Infernal Overdrive at OBriens, Allston MA, Jul 16 2011

Questions on investment Banking

Banking Investment / August 25, 2015

Your palms are sweating. Your head is racing. Your investment banking interview is only days away. Worry not – a few hours mulling over typical questions and drafting considered responses will most definitely calm your nerves and increase your chances of progressing to the next round.

Bear in mind that although these questions have previously been asked by investment banking interviewers, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be put to you. So, use them to direct both your research and the examples that you choose. For employer-specific interview questions, visit TARGETjobs employer hubs.

Typical interview questions about your background/CV

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Talk me through your CV
  • Why did you choose your university?

Questions about your background or CV, such as ‘tell me about yourself’, are icebreakers and are usually asked to ease you into the interview. It’s crucial that you prepare for them, as rambling, waffling or winging it will do you no favours.

‘Tell me about yourself’ is slightly deceptive, however, as it gives the impression that you’re being invited to talk freely about any aspect of your life. But, the interviewers will not want to hear that you’re an avid scuba diver unless you can relate it to the role. Perhaps your scuba diving experience has improved your ability to follow instructions and work closely with people – qualities you’ll need as a graduate or intern recruit.

Typical questions about your career choices

  • Why do you want to work in investment banking?
  • Why have you applied to this bank?
  • Why have you applied to this division?
  • Why do you want this internship?

Graduate and internship positions at investment banks and fund management firms are hotly contested, with the Association of Graduate Recruiters reporting more than 100 applications per vacancy in its 2015 winter survey. It's likely that some of those 100+ applications are from applicants who are applying to more than one bank to increase their chances of getting hired.

Investment banks ask questions about your career choices, at both application and interview stage, to find out how serious you are about working for them. The only way to provide solid answers is to research the bank, division and role, and find out what makes them different. More information on the type of research and preparation you should do can be found here.

Typical job-related interview questions

  • What do you understand the job role you’ve applied for to be?
  • What does this division do?
  • What qualities do you need to be successful in this division?

Simon Taillefer, an associate at Nomura, indicates that a proper understanding of the position and the division to which you have applied will set you apart from the competition. He told TARGETjobs City & Finance: ‘I think I stood out from the crowd because I was determined and knew about the job I was applying to.’

Experience and knowledge gained through internships, spring insight programmes or other events, schemes and fairs are good ways to develop a real understanding of the job and division. But, there’s also a lot of information online. For instance, TARGETjobs Finance explains the different roles in investment banking.

Typical industry questions

  • Tell me about a recent development at this bank
  • What differentiates us from other banks?
  • How has the financial crisis affected this bank?
  • Tell me about a recent piece of news affecting our bank that interested you
  • If you had to choose one place, where would you invest your money right now?