they work. One of our incoming analysts next year did just that. He called me up, having no idea who I was (I suspect he called everybody listed in the alumni database). We talked, and I asked him to come in one evening and we'd chat in person.

I liked him, and threw him in front of my group head, who also liked him. The next day I called him up to see if he wanted to swing by the office to pick up an offer letter. By the way, if he didn't luck out in this process, I'm reasonably certain he wouldn't be in banking. Funny how life works out sometimes.

wannabebanker:

GhengisKhan,

I know that just about every resource on obtaining an ibanking job says that the best way is by networking with alumni. Assuming a student from your alma mater is able to obtain your contact information, what method of asking for your help would you prefer? Would you prefer that they request an informational interview with you, then display their ability or just outright send you a resume and ask for your help?

Thank you

Jan 16, 2007

I always assumed e-mail would be the least annoying way to go about it.

You're 100% right, that's exactly what informational interviews are for. There are plenty of resources out there on banking, if one wants to do the work. Informational interviews are just a way to get an interview. I know bankers know this; I'm just concerned by how sleazy a move like this looks. I'm clearly asking the banker to be a good person and just give me information, when the reality is that I'm using them, and all parties concerned know the exact deal. I take it you don't consider it too sleazy? Since you have granted these informational interviews in the past

Jan 10, 2007

E-mail is easier to ignore than a call. At best I'll send back a "Just call me".

If it comes when I'm on the phone, I'll most likely have forgotten about it by the time I'm done my call. If it comes when I have a team in my office, same.

A night email just pisses me off, because if you set off my blackberry and pull me away from something in my free time, you definitely have not won over my sympathy.

A call almost always works better.

Jan 24, 2007

Why don't your supervisors just call you if they need you at night? On a normal cell phone. That way you are not woken by buzzing emails in the middle of the night, receiving things you can wait untill morning to read.

    • 1
Jan 24, 2007

The call thing is good advice. In talking via email with some alums, they have been telling me to call them.

For me, it is easier just to check my email and fire back a response. But I guess when you are working on stuff all day and get many emails each day, it is just more efficient to check them/reply to them at one time, rather than periodically throughout the day, while it is harder to ignore the direct call.

Jan 24, 2007

Isn't calling / e-mailing alumni (particularly those you don't know) for an "informational interview" tantamount to asking if you can circumvent much of the application process because you found their name in an alumni database?

Jan 25, 2007
Warren <span class=keyword_link><a href=http://tinyurl.com/3b4fmvt target=_blank rel=nofollow>Buffett</a></span>:

Isn't calling / e-mailing alumni (particularly those you don't know) for an "informational interview" tantamount to asking if you can circumvent much of the application process because you found their name in an alumni database?

its tantamount to showing them that you can, well for a lack of a better work, "network" and conduct yourself in a buisiness setting. they know that you are asking for a meeting as part of your job pursuit. as long as you conduct yourself professionally you should be fine (don't be needy, waste their time, etc...)

why are you so concerned about their procedures? are you worried hr will lose their jobs?

the rest of the team and hr will get their hands on you eventually. don't worry.

Jan 25, 2007

Hmmm... someone on here sounds like Omar.

Jan 10, 2007

Who's Omar?

Mar 10, 2011

This is the funniest thread out there. haha

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7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Mar 10, 2011

NEVER say that you're in it for the money.
NEVER ever.
I once thought that it would be a good answer for a b-school interview, because I thought it would show cojones and be original. So I said that I wanted to go to this b-school, because it places well in consulting, where you can make good money. The interviewer, a guy from McKinsey, dinged me for that. In my case it didn't matter, because that wasn't my no.1 choice anyway.
It's like an integrity test. By not answering that you're in it for the money, they can be sure that you know the game and can be trusted to keep secrets in the future. Also, banks want their bankers to keep a low profile and not make the public even more envious.

Mar 10, 2011

Ok Genghis - so you don't ask any canned questions like "Why banking?" or "Why [your bank]?" Do you ask them about the 3 main valuation methods and what the pros/cons are of each? Guess what - the first-year analyst from his same college already prepped him on reading the Vault guide and giving the right answer. Are you going to ask how a DCF works? Same shit. Are you going to throw all of that out the window and give them a unique case study that they are completely unprepared for and will fail miserably at? Congratulations - you may have just cost your bank a smart potential analyst.

