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IB Interview - What to expect???

I made it through round one of three for a top IB. The firm wants me to come in for an interview next week, which is apparently half the day! What should I be expecting? Will I have to do a case study or valuation? I’ve heard the process differs from bank to bank, but I’m not sure what areas I should focus time and attention to prepare. Does anyone have any insight? I know there will be a lot of technical questions, but what’s the best way to approach the process? Thanks in advance!

What’s ur background/years of experience?

Position I’m interviewing for: IB Associate

Background: Big 4 Audit/Management Consulting, Passed CFA Level I & II, IB Institute Training Program, Non Top 25 MBA, Advanced Excel (VBA, complex formulas, etc), and CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge Local Round Champion and Americas Regional Round Quarter Finalist (formerly a competition held by NYSSA until CFAI took over).

I have plenty of ideas on this topic, and have helped numerous clients crush their interviews and get jobs. You know how to reach me.

If you listened to the people on this site, you wouldnt have even applied since you have a hacksaw MBA,

Glad to hear youve made it so far. Gives me confidence that maybe it is possible to be a successful person without a top 2 MBA since I am also a hacksaw

Fck!  Had a nice summary and my IE fcking crashed.  FYI all of the below information is from a fellow hacksaw MBA grad with zero IB experience.

1.  Valuations - know intrinisc/releative valuations cold with the ability to explain them in clear concise summaries.  LBO, DCF, and Comparables.

2.  Pitchbooks - Know how to create a deck, CIM, and general powerpoint with impeccable quality.  Sloppy work compromises all here.  A spelling mistake is a kiss of death. 

Transactions types - know the pros/cons of a merger, acquisition (horizontal/verticle), IPO, PE ownership, competitor ownership, and so on. 

3.  Be ready for a lot of fkcing work!  Oftentimes meetings will run all day with execs, the phones hang up around 7:00 PM, and now you have to finally get to work to prepare for meetings starting at 7:00 AM the next day.  Be ready to say goodbye to sleep.  I’m dead fcking serious about this. 

4.  Be ready for emotion and confrontation.  The sale of a business is a very emotional part of a business owners career and they may need consoling at times, and space at others.  Be able to demonstrate the ability to deal with a pissed off exec when the time inevitably comes.

5.  There could be a case study/excel based test. 

All the best kiddo.  I’d google this since most AFers are not IBing.  And Numi, I got nothing but love for you homie (no homo), but that was a dick move.  Give the kid a few tips!

Haha, fair points, but I definitely did offer some feedback on a previous thread – several posts’ worth – and he has my contact info already for follow-ups. Can’t give up all the good nuggets like Dinosaur BBQ’s for free!

Vanderlay Industries: I’ve learned from reading AF and WS Oasis that you have to take everything with a grain of salt. I think there are a lot of intelligent and experienced individuals on the boards, but the investment industry especially ER, IB, HF, and other pockets of Wall Street are very competitive. As a result, not everyone has your best interest and not everyone wants to see you prosper. I’ve learned to be methodical about the process and talk to AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE. This way you gain a better perspective on what’s required to break into different areas and you learn who knows what they are talking about. In the end, people can say what they want, but I know my career goals and I’m going to hustle and grind until I get there.

Personally, I think Numi and CFAvsMBA are two individuals that provide a lot of good substance on the boards so I tend to pay close attention to what they post (as well as a few others). I would encourage you to expand your network. There are a lot of people who have made it with out the pedigrees. For example, a friend of mine doesn’t have an MBA, CFA, or anything else special, and he got a job with an M&A firm in Boston, moved to Miami to work for a PE firm, and then went to NYC to work for a really good real estate PE firm. If you were to look at the profiles of the individuals at those firms, you would see that they are loaded with awesome education backgrounds and CFA charterholders. So, understand it’s a tough industry and nothing comes easy. You have to grind and grind until you make something happen. 

CFAvsMBA: I really appreciate the feedback. This definitely provides me with a little more context to interview although there’s still a lot of lingering uncertainty on my part. I’ve looked through google and youtube to find questions and examples, and there are so many possibilites it makes my head spin. Can you narrow it down for me at all?

Numi: Good to hear from you and thanks for the post. Unforunately, I am working on a short timeline and I’m not sure we would be able to schedule a meeting given the short notice. Also, I’m trying to do what I can here without spending the money (things are still a bit tight on my end). 

