Cracking the Code: Top 5 Questions Asked in Investment Bank Interviews

If you're preparing for an investment bank interview, you need to read this article! Our experts have compiled the top 5 questions asked in these interviews and provided insightful answers to help you crack the code and land your dream job.

Posted May 11, 2023

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Investment bank interviews are notorious for being intense and rigorous processes that test your knowledge, skills, and abilities. The competition is fierce, and job candidates are expected to be on their A-game from the moment they walk into the interview room. If you're looking to break into this challenging field, it's important to understand what to expect from the interview process and how to prepare yourself to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. In this article, we'll share with you the top 5 questions asked in investment bank interviews and provide you with valuable insights and tips on how to answer them successfully.

Why Investment Bank Interviews are Unique

Investment banking is a highly competitive field that demands a great deal of expertise and technical knowledge. As such, the interview process is designed to be rigorous, challenging, and comprehensive. Unlike other industries, you'll be expected to demonstrate your skills and qualities rather than being judged on your personality alone. You'll be tested on your analytical skills, your ability to think on your feet, and your knowledge of financial concepts. Expect questions that force you to justify your answers with logical reasoning, as well as questions that test your adaptability in high-pressure situations. In short, it's not a walk in the park, but the rewards of making it through to the other side are well worth it.

One of the unique aspects of investment bank interviews is the emphasis on fit. While technical skills are important, firms are also looking for candidates who will fit in with their culture and work well with their team. This means that you'll need to demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively, communicate effectively, and show a genuine interest in the firm's values and mission.

Another important factor to consider is the role of networking in the investment banking industry. Many firms rely heavily on referrals and recommendations from current employees, so it's important to build relationships with people in the industry and make a positive impression. This can involve attending industry events, reaching out to alumni from your school, or simply connecting with people on LinkedIn. By demonstrating your passion for the industry and your willingness to put in the effort to build relationships, you'll be better positioned to succeed in the interview process and beyond.

The Importance of Preparation for Investment Bank Interviews

Preparation is key when it comes to investment bank interviews. Having a solid understanding of the industry, the company you're interviewing for, and the job position you're applying for is crucial. It's important to conduct thorough research beforehand to ensure that you're fully equipped to answer any questions that come your way. Go through the company's website, read up on recent news articles and press releases, and study the job description to understand the skills and qualities that the organization is looking for in a candidate. Additionally, practice your responses to potential interview questions to ensure that you're comfortable and confident with your answers.

Understanding the Role and Culture of an Investment Bank

Before you walk into an investment bank interview, make sure that you have a solid understanding of the role and culture of the company you are interviewing for. Investment banking is a highly competitive and fast-paced industry that demands a lot from its employees. Expect long hours, tight deadlines, and intense pressure to perform. Similarly, it's important to understand the different departments within the organization and the roles they play in the company's overall success. Most organizations have a hierarchical structure, with each level of employees having specific roles and responsibilities. Research and understand the culture of your potential new employer to ensure that you're a good fit for the organization.

The Top 5 Questions Asked in Investment Bank Interviews

Without further ado, let's dive into the top 5 questions asked in investment bank interviews:

1. Why do you want to work in investment banking?

This is a classic interview question that you're almost guaranteed to be asked during an investment bank interview. Be prepared to explain your reasons for wanting to work in the field, your interest in the financial markets, and your career goals. Highlight any relevant experience you might have and how it has prepared you for a career in investment banking.

2. Can you tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills?

Investment banks are looking for candidates who can demonstrate strong leadership skills. Expect to be asked about a time when you demonstrated leadership, and how it impacted the result of a project or task. Make sure you have a specific example in mind and explain how you developed a vision, motivated your team, and contributed to the overall success of the project.

3. How would you value a company?

This question is designed to test your knowledge of finance and your analytical skills. Be prepared to explain your reasoning for calculating the company's value and make sure you understand the different valuation techniques commonly used in the industry.

4. How do you deal with tight deadlines?

Investment banking is a high-pressure environment that demands the ability to work effectively under tight deadlines. Be prepared to explain how you prioritize your tasks, how you manage your time, and how you mitigate the risk of missing deadlines.

