Saturday, August 23, 2008

So you want to be an investment banker....

As you prepare to return to school and start your interviews, continue to think about your interview strategies. Eventually you should become so good at interviewing that you when answer a question you lead interviewers to the next question YOU want. The last thing you want is to be in an interview where someone is asking you all types of questions you have never heard before and haven't already practiced some type of response. The difference between a GREAT interviewee and a GOOD one is how well they "subtly" lead the interview.

For example, the first question you will be asked is typically "Tell me about yourself". In your response you could go on about school, clubs, internships, etc... All of which is fine and dandy, but if you can drop in a line about how in your last finance class or in your last internship you learned how to do a DCF, you have placed a hook out for the interviewer to latch on to for their next question. The next question might go something like, "So you learned about valuation in your Finance Honor Society, tell me how to value a company." Or they might say "You used a DCF model in your internship with Company ABC, Walk me through a DCF." These are the basic questions, which you should know they need/will be asking, and thus you check off the boxes for the interviewer.

Essentially, you should be so good that you know exactly what each interviewer is looking for. In a typical Super Day, a candidate will interview with 6-12 people at the firm. Did you know that each person is typically assigned a specific assignment to interview you on? For example, your first interview is typically a fit/conversational interview. The interviewer is usually a VP and willl come in and kind of shoot the breeze with you. Ask you basic questions about your resume, talk to you about clubs you were in, etc... Super easy, but yet a skill they want to make sure you have.

Then the next people will come in and one will be assigned to test your accounting knowledge, another to test finance, another to test problem solving (Stress Test), etc... Keep track of how the interviews go and then learn to tailor your answers to the interview. Essentially it is an interview within an interview.

My advice is to make sure you know your BIG 5. Refer to my blog post ( if you don't know what I mean. Also, go over all the interview questions you can come up with. Break them into the accounting and finance sections. Learn them and know them so you can "drop" hints in your answers to lead the interview to where YOU want it to go. (NOTE: You need to let yourself be interviewed. Don't dominate the interview or start asking questions until you are asked to do so at the end of the interview).

Keep up the good work and keep practicing for your interviews!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New York New York!

As the summer comes to close, internships wrap up, and students begin to prepare for another Fall semester of college, you should be thinking about the upcoming interview season and taking a trip to New York. Hopefully you have been practicing and refining your interview skills and are ready to walk through a DCF forwards and backwards. You should have contacts at all, if not many of the banks by this point, and you should be emailing the recruiters in the near future informing them of your trip to NYC requesting an appointment to interview.

In order to make the NYC trip less expensive I recommend a couple of things: first being to take the jetBlue red eye to JFK. That will save you a few hundred. Next, try and stay at a friends place for all or at least part of your trip. Last, go to Gray's Papaya and chow down on some great, yet cheap, hot dogs and smoothies.

This is going to be an interesting interview season considering the state of the economy and Wall Street in general. If you really want to be a better bring your A game. Best of luck!