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Investment Banking “Fit” Questions: How to Use the Rule of 3 for Quick and Efficient Prep

Does the brute force method work? In other words, if you’re preparing for a test, should you memorize the answers to all the possible questions that might come up? That strategy can work. And if you’ve read about investment banking interviews, many people recommend this strategy for interview preparation as well. They present hundreds or […]
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Equity Value and Enterprise Value: The First, Last, and Only Guide You’ll Need to Master These Concepts

Is there a topic that everyone is wrong about? You might think of many examples if you limit yourself to politics and religion, but “mass wrongness” also extends into technical questions in investment banking interviews. Some sources have spotty coverage of accounting, valuation, and M&A analysis, but no one is completely wrong about those topics. […]
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How to Tell Your “Story” in Investment Banking Interviews in 2017

If you have 2 hours before your interview, and you haven’t done any preparation, what should you do first? And if you have 3 weeks, 3 months, or 6 months to prepare, what should you do first? My answer would be the same in all those scenarios: Perfect your Story. Your “Story” is your response […]
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How to Learn an Industry So You Can Discuss It Like a Pro in Interviews

“Tell me about the pharmaceutical market.” “What do you know about the oil & gas industry?” “Which companies in the tech industry are exciting?” They’re some of the most common questions in any finance interview. You can find reasonable guidelines for how to discuss an industry, but hardly anyone explains how to learn an industry […]
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The Investment Banking Deal Sheet: How to Win Job Offers with a Small Note Card

Is there an accessory that actually helps you win job offers? Could it be a smartphone, a tablet, or a robot in disguise? Or maybe a good pair of socks? Nope. This accessory does exist, but it’s just a normal piece of paper. It’s called a “deal sheet,” and it’s one of the most underutilized strategies for presenting yourself like […]
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What Do You Do When You Interview at an Investment Bank and Never Hear Back?

“It was great meeting you – we’ll get back to you in a few days!” The VP shakes your hand, and you turn around and leave the room. You walk out of the interview on top of the world. After studying technical questions for 143 hours and reciting your story so many times that you […]
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Can You Tell Me About a Recent Deal?

Judging by our email and comment volume over the past few months, there’s one interview question that causes more confusion than everything else combined… Can you tell me about a recent deal?” It seems like a very simple question: after all, you just read up on a deal online and then summarize what you find, […]
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How to Walk Me Through Your Resume in Investment Banking Interviews: The Top 6 Mistakes to Avoid

If you’ve read this site for more than 15 seconds, you know how important it is to nail your “story” (the answer to the “walk me through your resume” question) in interviews. Give a weak response when the interviewer asks you to walk through your resume, and the remaining 25 minutes of the interview might […]
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How to Answer the “Why Our Bank?” Question in Investment Banking Interviews, Assessment Centers, and More

You’ve just finished investment banking application #57 for this year’s recruiting season. It’s 3:14 AM, your eyes are glazing over, and you really wish this last bank would just ask for your resume/CV and cover letter and stop there… But they don’t. They have a list of questions for you to answer, somehow believing that […]
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“Unattractive, Poorly Dressed Applicants Need Not Apply”: Got Cultural Fit?

I’ve chatted with enough Managing Directors, Vice-Presidents, and Human Resources personnel to know what someone means when they utter the term “culture fit.” It’s just a way of telling a prospective employee that their “out of the box” thinking and unique, identifiable qualities need to be confined within that firm’s invisible “culture fence.” You may […]
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Investment Banking Tough Interview Questions: How To Answer the “Greatest Weakness” Question

“Katie Couric: What one personal flaw do you think might hinder your ability to be president? Barack Obama: I don’t think there’s… a flaw that would hinder my ability to function as president. I think that all of us have things we need to improve. You know, I said during the primary that my management […]
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How to Dominate Your Industry-Specific Interviews: Real Estate, Energy, FIG, and More

You’ve applied to over 100 banks, networked with 230 bankers, and have been pounding the pavement since August. And now you’ve lined up 10 first round interviews, most of which are for the M&A and generalist pools. But then you notice that you’re also set to interview with a mysterious FIG (Financial Institutions Group) banker, […]
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Why You Didn’t Land an Offer in Your Final Round Interviews at Morgan Stanley

“Help! I went to my final round interviews but the interviewer didn’t like me from the start and kept harassing me with irrelevant questions. I asked for feedback afterward and they said, “Improve your technical skills.” How can I do that? They didn’t even ask me any technical questions.” Final rounds are over. Banks are […]
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What Should You Pick For Your Major?

