by Brian DeChesare Comments (107)

How Investment Banking Interviews Have Changed in Recent Years – and How You Should Prepare

investment_banking_interviews_changeOne 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 in recent years? And what can I do to prepare?

Some of what you see in investment banking interviews doesn’t change much from year to year – but a lot does change in a recession.

And interviews today are definitely different than they were 5 years ago.

So here’s how you prepare:

What Hasn’t Changed

Some things never change…

Your “Story”

It doesn’t matter whether it’s 1985 or 2005 or 2025: your “story” is always critical – whether you’re selling something, you’re becoming a celebrity, you’re networking, or you’re trying to ace your interviews.

And when the economy is bad, it’s even more important to get this one right because the standards are much higher.

So don’t think you can waltz in and say, “I’m from [Insert Name Here] prestigious school / job, have xx GPA, and therefore I deserve this.”

It doesn’t work like that – you need well-thought out points for each part of your story.

The Usual Technical “Testing” Questions

In 1st round interviews, they’re trying to assess who knows something about finance vs. who is completely clueless.

So if you can’t walk through a DCF or you can’t explain how to link the 3 statements together, forget about banking.

Even if you have finance experience, you could still get very basic questions like this in interviews – because they know a lot of people with “finance experience” are actually BSing about what they did.

Structure & Format

Most interviews are still around 30 minutes long, usually with 1 banker but sometimes with 2. And to get an offer at a bank, you have to go through multiple interviews on your Superday.

And the same advice that you’ve seen before about Superday interviews still applies – the MDs call the shots, and your likability trumps your technical ability.

What’s Different

These are not your same old interviews anymore…

They’re More Technical

In bubble times, you might be able to spin and BS your way through interviews with marginal knowledge of finance – especially if you don’t have a finance background.

But when banks only need 10 Analysts or Associates rather than 100, their standards go up.

If you have banking experience, you will get lots of advanced technical questions… but even if you don’t, you could still get these types of questions.

What do I mean by “more advanced?”

In a normal interview you’d be expected to walk through a DCF – but more advanced questions might ask about the mid-year convention, how different capital structures affect the output, or how buying a factory in Year 4 affects the Terminal Value.

So you have to think on your feet and understand the concepts as opposed to just regurgitating answers.

They Focus Heavily on Transaction Experience

If you’ve had investment banking, private equity, hedge fund, or even corporate development experience, expect the interviewers to focus on any transactions on your resume.

Discussing transactions is very similar to telling your personal “story”. Here’s what you should think about:

  • Introduction: A few sentences on the company’s financials (revenue, EBITDA, market cap), what they did, and why they wanted to sell or buy another company.
  • Rising Action: What kind of sell-side or buy-side process did you run for them? How many buyers / sellers did you approach? What did they like / not like about your company?
  • Climax: What was the crux of the deal? Did it come down to price? An IP issue? Synergies? Lack of faith in the market? And did you create any unique models or contribute to solving whatever the key issue was?
  • Dénouement: Did the deal close? Is everything still pending? Sometimes it’s better to pretend the deal is still up in the air rather than admitting that it collapsed.

Along with all this, interviewers will also re-frame technical questions in the context of your transactions.

So you won’t just get “Walk me through a DCF.”

You’d get “Walk me through how you completed a DCF for this company and the key challenges with the model.”

They Expect You to Know About Restructuring and Distressed M&A

You might expect these questions for Restructuring groups – but you will also get them even if you’re not interviewing with a group that works with distressed companies.

Don’t believe me?

“With the recession and many companies going bankrupt, how would you modify the usual valuation methodologies for a distressed company?”

That’s a very standard valuation question that you might get in any investment banking interview during a recession – and you need to know how you change a DCF, public comps, and transaction comps appropriately.

Then you need to know the basic options available to a distressed company – refinancing, selling itself, restructuring its debt, filing for bankruptcy – and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

And you’ll need to go well beyond these basic questions if you’re actually interviewing for a Restructuring group.

They’ll Give You Case Studies

This one’s more common if you’re interviewing for more senior positions, if you’re recruiting off-cycle, if you have more experience, or if you’re in a region like Europe where assessment centers are common.

