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How to Ace An Investment Banking Job Interview? Read Here

Because investment banking is seen as a difficult profession to break into those with the right knowledge and skills can pursue a career in this field. Investment banking preparation is essential for passing interviews. Job seekers need to be aware that despite the level of expertise they possess, certain behaviors will be required of them during the investment banking interview process. You should be prepared to show that you know about the field and can arrange and convey complicated ideas. The following article has covered some of the tips on how to succeed in an investment banking job interview. 

How to Succeed in a Job Interview in Investment Banking

Investment banking is a highly lucrative and competitive industry that draws top talent from all over the world. It is a demanding and dynamic field that calls for a special blend of interpersonal and analytical abilities as well as comprehensive knowledge of the financial market and general economic trends and the opportunities in this sector are fascinating.

So before getting into further information about cracking interviews, let us understand the investment banking recruitment process.

Investment Banking Job Interview – The Recruitment Process

The recruitment process for investment banks includes networking and interviews with applicants looking for internship or full-time job opportunities. High demand exists for these positions.

As we know, investment banking is a well-known, exciting, and competitive industry and banks do not have to make as much effort to attract people to work here because there are only limited opportunities available worldwide.

This makes the recruitment process more accurately a selection process where banks choose candidates from a large pool of qualified applicants.

Insofar as most full-time positions are offered to those who complete and do well in internships, the recruiting process for full-time positions and internships are interlinked. The chances of getting hired by the bank or company who had done well in the internship are kind of higher than other candidates.

Round of Investment Banking Interview Process

There are differences between the interview process in any part of the country, even though it will be essentially the same at an investment bank, hedge fund, asset management, or private equity firm. 

You will usually have to go through the following whenever you receive an interview offer:

First Round of Interview:

The first round of the investment banking interview process can be conducted over the phone, depending on your location.

For in-person interviews at a job fair or other event, several banks periodically send alumni to their college campuses.

In the initial interviews, you will mostly be asked technical questions about accounting and valuation models to show that you understand the fundamentals. Avoid tending to rely on notes when speaking on the phone because long pauses and the movement of papers are usually clear signs that you are looking up information. Instead, spend a few days thoroughly reviewing the details so you can respond to questions with confidence and speed.

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Second-round of Interview or Superday

If you do well in the initial interview, you will be invited to a day-long series of interviews at the bank’s offices, which usually only take up about half a day.

The first round of interviews focuses primarily on evaluating a candidate’s intelligence.

The Superday interview will put a candidate’s technical skills to the test, as well as their ability to handle pressure and get along with other team members.

At least one banker from each rank, from analyst to managing director, but not necessarily in rising order of seniority, will interview you at least three times and possibly as many as five to seven.

Each interview will last approximately 30 minutes. Be prepared for a series of technical, personal, and behavioral questions for each explanation. 

It takes courage to answer the technical questions during the interview process. You will also face off against a senior banker who will look for the peak of your financial skills.

It’s a sign that you are almost there when you are invited to a Superday, so get ready and enter to win. Due to the difficulty of this round of the interview, preparation is very important. 

Remember, that each interview may have its unexpected twists and turns as you prepare for investment banking interviews. However, this general format sets out the structure for what will come next.             

It takes a lot of planning to prepare for an interview, in investment banking.

Interested in an investment banking career? Download the full Investment Banking Course Brochure here. 

Let’s start from the basics.

Investment Banking Job Interview Tip 1 # – Know Industry Trends

Said, it would be impossible for you to pick up the required information and skills in a matter of weeks and hours. So start planning and do advanced research. 

Candidates who prepare for the interview and ask insightful questions delight employers. 

Spend some time before the interview researching the current industry and the most recent happenings in investment banking.

Investment Banking Job interview Tip 2 # – Do Company/Bank Research

Because it is odd to be questioned clearly about a company’s belief during investment banking interviews, the majority of investment banks have mission statements or a list of principles posted on their website.

Being aware of these values can help you respond in a way that is in line with the company’s values and methods of operation.

This behavior might speak well about your candidacy and show that you are aware of the company’s culture.

Investment Banking Job interview tip 3 # – Understanding the role for which you are applying for

Nothing is more disrespectful to an interviewer than an applicant who shows up unprepared for the investment banking job interview. Being able to show that you are knowledgeable about both your responsibilities and general investment banking practices will give you an advantage.

For example, if there is a position of entry-level position in investment banking as an analyst then you should research about roles and responsibilities of an analyst.

Making pitch books, preparing comp tables, and creating presentations are the major duties of an entry-level position. Even though financial modeling and financial statement analysis are the backbones of investment banking, you should not go into an interview assuming that you will execute them on the very first day of your job. After all, rookie analysts don’t present deals to CEOs or write research papers on trending stocks or industries.

