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Why Investment Banking? 43 Sample Answers

nickleeson's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 134

I have only heard standard cookie cutter answers before, and I am curious how best to answer this investment banking interview question.

The Safe "Why Investment Banking?" Answers

Of course, your desire to stand out and leave a strong impression is justified. Interviewers have more applicants than they know what to do with. And yes, they're looking for people that display intelligence, confidence, and certainty in their future career path. But sometimes it's best to stick to the safe answers and just go with what works.

Here is a collection of the best standard responses to the "Why Investment Banking?" question from WSO users.

kyc133enydc:

Broke it down to these safe and logical responses. "Steep learning curve. Result driven environment. Enjoy working under pressure. Significant responsibility.

ideating:

The best answers would typically be some combination of experience working on big deals,
the caliber of your colleagues, gaining a strong financial foundation, and a strong interest in finance.

CompBanker - Private Equity VP:

Phrased it well when he said, "Stick with cookie cutter -- they are cookie cutter because they work." Don't try to be special or unique; stick to logic and passion.

Detailed Why IB Answers?

While cookie-cutter responses are safe, sometimes a little more substance is appropriate/appreciated.

WallStreetPlayboys:

I want to work in investment banking because I understand it has a steep learning curve and will allow me to establish a strong foundation for valuation, Excel modeling skills, and understanding the XXX sector (or you can use the group, such as M&A transactions). I know the hours will be long, but the time spent understanding and learning about XXX space (again or XXX type of transactions) would give me the opportunity to remain in finance over the longer term.

This answer does a few things:

  1. You left him 'bait.' Now he will ask, "Oh really? So what hours do you expect?" So you simply answer 80 low-end and 100+ if a lot of going on.
  2. By mentioning valuation/Excel, you're showing you know what you'll be doing, and you have pitched why it is valuable 'a strong base of skills for *future* on Wall Street'. Why?
  3. Because you never want the interviewer to think you're interested in anything besides banking."

The Wrong "Why Investment Banking?" Answers

While there are very few "correct" answers, there are plenty answers that are just plain wrong. Here are a few common responses that might sink your interview.

WallStreetPrep:

Poor answers to this question would be answers that somehow indicate you are going into the profession to earn large amounts of money or because you eventually want to go to business school/private equity/hedge funds. While all this may be true, you want the interviewer to think that you are committed to the industry even though he/she knows that, more than likely, you'll be one of the analysts that decides to leave after two years of service. As an interviewer, it is better to hear the 'reassuring' answer rather than the brutally honest one, even though the interviewer knows you are being political.


Marcus_Halberstram - Industry CEO:

Stick with the standard answers. Don't say anything about client interaction. Period. Every candidate I've ever interviewed in the first round that progressed to the second round, and every candidate I've ever interviewed in second and beyond rounds (implying they made it past the first), has given the standard tried-and-tested answers to the 'Why Banking' question. Any interviewer that's said anything about 'CEOs, executives, clients, management teams, and (cringe) the C-suite' are immediate 'this kid doesn't know what we/he will do here' dings.

What If You Are a Non-Business Major?

WallStreetPrep:

Had some solid advice for the non-business majors: "Great answers to this question focus on skill-building, networking, and a love for difficult challenges. You want to emphasize that, being a non-business major, you are excited to learn the complex accounting and finance skills involved on the job and eventually transform into an analyst that has potential to significantly impact the group. You also want to relay that you are excited to work with driven, smart, and motivated colleagues and are looking forward to pushing your limits from a work standpoint. You ultimately want to come off as a positive, 'go-getter' type."

Law to Investment Banking

jbarret34:

A second year corporate associate outlines why the move from big law to investment banking makes sense for him: "I know that I love transactional work, like working in a fast-paced, demanding environment, don't mind long hours, and eventually want to be the one making the deals, rather than a lawyer/banker who only facilitates them. Investment banking makes sense for me because I could develop valuation/pitching/modeling skills."

Consulting to Investment Banking

WallStreetOasis.com:

If you're interviewing for an entry level junior role, then your response to the "Why Investment Banking?" question could sound something like this, "While I have gained some great experience working in consulting that translates well to investment banking, I feel that I could learn a more useful technical skill set at an investment bank working on live transactions at [XYZ Firm].

For those trying to get into more senior roles post-MBA, a more appropriate response would be, "I like long projects and getting to know clients; however, the transactional nature of investment banking is very appealing to me because you see the results of your work much more quickly. Whereas consulting engagements can last for years, especially when implementation is involved, the average investment banking mandate typically lasts for several months, so you are getting exposed to more scenarios and the learning curve is faster.

Commercial Banking to Investment Banking

onemanwolfpack - Investment Banking VP:

Gives those coming from a background in commercial banking some solid advice, "Demonstrate you belong. Given your 'atypical' background, you will have to try that much harder to show you belong compared to your interviewing peers who may already be working at other IBs and looking to lateral. Read up on the latest M&A deals, know your technicals frontwards and back, and show an over-the-top eagerness to break into the industry. In response to the 'Why switch from CB to IB?' question, I recall responding, "Because I look around at 5 pm seeing everyone head for the exit, and I know I have more to offer and want more out of my career than that." May have been cheesy in retrospect, but I believe that's when I won over the interviewer."

Asset Management to Investment Banking

Started your career in AM and want to make a move to IB? Here's some insight on whether or not it's the right choice for you, and if so, how to convince a potential employer you'd be a fit.

MandAisOkay - Investment Banking Analyst:

If you don't feel you have an actual passion for AM, I would make the switch to IB because it gives much broader exit opps. If you actually enjoy your work in AM and can see yourself in this business for a long time, just stay.

WallStreetOasis.com:

With a background in AM, a strong response to the 'why' question could be, "Although Asset Management allowed me to analyze companies and financials and make trades based on that analysis, where I really feel that I would excel long term is working more directly with these companies and in transactional work.

Interested in Investment Banking - Breaking In

The fact of the matter is you won't improve unless you practice. To have any chance at the technical questions, you need to prepare yourself with legitimate questions. The WallStreetOasis investment banking interview course is designed by countless professionals with real world experience, tailored to help you break into investment banking by acing the technical questions.

