As you go into interviews, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve done your legwork in the content that you present to your interviewers. See below for industry-specific tips that could help are you work on interview preparation!
- Mergers and Inquisitions has a comprehensive set of resources for prospective investment bankers, from recruiting to interviews to closing your offer. All of their resources are greatly helpful (and often entertaining), so we encourage you to read their articles to learn about a) what to do and b) what not to do.
- Read about what companies want: Take the advice of those who have the inside look to a company. This interview with Deutsche Bank may be helpful as you look into working for them. Talk with second years to get more information!
- Pick your brain with practice questions: Here’s a variety of them that you can practice with, depending on the specific department you’re interviewing for. In particular, you’ll want to practice for finance/valuation questions.
- Be sure to practice “fit” questions: Even in Brand Management prep, it is tempting to get caught up in the case questions. Research fit questions other students have received in the past for each of the organizations you’re interviewing with.
- Familiarize yourself with the brands: How has X improved their brand over the last 5 years? Has Y suffered in the past year? How would you address it? Know the strengths and weaknesses of up and coming vs. established brands out there.
- Expect these questions: Glassdoor offers a list of the questions you might get asked, based on the interviews of others. Leverage the site to prepare yourself for a range of questions. Here’s another wide variety of questions, sorted into categories.
- Learn from others: Read the interviews from brand managers to get a grasp of what employers are looking for. Observe the actions taken in brand transformation stories and know what you’d talk about if asked about them.
- Develop a list of fit questions: Even the quickest quant wizard may get a ding if he or she doesn’t fit with the company culture. Research fit questions other students have received in the past for each of the organizations you’re interviewing with.
- Know what to expect: Firms have different interview approaches. While some will focus extensively on fit and personality, others may spend most of their time asking you to explain or demonstrate knowledge of certain financial modeling concepts (like the examples below).
- Be prepared for finance questions: You may be asked to tackle certain financial modeling concepts, such as Cash Flow Buildup and Weighted Average Cost of Capital; you can also expect to demonstrate your knowledge of finance basics, such as how to value a bond, how to value a company, or defining the difference between preferred and regular stock.
- Practice a VARIETY of cases: Are you missing any industries? Our consulting case matrix (on page 9) gives you the chance to figure out what types of cases you might be missing. ConsultingCase101 has a database of cases you can choose from that will help you fill in the gaps.
- Learn from others’ experiences: Reconnect with second-year students for some final tips. What went well – or what went wrong – during their interviews last year? You can also contact us for case study preparation!
- Know what to expect in the first round: What does an interview look like with X company? Does your first case study entail a written case and an in-person presentation, or are you given X hours to resolve one case? Make sure you are confident about the process for each firm so you won’t be caught off guard.
- Start preparing for the written case: It’s never too early to look forward to second round interviews that may require a written case evaluation or Powerpoint deck creation. Make sure your practice doesn’t focus exclusively on the face-to-face interview format!
- Practice the fit questions, too: By now you have lots of lists of fit questions; make sure you take sufficient time to prepare them in advance of interviews.
- Tips for your pitch: As you know, the make-or-break for this interview will be your stock pitch – so make sure it’s polished up and ready to go! You need to not only know your stuff, but know how to convince others that your pick is the right one. Be prepared for any and all questions about the company you’re profiling, as well as for the possibility that you will have to pitch a second or even a third stock as well. This is another scenario where the more practice you put in, the better off you’ll be. Your initial stock pitch should be 60-90 seconds. Map out your first 60-90 seconds of speaking, keeping things high level and focusing on where you might be different than what others are thinking on the same stock. Then, schedule a pause for questions, and plan out the top 5-10 questions that will likely be asked (as noted below, InterviewStream can come in handy here; contact us for access).
- Tailor the stock pitch to your audience: Actually try to make the pitch useful for your interviewer… if you are talking to a technology analyst, then pitch a tech stock. Keep it as differentiated as possible (e.g., if you are pitching Apple or Google, focus on something about those companies you know that others don’t) so you give yourself the best chance to make an impression on the interviewer. If you play it safe with your stock pick, you will get lumped in with everyone else. It’s your chance to hit a big home run in an interview that doesn’t come up in other industries.
- Practice your pitch on video: If you have the chance before your final interviews, make sure to record yourself on video. You can use InterviewStream (contact us if you need access), or just about any other video recording tools.
- What if you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to? Quickly acknowledge you don’t know, but then start to talk through how you would find out. Emphasize proprietary methods. For example, if you’re asked whether iPhone share in the U.S. is going up or down, you might not have the data at your fingertips. If that’s true, then discuss how you would find out the answer…”I would start calling stores, and talk to salespeople and store managers, striking up a conversation to get that information. After about 100 stores across a variety of carriers, I would have a pretty good idea, before a lot of research publications would write about it.”
- Know the specifics: In addition to the usual fit and finance-oriented questions, you will be tackled with some queries that are very specific to these industries: be ready to discuss at length which sectors and companies you follow, what recent deals you’ve liked, and – this could be key – what you like about the idea of private equity as compared to venture capital (or vice versa). Remember, while there is a fair amount of overlap in the two, they are NOT the same thing – know the differences, as well as why each appeals to you!