I don't know what qualities you're looking for - at the end of the day, this analyst job does not require a shitload of intelligence. If you're smart, did well in school, were committed enough to talk to other analysts and learn some quick valuation shit that you never learned in college so you can speak to it in interviews, and are able to schmooze with the interviewer (in part by answering stupid questions like "Why banking?") then you deserve the chance to do pitches and models for 80-100 hours per week for 2+ years.

Mar 10, 2011

Ha - replace "Genghis" with any other person with that same philosophy towards interviews...didn't realize this thread was 4 years old lol

Mar 10, 2011

moddles and bottles of course.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Mar 10, 2011

because this firm offers me the easiest commute!

Mar 11, 2011

I want to work with smart people.

Mar 11, 2011

Telling an interviewer "I want to make money" is like telling a chick you like her because "I like pussy"

Get creative guys! LOL

We've got half a million shares in the bag!

Mar 18, 2011

To be honest, I'm a little surprised that "I'm motivated by the money" answer is looked down upon so poorly. Obviously if someone is genuinely interested in the work, then they could potentially work harder, but money is probably the best motivator out there. Otherwise you wouldn't see some of the fucked up shit in the world out there that there is today.

Just to emphasize, I know not to say that in an interview, nor would I suggest anyone else do it (but don't take my advice, I'm trying to get an IB job, so listen to more knowledgeable people here), but I do think its a strange how poorly this answer is looked upon. I know there are some people out there who would do anything for money and do it better than anyone else because of that reason.

Mar 19, 2011
Dubsfan7:

To be honest, I'm a little surprised that "I'm motivated by the money" answer is looked down upon so poorly. Obviously if someone is genuinely interested in the work, then they could potentially work harder, but money is probably the best motivator out there. Otherwise you wouldn't see some of the fucked up shit in the world out there that there is today.

Just to emphasize, I know not to say that in an interview, nor would I suggest anyone else do it (but don't take my advice, I'm trying to get an IB job, so listen to more knowledgeable people here), but I do think its a strange how poorly this answer is looked upon. I know there are some people out there who would do anything for money and do it better than anyone else because of that reason.

Well, if you were to actually work in banking for a year, you would know that money is a crappy motivator. In fact, no motivator can make the job of an analyst enjoyable. But, if you actually do enjoy the deal process and playing with excel, you will be a much better analyst than the guy who hates finance but is uber-hungry for a top-bucket bonus.

Mar 19, 2011

Because I come with a 2mm account! Seriously

Apr 27, 2013

Because you're the best damn group in [industry], and if you want to be the best, you play on the best team. And that's all I have to say about that.

Apr 29, 2013

"I believe that providing financing to hardworking people looking to buy a home and start a family is vital to the growth of our economy and to the perpetuation of this great nation, sir."

Apr 29, 2013

In my interviews I always found it best to mention something unique about the bank you are interviewing with or the specific program. Whether it be a specific training method, small deal teams, etc. Make sure it is something specific to their bank, not something that you could use for a number of different places.

NEVER lose your BlackBerry
www.conveniencesoftware.com

Apr 29, 2013

Convenience is right. Do your research on the particular firm you happen to be interviewing with, and find out what makes it unique. Not just general things that they all claim, like innovative strategies and global leadership, but specific, non-bs examples, like, for instance, if the bank has recently expanded its overseas presence, you can tell them that this excites you because you want to have the opportunity to work on projects and deals that are going to have ramifications throughout the world in both established and developing markets.

Alright.... maybe that sounded a bit scripted, but you get the picture. You just have to make it sound real, and not like a canned response.

Apr 29, 2013

Paraphrasing here: at the end of the day, people who talk about the bank's strategy, position, etc. are telling us something: either they don't know anyone at the bank or haven't reached out to anyone, where the latter is usually the case. The best answers are about the people and what someone can tell you about their experience here. At the end of the day, the training, the financial skills, the modeling, the way a bank values a company: these differences are minute, though each does things slightly differently, at the end of the day, your experience is going to be very similar if you take out the prestige in the equation. That said, it shows you what matters: the value of the bank is the people: the culture in the office, what others who have been through it have said differentiates the experience, etc.