Much of what you learned about private equity case studies applies to these as well: focus on communicating simple points clearly rather than giving a lecture on advanced finance topics.

What’s a summary of this company’s current situation? What options do they have available? What’s the advantage and disadvantage of each one? What should they do, and what numbers do you have to back it up?

Sometimes these case studies will be combined with the interviews themselves – so the interviewer might spend 15 minutes presenting you with a company and its financials and then asking about what their best option is and how they should execute it.

They Can See Through Your Fabricated Stories

Even with the standard “fit” questions you have to make sure you can back everything up – because interviewers can easily detect the sniff of a fabricated story.

But you may not know what qualifies as a “good” story or “good” support for an answer unless someone in the industry tells you directly.

The best solution: go through practice interviews with anyone who’s willing to help you and who knows what interviewers look for.

The next best solution: look at sample interviews and the responses that interviewees give and see what they do right, what they do wrong, and how you should change your answers based on that.

So What’s the Solution?

You already have a better idea of what to expect and how to prepare – but I can’t possibly cover all these topics in-depth in a single article.

So what should you do?

As AJ might say, “Just give it a few hours.

Except in this case you need to wait a few days – and you won’t be getting overpriced bottles of Cognac at a club, but rather a completely revamped interview guide that covers everything here and more.

But hey, if there’s enough demand maybe I’ll throw in some free bottles as a bonus…

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Are all schools in the NESCAC considered target schools, or only a select few of them? And if I have a 3.6 GPA coming out of one of the lower end NESCAC schools, with only 1 summer of IB experience, and a somewhat known boutique IB firm, what else can I do to help my chances or should I focus on my networking and try to get my foot in the door that way. with a fair to very good network, do

    1. For the most part, they are not target schools (some exceptions apply depending on the year and bank). At this point, all you can really do is network and try to move up from a smaller firm to a bigger one. Other options would be an MSF or MBA program, but you shouldn’t need those if you already have IB experience.

  2. In some of my phone interviews, the interviewer started by asking, “Do you have any questions before we begin?” Since I thought most interviewers ask for my questions at the end, why would they do that in the beginning? How should I handle this situation when I cannot see and read them?

    1. Ask your questions like you normally would, and don’t over-think it.

  3. Thanks to your website I just got my 1st interview with a small investment bank. It is in five days, how should I prepare in such a short time? I have only been studying technical questions since I do not have a finance background. Today I signed up for BIWS Interview Guide Model. It is great material but what should I concentrate on first.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Thanks for signing up for the guide. First I’d focusing on perfecting your pitch (Module 1) and make sure you can articulate why you want to break into IB

      I’d also go through Module 4 – Fit and Technical questions modules. Unless you’re interviewing for a specific industry, I wouldn’t worry about the industry specific Q&A.

      Please let us know if you have other questions, or shoot us a comment on the BIWS support forum.

  4. I have a 3.6 at Georgetown, going into my junior year. From just a resume standpoint, how do you think this will affect my chances of getting an interview?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      You have a good GPA. Re your chances, I can’t say because I don’t know if you’ve had any finance experience (i.e. with GUSIF, or with financial companies.) If you can give me a better idea of your background, I can give you better suggestions. I’m a Hoya myself.

      1. I had no idea, that’s so cool!
        I am involved with GUSIF and hold other finance related positions on campus. I’m also currently interning with the Bank of Tokyo in Corporate and Investment Banking.

        1. Hi Nicole, I tried to edit my response after submitting but I wasn’t able to. Could you take out the company that I’m working for? Or just delete the whole comment if you can’t? I don’t feel comfortable having that online.

        2. M&I - Nicole

          Awesome. I think you stand a pretty good chance, though you may be competing with people who have had IB experience at BB before. You’ll have to refine your pitch and really work on why IB – this will help you stand apart from others. Having GUSIF on your resume will help. Many GUSIF alums are on Wall Street so I’d try to contact them too. Remember to quantify your impact and highlight your finance experience (GUSIF, other related positions i.e maybe credit union) on your resume.

  5. Hello,

    I understand that there is some grey area when considering Loan Syndication a part of Investment Banking.