5. Can you give an example of a time when you made a mistake, and how did you rectify it?

This question is designed to test your accountability and your ability to learn from mistakes. Be prepared to explain a specific example where you made a mistake, what the consequences were, and how you rectified the situation. Explain how you learned from the mistake and how you have implemented changes to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

How to Answer Behavioral Questions in an Investment Bank Interview

Behavioral questions are designed to evaluate your past experiences and how you've responded to specific situations. Investment banks use these types of questions to gauge your abilities, values, and character. Be prepared to provide specific and detailed answers to behavioral questions. Use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers and provide context to your responses.

The Importance of Technical Knowledge in Investment Bank Interviews

Investment banks place a considerable emphasis on technical knowledge during the interview process. You'll be tested on your understanding of complex financial concepts and your ability to apply them to real-world scenarios. Be prepared to answer questions related to finance, accounting, economics, and financial modeling. Demonstrating a deep understanding of technical knowledge can help set you apart from other candidates and increase your chances of landing the job.

Tips for Answering Brainteaser Questions in an Investment Bank Interview

Brainteaser questions are designed to test your creativity, logical reasoning, and problem-solving skills. They are often challenging and require you to think outside the box. To successfully answer brainteaser questions during an investment bank interview, take your time, clarify any ambiguities, and break the problem down into smaller components. Focus on the underlying principles and be prepared to explain and justify your answer with logical reasoning.

How to Showcase Your Leadership Skills in an Investment Bank Interview

Investment banks are looking for candidates who can demonstrate strong leadership skills. To showcase your skills during the interview process, provide specific examples of your leadership experience, highlight how your leadership style aligns with the company's culture, and explain how you would approach various challenges that you might face in the role.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During an Investment Bank Interview

Avoiding common mistakes during an investment bank interview can increase your chances of success. Common mistakes to avoid include being unprepared, not researching the company beforehand, being disrespectful to the interviewer, giving vague or incomplete answers, and asking inappropriate questions during the interview.

How to Follow Up After an Investment Bank Interview

Following up after an investment bank interview can help you stand out from other candidates. Send a thank-you email to your interviewer within 24 hours of the interview, express your gratitude for the opportunity, and confirm your interest in the position. Keep your message brief, professional, and to the point.

Preparing for Second Round and Final Round Interviews in Investment Banking

To prepare for second-round and final-round interviews in investment banking, review your notes from the first interview, study the job description and company culture, and research common interview questions that are asked during these stages. Be prepared to provide more detailed examples of your skills and experience and ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in the company and the position.

How to Research an Investment Banking Firm Before the Interview

Researching an investment banking firm before the interview can help you understand the company's values, objectives, and culture, and help you prepare for potential questions that might be asked during the interview. Research the company's website, read up on news articles and press releases, and conduct interviews with current and former employees to gain a better understanding of what it's like to work at the organization.

What to Wear to an Investment Banking Interview

Dressing appropriately for an investment banking interview is crucial. The dress code is typically formal and conservative, so make sure you wear a suit, a tie, and dress shoes. Keep your attire clean, pressed, and well-fitting, and avoid any flashy or distracting accessories.

Virtual interviews are becoming more common in the investment banking industry. To navigate virtual interviews successfully, ensure that you have a stable internet connection, use a professional background (or virtual background), and dress appropriately. Also, prepare for potential technical difficulties, and ensure that you have backup technology ready in case of an emergency.

Common Traits of Successful Candidates in Investment Banking Interviews

Successful candidates in investment banking interviews typically demonstrate excellence in the following areas: strong technical knowledge, the ability to think on their feet, excellent communication skills, creativity, attention to detail, resilience, and a track record of delivering results under pressure. Make sure you showcase your abilities in these areas during the interview process.

What Recruiters Look for During an Investment Banking Interview

Investment banking recruiters look for candidates who can demonstrate a combination of technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, leadership skills, communication skills, and cultural fit. Recruiters are looking for candidates who can thrive in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment and bring a unique perspective that can contribute to the organization's continued success.


Investment bank interviews are challenging, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can succeed. Make sure you understand the role and culture of the organization you're interviewing for, research the company thoroughly, and be prepared to answer the top 5 questions asked in investment bank interviews. Follow the tips outlined in this article to increase your chances of success, and don't forget to showcase your skills and qualifications with confidence and enthusiasm.

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