IB Interview Course Here

Hi Anonymous Monkey, upload your resume and land a job

Members that upload a resume get 2.3x the number of interview invites through the Talent Oasis. Learn more.

Comments (416)

Dec 11, 2009

easy. just tell them since all your classmates are going to investment banking, you want to do it too. It's like the new fad.
Also tell them you think that you are strong quantitative abilities so you can build those complex models and graphs in pitchbooks, and you can multiply 37x37 in your head.

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Dec 11, 2009

Have ya had a look at Mergers and Inquisitions yet? It provides a good starting point

Dec 11, 2009

No, but will do. Thanks for the serious answer.

Dec 11, 2009

way too generic an answer

Dec 11, 2009

$

Dec 11, 2009

simple: models & bottles

at least you will get ++ points for honesty.

The MD probly does it for that exact reason too, and to bang his secretary

Dec 11, 2009

Did you try, "Why not?" That'll show 'em.

Dec 11, 2009

I used to bang the stress out of an MDs secretary... she's also my ticket in. haha

Dec 11, 2009

just for the hell of it i'd probably say money money money. if i get an interview ever i'll try to be as unique and honest as possible, bad idea?

Dec 11, 2009

If you want a challenge, how about researching for the cure for cancer? If you want to learn, why don't you stay in school?

Dec 11, 2009

very nice

Dec 11, 2009

You need to get philosophical. MDs love to act like banking is some sort of heroic art.

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.

Dec 11, 2009

Your answer was fine, you just encountered a cocksucker. Everyone knows the "why banking" question is total bullshit, including the guy asking it. You gave a standard answer. I really am curious what kind of boot licking answer you are supposed to serve up?

"Gee Mr MD, I love banking because I have always dreamed about making inconsequential changes over and over again and being you bitch boy while you treat me like dog shit" Who wants to be a fireman when you can be a banker!

Move on, better luck next time. Getting dings for shit like that is like being dinged because he didn't like your shoes.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

Dec 11, 2009

Anthony is right. Also, remember "Every NO gets you closer to your next YES!" :)

Dec 11, 2009

Maybe HR lied and you actually got dinged for something else, but they don't want to tell you (for fear of lawsuit).

Dec 11, 2009
DedicatedApathist:

Maybe HR lied and you actually got dinged for something else, but they don't want to tell you (for fear of lawsuit).

AGREE!!!

but your answer is too generic, looks like a sentence i can find on Google.

I would try to put a personal spin on it... rather then say why banking... why You want to be in banking...

i.e. the banking SPARK!.. mergersandinquisition!

Dec 11, 2009

say BC it is your dream and only the best of the best work in ib

Dec 11, 2009

.

Dec 11, 2009

go to M&I, watch the video on "Why Investment Banking" Story in 3 easy steps, make yourself seem interesting, Drop names. Try again.

Dec 11, 2009

It is pretty much expected (at least for the BBs), that after 2-3 (as an analyst, at least - associate is a bit diff) years you will leave and pursue something else - generally B school, boutique, P/E or other buyside. That said, I would probably couple your response with something else out of the "stock" answers - i.e. the vast analytical skill set, or something like that. Secondly, you're not completely answering the question - if you say to get into P/E, the question then becomes, why P/E later, or, what about banking exactly will prepare you for P/E. To save yourself from the double question, I would probably just combine answers. To be fair, some interviewers will think the get into P/E answer is suitable and leave it at that - others could get annoyed if that is your sole reason without any other thought behind it. It's easy enough to throw in the skill set or deal exposure lines, so I say go with it.

IBanker
www.BankonBanking.com
[email protected]
Articles, News, Advice and More
Break Into Investment Banking

Dec 11, 2009

Yea I'm still not sure what's the best answer for interview for this question. The truth is (for me) why I want to do banking:
1) I think it's awesome to work with huge corporations and be involved in multi-million/billion dollar deals (even if you're just the lowly analyst).
2) Learn a lot and gain a ridiculous skill set that sets you up for a great career in finance
3) I would be good at it and have the right skill set (I'm good at finance, have attention to detail, and won a school wide presentation competition - i.e. good at presenting stuff).
4) I've tried equity research and it was boring to just be researching stocks but not adding value. Also I've been on the buy side FoF, but can't do much without learning the hard skills you do in banking.
5) Money
6) Prestige
7) Exit Opps

Would a good answer be to combine answers 1-3 and perhaps 4?

Dec 11, 2009

I like 1 and 2, blended with 7, and the 2nd half of 4. You don't want to say that something is boring, or anything else negative as you don't know the person - you don't ever want to bad mouth any other groups, or any other people (as in past employers) during an interview - just leaves a bad taste. I would leave out the "lowly analyst" part of #1. For #3, that's more why you are right for banking, not why banking is right for you. The 2nd half of #4 is good in the sense that even if you end up going back into buyside, or realize buyside is right for you, you know that the skill set gained in banking will make you much more competitive for the positions and much better equipped (via skill set) to make an impact (hit the ground running) when you start. Money and prestige - of course they are the reasons for a ton of people, but I wouldn't advise hammering those points hard in the interview (that's usually pretty obvious though).

IBanker
www.BankonBanking.com
[email protected]
Articles, News, Advice and More
Break Into Investment Banking

Dec 11, 2009

Lol thanks for the specific recipe iBanker. I hear you about not mentioning negatives (i.e. lowly analyst, boring, etc.) I thought it might be a good idea to mention briefly that I have the skill set for it, cause then it could easily lead them to the follow up question of greatest strengths/weaknesses, etc.

And I thought blending in 4 and 7 may not be wise cause they'll think you only want to do banking for the exit opportunities.

Dec 11, 2009

Nah, I wouldn't worry about that, as it is completely alright and pretty much expected for most analysts to move on from the BB IB after 2-3 years as an analyst - if they want you, they will offer you the promotion, but most of the time, especially in a slower market, it is assumed that you will be moving on. Regarding your skill set, there isn't really a need as it just adds length to your answer, and if they want to know why you'd be good for banking they'll just ask, otherwise, you can assume they realize this as you are one of the ones who have been chosen to interview.