I come from a non-target, but I managed to sniff out the handful of people that are/were in IBD, and they can give you a pretty good overview of things, even of differences between banks (since they often room with other analysts).

I hope that helps. I know you mentioned you have no contacts, but bluntly: make some. Cold-call/email anyone, even if they are in different parts of the bank.

Apr 29, 2013

Having a personal story, such as "I met so and so who told me [all this great stuff] and really impressed me" and such is generally the best strategy.

Ultimately, banks are all professional services organizations... so the only way they differentiate themselves is with the people.

You have to be careful with saying something generic about "culture" because it's easy to get that wrong, especially if you're not an expert on the topic.

It's better to focus on the personal, if you can do so.

If you can't, generally if you're going to a boutique or smaller firm for example, focus on the leaner deal teams / more responsibility aspect... if it's for a bulge bracket, focus on recent deals / friends you have there / getting to work on the most well-known projects. If you're going to an industry group, focus on your interest in that industry.

But as Alphaholic said, all those are secondary to the people. If you don't know anyone at a bank, get to know them ASAP... and then talk about them in your interviews.

Apr 29, 2013

I have an interview on monday and i havent gotten in touch with any of the firm's employees.... i am completely fucked?
also, i didnt go to their information session, will that make my situation even more fucked?!?!

Any suggestions as to how I could answer the question of, why work for us?

Best Response
Apr 29, 2013

"I want to have the opportunity to single-handedly save UBS from the bowels of hell because I am that good"

=========================================
We are excited to formally extend to you an offer to join Bank of Ameria

    • 2
Apr 29, 2013

haha not sure if that would work. have they done any deals recently or are there any groups left that are still relevant?

Apr 29, 2013

i would emphasize their resilience in not collapsing in the financial crisis... it's like reaching rock bottom and then coming back up. say you respect their durability and unbreakableness

say UBS is like a rock that never breaks under the sledgehammer that is the market and you want to lift the rock like conan the barbarian from the bottom of the river and turn it around from "rock bottom" to "rock top"

=========================================
We are excited to formally extend to you an offer to join Bank of Ameria

Apr 29, 2013

Just focus on their europe and asia deals. Tell them U.S. operations is a shitshow but at least it lasted so long. Just don't mention you are interviewing for healthcare at Jefferies.

Apr 29, 2013

agreed. did they hire the whole team or just a few guys from UBS?

Apr 29, 2013

They left the analysts except one. Took the rainmakers (MD, seniors, VP's). Basically Lorello and his generals.

Apr 29, 2013

that has to hurt...Jefferies seems to be stepping up its game. The XTO deal and all the recent hires should give them some more street cred.

Apr 29, 2013

Because I live for the daily uncertainty of coming into work not knowing if I'll still have a job by day's end.

I'm making it up as I go along.

Apr 29, 2013

do we have any UBS ppl on this board? what is it like in there right now?

Apr 29, 2013

I would say the culture. I don't work there, but when I interviewed everyone seemed relatively nice and reasonably laid back. Yes, the HC team has left and the bank struggled a little, but its still a great place to work.

Apr 29, 2013

thx boutique...what are the best groups that are left? also how is the media team specifically?

Apr 29, 2013

UBS may suck but still better than Jefferies.

Apr 29, 2013

The big BIG boon of working for UBS is that you get a lot more desk space. Eat on one desk, work on another, sleep on the third. Bliss.

Just my 2c.

Apr 29, 2013

thats tough if that is the only benefit

Apr 29, 2013

This is not a why is our bank the strongest investment on Wall Street question. This is a what is specific to our firm that makes you want to work here. So its not about the financial crisis or deal flow, its about something particular about the culture. Thats what you want to harp on. If you're interviewing in a particular group which is very well know at the bank, you can mention that but its not adding much value. Hopefully this is not your first interview with the firm, so you should have already sized them up by your experiences with the other interviewers what types of things they like to really talk about.

This is where you demonstrate that you have an understanding of the bank above and beyond what the other candidates have. So you talk about their X mentality and how that is right up your ally, how thats exactly what you're looking for.

Info sessions, web site, previous interviews, networking... using these means, learn the distinct "culture" they never shut up about and thats what you're going to try to sell. Something like "While I knew I wanted to work in IBD, I wasn't sure which one. What I did know is that I excel in an environment with X, Y and Z. As I began researching firms that fit this profile VIA info sessions, networking etc... UBS came up again and again, and throughout this interview process I've really gotten to speak with people who have definitely confirmed that X, Y and Z is something that is very important here."

