After Applying

Following your initial application, this page provides information and advice regarding Interviews, the next stage. Interviews are a crucial part of the application process and consist of competency, behavioral, technical, and commercial awareness questions. This stage seeks to aid you through these questions and to provide information so that you can best prepare yourself. 

Telling 'your story' or 'walking through your resume'

  • -At this point, they aren’t trying to catch you out. This question is used to get to know you and see if you fit with the firm’s values and culture; it is also a chance to sell yourself

  • -It is the main question where you speak for an extended period of time

  • -They are testing if you can tell a coherent and well put together story in an engaging way

  • -The key is to tell your story in a way that makes you sound like someone that consistently makes informed choices leading you from experience to experience and brings you to a convincing reason for applying to this role at this firm

Fit Questions/Competency/Behavioural

  • Don’t get caught out in thinking that these questions are only asked by HR or Recruitment Agencies, as that is not always the case – bankers may opt for these question types at times and HR may opt for more technical questions

  •  Go through the 10-15 main competencies and have at least two stories you can clearly, concisely, and confidently say about each – see the “Typical HireVue Questions Pdf” for a good start

Technical Questions

  • -Technical questions will vary depending on the role you are applying for and the stage of applications. 

  • -For instance, typically, bulge brackets don’t ask technical questions for Spring Internships as you are not expected to know much but commercial awareness is more important. Take a look below to find some useful technical question resources – especially the 400 Qs by Breaking into Wall Street.

  • For summer applicants, you need to know (minimum):
    -5 methods for valuation

  • -The 3 financial statements and how they interact

  • -Meanings and formulae for Enterprise Value, EBITDA, FCF

  • Some ACs are very technical, some aren’t. The safest bet is to have your technicals covered.

Commercial Awareness Questions

  • These will vary depending on what you are applying for, but regardless, it is essential to be up-to-date with recent news 

  • It is also sometimes good to have a specific news story which you are really interested in – a good rule of thumb is 1-2 news stories you want to tell the interviewer about and having at least an understanding of the other 8-9 topics dominating headlines

  • It is important that you have a strong sense of commercial awareness relevant to your division’s practices – i.e. how will it impact their clients and deal flow?

  • For IB, you can show strong knowledge that stands out by keeping up to date not only with headline news and macro circumstances but also with important things often overlooked like accounting regulations (e.g. lookup IFRS16 implementation)

Brain Teasers

  • These may or may not be used depending on the firms

  • The elite boutiques tend to be the ones that ask harder brain teasers 

  • The most important thing is your thought-process as they want to see how your brain works- especially when many questions may not have an ‘x or y’ answer

Resources: Interview Prep

We have also compiled together several useful online resources which can help in preparing for applications (please click to have a look). 

  • WallStreet Prep

  • Breaking Into WallStreet 

  • Mergers & Inquisitions

  • Wall Street Oasis

  • Street of Walls

In addition, we highly recommend keeping commercially aware with the following tools:

 

  • Bloomberg

  • The Financial Times

  • The Economist 

Whilst these resources are useful, when it comes to interview questions regarding “Why xxx firm?” it is always best to make sure, prior to the interview, that you have properly researched the firm. This includes looking at the firms’ website areas looking at the culture, the layout of the firm, core values, some financials, and shareholder letters (as mentioned in the before applying section).

Videos To Help You Prepare

Commercial Awareness

Commercial Awareness is extremely important for both interviews and applications.

What does it mean to be 'commercially aware?

Being commercially aware means understanding the industry. This includes the different sectors within Investment Banks, the different products available, understanding how different firms vary, how the financial markets operate, and understanding what impacts them- among other things.

What does it mean to be 'commercially aware?
 

We have compiled together various resources to help you:

  • Snippet.Finance (by Yuri Khodjamirian;  invaluable for building an authentic and genuine passion for financial markets)

  • The FT (great for reading in detail about specific news stories)

  • Bloomberg (again, great for specific news stories and market updates)

  • Finimize (useful for breaking down complex financial & investing concepts)

  • Newsletters (e.g. Andrew Ross Sorkin, FT DD, Pitchbook & Snippet Finance

Tips

How to PROPERLY read the FT (advice from Chris Stoakes)

The FT has 2 different parts, a ‘main section’ and a ‘companies and markets’ as well as supplements. 

 

 

How to PROPERLY read the FT (advice from Chris Stoakes)

1) Look beyond the Industry

2) Put yourself in a Commercial Position

3) Follow stories

 

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters are a great way to be constantly updated about industry-specific trends.

  • ​TechCrunch (if you're interested in the tech)

  • ​Morning Brew

  • Quartz Daily Brief

  • PitchBook News

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