NOTE: Please click here to get the updated version of this article – our views on the ideal major for IB roles have changed. So, which major has the highest chance of getting you into investment banking? You might think that only undergraduates have to think about that one, but it comes up even when you’re […]
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It’s Not Rocket Science: Why You Should Stop Learning Partial Differential Equations If You Want to Break Into Investment Banking

“Hi, I was wondering which class I should take to break into investment banking: Advanced Partial Differential Equations or Quantum Field Theory. Do you think it will ruin my future if I only learn up through Multivariable Calculus?” No, I don’t make this stuff up: I get emails like this all the time. Sometimes they’re […]
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No Matter How Badly You Fail Your Investment Banking Interviews, You Can’t Do Worse Than This

Forget about conquering your interviews and fixing all your mistakes. Sometimes it’s fun to sit back and laugh at how badly you failed. Or at least to engage in some schadenfreude. Story #1: Holla Back, Office This one took place when I was interviewing for every single position under the sun: banking, sales & trading, […]
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How Investment Banking Interviews Have Changed in Recent Years – and How You Should Prepare

One of the most common questions I get goes like this: “I’ve read all the usual interview advice. Every guide cover-to-cover. Message boards, Mergers & Inquisitions, and anything else I can find online. But I’m worried that interviews now (2009) are different and that the standard advice doesn’t apply. How have investment banking interviews changed […]
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Why You Can’t Conquer Your Investment Banking Interviews – And What to Do About It

“Help! I’ve been through 50 interviews and I haven’t yet landed an offer. What am I doing wrong? What’s my problem? Why can’t I get in no matter what I do?” “I get interviews but I always get stuck and can never get past the first round. What’s my problem? Why can’t I conquer my […]
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Investment Banking Interview Ju-Jutsu: How to Spin Your Weaknesses Into Strengths and Answer the Tough Questions

“So, what exactly have you been doing since graduation? Did you go through recruiting last year and just not get any offers?” “Can you tell me with a straight face that you’d really prefer working here in Idaho rather than New York?” Sometimes you get questions you just can’t answer truthfully. It’s like your interviewer […]
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Summer Internship vs. Full-Time Investment Banking Interviews

“Help! How are full-time interviews different from summer internship interviews? How much do I need to study? Should I read 5 books or 10 books in the next 3 days?” “If I didn’t do an investment banking internship, how can I prepare for full-time interviews? What’s the difference, anyway?“ The short answer: not much. There […]
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Why Investment Banking?

“I looked at all the articles on your site but nothing told me WHY I want to get into this industry. Can YOU tell me why I want to be an investment banker?“ It’s a question you’ll get in every interview. But it’s also a question where 90% of interviewees give terrible answers, no matter […]
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The 3 Most Important Questions You Need to Ace Your Interviews and the 1 You’re Probably Getting Wrong

Pop quiz: which of the following 3 questions is most important in acing your interviews? A. What’s the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a restructuring? B. How do you decide to finance a company with debt vs. equity? C. How do you take into account the competitive advantage of a firm […]
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Superday Zen: Why Less Is More When It Comes to Interview Preparation

“Help! I have an upcoming Superday at CS, how do I prepare? Should I try to learn LBO modeling in a day?” “What should I focus on for my Superday at MS? Should I write out my entire ‘story’ in Word and memorize it along with all my other answers?” “Should I stay up all […]
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How to Fail Your Interviews by Not Knowing 2 Crucial Words

Interviewer: “Ok, so I see here on your resume that you have some knowledge of China – were you born there?” Interviewee: “No, but my parents were – I grew up in the US.” Interviewer: “Oh ok, interesting, well let’s just get into the questions now and maybe we can come back to that at […]
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3 More Mistakes to Avoid When Answering the Most Important Interview Question

So, you’re walking through your resume in an investment banking interview… You sound nothing like Pulp Fiction, you’re not reciting an essay, and you’re Mr. Spock – not The Joker. But you’re still not landing investment banking offers. What else could you be doing wrong? Here are the three next most common story-telling mistakes we’ve […]
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Do You Make These Critical Mistakes When Answering the Most Important Investment Banking Interview Question?

Much of my email these days contains questions on advanced topics: “Where can I learn LBO modeling?” “How do you use Section 382 to determine allowable NOLs in an acquisition?” It’s nice to show this initiative. But even if you can answer these questions, there’s a 95% chance you will not get past the first […]
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How to Dominate Your Investment Banking Interviews and Win Offers

“If your enemy is superior, evade him. If angry, irritate him. If equally matched, fight, and if not split and reevaluate. “ -Sun Tzu Ah, yes – the infamous investment banking interview. There’s nothing quite as unnatural as being locked in a room for 30 minutes with hostile bankers asking you obscure technical questions and […]
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The Investment Banking Interview Selection Process

“Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them.” -Bud Fox, Wall Street Heading into an investment banking interview? Make sure you read this carefully, since your life will depend on it. One of my most frequently asked questions is how exactly investment bankers decide who gets an offer following a […]
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