Apr 29, 2013
Apr 29, 2013

^ Fucking hilarious.

Apr 29, 2013

^^ LMAO i think i just peed myself from laughing so hard.

Apr 29, 2013

I live in the American Gardens Building on W. 81st Street on the 11th floor. My name is _______Your Name_____. I'm 27 years old. I believe in taking care of myself and a balanced diet and rigorous exercise routine. In the morning if my face is a little puffy I'll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do 1000 now. After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.
That is why I wanna work at UBS.

Apr 29, 2013

bump

Apr 29, 2013

answer: because u couldn't get CS or any other bb

Apr 29, 2013

What about showing that you did a little more research on the specific firm and highlighting that in the answer rather than giving a generic one that you could have used for all the firms you interview with?

Apr 29, 2013

Steelo,

You're on the right track.

Someone else had similar question which I answered here:

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/answering-wh...

Apr 29, 2013

Wow, would have expected more from someone who goes out of their way to create this as an original post. Assistant brand manager? What a terrible sounding job. I'd rather be an analyst any day.

Apr 29, 2013

this was interesting. would have liked to see a more comprehensive analysis of the question and what an interviewer wants to see in a candidate through this question.

"... then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

Apr 29, 2013

To be honest (while I appreciate your taking the time to post this), if someone is interviewing for a FT job anywhere on Wall Street from Ops to Private Equity and they can't answer this question, they don't deserve to be there.

Apr 29, 2013

For once I'd like to ask an interviewer, why should I invest my valuable time and future into your company?

Apr 29, 2013
CNB90:

For once I'd like to ask an interviewer, why should I invest my valuable time and future into your company?

haha so true. I wish I would have done this for a shitty bank after having a solid offer or two to fall back on. Interviewer would probably end up looking like a retard and extend a superday/offer out of embarassment.

Mar 19, 2011

I think its the worst question ever, and I have no idea why everyone keeps asking it. When some associate at UBS asks me "why ubs?" its so difficult to refrain from saying "STFU. If you could lateral to JPM you wouldnt be here loser". Everybody knows you are interviewing with all BBs and will pick the best bank in most cases...
And it's different from doing your homework and knowing specifics about the company, IMHO.
(this only applies to BB analyst positions. smaller firms/higher ranks would understandably place more emphasis on this)

Apr 29, 2013

PaperTrail,

You're right about the analyst job - who wouldn't! Just an example, but thanks for the feedback.

Apr 29, 2013

Dagro,

I would be happy to discuss this more, and I have conducted interviews (100s!)

Do you have a specific question?

Apr 29, 2013

Mas1987,

You're welcome: this is a question that interviewers use again and again, because so many people--often smart and probably deserving--fluff it. It can be tricky.

Apr 29, 2013
R. Scott Morris:

Mas1987,

You're welcome: this is a question that interviewers use again and again, because so many people--often smart and probably deserving--fluff it. It can be tricky.

Exactly, if someone isn't smart enough to give a substantive answer to this question they PROBABLY shouldn't be working on Wall Street. Of course, to be fair, there are probably some quants out there with no life/social skills who are extremely intelligent and don't know how to handle this question. That's just my feeling on the subject, not that I have anything to back it up.

Apr 29, 2013

CNB90,

A very good question! You should get a chance to ask something like this at the end of an interview. Your time to ask questions is really meant to help you determine exactly what you just asked.

Apr 29, 2013

Feenans,

I agree: you have highlighted why it is a stupid and aggressive question.

If you are at the "best bank", then that's the reason you're interviewing there. If you are not there, you probably would wish you were, since you feel it is the "best."

The question is not great, but it is something we all have to go through.

Apr 29, 2013

At one interview I was asked this question and tried to direct it into expressing my interest in the field as opposed to the firm. The interviewer then said: I asked you why xyz company, not why this field.

Apr 29, 2013

R. Scott Moriss,

What is your opinion about Greece do you think it will default on bonds?

