Ready to Throw the Vault Guide Out the Window? Good – Now You Can!

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“Interviewer: So how much do you know about what bankers actually do?”

“Interviewee: Uh, I dunno, I think I read that somewhere in the Vault Guide but I forget the answer now.”

-Banker Friend Relaying His Interview Stories to Me the Other Day

I’ve been getting requests for this one for a long time.

Back in July 2008 I was speaking with a customer who wanted to have a real guide to investment banking interviews.

And even before I started this site, some of my friends suggested that a more relevant and useful guide was needed.

I didn’t want to jump into it, though – I wanted to do the proper research first so I could release something that was an order of magnitude better than the existing guides.

How I Created the Guide

I waited to release this so I could interview a wide set of prospective bankers and see what everyone actually needed help with.

This is based on my experience conducting interviews over the past several months, as well as my experience interviewing people in banking.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve also been receiving requests for sets of interview questions and answers – so I’ve sold a few advance copies already. And I’ve taken into account feedback from early customers.

What’s Included

As the title would suggest, this is a collection of 200 investment banking interview questions and answers you need to know.

We’re all busy, so everything is straight to-the-point, no nonsense included.

Questions are divided into categories, such as “Career Changer,” “Why Banking?” and “Team/Leadership” on the “fit” side and Accounting, Valuation, and Merger Models on the technical side.

There’s a brief introduction that explains the major points you need to remember for each type of question. In total, there are 11 categories of “fit” questions, 7 categories of technical questions and 80 “fit” questions/answers along with 120 technical questions/answers.

The “fit” questions all have suggested answers (answers obviously differ from person to person), while the technical questions have exact answers.

Early customers also get free lifetime updates to the material – so as I add to this collection, you’ll have everything delivered free of charge.

It would be nice to have 1,000 interview questions and answers one day, wouldn’t it?

This is an electronic document, so you get everything delivered instantly – there is no shipping or handling or anything like that.  This is for your own convenience and so I can keep the price low.

What’s NOT Included

Fluff.

The purpose of this guide is to tell you exactly what you need to know – nothing more, and nothing less.

This is not a generic interview guide – it is focused on investment banking. Of course, you can use it for anything involving finance and long hours, but don’t expect the typical “soft-ball questions” you find in other guides.

Also note that this is a spin-off of the training courses my team has been working on. There’s some overlap, but there are no video / audio clips since this is a guide rather than a membership site.

That’s still coming, of course, but I wanted to release this ASAP to help people out with summer recruiting.

Questions?

I’m sure you might have some. So take a look at the page, and feel free to contact us (or leave a comment) with any questions you have.

P.S.

Thanks for all the replies to my travel plans – I’ll try to meet up with everyone, but it looks like I’ll be quite busy!

UPDATE: A few people have emailed me saying they had trouble reading the document – let me know if you had any difficulties and I’ll send you a different version.

UPDATE 2: To clarify, this is an electronic document – not a physical product. So there’s no “shipping” and you get it delivered instantly.

UPDATE 3: Updates will be delivered via email by using the address you signed up with.  You don’t have to worry about anything – you’ll get them automatically.

About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

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33 Comments to “Ready to Throw the Vault Guide Out the Window? Good – Now You Can!”

Comments

  1. stanpolaris says

    Hi,

    I just purchased this through Paypal. Could you verify my payment maybe by using my email address, which is also my Paypal account? Please let me know if the transaction is incomplete. How long does it take for you to ship? Thanks

  2. Scandibanker says

    Hi,

    Do you have any tips for spring week?
    What should I try to get out of it?
    How do I get handpicked for summer internship next year?

    I spring week guide would be nice!

    /// 1st year

    • says

      Hmm, I’ll see what I can put together on Spring Week, though I am admittedly not an expert on the topic.

      As far as what to get out of it, I would try to form good relationships with a set of people and not spread yourself too thin – it’s better to have 10 guys who will vouch for you rather than 100 who just know you vaguely.

      As with anything in-person, make sure you stick to asking -them- questions and avoiding discussion of work (which is probably more intuitive if you’re in Europe…).

  3. Zack says

    Just bought it and so far its been extremely informative. I admire how it’s straight to the point. Looking forward for the updates to come!

  4. Ryan says

    I’m going to buy your guide, but quick question:

    Does it discuss answers to the question, “Why M&A over IPOs or levfin?,” or other product group specifics? How about questions regarding industry, like “Why M&A over an industry group?,” or questions to that effect? I know that at least one BB does product- or industry-specific Super Day interviews and I am sure that if you were interviewing in their group they would ask, “Why ___________?”

    Thanks!

    PS – When’s the PE Interview Guide coming out?

    • says

      Hi Ryan,

      Yes, there are questions and answers that specifically address “Why M&A?” and “Why Capital Markets?”

      I do not address “Why product group x” specifically in this version, but there is a whole section on why a larger bank, why a smaller bank, why M&A, why us, etc.

      PE interviews: Good question, given everything else going on I don’t want to publicly commit to anything yet. :)

    • says

      Eric: I email it to you directly using the address you used to pay for it. Everyone who downloaded the guide will get free updates automatically.

  5. Andy says

    Really good idea. I found the Vault guide to be overrated and insufficient during my interviews. I even typed up a list of the 25 or so most challenging technical questions I received (which wouldn’t even come close to making the Vault guide) for future students at my school who need them. I’m sure you take it to a much higher level.

    • says

      Thanks, yeah I definitely felt it was needed – I saw many people struggling with the same or similar types of questions in interviews.

  6. V says

    Unrelated, but what are the functional differences between M&A in an investment bank and M&A as part of a Big 4 accounting firm? Is the skill set and work different?

    • says

      It depends on which exact department the M&A group is on, but usually they focus more on due diligence and assisting with that (sometimes also focusing on valuation) vs. the more “strategic” advisory part of what banks do.

      There’s some overlap of course and not every place is the same – some groups are actually hired as M&A advisors, just like banks are. I believe KPMG, for example, does quite a few middle-market (or maybe larger?) deals.

  7. Ryan says

    A+ guide right here. One hundred times better than the Vault guide (which is absolutely useless) and far surpasses that Investment Banking blue book you reviewed back in September. This covers the big fit questions that are generally asked but not covered in the guides (give me a time when you faced an ethical situation, team failure, blah blah blah) with good points to hit in your responses.

    I was hesitant before buying because I had thought that I had a pretty good idea, but figured, “Eh, $47? I’ll just use it when I need it for my PE interviews.” It is an excellent buy and would suggest it for anyone who wants to get into banking, especially juniors and sophomores looking for that internship.

    BTW, this guide covers as a pretty solid PE guide, too. The last few sections are basically technical PE stuff. It would definitely be a great run-through for someone expecting PE interviews.

    • Ryan says

      PS – Is the 2nd brainteaser correct? By looking at it, I would think 217.5 degrees, but it has been a few years since my geometry days so I may be incorrect.

      • says

        I cross-checked the brain teasers against multiple sources and asked some friends, and 142.5 seemed to be the consensus.

        Geometry has been awhile for me as well, but I believe it’s correct after looking at it a few times as well.

    • says

      Thanks for the comments Ryan.

      And yeah, I figured the last few sections could be really helpful for PE as well – I was not asked anything too far advanced beyond some of the LBO stuff in there when I had PE interviews.

  8. Alpana says

    Hello,

    I just purchased the interview guide because I have an interview tomorrow, but I haven’t received it yet; how long does it take? It’s been 10-15min already, and I really need to start prepping.

    Looking forward to your reply. Thanks,
    Alpana

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