    Nonetheless, how will a Loan Syndication interview (specifically at PNC Capital Markets) differ from a general Investment Banking interview? Less modeling? Will there be more of a focus on a certain aspect of banking or finance?


  6. Hi,

    I just had my first round interview for an internship with a European bank DCM team. It was odd in that I had my first interview with the firm with an MD of the department. I think the normal routine would be to have a first round interview with analysts or associates and then interview with more senior people on the Superday. When I asked him how the next round interview would be like, he said that I would interview with three or four people in a room.
    Given that I already had an interview with an MD for the first round, what type of questions should I expect for the next round if I get selected. Would it be more technical with analysts and associates or would it be behavioral with other senior people?
    Thank you.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Great start! I think they may test you some technical and fit questions (how do you work in a team, how do you get along w others etc). I think it maybe a bit more technical with analysts and associates.

  7. Is BIWS and the book by Rosenbaum enough to break into IB or equity research? The technical side i mean

    And is having a 3 yr internship experience in internal,regulatory and operational audit a plus?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you master the concepts yes it can help though you may still need specific industry knowledge for a particular industry you’re covering

      Probably not unless you’ve audited an actual company. Regardless, its best if you can demonstrate your valuation skills and I’m not sure if such role allows you do to so

      1. Yea i have audited 2 large investment banks (1 is global) but it does not involve preparing their b/sheet,cash flow and income statement.
        More towards looking at all their financial,legal,regulatory and operational effectiveness and commenting and prevention of irregularities

        Mind you im at a firm which is just below the big 4

        So what say?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          You have a decent shot though you’ll still be competing with people who have had IB experience

  8. I haven’t been able to find this anywhere online, so I thought I would try here. I am wondering when super days for summer internships should be over. I have heard they take place primarily in February, but I am trying to plan spring break which falls during the second week of March for my school. Am I safe to go abroad that late in the season or should I expect super days to still be going on at that point?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d suggest you to check with the HR of various banks and double check the dates. Different banks have different superday dates. I’d suggest you to keep track of each bank’s exact dates so you can make your plans accordingly.

  9. What do you mean when showing that you really want it? How do you do this through you story? I talk about my spark.. reading an M&A transaction, how I worked part-time while going to school full time and I talk about my IB internship and I conclude with why I want to do IB. Do i need to mention how I cold-called numerous banks for my ib internship?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Spark – meaning what got you interested in finance. How does finance fit into your greater purpose and goals in life? Tie all of them up together

  10. Hi M&I. Thanks for all the articles. It truly is a great resource to learn about Investment Banking and other related fields. Can you please cover IB Risk and how the division’s role varies from a firm to firm?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      I will revert your suggestions to our team

      1. Thanks. I’ll be waiting.

  11. Hi M&I, thanks for all the great posts, really useful stuff. I have a telephone interview coming up for a spring week in technology with credit suisse. Any idea about what kind of questions they may pose?

    Thank-you very much for the response

    1. By “technology” you mean the tech investment banking group or IT? For IT I’m not really sure – probably the standard fit questions. For tech banking, they will ask why technology, ask you to discuss recent deals and interesting companies in the space, and so on.

      1. Yes, IT apologies for the confusion. Okay thanks I’ll have a read around the other articles and try and figure it out!

  12. Does it look bad if you apply for two unrelated positions at the bank? For example of I applied to JP Morgan IBD & Equity Research, would they question my commitment to either group? Would they even know?

    Thanks! Great Article

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Some (including HR) might question your commitment if they knew. However, many people do apply to over one division so I wouldn’t worry too much about it

  13. Will the modeling in the BIWS package help with technical questions like these? Or would the IB Interview Guide be more useful?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      BIWS would help w technical questions. Interview guide/coaching would help w qualitative questions (i.e. pitching your story etc)

  14. What is the general consensus on “expected” GPAs? Right now my GPA is a 3.3 (double major in Finance and History.. yeah, I know; my original major in Biochemistry killed my GPA) but after this semester, extrapolating from past performance in similar classes, I am expecting a GPA of 3.5, which barely makes the cutoffs for most firms. Is it okay to put “expected GPA: 3.5”? Or do most recruiters see that as blatant GPA manipulation and toss you into the “discard” pile?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      general “cut-off” GPA is 3.5 I believe
      No, I don’t think that’s blatant GPA manipulation as long as you put 3.3 as your current GPA and then put 3.5 expected

