Tell me about a weakness you have in investment banking

In Uncategorized | 3 minutes read

You have probably been CURSING this question and going all Samuel L. Jackson whenever it has popped up during your interview prep.

You probably also have a terrrrrrible answer prepared for it!!

Why am I so sure?

Because almost E-V-E-R-Y student who answers this completely screws it up.

That’s why I’m going to give you the insider look at what bankers really want to hear you say when this awful question comes your way.

Armed with the truth you’ll crush this answer...and hey, you might not want to KILL the banker sitting across from you when they ask this mind f**ker!

So…ready…let’s go…

— Tell me about a WEAKNESS —

“People tell me I work too much.  I’m really trying to add some more balance into my life”.

This is NOT a f**king weakness.

Although bankers in general loooove unconscious workaholic kids, they don’t want to hear some tripe about how you’re such a hard worker that a virtue is actually your weakness.

UTTER CRAP!!

However it’s also not too bad, as a starter haha.

When answering this question you’ll want to make sure you actually give a weakness, as there is nothing worse than some arrogant “I can’t really think of one” or “Nothing specific springs to mind” reply.

HOW do you choose a real weakness withooooout looking bad?

First, you need to choose a weakness that however real, won’t actually make you look bad.

In other words, don’t dare make yourself look ‘below perfect’ in any area that fits under the 21 Qualities of Baby Bankers (eg attention to detail).

In fact, if someone said to me they are “poor at attending to the details, I’m more of a big picture person” they would be royally FUCKED…plain and simple.

But also, as we hinted at above, you don’t want a weakness that actually is a strength/virtue; e.g. work too hard.

Instead, you want an answer that is overall NEUTRAL.

Examples to illustrate;

  • You get bored when a subject at school progresses slowly and you sometimes will consequently lose interest
  • You get frustrated when team members don’t pull their weight and don’t always express your frustration productively

Buuuut how do you then deliver it so bankers actually LOOOVE your weakness?

Well, talk about a recent project you did at school or work, eg M&A case study competition you participated in, what happened and how your weakness came out (eg other team members not pulling their weight, your subsequent frustration), how you picked up on it, what you learnt, how you approached the same problem next time and what the result was.

Or said more simply, the secret formula for answering this question is;

  • Immaterial but real weakness (frustrated when team members don’t pull weight) +
  • Self awareness (realized not expressing frustration productively or using it to propel group forward / fix the real problem) +
  • Correction (practiced patience, investigated why they weren’t pulling weight, fixed their motivation) +
  • Result with metric (ended up motivating them, they caught up on everything and then also offered new ideas, which meant our project was ready 1 week ahead of time)

If you can answer this question like that you’ll show you are a freaking ADULT, you are aware of your weaknesses and you work hard to fix them.

Perrrrrrrfecto!!

P.S. This lesson was extracted straight from our very popular Inside Investment Banking Course.  If you’re serious about breaking into banking, check it out now.

Screw financial modeling…you only need 6 skills to break into banking

If you’re an over excited wannabe Excel Monkey then you’ve probably tried just about everything to break in…from studying financial modeling till 3am to trying to memorize 100s of complicated technical interview questions.

But here’s the thing…

You’re wasting your time!  If you want to learn how to impress bankers, get interviews and land job offers straight out of college you simply need 6 skills.