Investment Banking Job interview Tip # 4 – Be Ready for Fit Questions

These are standard interview questions, but you have a great opportunity to market yourself when you answer them. Such as,

  • Walk me through your resume
  • Why choose investment banking?
  • Why should we pick you?
  • What type of work environment do you fit in?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Why this bank?

Your soft resume skills, like work ethic, public speaking, and plain old hustle can shine here.

Investment Banking Job Interview Tip 5 # – Understanding The Interview Process and Industry

Let’s examine the interview structure in more detail.

Knowing how to succeed in these three critical areas of investment banking interviews will only improve your chances of getting the job you want:

Investment Banking Job interview Tip 6 # – Behavioral Questions

Investment banking requires more than just number crunching; it also requires communication, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving skills, and adaptability.

Team Player and Adaptability:

  • Investment banks place a high value on team players and effective collaborators.
  • They can tell if you will correspond well with the existing team and fit into the company culture by asking you behavioral questions.

Problem Solving Skills: 

  • The way you have handled difficulties in the past will be a major factor in how you handle difficulties in the future.

Potential for Leadership:

  • Employers want to find potential leaders. Your answers to behavioral questions can point out situations, in which you took the lead and showed a lot of strength.

Tip 7 # – STAR Methodology

The STAR methodology stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result is an ideal approach to use when responding to behavioral questions. 

Employers may better determine how well-suited you are for a certain position by using these methods to provide a more complete picture of how you handle various situations.

Begin with a summary of the situation or project in which you were involved, then go to the task and the actions done that meet a better solution.

Finally, describe the results that were obtained as a task. Remember that employers prefer to hear stories that highlight your success and victories so make sure that your story presents you favorably.

It has been proven that the STAR techniques provide a clear picture of how to ace interviews.

Tip 8 # – Technical Questions

Technical knowledge is priceless in the chaotic world of investment banking. It is essential to have an in-depth knowledge of, accounting, and capital markets and be prepared to talk about the economy and financial markets.

Here is why it is important:

  • Your ability to understand complicated financial concepts will show your competence and your ability to navigate the challenges of the position.
  • The interviewers will view you more favorably if you discuss valuation methods, financial modeling, market analysis, and trends with confidence. Honestly, they are looking for someone fluent in the financial language.
  • Knowing your technical stuff allows you to deal with challenging circumstances where accurate decision-making is essential for such questions in
  • Financial modeling 
  • Valuation methods
  • Market analysis

Finance Knowledge

Another typical technical skill-testing question of the investment banking interview entails having a fundamental understanding of financial statements and how the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement are related to one another.

Be familiar with how modifications to one section affect the data in the other sections.

Understanding the relationship between the statements is important, rather than just memorizing it.

Financial questions such as,

  • Know how to read balance sheets
  • Income statements
  • How to calculate corporate valuations

Tip 9 # – Prepare for Case Studies

The ultimate assessment of your analytical and decision-making skills is case studies.

Case studies put you in actual situations and test your capacity for critical thought and the creation of workable solutions. Here are some of the reasons why it is important to prepare yourself for case studies:

Case studies help to close the knowledge application gap between theory and practice. Your ability to apply your technical expertise to actual business challenges will be tested during the interview.

Deciding with knowledge in uncertain conditions is a part of investment banking and case studies reflect reality and help interviewers in understanding how you make decisions.

Effectively resolving a case study differentiates you from other applicants. You have the chance to show off your creativity and problem-solving skills.

Tip 10 # – Practice Out Loud

Interviewing yourself out loud is a great way to practice your responses after you have written everything down.

Although it might seem strange, doing this will greatly enhance your communication skills when you are in an interview.

Each prepared response and story from your memory bank should flow naturally from your mouth, without you forgetting any important details or repeating the same thing again and again.

Ask and respond to questions as if you were the interviewer and the candidate, just as two people would in a real interview.

Do not skip this practice.

It will truly make a significant difference and will assist you in organizing your thoughts for each of the most typical interview questions we have mentioned earlier.

Then you can move on to mock interviews once you can reliably respond to common questions without getting stuck or consulting any notes.

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Tip 11 # – Do Mock Interviews

The first step is to practice alone, but you are already biased when conducting interviews with yourself. Additionally, solo practice is not very effective at portraying actual interview circumstances.

Therefore, practicing mock interviews is always a better idea. Mock interviews are very similar to the actual interview process. You will feel more at ease, and the feedback from your interview partner might help you point to mistakes, otherwise, you could not do it by yourself.

To begin, practice with your friend or family. This will assist you in improving your stories and identifying any communication errors. 

But if your interview partner is not an experienced investment banking ex-interviewer, they won’t be able to provide you with the kind of focused comments that will help you stand out from other investment banking applicants. So if you have any, ex-interviewers from the industry you can also practice mock interviews with them for better practice.