Apr 29, 2013

Scott, i really appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions, even though most of us probably won't go and buy your book (then again, who knows...), and so i will take advantage of your offer and ask a question:

what would you, as an interviewer, be looking for in the answer of a candidate when asking said candidate the above question?

be frank. i realize that posting under your real name requires you to refrain from a level of frankness that might damage your reputation, but keep in mind that a large portion of the members here are intelligent enough to know frankness from politically-correctness.

sorry for being so frank (that's the fourth time already...) and thanks again,
dagro

"... then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

Apr 29, 2013

oh, and please try to group your various replies into fewer posts :) it confoozes the masses (including me).

"... then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

Apr 29, 2013

I want to work here because:
1. You are doing landmark deals like xx and yy, so my exposure would be great
2. Senior interaction is high, so my learning would be great
3. met people from your bank at my uni and I was impressed and felt I would fit in well with people
4. Have the skilla - xx, yy and zz with small examples

Apr 29, 2013

Dagro,

The theme of this type of question is "how serious are you about working at my firm. No really, how serious?" I am asking if I choose you, how likely are you to choose me? So a good response would give me comfort with my decision to say "yes" to you. Any clue that you are serious about working for me would help. This could be in the form of articulating a deep understanding of what we do, or giving evidence that you have reached out to others that work at my firm, or making some other effort that shows you are very serious about making an important decision.

This is one of the few places where being bold during the interview could have more reward than risk. If you can honestly say that this firm is your first choice, or if you were given the job that you would take it, go ahead and lay this out on the table. You will have definitively answered my question in the most positive way for you.

Also, let me point out what I don't want to hear. I don't want to hear what you will be getting out of the opportunity nor do I want you to tell me how great my firm is. These are common mistakes. This information is of very little interest to me and certainly not why I would have asked the question. Unless specifically articulated otherwise, any response to any question in an interview should focus on what you are going to provide to the firm not what you hope to gain from the experience of working there.

Lastly, glad to hear you checked out my book. Most of the common pitfalls that trip up young job seekers are not due to a lack of intelligence; they are due to a lack of awareness. One of the unexpected ironies I have learned from working with University of Chicago students over the last five years is that those that need the least help are the ones that are most likely to seek it.

As a recruiter, I had to choose from bright people from a number of top-notch schools such as MIT, UPenn, the University of Chicago, and Carnegie Mellon. On paper they all had the right pedigree. Yet despite their talent, training and social skills, the majority would confidently make the same mistakes over and over again.

This is a key point in Polished: the majority of college students and other first-time job seekers don't understand what their interviewers are looking for and don't know how to market themselves.

Have you ever seen someone with the same qualifications as yourself--or fewer--wind up getting every offer, promotion, and internship? Chances are they were part of the small percent who had found out what really was being asked for. Information is power. I am happy to be able to offer you and your peers this insight.

Apr 29, 2013

Balbasur,

I wish I knew, but unfortunately, it is not an area of my expertise.

Incidentally, here are 5 Hot Stocks that Will Never Go Down in Any Market... (just kidding)

Apr 29, 2013
R. Scott Morris:

Incidentally, here are 5 Hot Stocks that Will Never Go Down in Any Market... (just kidding)

:P nice.

and thanks for the above reply. it was very helpful.

"... then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

Apr 29, 2013

Approach:

Why the industry

Why the firm

Why the position

Why me

Four paragraphs, short and sweet.

Apr 29, 2013
ivoteforthatguy:

Approach:

Why the industry

Why the firm

Why the position

Why me

Four paragraphs, short and sweet.

Like that.

Apr 29, 2013

you should know why that firm if youre applying and be able to articulate it clearly and convincingly ... search vault, wso, wsj, dealbook, ft, etc.

Apr 29, 2013

Hmm. Good question. I'm not sure if this question has ever been asked before.

Apr 29, 2013

For the most part the answer will be the same. So firms lend themselves to better compliments, while other you just have to bullshit (ie Goldman is teamwork, JPM is culture and great leadership at the top, grown since the crisis). Usually something along the lines of great exposure "did XX deal, ranked XX in product area", "talked to people and think that I will fit in" Although it depends on the interview, you could talk about how this business has become such a commodity with all the banks being able to do the same things that you really want to find the right fit culturally/have a strength in a certain area to gain more experience. While talking in an interview, I have had MDs basically confess that the business is nothing but a commodity/bullshit clusterfuck.

I think that another strong choice of words if you have an offer already is " I like you better than XXX bank, BC..."