Well kiddo I’ll do what I can to help, but please realize this is all secondhand information that I’ve seen/heard/made up.

Let’s start from the beginning.  The purpose of an IB is to assist a company with financing, capital structure, ownership implications, and sale of a business.  I know a bit about the last item.  That’s it.  An IB gets paid based  the close of a deal regarding a sale of a business, secondary stock offerings, debt underwriting, and so on.  That’s it.

So keep these points in mind as you interview.  The sales mindset is huge.  You need to sell yourself as a competent IBer, sell your skills as a competent modeler/valuation dude, and sell your firm when speaking with executives seeking your advice.  It’s important to be clear, concise, credible, and convincing with everything you do in this role.  At times you’ll be a duck (calm on the surface but paddling like hell underwater).  The buyers of the business are a PE firm, competitor, or conglomerate.  PE firms will be known as financial buyers while competitors are known as strategic buyers. Historically, strategic buyers can afford to pay more due to synergies.

Be convincing with your dedication to excellence.  I’ve worked with IBers in a former role and their work ethic was in overdrive.  We’d have meetings all day and then throw a bunch of chores over the fence to them insisting that it be done for the meetings kicking off the next day.  They literally would not sleep.  Insist you currently sleep with your phone on and have a strong commitment to goal completion.

Valuations are a part of the job.  I hope you know intrinsic valuation (DCF) along with relative valuations (Comparable company, comparable transaction) and so forth.  If not, get to work.  I’ll send you a model for a public company that illustrates both if you’d like. 

Pitchbooks are another big part of the job.  Get ready to rock PowerPoint and make pretty presentations with no margin for error.  The ‘deck’ is a big part of the sale that you are looking to close whether it be a capital structure item, ownership item, or financing item. 

And that’s about it kiddo.  Take all this with a grain of salt, I mean, hell, I should be getting advice from you with your creds.  Just remember that at the end of the day it’s all monkey work with you sitting in front of computer pushing buttons.  In fact, read/skim Monkey Business if you get a chance.  Those guys give it straight.

Respect.

Dude, thanks a lot for the response. I feel comfortable talking about valuations except for LBOs, which I need to brush up on. I was reviewing some LBOs last night so hopefully that helps. I feel good about DCFs. I’ve done a few and I completed a monster DCF for the CFAI/NYSSA competition which involved multiple growth stages, varying capital structure, and several different WACCs. I think I’m going to prep hard for this super day interview like I’m prepping for a CFA exam. I spoke with an HR person today to finalize the details and she said the interviews don’t involve a case study or presentation. I was a little perplexed because I thought they would have me complete something, but I guess it’s good. It just means I need to know my ish when I get questioned. 

^ Nobody understands LBOs as it was a fad during the 80s, don’t sweat it too hard.

if itera is interviewing you, fughetaboutit

"You want a quote? Haven’t I written enough already???"

RIP

^ I’m interviewing with two MDs and two VPs. Lol, it would be interesting to be interviewed by itera. I can tell you one thing that I won’t screw up…punctionality!

^ lol nice. glad someone picked that up 

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

dp013 wrote:
Numi: Good to hear from you and thanks for the post. Unforunately, I am working on a short timeline and I’m not sure we would be able to schedule a meeting given the short notice. Also, I’m trying to do what I can here without spending the money (things are still a bit tight on my end). 

No problem, I totally understand. The way some people see it, hiring me to coach them for $1-2K and landing a job offer that pays $100K+ all-in is an awesome return on investment (i.e. investing in getting the right job now has compounding effects in the long-term). However, one also does need capital to make an investment. I totally understand about running on a tight budget – I’ve been there before, hated the feeling nad have since done everything I possibly can to never go back to that phase in my life again.

I trust you have read a bunch of the stuff on M&I already, especially my articles because they are the best :) That said, if you have more questions on technicals then there is a site called ibankingfaq.com that has a free section on technical questions. Definitely you should review these before your banking interview, especially areas related to the three financial statements, comps, and M&A stuff.

