Interview questions on investment Banking
How much money did you make last year?/How much money will I make?/How were bonuses last year?/How much vacation will I get?…
No explanation needed…I hope.
What is the lifestyle like?/How many hours will I be expected to work?/Is there face time at this bank?
Any questions regarding lifestyle and hours, risk giving the interviewer the impression that you are not willing to work hard. Now, if you are interviewing at a boutique and the interviewer has already talked about how good the lifestyle is here, then it may be okay to ask these things. But if you are interviewing at a bulge bracket bank or the like, don’t ask about lifestyle.
Somewhat similar to the last question (Why do you want to work here?), you need to demonstrate your knowledge of the bank. You might talk about a deal or two that you’ve heard or read with which the bank has been involved. Or, if you know the bank is strong is certain product areas (such as M&A or leveraged finance) or industry coverage, then mention that. Perhaps the bank focuses on cross-border deals or deals in emerging markets.
By no means will you be expected to be an expert but you should be able to talk about a few things. If you don’t know anything, rather than make something up and sound stupid, be honest. Say something like, “I really don’t know many specifics, and one of the reasons that I’m really excited to interview with you is to learn more.” If you can ask the interviewer about the bank, then you can learn some things for your next interview, for when you are asked the same question.
I want to make a lot of money/I want a house in the Hamptons/I want to date models, etc.
Yes, everyone in banking is in it for the money. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional or lying. But, you still can’t say it in an interview.
I love working all night…
Yes, you can say you want to be challenged. But NOBODY likes working on pitchbooks at 3:00 am and you won’t either.
I want to learn how businesses work so I can advise CEOs.
Two issues here. First, the typical banker knows (a little about) finance but nothing about operations and how businesses really operate. Second, as an Analyst or Associate, it will be years before you will be advising CEOs, if ever.
You should plan on spending 3 – 5 minutes talking about your background. If you notice that the interviewer looks bored, then speed it up. If the interviewer looks engaged, then be more detailed. Some interviewers will let you finish your story before asking questions and others will interrupt you repeatedly.
It’s really up to you and whatever you think tells the best story. Some people start with where they grew up. Others start with college or their first job out of college while more experienced or older individuals might start with Business School or other graduate program. Just keep in mind that your most recent experiences are going to be more relevant so don’t get bogged down with stories of your first lemonade stand or how well you invested your Bar Mitzvah money.