  15. Sebastian

    I’ve been reading most of the articles here in the site and seemed to be pretty comfortable with my chances of getting into IB when I graduate next year. However after reading this article I am starting to doubt myself a little since I am majoring in Electrical Engineering and have very little finance knowledge. I am 100% sure that learning the content will not be an issue, I just fear that I won’t have enough time to accomplish this by the time recruiting comes around I will not have all the technical knowledge that I would like to have.

    My question is: having had already 2 internships in engineering (one in Spain), being fraternity president, being fluent in Spanish, and having a 3.3GPA will I be able to get a shot at getting in? Thanks in advance..

    1. Yes but you still need to know the finance or you won’t get in

  16. I interviewed for a summer analyst intern position at a local m&a firm and a week has past and I haven’t heard back. They also told me they’d notify me if I got the position or not in a week but no word. I sent the thank you follow up email 3 days after my interview. Should I call and ask or email? How should I approach the conversation? I don’t think they’d be the type of firm that wouldn’t notify candidates they did not get the position.

    1. Call and ask, say you enjoyed speaking with them and wanted to follow-up and ask what your status is.

  17. quantdave

    Great Website. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading through everything.

    I had one question regarding a comment you made in this section. You mention the use of banking-related technical questions as a check to see whether or not people are BSing their ‘finance experience’.

    Do you recommend any guides (beginner and advanced) in order to learn these more technical aspects of finance. Some Background, I’ve taken a strong interest in Investment Banking and PE after a quant (econ/math) background at a Top Tier school (took this year to decide that I didn’t want to do the PHD track). So I know a ton of financial theory (Actually worked as TA in fin. theory classes), but I couldn’t tell you anything about a 3-statement DCF model etc. I guess I want to ace those questions as I will be applying out of the general recruitment cycles.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Yes – take a look at the courses offered on the right side of the page, also do a search for “Josh Pearl”

  18. Interviewing

    I have a phone interview coming up with a boutique…how do those usually go and what do they ask? Also, what is the recruiting/hiring process like at small boutiques?

    1. It is not much different, maybe more of a focus on “fit” questions but that’s about it. Recruiting process is much more random and can be extended over months sometimes.

  19. I just had a first round phone interview with a middle market firm. I spoke with a VP and the interview lasted around 25 minutes. However, I was only asked a few fit questions, and no technical questions. I’ve always had at least 1 or 2 financial related questions. Do you think this means a round 2 interview with this company is not in my future?

    1. Impossible to say, all interviewers are different. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

  20. Banks requested reference from my previous employer. But my past employer is in a country where nobody knows what a reference letter is and nobody uses reference letter to find a job.

    I would like to know what a strong reference letter looks like for investment banks.

    1. I would just find a template online – I don’t have one here because banks barely look at them / I don’t want to give the impression that they’re important. First paragraph should be how they know you, 2nd should be what you did, 3rd why you’re a great fit for them, and 4th is the conclusion.

  21. Hi, first of all thanks for the great blog, it’s really useful and informative for undergraduate students with little finance knowledge like me.

    What i wanted to ask you is: during a SA interview I know it’s really important to be knowledgeable about the bank recent and not-so-recent deals.

    And i know that the best way to learn the subject is to read specialized press.

    But isn’t there a website, or a publication, that lists deals sorted out by bank/company for a certain year?
    Like a site, aside from generic google, in which i could just type “morgan stanley” and get informations on every deal and operation made by the bank?

    1. There is no free single source that has that information because it’s extremely resource-intensive to find. Your best option is to look in the WSJ Deal Blog and do a search for the bank / look at recent deals there.

  22. Hi M&I

    I am from South Africa & I have applied for this Grad program from one of the big banks in their London branch, my issue is that I have just above average scores on my BBA finance, and I have other South African based Certifications on which I did great and which are more investment product specific, such as the JSE registered Persons for Equities, but I feel these will not do me any good because they are SA based qualifications, should I add these on my resume’?