I don’t think you should worry that much about questions on LBO’s if you know the other stuff, but if asked about them then just think about the three levers of value in an LBO and then use your other analytical tools to figure out the answer. The main ways LBO’s unlock value are (1) multiple expansion, (2) debt paydown and (3) FCF growth and frequently #1 is the hardest to bank on while #2 and #3 are possible under financial engineering and growing/turning around the business.

numi wrote:

dp013 wrote:
Numi: Good to hear from you and thanks for the post. Unforunately, I am working on a short timeline and I’m not sure we would be able to schedule a meeting given the short notice. Also, I’m trying to do what I can here without spending the money (things are still a bit tight on my end). 

No problem, I totally understand. The way some people see it, hiring me to coach them for $1K and landing a job offer that pays $100K+ all-in is an awesome return on investment (i.e. investing in getting the right job now has compounding effects in the long-term). However, one also does need capital to make an investment. I totally understand about running on a tight budget – I’ve been there before and have since done everything I possibly can to never go back again.

Have you ever considered offering a guarantee of some sort? I know if there was some sort of money back guarantee or promise of success, id find myself more interested. It’s just tough to spend so much with no real way of knowing what kind of effect itll have on you.

I have never and will never consider offering “guarantees.” First off, I have no control over what a hiring manager decides so it would be reckless of me to say that. It would be akin to guaranteeing investment performance.

All I have control over is who I work with and how hard I’m willing to work with my clients. Have you seen my LinkedIn testimonials? –> www.linkedin.com/in/numicareerconsulting

I have a huge pipeline of clients who are hungry to further their careers and know I have a proven track record of getting great results for the people who entrust me with their livelihoods. I take that responsibility seriously and I want to see my clients win. Clients also understand that when they retain me (for whatever the service contract is, let’s say $1-2K for the sake of argument) – and they have a substantially higher probability of landing a job that pays $100K+ when they have me on their side – that is a pretty good deal.

If someone can’t understand what a 50-100x return on investment means for them, then they have no business working in finance. It also means that if someone isn’t retaining me or my associates or some other good career coach, there is a good chance he/she is competing against someone in a hiring process, and that “someone” is getting guidance from me on how to destroy their competition.

I have zero business development and advertising. We routinely turn down clients that are too onerous to work with. It also means that the only thing I have ever considered was whether my fees were too low. I have increased my fees five times over the last two years and curiously, my client work has actually increased since.

numi wrote:

I have never and will never consider offering “guarantees.” First off, I have no control over what a hiring manager decides so it would be reckless of me to say that. It would be akin to guaranteeing investment performance.

All I have control over is who I work with and how hard I’m willing to work with my clients. Have you seen my LinkedIn testimonials? –> www.linkedin.com/in/numicareerconsulting

I have a huge pipeline of clients who are hungry to further their careers and know I have a proven track record of getting great results for the people who entrust me with their livelihoods. I take that responsibility seriously and I want to see my clients win. Clients also understand that when they retain me (for whatever the service contract is, let’s say $1-2K for the sake of argument) – and they have a substantially higher probability of landing a job that pays $100K+ when they have me on their side – that is a pretty good deal.

If someone can’t understand what a 50-100x return on investment means for them, then they have no business working in finance. It also means that if someone isn’t retaining me or my associates or some other good career coach, there is a good chance he/she is competing against someone in a hiring process, and that “someone” is getting guidance from me on how to destroy their competition.

I have zero business development and advertising. We routinely turn down clients that are too onerous to work with. It also means that the only thing I have ever considered was whether my fees were too low. I have increased my fees five times over the last two years and curiously, my client work has actually increased since.

True, you have no control over a single hiring manager, but over the long haul there are certain qualities that will eventually lead to a high percentage of success. if you can truly mold a great candidate, odds are they wont be turned down time and time again if they realy do seem that great. I agree, that ROI obviously makes sense, but there is no certainty of that $100k job.

interesting you say business has increased with the price increase. I seem to see this time and time again. Parallels the guy I just saw that charges $1,000 an hour for SAT/ACT tutoring

^ Yeah, now that you mention it I’m sure the price hikes happen fairly frequently to folks that have built a track record, whether it’s in test prep, career prep, or other kinds of prep. But typically it’s far easier to start prices high and lower them over time, as opposed to starting prices low and increasing them over time. As a service provider, one really has to deliver results to be able to do something like that.

