How to Prepare before That Dream Investment Banking Interview?

Imagine if you could make one simple tweak to your resume, and see an instant result in interview calls. Last week I wrote an article on crafting financial analyst's resume.

I hope that all of you are enjoying the series of articles I am writing which I hope will help all readers enter or make their careers in the amazing field of finance.

Recently I was surfing the Internet to see what kind of information is available for fresh graduates, where they can learn about how to approach interviews with investment banking companies.

Most of the articles I found on the Internet were about what you can do in or during the interview.

Mind you they were good articles.

They talked about how you should sit, how you should introduce yourself, how you should talk, what mannerisms you should use, tips on eye contact, how much you should talk, what kind of answers to give and other such stuff which will help you during the interview process.

But I couldn't find a single good article which explained clearly what you should do to prepare yourself before going for the interview with your dream investment banking firm.

Basically what I want to say is - what do you do one or two days before you are going to go for your dream interview! No one really tells you that.

So I thought I’ll use my experience to write an article which will help readers who are going for interviews with investment banking firms, prepare themselves nicely for the interview.

Remember These Small Tips before You Go for Your Investment Banking Interview:

#1. Be absolutely sure why you desire this specific job

I know so many young students who come and tell me that they want to be successful investment banking professionals without really knowing why they wanted to be an investment banker in the first place.

They get enamored by the high remuneration, fat bonuses and the high fly lifestyle. This is very dangerous according to me.

Remember that you have to be able to explain to your interviewer not only why you want to be an investment banking professional but you also need to be able to explain to them which precise responsibilities would interest you the most, what you can exactly identify about the work, and also in which specific work area you are interested in.

The more precise you can explain these things to your interviewer, the more resolute and motivated you will come across to them.

So be absolutely sure why you want this specific job and be very clear about it.

#2. Your fundamentals need to be extremely clear

Remember that the technical part of your interview will focus solely on your expert knowledge of key financial and accounting concepts.

Most MBAs and post graduates feel that they know everything.

But remember my words - even though you have a post graduate degree, you must make sure that you properly revise the most important techniques and concepts before your dream interview.

Some of the most important financial topics that I think you need to brush up include the most important financial statements such as the profit and loss statement, the balance sheet and the cash flow statement.

You also need to brush up on concepts such as financial ratio analysis, remember how to calculate those ratios and also remember their meaning and utility.

You might be given some financial statements and asked to calculate some ratios in your interview.

Also you might be asked to solve some interesting case studies.

It might be a good idea to solve some good case studies on your own before going into your interview.

This will help you improve your confidence and tighten your financial knowledge.

#3. Know as much as possible about the recruiting company 

Believe me everyone is very proud of their company.

If you go for an interview at a company knowing nothing about it, believe me the interviewer is not going to be pleased about it.

It is one of the major turnoffs for any interviewer.

So make sure you go through the website of the company thoroughly and take down notes.

Check which all deals the company has been active in.

Read about those deals.

If possible talk about these deals in your interview and feel free to give your opinion on the deals.

#4. Brush up on the latest economic news and happenings

It is extremely important according to me to know exactly what is going around you – especially in the business and economic environment.

Read the newspapers thoroughly, especially the business segment.

Note down key happenings and try to think over them.

You might be asked questions over it.

You should be in a position to talk sensibly about it.

This will give a clear indication to the interviewer that you are engaged in the world of business and economics.

You should read good financial newspapers like The New York Times, The Economic Times, The Wall Street Journal, The financial Express, The Financial Times, etc.daily for a few days before your interview.

#5. You don’t need to know everything under the sun

Well I've been saying throughout this article that you need to read a lot and prepare a lot.

But remember one thing very carefully - You don’t need to know everything in the world!

You have every right to say – I do not know!

Remember - do not make up stuff.

You will be easily caught.

It’s better to clearly say that you do not know.

But be sure that you are clear about the things you know about.

You should be able to talk about those things clearly and should be able to provide your own opinion on it.

#6. Prepare a good answer for the ‘tell me about you’ question

Well, I really don’t think there has been any interview in this world, where the interviewer hasn't asked the most common question in the world – ‘tell me about yourself’!

This one looks like a simple question to answer.

But believe me this question can make or break your interview.

It’s always a good idea to prepare a good answer for this question.

Do not take this question lightly.

This question gives you an opportunity to sell yourself optimally to your interviewer.

It’s an open field for you. The ball is in your court.

Prepare a great answer where you talk about your personal background, your educational background, your work experience, your hobbies, your strengths and your goals in life.

You can also talk about how you can add value to their organization by joining it.

You need to be careful not to go overboard with the answer.

Make it crisp but at the same time make it encompass everything that you want to showcase.

Most important thing is to be yourself and don't be scared to let your personality sparkle through.

Also you need to take an interest in the individual who is taking your interview.

Feel free to ask questions about the interviewer’s experience and what they love about their work.

This will help you to establish a positive connection with the interviewer.

#7. Leverage experience of your friends and alumni

According to me it’s always a good idea to make sure that you use the experience of your friends or alumni in understanding the various facets of investment banking.

Ask them about their experiences while giving interviews with various investment banking firms.

Ask them what mistakes they made, what were the results of those mistakes, how they improved themselves, what were the questions they were asked, how long the interviews typically lasted, etc.

The whole idea is to absorb as much as possible about the work, company, as well as the industry so that you can be properly ready for your interview and influence the interviewer with your understanding and enthusiasm.

The best way to get in touch with your friends and alumni is by sending them emails or calling them on their phones.

In today’s world you can also contact them using various social media websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

You can also take help of your college professors to get in touch with some alumni that you may not know personally.

#8. Keep an extra set of formal clothes ready the day before

I know you have heard this before but remember a simple thing - Dress professionally and avoid bright and flashy clothes.

If you can, ideally keep a formal business suit ready for the interview.

A suit will make you look professional and serious at the same time.

Remember as an investment banker, you will be required to wear a suit most of the times.

Also keep an extra set of formal clothes ready the day before.

You never know when a button might suddenly fall off!

It always helps to have a contingency plan.

Further, always preferably have a nice clean shave if you are a guy and wear a good deodorant.

Hairstyle should not be too jazzy and avoid body piercings at funny places!

If you are a woman, wear business clothes such as a smart skirt or formal pants.

Avoid shiny glaring colors.

Believe me, a lot depends on how your appearance is in your interview.

Every corporation wants to hire smart attractive intelligent people.

#9. Keep calm – don’t get nervous

Another tip is to be calm and actually meditate for some time everyday before the interview.

This will help you stay camp and help you reduce nervousness.

#10. Keep multiple copies of your resume ready

A good idea is to have multiple copies of your resume ready.

You might get more than one interviewer in your interview.

Also you might unintentionally stain or tear your resume.

So it definitely helps to have more than one resume with you.

I hope you read this article carefully and follow the above mentioned points.

I promise you that this will definitely help you prepare well for that dream investment banking interview.

Investment banking interview prep

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How to Prepare before That Dream Investment Banking Interview? 1
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