Why Most Interview Guides Suck… and What to Do About It
With recruiting season in full swing – or about to be in full swing, anyway – you’ve probably noticed a small problem if you’ve been preparing lately…
Most interview guides suck.
And yes, I’m including this site’s previous guides in that category as well… because we’re about to release a new investment banking interview guide that’s approximately 100x than anything else out there.
And you can use it to gain a huge advantage over everyone else in the recruiting process and land offers more effectively – but only if you keep reading.
The Problem(s) with Most Interview Guides
The general approach to interview guides goes something like this:
- Here’s a bunch of qualitative, or “fit,” questions and answers…
- Oh yeah, and then here are the technical questions and answers.
- That’s it! Good luck with your interview!
That almost seems like a good approach, except for one
tiny gigantic problem: if you don’t understand the concepts in the first place, you can’t memorize your way to success.
Interviewers can always spin around traditional questions and throw you for a loop… and they’ve been doing that more and more in recent years as interview guides have become more and more common.
So you need to understand the concepts and test your understanding before you can even think about going in for interviews.
Plus, no guides acknowledge that you might have anywhere from months to weeks to days or hours before your interviews – if you have weeks or months to prepare, you’ll take a very different approach vs. if you have only hours or 1-2 days to prepare.
What to Do Instead
The wrong way to prepare for interviews is simple: memorize dozens or hundreds of questions and answers and hope that the interviewer will just happen to ask you everything on the list you’ve memorized.
The right way to prepare, though, is also simple:
- Learn the concepts first.
- See real-life examples of the concepts in action.
- Finally, practice yourself and test your understanding.
Most interview guides skip to step #3 on this list – which is sort of like going to a movie but skipping the first 2 acts and only sneaking in for the finale.
And then you need to consider your time constraints in the context of everything else here.
If you only have hours to prepare, for example, memorizing questions and answers is useless. You need to take a different approach entirely.
The only problem is that up until now, you’ve never been able to do this without hiring a personal interview coach, or without signing up for full-blown modeling programs, or overpriced workshops and in-person classes.
So, About This New Interview Guide…
Version 1.0 of our interview guide was released in 2008, and it was a short, but effective, reference for interviews.
Then we updated it in 2009 into 2010 and beyond, and Version 2.0 included tons of additional technical questions and answers, templates for walking through your resume / CV, sample interviews, tutorials on how to discuss your deals, industry-specific questions, and more.
Those updates were good – but this one (Version 3.0) is revolutionary.
It lets you understand the concepts, see them in action, and test yourself rather than just browsing through questions and answers and sample interviews.
The “fit” sections have received a major shot in the arm and we’ve added tutorials on how to prepare examples in advance and how to structure your answers for 15 categories of questions… plus, sample “good” answers for 127 “fit” questions across all categories.
These sections alone are now over 61,434 words – it’s a short novel, and it includes the most comprehensive coverage of qualitative questions around.
And it starts with understanding the concepts first, then seeing real-life examples, and then testing yourself at the end.
Then, we’ve added 11 resume templates and video tutorials on how to explain your motivation in very specific situations – such as when you move from investment banking to private equity, when you move from one bank to another bank, and yes: even for that elusive back office to front office move.
Other guides fail miserably here because the “Walk me through your resume” or “Tell me about yourself” question determines over 50% of your success in interviews. And having 15 templates total to choose from and change around as needed makes answering that one a whole lot easier.
While the “fit” questions have gotten a makeover, the technical questions are now more like a mini-financial modeling course. Here’s what you get:
- For each of the 6 main topics (Accounting, Equity Value / Enterprise Value, Valuation, DCF, Merger Model, and LBO Model) you get a tutorial on the 5 most important points that teaches you how to think about the concepts. This is crucial because if you truly understand the concepts, you can answer any question – even if you’ve never heard it before.
- You also get 5 Excel templates and video tutorials that cover all these topics, so that you can see everything in action and understand firsthand how changes to items like Depreciation, WACC, and Leverage affect the output. In other words, you get to see and understand some of the most common interview question scenarios.
- And then you get 12 interactive quizzes with 326 questions and answers total, which cover all these topics and let you test your knowledge and see how you performed rather than just memorizing questions and answers and hoping for the best.
- Oh yeah, and then there are the questions and answers in the guide itself for even more practice… 411 total questions and answers, to be precise.
I’ve seen a lot of laughably horrendous “quiz questions” before that don’t test much of anything. These questions, by contrast, and are designed to test how much you really understand about the concepts rather than how much you memorized.
If you know the material exceptionally well, you’ll pass with flying colors… but if you’re shaky, it will be a massive struggle. So far, no one has scored above 71% on the one practice quiz that we’ve made available.
Finally, since there are 200,000+ words included in this new guide, you’ll receive a Quick Start Guide that tells you exactly what to do depending on how much time you have left before your interviews.
We even have a “short version” of the entire guide that you can read through under severe time constraints, and that’s included as a free bonus as well.
What’s In It for You
Put simply, this is the best preparation for finance interviews available today.