  23. Great stuff. I’m a recent graduate from Baruch College/CUNY with a 3.03 gpa. I interned with UBS securities as an IB analyst for 6 months and worked with UBS wealth management for 5 months. Is it still possible for me to find a full time IB analyst position with my gpa?

    1. Probably not unless you aim for boutiques – the UBS name helps but your school is a non-target and your GPA is lower than most other applicants’.

  24. What is your opinion on using varsity sports stories from high school (I’m a college sophomore) as examples for the fit questions? For instance, “Tell me a time when you motivated others.”

    1. I would only use high school material if you have nothing good to speak about from college

  25. BankerChick

    Thanks! Last question, what do analysts at not as well known boutiques/middle markets do after their 2/3 year stint? Is it hard to get Buy side exits?

    1. They can still go to the buy-side but mostly at smaller firms

  26. BankerChick

    Hi Brian,

    First off, great website. A little background, I go to a semi-target (UT/UM/UVA) and entering my senior year, I realized IB was my calling exactly 5 weeks ago and with the help of your website, I networked myself into a summer analyst internship at a boutique in NY. I currently have a full time offer with the audit group at Big 4, while I would never accept that, I can still leverage that into TS at Big 4.
    My question is with the eventual goal being PE, am I better off at a Big 4 TS group or a boutique. While I still think I have a shot with the BBs and elite boutiques (3.8 GPA, leadership, and big 4/boutique internships), I am concerned with what will happen if my offers are at lesser known boutiques. So in terms on both Business School and PE placement, am I better of at a smaller boutique or TS at Big 4? My issue with the boutique/middle market being I cant predetermine deal flow and I dont know what my exits will be 2 years in, and is TS to PE a truly herculean effort?

    Thanks and sorry for the long post!

    1. The boutique is better, anything but banking or PE to PE is almost impossible, at least in the US

      1. BankerChick

        Thanks for the prompt response! But in terms of business school would you still pick the boutique? My biggest concern is 2 years at a relatively unknown boutique, if I dont place into PE. I know the headhunters usually start with BBs and also the PE firms usually have alumni from BBs and well known boutiques which further helps them with PE placement. However, 2 years out of TS,I at the very least will have a brand on my resume. And once again, thanks for keeping up the website! I followed everything from the wso thread you posted on the boutiques in New York, and then all your advice on cold calling, and all your advice on networking. So thanks for everything!

        1. They’re about the same for business schools

  27. If I’m assisting with Merger/Risk Arbitrage at a hedge fund, how much am I expected to know about the mergers if I am “betting” on them rather than making them happen?

    1. You still have to know the basic mechanics, valuation, etc. but you don’t need all the details as an M&A banker would.

  28. Hi,

    I am worried about background checks on previous work experiences. How do they do it? As my previous internship were unpaid and more of a helping out in asian countries where the company has either closed down following the GFC or they dont speak English. How do I best explain this to the recruiter?

    1. Just explain that you worked in countries where English is not spoken, so you will write down your information but you expect that they may not be able to verify much. All they really do is verify dates worked anyway so it’s not an issue.

  29. Planning to attend to B-school this fall to transition into ib or mgmt consulting. Starting my networking campaign now and I am reaching out to all my direct and one off contacts. What are some good questions to ask them? If I don’t end up at a target school but I’ve developed my relations with bankers at bb and mid-mrkt firms will I still make interview lists?

    Also doing research on the the ib as a career I’ve come across some organizations that offer ib training? What are your thoughts? legit or rip off?

    Great info on all the articles I’ve read.

    1. See the articles / videos on networking for more on informational interviews… just focus on their background, how they got to where they are today, and so on. Try to make it more personal and less about business. Contacts will still be helpful even if you’re not at a top school though there are no guarantees.

      Obviously given that I have my own programs available I have a biased opinion on ib training, but it can be helpful depending on your background – I would only go for more expensive in-person ones if they offer networking and some type of internship placement though

  30. Thanks for your great inputs!

    I have a short question about the type of interviewers that I will normally face during my first round phone interview. Will they be mostly HR people at the company, or will they be the analysts or associates? And will that differ by locations(i.e. US or Asia)? Thanks so mcuh in advance!