IBanker
www.BankonBanking.com
[email protected]
Articles, News, Advice and More
Break Into Investment Banking

Dec 11, 2009

bump

Dec 11, 2009

When networking with people and with a recent phone interview, I have found that my answer to "why ibanking" doesn't sound convincing enough. Perhaps because I previously did equity research and then fund of hedge funds, that they seem to not fully buy my story that I am interested in IBD (even though this is what I had tried getting since last year with no luck). I tell them that I'm much more interested in a career where you engage with companies and do deals, as opposed to research or managing money. Perhaps this comes off stupid cause as an Analyst I won't be "closing deals". Any thoughts?

Dec 11, 2009

I once heard someone say why banking?

  1. Because I want to feel important.
  2. Because I want to make some money after college.
  3. models and bottles Baby! (well not so much the models part unless your talking about excel)
Dec 11, 2009

i love how banker88 always hijacks other people's threads to vent about his own problems.

Dec 11, 2009

i love how jackdaniels' solution to everything is to wear white aldo shoes. go back to the back office you punk.

Dec 11, 2009

bump to 88's question:

"I tell them that I'm much more interested in a career where you engage with companies and do deals, as opposed to research or managing money. Perhaps this comes off stupid cause as an Analyst I won't be "closing deals". Any thoughts?"

Dec 11, 2009

You should always say that you:

1) Really want to work on deals and gain transaction experience

2) Work with smart people whether it be your own colleagues or client management (which you hope to get the opportunity to work directly with)

Also, if you're applying for an industry group, you need to express that you're extremely interested in working with that industry. Come up with some reasons.

With regards to mentioning you want to transition into PE, I'd avoid it. There are PE firms that hire analysts so why aren't you applying to them instead? It's like saying you want to work at Citi at a JP Morgan interview.

On the other hand, it wouldn't be too bad to say you wanted to get an MBA in the future, although the best answer is to say you want to continue in banking and hope to get that internal promotion to Associate. This way they know you're dedicated and know that you will probably try harder in the job.

Dec 11, 2009

hehe.

Dec 11, 2009

Trololol.

Not worth using up an MS for this one.

Dec 11, 2009

let me help you with that

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Dec 11, 2009

maybe banking chose me

Dec 11, 2009

$$$$$$$

Dec 11, 2009

"Too big to fail" (although in his case that doesn't really apply...)

Remember, you will always be a salesman, no matter how fancy your title is.
- My ex girlfriend

Dec 11, 2009

fuckin rules! LOL

Dec 11, 2009

Wow.. my ears.

Dec 11, 2009

This has been covered in a few posts already - I suggest you do a search.

There is always the potential that you come across as a bit of a douche, but people bear that in mind. You need to not just throw out a robot answer but honestly think about why you do want to enter this industry given all you know about it. If I think you sound committed, intelligent, hardworking, enthusiastic with a sense of humor then you're in.

Dec 11, 2009

honesty

Dec 11, 2009
mbavsmfin:

I don't wear watches bro. Because it's always MBA BALLER time!

Dec 11, 2009

IB still has a prestige associated with the job. In addition, the skills you gain in analyst and associate programs are transferrable across pretty much all industries, which allows you to lateral to any thing at any time. I think many people on here get into it because of the safety net IB gives them. If you're not sure what you want to do long-term, IB is a great place to start because of the aforementioned reasons.

Dec 11, 2009

Why ask such a dumb question? Working less hours in SV or at a start-up? Clearly you have not gone that route either.

Dec 11, 2009

Yeah, I work 9-5 at my startup and spend time with my kids on the weekend, said no one ever.

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

Dec 11, 2009

Please. Some of us here actually do have an interest, if not a passion for finance or markets. Why let something like relative hours or pay in the next year become a determinant to what you're going to be doing for potentially the rest of your life?

Dec 11, 2009

http://www.leveragedsellout.com/2006/04/bottle-ser...
"Cowards die a thousand deaths, but the brave only one,"
Bill Shakespeare

Dec 11, 2009

this has been talked about at length in many threads including the one below.

//www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/why-investment-bank...

Elite GMAT Tutors: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/page/one-on-one-gmat-prep
Invite Monkeys Here: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/invite
WSO Guides: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/wsoguides
Follow WSO on Twitter: http://twitter.com/wallstreetoasis

Dec 11, 2009
Dec 11, 2009

"I see my current self in slow-mo, winking and hand-gunning a Long Island meathead and his broke-ass JAP girlfriend as I pass them, rolling 8 dudes deep into Marquee. Thank the Lord for bottle service! I picture my entrance, an expectant glance around and a quick pinch of the nose still slightly numb from awkwardly keycardbumping in the cab over. "IBD in da house!!" I shout and do a mini-roof-raise."

HAHA this is good stuff

Dec 11, 2009

Some encourage it, some don't. The bank I worked for encouraged it heavily. In fact, one of its selling points was the excellent placement into private equity after analysts complete their two years of banking. On the other hand, some people I spoke with told me that it was a taboo topic to speak about.