Tip 12 – # Ask Questions to Interviewer

After completing the interview employers ask if you have any questions.

This is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the business cultures or to get specific responses to inquiries you might have had but couldn’t find on the website.

Prepare thoughtful questions to ask that show your genuine interest in the role and the company.

An interviewer may remember you favorably if you ask thoughtful, engaging questions and in some cases, this can be the only thing that convinces them to give you another chance.

Addition tips to consider during an investment banking job interview

Behavior and Dress Code tips for the Interview day

Make sure you are appropriately dressed before you attend the interview. Dress professionally as required by the organization and present yourself as neat and well there.

Keep in mind to protect yourself effectively throughout the interview using non-verbal signs.

For an example,

  • Are you sitting properly?
  • Do you look confident, respectful, and friendly?
  • Are you actively listening and making eye contact?
  • Are you speaking fluently and confidently?

All of these things are noticeable since they show the interviewer the kind of employee you will be.

Even though the interviewer has already looked through your resume, it’s also not a terrible idea to include a copy of your CV.

It can be stressful to respond to challenging or unexpected questions during an investment banking interview, but with the right strategy, you can remain composed and amaze the interviewer:

Here are some of the pointers to help you deal with such circumstances:

Stay Calm and Confident

  • As a candidate, you must understand that it is acceptable to take a moment to collect your thoughts before responding. So make an effort to maintain your composure and breathe deeply before speaking. 
  • Instead of reacting rashly, which is more likely to result in a reckless response, keep staying calm.

Bridge to Related Topics

  • If you don’t know the answer right away, try to make a connection between the question and a more familiar but related topic. 
  • This shows your ability to synthesize ideas and conduct critical analysis.

Acknowledge the Complexities and Be Transparent

  • Even if you don’t know the answer or the question seems difficult, don’t make up an answer to a technical question. 
  • Instead, acknowledge your lack of expertise and show your desire to learn. By doing this, you show modesty and sincerity and the interviewer may find your desire to learn admirable.

Show Enthusiasm

  • Engage the interviewer by making the questions into a discussion, if appropriate. To show that you are genuinely interested, you can clarify something or ask for more information.

After the Interview

  • Consider sending a thank you email to the recruiter for their time after the interview is over. You can also post any inquiries or comments right here.

Learn from Rejections

At the end of the day, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the field of investment banking is extremely competitive, many people will apply, just a few of them will be selected for interviews and only a chosen few will receive job or internship offers.

You don’t have to place all of your eggs in one basket by working in investment banking because it is not everything. Take the steps to pursue your interests, but remember that it’s not the end of the world if you font get an interview or an offer at one of the biggest banks or companies.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Investment Banking Job Interview

Q. What topics can I expect during technical questions?

You will be asked a lot of technical questions about fundamental accounting and valuation They will also test you on topics like discounted cash flow analysis, the difference between intrinsic and relative value, etc. Additionally, interviewers can test your problem-solving skills by asking you a difficult brainteaser.

Q. How much time does it take to prepare for an interview in investment banking?

You can prepare for three or four types of questions you will be asked in investment banking such as fit questions, behavioural questions, technical questions, and case studies. You can prepare for 1 to 2 days for standard questions. It will take more time and effort to answer the technical questions and case studies in the last category, but you can make time by concentrating on the important subjects mentioned above and removing the unnecessary materials.

Q. What is the most difficult part for a fresher to crack an investment banking interview?

Getting the first interview as a fresher is very hard on its own when it comes to valuation, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, corporate finance, and accounting particularly technical question rounds. Although the questions can be difficult, keep in mind that you are not an expert and you will make it if you dedicate yourself to an interview preparation. There is much information available online or you can also join courses that help you crack the interviews.

Q. Which personality types work best in Investment banking?

Investment bankers tend to be extroverted, which means that they need other people or interesting environments to make them happy. Additionally, they frequently score highly on the dedication scale, indicating that they are systematic, dependable, and frequently plan.

Final thoughts on Investment Banking Job Interview

Remember that getting chosen for an interview is highly encouraging and an excellent start when you are striving to make a good impression to get a job. The best strategy to follow that having confidence, understanding they are interested in you if you make it to the final round of interviews and a sense of gratitude for having survived this far among thousands of applicants will help you perform well in the interview.

We hope this article helped you in how to succeed in a job interview in investment banking. You can prepare yourself well with planning and preparation. Wishing you a very good luck!


Swati Varli is an intern at IIM SKILLS as a Content Writer. Always being the happy kid whenever it comes to nature, she holds a Master’s degree in wildlife. She is a weeb and passionate about arts and crafts, reading, journaling, dancing and solo travel. For her interest she is always ready to explore new things against her better judgment. At the same time also being the person who will meow back to stray cats just to get their attention.

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