    1. Usually analysts / associates, sometimes 1 HR person. Same in US and Asia.

  31. Great site! Very informative….just another GPA related question.
    I am a student at a non-target state school and will be applying for internships soon. I currently have a 4.0 GPA and have been recently invited to my college’s honors program.
    Of course honors classes are tougher and then there is the thesis. As a very busy student athlete, I have some concerns about the workload. Do you think being in the honors program will help my chances of getting a good IB job or should I just keep up my GPA? Will the potential decrease in GPA be worth it?
    Also, since I don’t attend a top school, do I have any chance at a BB or should I strictly focus on mid-markets and boutiques?

    1. It doesn’t matter, I would just maintain your GPA. I would focus on smaller banks unless you have a really good network.

  32. Hmm that’s interesting. You would think that at the summer analyst level they’d give us a break. I guess I’d like to see what another bank is like. Would this involve blacklisting?

    I guess it would seem strange to do nothing while everyone else is going through all the interview stuff…

    1. Nothing is permanent, my only point is that they will be disappointed if you say no and go elsewhere for the summer, making it more difficult to go there full-time.

  33. Hi,
    I wasn’t sure where to post this question, so here goes…

    I’m currently a junior undergrad at a target school, and I had a BB (not one of the “top” ones) internship this past summer in nyc. I have an offer to come back next summer, but I would like to interview with and possibly try another bank.

    Is this a bad idea? Will I be burning a bridge?

    1. If you’d really rather work elsewhere, sure, go ahead. But yes, you would not be able to go back to the other bank in the future if you really do go somewhere else.

  34. M&I,

    What is your take on follow-up interview thank you’s? Do they help and should it be hand written and mailed? Or does email suffice and carry the same message? If so, what should be included in the message to have the most significant impact? Thanks!

    1. Doesn’t matter at all. Decisions are made before you can ever send them.

      1. I think it matters less when it’s the bulge brackets in question.
        I recently interviewed with the chairman of a small company. I felt the interview went fine and he had a good impression but he said he didn’t want to give me any expectation and would take his time until he meets up with every shortlisted candidate. shall I send a thank-you letter given he’s such a busy person? do you think it matters? also I don’t have his business card but I can figure out his email as I have been communicating with others in the firm, I have to admit I’m a little bit worried he would be annoyed by the unsolicited email and ruin my so-far-good impression; what do you think?
        much appreciate your help.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes. Yes. No send him an email

  35. Hey M&I, another great post, just wondering but I’m applying for an internship and am a freshman in college right now but won’t have a transcript available since the deadline for the applications is before when I get my transcript for the fall. I followed your undergraduate resume template (great by the way) and am thus not sure what to put for my GPA, should i just type like “expected gpa: XX / 4.0” or something? Thanks and all the best.

    1. You can just write “Expected GPA:” and as long as it’s reasonably close it’s fine.

  36. Hi, my questions is whats the diff between interviewing for equity research and IB?

    1. Equity research is kind of a mix between IB and S&T… you need corporate finance / valuation knowledge, but you also need to like the market, investing in stocks, and following companies.

  37. Question that I am sure has been answered countless times:
    I’ve been a little worried about my GPA recently, with recruiting coming up. I have a 3.5, have finance experience on my resume from last summer and am at a southern semi-target. Should I be worried about getting an internship with a bulge bracket?


    1. Whether or not you worry about it, the outcome will be the same either way and you can’t change your GPA at all at this point. So I would say don’t worry.

  38. I’m in the best fraternity at my school, we usually hold the biggest parties and get the biggest girls. Will having a lesser position (e.g. Treasurer) of my fraternity look better over someone who is President of a more “loserish” fraternity? Because I think any brother from my frat can get the president position at the other frat if they pledged there and its unfair to penalize me for being socially cooler

    1. Are you kidding me?

      1. No worries, Hardcore – alumni usually read the resumes and they know what frats are popular and what frats or not, and they will judge resumes based on that. Just being in a popular frat gives you major points because it shows you are social – a very important part of fit. By the same token, being in a loserish frat is a huge blow and we ding kids from bad frats even if they had a 3.9 and finance internships

    2. We’ll be deleting comments like this one in the future…

      1. Although I read that the management of M&I rests in the hands of Brian (yourself?), Jerry, and Kevin on the ABOUT PAGE, I always assumed that Brian reserved absolute control over the content on this web site. The use of “We’ll be” in your response to this reader’s comment has caught me off guard, Brian.