All comes down to firm culture. If that is a response you'd like to use, you need to feel out your interviewer first. Personally, I'd recommend using a broader approach of saying how the banking experience gives you a great skillset which will enable you to succeed in your career, etc. etc.

~~~~~~~~~~~
CompBanker

Dec 11, 2009

Avoid the classic mistake of answering this question with what the job can do for you. Your interviewers honestly don't really care what you can get out of it. Banking can do great things for lots of people, but what's more important to them is whether you can do the job at the expected level.

It's ok to talk about your longer term goals, but most important part of your answer will focus on why you're a good fit for banking. More on that and some other mistakes people make here:
Interview Mistakes Bright College Students Make - http://bit.ly/il1aV
I don't know your background, but interviewers will also ask "Why banking?" if it's not clear from your resume that you would have an interest in finance. Take a look at this advice for some advice on how to handle that question (and the "why should we hire you?" and "why are you interested in this company?" questions)
The 3 Most Important Interview Questions - http://bit.ly/RkosD
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Dec 11, 2009

"I want to be Oprah rich"

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Dec 11, 2009

From looking at your post, I'm recalling many fond memories of answering this question for interviewers on countless occasions.

Before I answer, I'll give a background story on my experiences. I am graduating from the engineering school at my current university. I interned at a bank last summer and will be working full time as an Analyst in SF. In precedent summers, I interned at a consulting firm, and had a strategic planning role at a digital media startup company. I also did a couple of internships at startup companies during the school year.

While the exit ops, lifestyle, and the money are certainly advantages to doing I-banking, I saw plenty of other potential gains in it as well. First off, you learn a lot through staying in touch with current events and market conditions and you become well versed in the industry(ies) you cover. This definitely gives you some discussion points at a cocktail party :). Additionally, the skills you learn can be applied to many things. Accounting, Modeling, learning how to sell yourself, the attention to detail, and the work ethic are some of those useful skills. I've seen people start in Investment Banking, and then succeed as consultants, entrepreneurs, PE/HF managers, and even as bankers.

As far as your situation is concerned RaRe, I would analyze what you genuinely find appealing about the jobs you're researching and then choose the one that sticks out the most - whether or not that path is banking.

Dec 11, 2009

I just sent you a PM. I am in a very similar situation as you in terms of experiences but unfortunately have not received an offer yet. Hoping to hear back!

Dec 11, 2009

thanks cali,you've somewhat restored my faith in the banking set.

Dec 11, 2009

You're an MBA student and you can't come up with a thoughtful answer for the "why banking" question... Red Flag?

Study this:
http://www.ibankingfaq.com/category/interviewing-c...

Dec 11, 2009
fez:

You're an MBA student and you can't come up with a thoughtful answer for the "why banking" question... Red Flag?

exactly what I was going to say. I think his answer is fine. Have some confidence man, you've got experience as a fixed-income portfolio manager.

Dec 11, 2009

highlight the deal aspect (if you have an example of something that piqued your interest in deals that would be really helpful). that should flow into the whole "I want to add value to the firms we advise" as opposed to your fixed-income gig.

everybody gives pretty much the same spiel, so having a genuine example of what sparked your interest in IB is arguably what will make your answer compelling.

good luck.

Dec 11, 2009

huh? you went from a FI PM to MBA to banking? talk about going backwards.

reasons:
- you want free dinner
- you like excel
- you like ppt even more
- you like formatting fonts the most
- you don't mind working 100 hour weeks tending to the most useless requests from your clients who never pay you in the end because they got cold feet just when that big M&A deal is about to close

Dec 11, 2009

wait...

$ doesn't make sense if you were a PM. Does it?

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Dec 11, 2009

You like strippers; strippers like money.

Dec 11, 2009

Thank you all for your inputs! I have not got a perfect answer to why banking because I am not dedicated to it.... The reason I got bored with FI is that it deals too much with numbers - interest rates, yields, spreads... So I am open to equity research, investment banking, private equity, and even consulting, which are more about people and stories...

Dec 11, 2009

how about try using the search function?

Dec 11, 2009

This is like the 10000000000000th post on this exact subject. Search your post I guaratntee you'll find at least 10 more.

Reality hits you hard, bro...

Dec 11, 2009

my bad. just signed up. will do.

Dec 11, 2009

...you enjoy "adding value to your clients" (not to be confused with all other careers, which tend to focus on destroying value)

Dec 11, 2009

I think the best "non-BS" answer would be the actual reason why YOU want to do IB (other than money). Something you came up with is going to be much better than some generic BS a person posted on a forum.

There is no absolute right answer to this question. The interviewer wants to to hear that you are honest and legitimetely want to do investment banking, not that you memorized a generic response.

Dec 11, 2009

Don't bullshit the best, is what one director told me.

If you can't answer this on your own, you may want to think harder on why you want this job/internship.

Dec 11, 2009

Its not that I can't tell you why i want this internship... thats a very easy question. I just dont want it to sound

generic.

Dec 11, 2009

What are you thinking about saying?

shallaba:

Its not that I can't tell you why i want this internship... thats a very easy question. I just dont want it to sound generic.

Dec 11, 2009

You don't say anything about money or being rich. Some good answers would be the standard ones: learning, interest in business/finance, career goals, etc. Don't mention anything about money or being rich - you can say you want to be successful, but don't say rich. Most bankers are in fact in it for the money, but no one wants to hear you say that.

I wouldn't be concerned about your answer sounding "generic" - it's better to be generic than try to be "unique" and end up sounding far-fetched or wrong.

Maybe if you told us what you were planning to say, we could provide some feedback.

Dec 11, 2009

Some people have told me to try and pinpoint how investment banking has affected the market as a whole. For isntance, how, investment bankers have been responsible for helping so many new firms and industries flourish by raising capital for them. If you're interviewing with the mergers and acqusitions department or you are interested in that department of the firm, then try and pick out one of the deals they have worked on, and how because of the bankers, the deal went through, and how that deal has impacted the market or the consumer or the producer as a whole in a positive way.

Dec 11, 2009

