How To Prepare for an Investment Banker Interview (With Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated March 18, 2021 | Published February 8, 2021
Updated March 18, 2021
Published February 8, 2021
Preparing in advance for a job interview can help you feel confident when you meet with the hiring manager. Advanced preparation is especially important for aspiring investment bankers, where there can be heavy competition for positions. Knowing what to expect during an investment banker interview can help ensure you're ready for your next job interview. In this article, we explain what investment bankers do, describe what to expect from an investment banker job interview, provide steps for preparing for an investment banker job interview and offer tips for a successful interview.
What does an investment banker do?
An investment banker is a financial expert who helps companies manage their capital. While the individual job duties for an investment banker can vary depending on their experience and specific job title, typically, investment bankers perform tasks like:
Underwriting: One of the primary duties of an investment banker is underwriting finance deals to secure capital for their clients.
Restructuring: Investment bankers also manage financial restructuring for companies, usually in the form of merging two companies together or one company acquiring another.
Financing: Many companies use investment bankers to help arrange financing, either through a loan or through raising capital from investors.
Advising: Preparing presentations with highly detailed information about potential investment or loan opportunities is another key part of the investment banker's job.
What to expect from an investment banker interview
Since investment banking is a high-paying and prestigious occupation, there are often far more applicants for a position than there are jobs available. Use the knowledge that you'll likely be competing with other qualified candidates for a position to help you understand the interview process and prepare for your interview.
In most cases, investment banking firms recruit and interview in a three-step process:
Initial screening: Many investment banking companies recruit new hires directly from academic institutions, though some will hold initial screening interviews for higher-level positions at their offices rather than on a college campus.
Technical interview: After the initial screening interview, which is often relatively informal, investment banking companies will have in-depth technical interviews to ensure their pre-screened candidates have the appropriate knowledge and skills to succeed in the role.
Group event: The final step in the interview process is often a group event, sometimes called Superday, of the most highly qualified candidates. The investment banking company brings all the remaining candidates to the firm for a meet and greet event and a final round of interviews before making hiring decisions.
Related: How To Get Into Investment Banking
How to prepare for an investment banker interview
Regardless of which step in the recruiting and interviewing process you're in, you can use these steps to help you prepare for your investment banking interview:
1. Attend information sessions
Many colleges and universities, particularly those with a history of producing investment bankers, hold information sessions with various investment banking companies to help students learn more about the field and prepare for potential interviews. If your school offers such an opportunity, plan to attend.
2. Research the specific firm
If there's a specific investment banking company you're interested in working for, research that organization and learn as much as you can about the work they do and what your role in the business might be. Ideally, you'll interview with multiple firms, so it's best to repeat this process with any company you might interview with.
3. Know the role
There are a variety of specific jobs within an investment banking firm, including:
Understand the investment banking hierarchy, the position for which you're most qualified and the specifics of that role, so you can demonstrate your knowledge and understanding during the job interview.
4. Speak with an investment banker
If possible, set up an informational interview with a seasoned investment banker. Ask them about their job, their career path and their advice for entering the field. You'll likely gain more valuable insider knowledge from an actual investment banker that you won't be able to get through online research.
5. Prepare notes
Before your interview, prepare a sheet of notes and information to study. Ideally, you'll be able to answer the technical questions the hiring manager asks during the interview without an extensive review of your notes, but writing out important details can help you better remember what you want to say when asked and can provide a source of confidence and comfort during the interview knowing the information is there for you if you need it.
6. Practice with a friend
Hold a mock interview with a friend or family member to practice answering complex technical questions and lengthy situational questions. Even if the interview questions the hiring manager asks you during the interview differ somewhat from what you practiced, you'll benefit from the rehearsal.
Tips for a successful interview
Use these tips to help you feel confident during your next investment banking interview:
Be collaborative. Investment banking is largely built on relationships. Show you want to work with others and that you have a collaborative personality during your interview.
Study ahead of time. Particularly for the technical interview, preparation and study are invaluable. Practice answering mental math questions and reviewing terms and formulas.
Demonstrate humility. While hiring managers want mastery of certain skills, they also want to see that you're humble and will be easy to work with.
Show you're interested in learning. Particularly for those interviewing for entry-level positions, show the hiring manager that you're ready to learn on the job and continue developing your skills.
Use your network. Since the investment banking sector is competitive, use your professional network to help you make internal connections before and during interviews.
Prepare for the technical. Many investment banking companies use the technical interview as their primary decider for which candidates are the best fit for their organization. Ensure you effectively prepare and practice for this part of the recruiting cycle in particular.
Watch your body language. During all of your interviews, keep your body language positive and professional. Smile, keep your arms open and hands visible and make eye contact with the interviewer.
Have a pitch. More than likely, the hiring manager will ask why you're the best candidate for the position. Have an effective and compelling elevator pitch prepared to show you're the right person for the job.
Be confident. Enter the interview with confidence knowing you've prepared in advance and have the necessary training and skills for the position.
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