You no longer have to spend hours and hours memorizing question and answer after question and answer… you can instead spend that time learning the concepts in the first place and then testing yourself afterward.
All of that sets you up to win offers for jobs and internships more effectively – whether your interview is in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month from now.
You’ll even get the chance to sign up for a mock interview with me if you act quickly enough and sign up for one of the package deals we’re offering.
Availability for that is limited and that option will go away completely once the slots are filled up.
How to Sign Up
Let me be clear about this: this new interview guide is NOT for everyone.
Yes, it’s much better than the current or previous versions… but it’s possible that you may not like the style, or that it’s not what you’re looking for.
So you cannot sign up directly from this blog post.
Instead, you’ll have to sample our free tutorials first and see if it’s what you’re looking for.
Here’s what you’ll get in this set of free tutorials over the next week:
- Accounting Tutorials and Rules of Thumb – A quick guide to all the concepts you need to know, plus the 5 key rules of thumb that let you break down and analyze any accounting question.
- Accounting 3-Statement “Interview Question” Model – The best way to see everything in action, play around with the numbers yourself, and see exactly what happens when different numbers on the statements change.
- Basic and Advanced Accounting Interactive Quizzes – The last step of the process: testing yourself and seeing just how prepared you are for interviews.
Altogether, this is more material than what some paid guides include – and it’s all yours, for free.
And if you want a sample of the new “fit” questions, I may just send those along as well. Plus a few hidden bonuses that I’m not mentioning here…
All you have to do is enter your email address right here and click the confirmation link in the follow-up email you receive (if you’re reading this via email, click here to visit the site and sign up):
NOTE: This promotion is now over. Thanks for your interest!
Here’s what you’ll get after you sign up:
- Tuesday, August 7th, 2012: 15-page guide to Accounting interview questions that teaches you the CONCEPTS first, before going into questions and answers. This guide tells you exactly what you need to know for interviews – no more, and no less.
- Thursday, August 9th, 2012: 3-Statement Model specifically designed to help you answer interview questions. It doesn’t matter whether the scenario you’re considering has 1 change or 33 changes – this model handles everything and shows you exactly how the statements change afterward. And you get a free video tutorial for it as well.
- Monday, August 13th, 2012: Interactive Quiz on Accounting Questions – This lets you TEST your knowledge and see how much you really know. And just for fun, we’ll also send you a whole bunch of written questions and answers so you can further test your understanding of the concepts.
- Wednesday, August 15th, 2012: You’ll be able to sign up for the interview guide at a generous discount, or sign up for several package deals that also include modeling courses, resume/cover letter editing, coaching, mock interviews, and more.
- Friday, August 17th, 2012 at 5 PM EST: This promotion ends and those package deals go away. The interview guide also returns to its normal price.
After Friday, August 17th, 2012, this special offer goes away completely. So you need to act quickly.
Unlike with previous promotions, I will NOT be linking to this special offer anywhere on this site.
You MUST enter your email address below to sign up:
NOTE: This promotion is now over. Thanks for your interest!
Why Am I Doing This?
It’s simple: because you deserve a better way to prepare for interviews… and if you’re really committed and want to out-work the competition, you deserve to succeed and land more offers than them.
As I write this in the year 2012, it’s amazing how little innovation has taken place with interview guides.
A pure text and Q&A approach might have worked in 1998, when that’s all you could do… but these days if you don’t take an interactive approach to learning and interview prep, what’s the point?
There is no point, because your product will suck and your customers won’t find it helpful or practical to use.
You know that scene at the end of The Dark Knight when Commissioner Gordon explains, “Batman is the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now”?
This interview guide is both the one you need AND the one you deserve.
You could say it’s “better than Batman” (although I still love the Christopher Nolan movies).
And it will be available to you when you enter your email address below and sign up for our free tutorial series:
NOTE: This promotion is now over. Thanks for your interest!
Q: What if I’ve already signed up for one of your previous interview guides?
You will receive everything here as a free upgrade. You just need to log into the Breaking Into Wall Street site and go to the IB Interview Guide section.
And no, it’s not actually there yet but will be posted within the next week.
Q: Will I still be able to access the old version?
Yes, but eventually we’re going to remove the old version completely to reduce confusion about which guide you should be using.
Q: It sounds like this guide is almost a financial modeling course. How is it different from your financial modeling courses, and which one(s) should I sign up for?
The difference is that the financial modeling courses still go into much more detail than the interview guide, and are based on real companies and real deals rather than hypothetical examples.
There is more modeling-related material in the interview guide now, but it’s still far from a full-fledged financial modeling course since we only provide simplified Excel models.
So, bottom-line: if you have limited time and can’t get through 20+ hours of video, this new interview guide is your best bet.
Otherwise, if you do have more time and/or you want to learn the concepts very thoroughly, the modeling courses still offer more depth and will prepare you for both interviews and the job itself.
And you could always sign up for both via one of the package deals that will be available starting on Wednesday next week.
Q: Can I sign up for this new guide early?
No. We are still making final edits to everything, so it’s not available yet.
But as soon as it is, you’ll hear about it.
Anything else? Ask away.
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