There are so many reasons one would want to work in ibanking. The lifestyle. The late-night cubicle cuisine. The exquisite sensation of sleep deprivation. The opportunity to become intimately acquainted with the takeout menus of all thirty-one Chinese restaurants south of Canal. The fun and friendly people. But I think, over and above everything else, my personal reason for choosing to work in i-banking is to feel like I'm actually doing something good for the world, y'know, making the world a better place.

Or it could be the money. What do you think?

Dec 11, 2009

I think its the money. but yeah...make the world a better place.

Dec 11, 2009
Mis Ind:

There are so many reasons one would want to work in ibanking. The lifestyle. The late-night cubicle cuisine. The exquisite sensation of sleep deprivation. The opportunity to become intimately acquainted with the takeout menus of all thirty-one Chinese restaurants south of Canal. The fun and friendly people. But I think, over and above everything else, my personal reason for choosing to work in i-banking is to feel like I'm actually doing something good for the world, y'know, making the world a better place.

Or it could be the money. What do you think?

Hahahaha

Dec 11, 2009

obviously not the money short-term. it's the way it sets you up to make money in the long run, either through being a VP/MD or, more likely, through exit opps.

Dec 11, 2009

Zala. It's more the prospect of making a big buck long-term.

On the other hand, I kind of like the idea of what I'm doing :-)

Dec 11, 2009

yeah i would say to the money, challenge, wking with some of the brightest ppl in the world

Dec 11, 2009

Yet another useful post by Narin. Good job, son.

Dec 11, 2009

It all comed down to the end :D

Dec 11, 2009

(1) to see the sunrise - especially after an all-nighter
(2) being chauffeured from the office to home every night / morning

Dec 11, 2009

I've actually got to the stage where I like my job. Call me crazy...and maybe I am, but having a client ring you and value your input is a good feeling. Being a critical part of a deal is a good feeling. Being able to help your client work through whatever issues he's got that day is a good feeling. Having an opinion that people respect is a good feeling. And yes, going out and sticking your card behind the bar, signing and not worrying about the total ever is a good feeling.

Dec 11, 2009

I want the money so I could pay off my student loans, be debt free, save a heap load of $$ so that I can do what I really really want to do later...

My fantasy job would be to work for a luxury Italian shop such as Pratesi and leisurely travel the world as an interior designer carrying bolts of fabric and have a flaming assistant named Luigi who is my partner in crime.

And world peace. I want to inspire world peace.

There I said it. I feel SO much better now.

Dec 11, 2009

hey thats nothing, i want to start my own island nation, now thats a crazy idea

Dec 11, 2009

aside from the cash, a lot of ppl don't really know what they want to do professionally. so along come these banks with structured recruiting programs and lures of interesting work, and they say "hell, i'll give it a shot, it's just 2 years"

Dec 11, 2009

Do first year analyst number crunch 80% of the time? What kind of skills do they need to possess?

Dec 11, 2009

Why do you want to do i-banking? How do you answer this in an interview?

Dec 11, 2009

You need to connect you're answer to things on your resume and classes/internships you've had that deal with corporate finance. The connection is key, otherwise you'll get stuck having your interviewer tell you "well I don't see a connection between why you want to do it and what you've done..."

Dec 11, 2009

There has to be a general answer that everyone answers this because truth is people have a lot of the same qualities. What would be a general answer for this question?

Dec 11, 2009

I don't think we could give you a general answer.

It's truly an answer that YOU have to come up with for yourself. Why would you want to sound like everyone else?

Listen, I can smoke out a rehearsed or 'canned' answer from a candidate in an interview. Candidates that I'd give props to are those that thought thru their decision to go into IB and came up with something sincere in his/her answer.

The two years that you will spend as an analyst has to mean something to you. Would someone put themselves thru 2 years of constant personal sacrifice for nothing? What do YOU want to get out of it? If it doesn't mean something to you it's going to be a LONG 2 years. Along those lines of thinking is your answer!

Dec 11, 2009

moneyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Dec 11, 2009
Simple As...:

moneyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

true but you cant say tht at an interview

Dec 11, 2009

environment, people, type of work

Dec 11, 2009

Seriously? There are millions of reasons, here are just a few.

  1. It's what everyone else is doing.
  2. I'm too nerdy for law/consulting.
  3. I'm Asian and it's what asians do (kind of fits in with the first one).
  4. It'll increase my chances of getting laid.
  5. I was drunk when I applied and figured it would be easier to show up for the interview than go through the pain of writing an apology email and withdrawing.
  6. Their offices are nicer than any other division.
  7. The double monitor set up looks pretty cool.
  8. I want to interact with CEOs are upper level executives.
  9. I want an excuse to wear ridiculously nice clothes.
  10. Want to work with people who share the same interests.
  11. I have no social life so I might as well spend my time working.
  12. I already take naps in bathroom stalls and enjoy making a game out of pretending to do work. Might as well get paid for it.
  13. I'm the type of person who loves complaining and one-upping people's stories. This will give me plenty of opportunity to do it.
  14. I want to be ale to say I'm an investment banker.
  15. I love the collaborative environment and emphasis on teamwork.
  16. The cereal selection in the pantry is amazing.
Dec 11, 2009

You like the feeling of getting shat on

Dec 11, 2009

Because Patrick Bateman is your idol.

Dec 11, 2009

Lloyd Blankfein is my super idol!!!

Dec 11, 2009

There are much better ways to make money than banking. If you're smart and willing to work 100 hours a week, fuck making $400k/yr - start a company that addresses some obscure need, score VC funding, and you're company is worth $100M inside of a year. Of course, if you're not smart and just leaning on pedigree carrying you to to $400k, then banking is your path.

Dec 11, 2009
djfiii:

There are much better ways to make money than banking. If you're smart and willing to work 100 hours a week, fuck making $400k/yr - start a company that addresses some obscure need, score VC funding, and you're company is worth $100M inside of a year. Of course, if you're not smart and just leaning on pedigree carrying you to to $400k, then banking is your path.

"much better ways to make money than banking"

like what? Of course a successful startup > everything else, but what are the chances of becoming the next FaceBook? 1 in a billion probably. I know its been said a million times, but in terms of potential salary and exit ops it doesn't get much better than IB.. That's mainly the only reason why anyone is here lol. Mind-numbing, boring, 110 hr work weeks for the salary, and that's it. You make 400k a year sound pathetic and average.

If it's so easy to make a company worth ~100MM, then where is yours?

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Dec 11, 2009

