Investment banking interview mistakes 101

In Uncategorized | 3 minutes read

You know first impressions count…

Remember that time you approached the very buxom Betty Bumford on that hot summer’s eve at the carnival all those years ago and just as you went to speak it all fell apart, you peed yourself and then fainted in a pool of your own chuck up, and she ended up going home with teethy Tony?

No of course not!

You’re not a complete social retard after all.  (that would be the new analyst who just joined our team hahaha, what a special individual).

But even the most assured amongst us can screw up the first impression, especially in high pressure situations.

And what gets more freaking high pressure than sitting down with a caffiene-deprived MD Larry Laaaaaaarryson who’s about to smother you with an epic collection of brain teaser questions until you pass the f**k out?!

In today’s very short lesson I want to make sure you never make a poor first impression in your interviews.  You’re NOT going all incontinent at Goldman Sachs superday on my watch!!

So, the big question is HOW do students normally stuff up the start of an interview and leave such a poor impression?


They get stumped in the first 30 seconds of their interview when asked an innocuous-sounding question like;

  • How are you going today?
  • Did you find the place alright?
  • Did you have a good weekend?
  • Or some other variant of “How are you?
  • This happens AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN.

Whilst they spent the past 100 hours studying “How do you value company xyz?” and all assortment of complex questions, they haven’t spent even a second preparing for the very first “howdy doodi” question they’re of coursssssse going to be asked.

The sheer number of students who have headed into an interview all fired up to tell their story (education, work and life track record), but ended up near-speechless when asked a relaxed Basic as Ben Stiller question about their weekend, is hilarious (yes, we’re sadistic mother f**kers, but when you start working till 4am you’ll find this shit funny too).

If it isn’t clear, replying to these sort of warm up ‘how are you’ questions with 5-word craptacular answers like “Not bad, did some revision” is not what 10/10 first impressions are made of.

INSTEAD, we’re looking for a 15-20 second answer that interests us, that leads to talking about something mutually fun/agreeable – this is how we want to kick off the interview and get to know you.

And if you manage to do this with your answer, the rapport will start building nice and fast, and you’ll gain the confidence you need to crush the rest of the interview.

And if you don’t, you may as well go join the other dozen Napoleon Dynamites in the corridor mumbling gibberish to themselves about LBO models and tuna farm investments, cos you’re outta the running son.

Now you know how IB interviews really start you won’t end up kicking yourself when you trip up over the first basic question.  And that means the 100s of hours of prep you did getting to the interview room won’t be all for nothing.

The lesson is clear; prepare for the opening 30 seconds just as much as you would the most complicated technical questions on Wall Street!!


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.