        On a different note, I myself belong to a minority fraternity. The specific name of said fraternity does not hide my ethnicity in its legally incorporated name at all. However, I still believe that I should omit any mention of my ethnicity in my resume; otherwise, it would be unfair to those in the applicant pool, and to those who screen resumes. Am I right or am I wrong?

        Can a similar argument be made for the wording of GLBT-related organizations that one might be involved with?

        1. Don’t you know we have a staff of thousands? :) You can invest in the IPO next year…

          In general I would avoid listing anything controversial on your resume – whether it’s religion, politics, sexual orientation, or anything else that could possibly cause someone to be offended or to say, “Wow I can’t believe he/she thinks that!”

          If the name does not include your background, you can keep it in… but I would not explicitly mention your ethnicity either because they might think, “Ok, he/she is exploiting this.” And yes, same would apply to GLBT as well.

  39. Is Monday when the new guide will be up? I am about to purchase but was just going to wait for the new one if it will be the next few days. Thanks

    1. Should be Tuesday – taken the old guide down while we’re transitioning over, but should be here early Tuesday morning.

  40. I bought “The 200 Hundred Investment Banking Interview Questions & Answers You Need To Know” guide a few weeks ago and it mentions that users who purchase the guide will revieve free lifetime updates to the material – so when this list expands to 500, 1,000 or even 2,000 questions, you get everything delivered automatically.
    I wanted to know whether this new “Completely Revamped Interview Guide” will be made available to clients of “The 200 Hundered I-Banking..” guide for free or will we have to pay again?


    BTW, the giude is excellent as advertised. It has been very helpful.

    1. Yes it will be free – and you will receive access instructions within the next 24 hours (so on Monday, December 14, 2009).

  41. I received an offer (verbally) for FT IBD a week ago. I have yet to get any paperwork or an official offer in the mail. At what point should I contact hr?


    1. I would contact them now.

  42. Thanks! This was really helpful. Just out of curiousity, what may be different for a sophomore summer interview? Would it be less technicals in this situation? What would it consist of? In that case, what should I do to shine in an interview like this?
    Now, to get to my situation in particular, what can possibly get me, a trilingual Georgetown sophomore with a 3.2, (1580/1600 SAT), no finance experience into the interview stage in the first place? I’ve sent out nothing yet, but I’m trying to make my app as strong as possible. Maybe you have some suggestions?

    1. The interviews probably won’t be as intense – your best bet for getting interviews is always networking, so I’d strongly suggesting reaching out to Georgetown alumni ASAP. At this level they will not be as technical as they might be for graduating seniors.

  43. this is an off related topic from the article. I’m currently an undergraduate junior, and I’m curious how much of a challenge is it if I attend an university to get into ib?

    1. ? Not sure I understand your question.

  44. Is it true that you need a Masters in Financial Engineering or a PhD to be successful in derivatives?

    1. What derivatives are you talking about? Not all are created equal, so it really depends on what derivative market in particular you’re examining.

    2. What Sofi said. You don’t “need” those to be successful but it depends what you’re doing… if you want to be a quant then yes you need an advanced degree, but if you’re a junior trader then it’s not necessary.

  45. I am considering a FT analyst offer at the NY office of a boutique bank based in another city. Their NY office does most of the pitches/bringing in clients and also guides clients through deal process, while the actual executing is done elsewhere.

    If I want to move to another boutique firm after a year or so, how much will it hurt me that I didn’t get any deal experience here? I did get some deal experience in my IB internship summer, so I would have more than nothing.


    1. You can still do it but it will certainly be more difficult – you’ll probably have to go back to your internship and talk about that.

  46. Do a lot of these points apply to internship interviews too?

    1. Some of it, yes. They are definitely more technical in a recession – though I doubt you’d get too many Restructuring-type questions unless you’re interviewing for that group specifically.

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