I sold it already.

Dec 12, 2009

Nice!

Dec 12, 2009

lol at 400k. yea if you're stuck at the vp level perpetually. 1m+ or bust.

Dec 12, 2009

lol at 400k. yea if you're stuck at the vp level perpetually. 1m+ or bust.

Dec 12, 2009

"Because I am trying to make up for my low self-esteem"

Sad cuz it's true :(

Dec 12, 2009

Cause my favorite hobby is to pull unnecessary all-nighters. So I thought why not get paid for it?!

Cause I am a smooth bullshitter and investment bankers are full of bullshit. So I thought why not get paid for it?!

"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."

Dec 12, 2009

A few interview friendly answers:

1. IB provides an opportunity to work on a range of companies with different models and at different stages in their growth/maturity. The ability to deep dive into completely different business models on different is exciting and educational.
2. IB brings you in contact with a wide range of C-suite executives and other personalities who are highly effective people (or, in some cases, highly dysfunctional). All of them are people you can observe and learn from.
3. IB transactions are project-based with high pressure deadlines that bring out the best in people who rise to perform in stressful circumstances. This is more exciting than corporate work which is longer term and more repetitive.

A few other thoughts:

4. IB remuneration is wonderfully asymmetrical. In the good years, you get paid a high bonus which is typically funded from fees generated from entrepreneurs/other businesses which have crystallised years of growth into profit. Essentially, you're harvesting someone else's hard work for a few months to generate a load of fees. In the bad years, the comp downside is limited - at worst, they give you zero bonus. So you get the entrepreneurial-like equity upside, but none of the downside.

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Dec 12, 2009

Honestly, I couldn't care less about the money, but that's just me.

Dec 12, 2009

Yep, same here. I am more focused on the exit opps than I am on IB compensation as an analyst.

"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."

Dec 12, 2009

exit ops my friend.

plus i dont think there are many 9-5 jobs out there paying 50k. also 40k bonus is low IMO

Dec 12, 2009

try working two full-time jobs and tell me if you'll enjoy the "lifestyle".
also, it is all about potential future income (exit ops).

Dec 12, 2009

I think your bonus figure is pretty low for street at least. Although the debt markets have caused a slowdown in this industry, I don't think bonuses next year will go as low as 40k.

As far as your point on lifestyle, I think you need to ask yourself about lifestyle down the road. Working 2 50k/year jobs won't give you exit ops into buy side firms or top business schools. Additionally, I'm sure those jobs won't have the clearly stated progression track that is present in an I-banking career.

Dec 12, 2009

no way i'd do it if it didn't lead to something much much better.

Dec 12, 2009

Your other post:
"I am a second year analyst and very depressed from doing this. I have had a very rough couple of weeks which are too unbearable to elaborate on.

Can anyone explain to me once again why we do this?"

You shouldn't need all these reminders of why you're doing it. I would assume your attitude comes through in your work product. Seriously though, get out before you burn out.

Dec 12, 2009

That coming from a first year... That's grand.

Come back to me after you do back to back to back 115 hour weeks and we'll talk.

Dec 12, 2009
bbanalyst:

That coming from a first year... That's grand.

Come back to me after you do back to back to back 115 hour weeks and we'll talk.

So first you whine on a public forum. Then you justify your self pitying attitude by saying I'd feel the same way if I only worked a year longer? Dude, I've put in the hours and had equally as brutal weeks. Give me a break.

Go back to whining - it better suits you.

Dec 12, 2009

bbanalyst, why don't you switch to trading? The hours are much better and the pay is the same and maybe even higher at senior levels.

Dec 12, 2009

Maybe do consulting...

My IB SA program(as a sophomore) was 75-80 hours a week straight through the summer. My worst week was 90 hours. I couldn't handle it and bitched constantly. It might have something to do with me being 19 at the time (I'm 20 now). I was also in ECM and let me tell you how unsatisfying that type of work was for me. I'm doing MC at a good consulting company this summer, because 60 hours average is much better than 75-80 in my opinion.

One thing I noticed about consulting is that a ton of the FT analysts at my firm have BB IB SA backgrounds, and a lot of the associates did FT BB IB out of undergrad. I'm thinking this points to consulting firms loving bankers.

B U

Dec 12, 2009

As I see it, if you want to do a conventional job for your first gig out of college, there isn't much better than banking. We could have a whole separate debate about whether or not doing something creative, traveling, starting a company etc. are better, but for most people on this board those are not considerations so I will focus on banking vs. other jobs.

I've been doing this almost 2 years now and believe me, it really really sucked at times. And sometimes I wonder why I did it in the first place. A lot of friends thought I was crazy when I first started.

But I look at them now, and most people who did not do banking are in a worse position than me. It's hard to find a field where you get this level of exposure/learning right out of school.

And you know what? Most of my non-banking friends are left wondering, "What's next? Where do I go from here?" For us, it's much easier to answer this question. Even if we choose not to continue in finance, I guarantee you'll have learned way more than your friends who did other jobs.

For a number of reasons, I think much of peoples' talk over investment banking exit opportunities is somewhat misinformed and is predicated on something too far in the future to be meaningful. So I do not base any arguments of why to do banking on those.

If you do a job solely because of the dollars per hours, you're missing the point.

On a side note, your estimate of a $40K bonus is way too low. Yes, bonuses will be down from last year but they're not going to be cut in half.

Dec 12, 2009

You seem very passionate and have laid down a great strategy. Definitely, a clear roadmap for aspiring IBs. I am an eningeer working in the energy industry, but this stuff is interesting and I'll take a look at the readings you suggested.

Dec 12, 2009

Money?

Dec 12, 2009

But it's the same, if not more in S&T. Anyone who does it for money isn't greedy, they're stupid

Dec 12, 2009

It's more prestigious than S&T.

Dec 12, 2009

it used to be considered more prestigious, but not really anymore. the only thing you can do with banking that you can't with s&t is go to private equity, which probably wont be running at a capacity anywhere near where it is today in a few years.

Dec 12, 2009
tekno:

it used to be considered more prestigious, but not really anymore. the only thing you can do with banking that you can't with s&t is go to private equity, which probably wont be running at a capacity anywhere near where it is today in a few years.

As much as I love arbitrage and having my own PnL, banking is more prestigious, by definition.
Compensation does not equal prestige.

Dec 12, 2009