There is no "right" answer and I think a lot more is your general delivery throughout the interview...don't stumble through why you want the bank, and your technicals.

Whatever you do, just don't give an answer that is "holier than thou".....I can reach my maximum potential working for XX,cultural XX. Bankers and traders are normal human beings...talk to them as such.

Apr 29, 2013

ahh great advice...
I've been looking for some league tables or group rankings for S&T and I just can't seem to find any. When I ask traders how they know their desk is ranked XX on the street, they say that they have internal memos comparing the profitability of similar desks across the street. It seems to be internally compiled rather than publicly available...

Apr 29, 2013

yes. your best bet is to tie the group to your demonstrated skills and interests. this is where non-core classes are helpful, as are ECs outside of finance. one you may not have thought about is connecting heavily regulated industries (i.e. telecom) to policy classes.

otherwise you can try to flatter them. TMT is complex (operationally and financially). everyone knows this. if you are a go-getter anyway, for the challenge is an answer you might be able to pull off. another approach that I have seen work is saying that you have admired a banker in that industry (ideally not the head of group at a direct competitor, retired is good or if they have their own shop now like Quattrone)

I'm sure you know this but look at execution focused M&A groups like MS or generalist M&A programs at boutiques like Lazard

Apr 29, 2013

Great answer monkeyc, agreed. Make sure you can tie in some personal anecdote or a reason why you have an interest in that area.

Apr 29, 2013

Answering half of your first question: Healthcare companies can be extremely specialized. They require industry knowledge that generalists dont usually have.

Apr 29, 2013

Ask about their near-term performance challenges and how their management consultants devise strategies to succeed in today's complicated world. Discuss former clients and how they maximized value with their companies. This is comparable to researching past deal flow in the IBD.

Apr 29, 2013

What are some ways you can learn about a company (their culture and other facets that would make you pick them) without an info session though? Most companies just list stuff like we value client relationships, we are hard working, etc. Nothing that I can really judge a company by, unless I'm not reading it correctly

Apr 29, 2013

This is a good thread that compares MBB.

//www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/differentiating-mbb

Apr 29, 2013

for you guys generally what makes you pick one firm over other firms? is it the way analysts are staffed or is it stuff like travel policy?

Apr 29, 2013
bobjoebill:

for you guys generally what makes you pick one firm over other firms? is it the way analysts are staffed or is it stuff like travel policy?

Travel policy for me is my main consideration, I'm not fucking flying coach.

Apr 29, 2013

Been answered a hundred times (use the search function on WSO, or Google). Find what makes that firm unique and explain why your experiences/interests/values make you a good fit.

Apr 29, 2013

I would never say I wanted to work somewhere because it looks good on my resume or because of the pay.

Apr 29, 2013

Talk to people who already work for the firm and try to get answers to that question that are not able to be found on Google. It will help you stand out from others who quote league tables and ramble generically about culture.

Apr 29, 2013

If you seriously can't answer this question for yourself, I strongly urge you to switch career trajectories.

Apr 29, 2013

Because of the preftige and that is the only reason. I am willing to sacrifice any semblance of a social life to do whatever you tell me to stay employed here. Whenever I'm on my 49th hour straight of doing mindless, pointless work that will just be changed later by someone above me, the thought of preftige on my resume will keep going for another 72 hours straight. Because, that will more than make up for missing out on social opportunities while I'm still young. I don't even need to get laid, preftige is enough for me.

Anyway, that's how I answer it. Either that, or emphasize the exit opps. Employers love that.

Apr 29, 2013

I might be asked the same question and I was thinking of answering - switch from programming to trading:

The environment in my curent line of career is slow paced and very relaxed. Many of my friends and coworkers appreciate how they can put their headphones in and code away, take a long lunch and go home before 6 however it is not what I'm looking for. I miss the times where I was pushed and challenged during university and would like to again join a fast paced, results focused environment.

Any comments welcome.

Apr 29, 2013

Were you really pushed during university? I feel like once I get out the work will start, and that university is pretty relaxing haha.

But yeah answer sounds legit.

Apr 29, 2013

Definitely network with people within the firm and see why they enjoy working there. Also a good thing to do a little bit of research on is the company culture. If you do not see yourself fitting within the culture, you don't want to work there!

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