Prestige, money, knowledge, and the ability to do pretty much whatever you want afterwards. You may be the lowest on the totem pole, but you certainly still have a high self-worth. There is a certain pride that comes with knowing you are busting your ass every day and pursuing a great career. Of course, for some of us we find it very challenging and interesting as well. Every day I remind myself how lucky I am not to be working a boring, dead-end job.

Dec 12, 2009

Bonus = Very Happy

Dec 12, 2009

it's actually interesting work - I'd do it but I want a life. It's really challenging and it's constantly different every day. I like the markets a little more for that reason, but IBD can be fun shit.

Dec 12, 2009

Even if you work 70-80 hours a week, you still are making about 35-40 bucks an hour (with total comp at 140K). Considering its a learning experience that will set you up for a future in almost any career path, I can definitely see why a lot of people are willing to do it.

Lack of sleep - you can pull 7-8 hours a day if you don't booze out whenever you have free time
On your ass all the time - eat less, run more
Hierarchy - you'll eventually move up
Stress - true, stressful, but perhaps worth it
no weekends off - this is a bummer
no girls - not true, going to a bar and picking up a girl is not that hard

Again, I'm not in corporate finance, just research, but I get to see the IBD people all the time and its fun to see the motivate themselves. If I had to work an 80 hour week more than once a month I wouldn't be able to handle it...

Dec 12, 2009

My guess is UserAccountDeleted doesn't even work at a BB.

Dec 12, 2009

My guess is you equate earnings to prestige.

Dec 12, 2009

I don't know how you judge prestige, but from just a couple months of research, etc, I've found that S&T has a lot more advantages than banking. If you want to break down and compare the advantages:

  • Compensation: about the same to start off (S&T might be a little bit more volatile, but potential upside in future is unmatched)
  • Hours: Traders 50-70 hrs, Structurers 60-80 hrs, Salespeople I think about same as structurers?,
    bankers (80-100 hrs)
  • Exit Opp.: Bankers have an edge for PE like an earlier poster mentioned, but a lot of them have to go after a MBA
  • Treatment: If you want to be blunt about it, bankers are everyone's bitches. Salespeople take a lot of shit too, but not as much as bankers from what I hear.
  • Now the "prestige" factor: I think this is very subjective but for me, prestige usually comes from selectivity. Banks hire way more for banking than for S&T, so logically, S&T positions are way more competitive? In addition, we can also discuss the type of work that bankers and traders do. No offense, but from what I hear, bankers crunch numbers on excel all day and make pitches to clients. Traders, on the other hand (sorry to leave out structuring and sales, but I'm not proficient enough to discuss their jobs) are actually handling money of clients or the banks, and thousands/millions of dollars are riding on the decisions they make. That just seems a lot more "prestigious" and definitely more interesting (despite stressful) than working on excel all day.

This is my 2 cents, granted I'm a newbie.

Dec 12, 2009

The nature of the two jobs marks a difference in prestige in my opinion. You donaEU(tm)t need some snooty ivy education to discuss European philosophers at cocktail parties if you are a trader. Investment banking, on the other hand, is a much more client/network driven world that still has a certain white shoe feel to it.

Dec 12, 2009
altfp:

The nature of the two jobs marks a difference in prestige in my opinion. You donaEU(tm)t need some snooty ivy education to discuss European philosophers at cocktail parties if you are a trader. Investment banking, on the other hand, is a much more client/network driven world that still has a certain white shoe feel to it.

This is the credited response.

initial_d, I understand where you're coming from, but I think you're speaking about entry level positions to which I don't think we have limited the debate. I'm not advocating IB over S&T, just making an assessment based on my definitions of prestige.

Dec 12, 2009

Good story - thanks for sharing and congrats on the success

Dec 12, 2009

It just takes one connection.

Nice story.

Dec 12, 2009

You have a good story man. I think with your skills you can sell yourself to anyone.

Dec 12, 2009

Congrats. good story. It's more about who you know than what you know ;)

Dec 12, 2009

This.

Dec 12, 2009

get in contact with that VP you met, try to see if you can come on as an intern or possibly FT...try to get some finance experience...sweet story though, def. a good one to use in your interviews....

Dec 12, 2009

Nice job man looks like you were networking on accident

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Dec 12, 2009

Definitely an accidental networking scenario, but a good lesson overall. You never know who you will meet, at any given time, anywhere in the world. Now I'm just focused on studying for the GMAT, I really want to go straight into an MBA program, but I'm just finishing my undergrad this year. Has anyone been accepted to, or heard of someone getting accepted to a good MBA program without much experience after their undergrad has been completed?

Dec 12, 2009
Navy706:

Definitely an accidental networking scenario, but a good lesson overall. You never know who you will meet, at any given time, anywhere in the world. Now I'm just focused on studying for the GMAT, I really want to go straight into an MBA program, but I'm just finishing my undergrad this year. Has anyone been accepted to, or heard of someone getting accepted to a good MBA program without much experience after their undergrad has been completed?

Not recently. probably 20 years ago, it was more common. Good gmat scores won't get you into a top MBA program, it will just qualify you to stay in the running...There's other things that will be looked at also, like work experience!

Dec 12, 2009

That fact that you were in the armed forces definitely helps you in terms of MBA recruiting. Not sure how much, though.

Dec 12, 2009

armed forces- props to you my good man! hope this all works out for you.

its one way or the other: hate me or admire.

Dec 12, 2009

American?
Speaks fluent farci and mandarin

yep... this ones in the bag

heh good for you man, I'm also coming from a non direct/target background, but I hear there is a hidden affinity for engineers in this industry :-)

Dec 12, 2009

Born and raised in Southern California. I met a guy at work (the NSA side) that left to get an MBA from Cornell and his undergrad was in electrical engineering so obviously the engineering background helped him. So I wish you the same success!

I studied mandarin bust haven't used it much in the last few years, so I definitely need to brush up on my vocab if I plan to use it later. For those interested, it's a very easy language to learn as long as you don't have to worry about reading it. Easiest grammar out of any language I have come across.

Dec 12, 2009

Wait why all this MBA foolishness. That guy gave you his contact info after you helped him to close a deal in a region he clearly doesn't know as well as you.... If I were you I'd try my damndest to keep away from that 100k sinkhole and get to networking. Unless your heart is set on a BB for some perverse reason. Not to mention the MBA always looks better if you have relevant WE. If I were in your position I'd get the UG degree and network my way into something.

Dec 12, 2009

jktecon, i think the MBA is more of a personal thing at this point and was something he also recommended. Working full time and dealing with deployments, most of us enlisted guys do not have the opportunity to get our degrees from the most reputable schools, so I was hoping an MBA from a more reputable school would help make me look better. I could be off base on that theory, but like I said I'm still learning. I'm transitioning from the military now, so wouldn't giving up two years during that transition and looking for an associate position afterwards rather than trying to get the MBA later be more beneficial?

Dec 12, 2009

am i missing something here? do you actually have a job?

Dec 12, 2009

Well you have to keep in mind that It's not as if you just get an MBA and poof your an associate. You could very well find yourself in between a rock and a hard place since you don't have the right WE and are overqualified to enter as an analyst. You're a soldier, you have balls...I managed to use my experiences to get a boutique internship when I still had a UG GPA. Of 2.4 at a very much non target school (managed to get CEO on the phone, shared my experiences and convinced him I had much more determination than any candidate he could find in the area) Most kids on here give you the nerd route to breaking in. I personally am saving the mba for when i already have a job in finance and a job move requires it. I may get an MSF though since it is only a year and I have a very poor GPA from my first two UG years. Most employers should realize the challenges you faced as a result of being in the military. If I had your experiences and a good GPA I'm 100 percent I could have networked into UBS by now , if your GPA is anywhere near 3.5 please network, I guarantee if you're a decent communicator and can convey your experiences with feeling, you could get a top tier IB job by just talking to te right person.

Dec 12, 2009

I guess I never looked at it from that angle. I feel confident in my people skills/networking abilities, but I just assumed most bankers possess those same skills too. Definitely couldn't hurt to start networking now whether I go for the MBA or not. Thanks for the helpful advice! Information like that is the exact reason I'm looking through various posts on here for a couple hours a day.

Dec 12, 2009

Have you reached out to your buddy and asked if he could help you get a job before you do the MBA? Everything I've seen agrees with jktecon-pre-MBA finance experience makes the post-MBA associate role far easier to find. I know a guy who has good undergrad, good (non-finance) work experience, and is at a top-10 MBA program but is having a hell of a time getting looks for post-MBA associate roles.

Agree on Mandarin, as well-the grammar is easy, and while the pronunciation is hard, if you're obviously foreign you get cut a ton of slack on tones by native speakers.

Dec 12, 2009

You're right most BANKERS do have networking skills, hence they are now the bankers. Their are a million people who look good on paper but they just can't talk the talk (in finance the talking works more than the walking). My advice, find any professional networking events that may be held in your area, dress like a million bucks, really put some thought into how you'll tell your story (exaggerate the important and what gives you an edge) then find the guy with the most people around him when the networking starts (If he isn't the banker, he'll know who is). First thing in the conversation (when you get an opening) explain that you have a passion for banking and why you have a passion.You should know more than most on macroeconomic events just to stimulate intellectual conversation (it'll also help to scare away anyone else who is networking with the guy if you can start throwing out boss finance words that sends the conversation into a different language) and once you've impressed the guy a little just get his email address. Refresh his memory within a week and at that point ask if he ever has free time perhaps he could teach you more on what it takes to get a job in banking. You're now in.

Dec 12, 2009

double post

Dec 12, 2009

I'm not sure this has been said, but do NOT rely on this person to help you out. Network and get the most out of this relationship you can, but I see that you've written a long and happy post about a chance (albeit very cool) networking event. This has noob written all over it.

Everyone will treat you like a prince until you need something from them. Until you get a contract, you really have nothing.

very sorry if this sounds mean, but I am worried you might see this as a huge in and become complacent when the time comes for actual job hunting. good luck!

Dec 12, 2009

if there is one thing I have learned, it's not to be complacent about anything. Just like hunting down terrorists throughout the world, right when you think you have them cornered and you can relax a little, that's when they slip out from under the radar and are gone.

I guess since I'm new to the people side of banking, I just didn't realize how much networking was involved and now I actually feel better. Talking to people is the easy part IMO. Now I just have to keep studying so I can sound like I belong there when talking to them. Which is why I just got back from the book store and now have enough IB related reading to last a couple months.

thanks again for all the advice!

Dec 12, 2009

Good Luck.

Dec 12, 2009

did you kill osama

Dec 12, 2009

highly suggest trying to take the GMAT in the near future and killing it

it will give you something quantifiable to go along with your compelling unconventional story

Dec 12, 2009

cubechimp, i cant claim any credit for that one. I was supervising a different mission/target (which we still got). I'm sure that would have made a great story during my interview though.

VP: "What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?"
Me:"I found Osama!"

Deal_mkr, I'm taking the GMAT beginning of September and I have been studying about an hour a day for it since June. I took the practice test they have online and was a little disappointed (640). But, I decided to use it as motivation to study more before taking it for real. My realistic goal is just to break 700.

Dec 12, 2009

I chose IBD for the money and the prestige.

I was wrong on both counts!

Dec 12, 2009

You need to figure out why you want to do investment banking. yes there are stock answers, but that won't help you when you are doing 100 hr weeks for something you never even wanted.

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Dec 12, 2009

"For the chase and rush of doing such a high and lucrative business deal" "deal exposure" "passion for finance" all these I have heard before but not sure how much substance they hold.

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Dec 12, 2009
mCobb:

"For the chase and rush of doing such a high and lucrative business deal" "deal exposure" "passion for finance" all these I have heard before but not sure how much substance they hold.

Please never actually say "passion for finance" out loud. In front of anyone. Ever.

A good rule of thumb for this and other personal questions in interviews is to stay as far away from cliche answers as possible.

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Best Response
Dec 12, 2009

"I wanna make bank, bro. I wanna get ass. And drive a Range Rover."

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Dec 12, 2009

lmao dude, this is me all three... and i never connected it w/ IB

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Dec 12, 2009