Five years ago I didn’t have anyone that could validate my results so naturally, I had to start low and build a client base. But now that I’ve worked with close to 100 clients that have gotten six-figure or seven-figure $ jobs, it seems reasonable that more people have gotten to know about my practice and the kind of work we do for our clients.

^ what about failures? Have there ever been customers that are too hacksaw education wise or lack quality enough experience to be helped? I know you said some people are too difficult to work with, but have there ever been people that aren’t difficult as persons, but that you struggle to land jobs for?

Vandelay Industries wrote:

Have you ever considered offering a guarantee of some sort? I know if there was some sort of money back guarantee or promise of success, id find myself more interested. It’s just tough to spend so much with no real way of knowing what kind of effect itll have on you.

seriously? No one is going to offer a money back guarantee on job coaching. 

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

Vandelay Industries wrote:

^ what about failures? Have there ever been customers that are too hacksaw education wise or lack quality enough experience to be helped? I know you said some people are too difficult to work with, but have there ever been people that aren’t difficult as persons, but that you struggle to land jobs for?

Let me first just say that it’s never about me – it’s all about my clients. I don’t take credit for my client’s successes; I empower them to be a better version of themselves and give them actionable feedback on exact steps they need to take to improve their careers. I teach them what they need to know to internalize their successes and troubleshoot their failures, so that eventually they don’t need someone like me advising them each step of the way. In the long-term, they know how to win on their own. I feel like that’s what good coaches are supposed to do.

Typically the clients that I find most difficult to work with are the ones that are unwilling to help themselves. It has nothing to do with their education or work experience – it’s a matter of character. I find that people who tend to fail at achieving their life goals are the ones that keep asking questions and pushing back, rather than trusting the coaching process. You see this everywhere in life, whether it’s in professional sports, workplace, personal relationships, or whatever – some people are just too petulant and argumentative to be coached. They get a kick out of questioning everything or trying to outsmart others, thinking it makes them better; but in reality, they’re actually doing a great disservice to themselves. These people tend to go nowhere in life and they don’t even realize it.

In my field, examples of people that are tough to coach include ones that keep doubting themselves or doubting me (or any other coach), ones that don’t actually want to put in the work needed to differentiate themselves above the average candidate once they realize that job offers don’t just fall into their laps, or ones that think they can outsmart me and want to get information for free instead of paying me – yeah, good luck with that.

Basically people who understand what I do don’t ask for guarantees or refunds because they know the value of my offerings. I have a huge pipeline of new and existing clients that understand the benefits of coaching and are queuing up patiently to work with me. I have zero budget for advertising or business development; I don’t go out and find clients. They find me.

itera wrote:

Vandelay Industries wrote:

Have you ever considered offering a guarantee of some sort? I know if there was some sort of money back guarantee or promise of success, id find myself more interested. It’s just tough to spend so much with no real way of knowing what kind of effect itll have on you.

seriously? No one is going to offer a money back guarantee on job coaching. 

Why not? With Numi being anonymous and no receipt, there is no incentive for Numi to neccessarily provide quality. He could easily provide unsatisfactory services and there is zero recourse for the buyer.

^He still can’t guarantee that the hiring manager will hire you.  He can’t guarantee that you’ll perform like he taught you to in the interview.

Just out of curiosity, if you hired numi and he insisted you put Vandelay Industries, CFA (after you get your charter, that is) at the top of your resume, would you? 

Vandelay Industries wrote:

itera wrote:

Vandelay Industries wrote:

Have you ever considered offering a guarantee of some sort? I know if there was some sort of money back guarantee or promise of success, id find myself more interested. It’s just tough to spend so much with no real way of knowing what kind of effect itll have on you.

seriously? No one is going to offer a money back guarantee on job coaching. 

Why not? With Numi being anonymous and no receipt, there is no incentive for Numi to neccessarily provide quality. He could easily provide unsatisfactory services and there is zero recourse for the buyer.

There is also zero incentive for me to work with people that harbor this kind of attitude. I stay as far away from these situations as possible.

What you say here typifies what I described in an earlier post – namely the type of individual that is too difficult to coach, yet too busy criticizing others and too incorrigible to realize his or her own shortcomings.

While the points you raise are totally fair, all I can say is that the clients I work with are getting the jobs that you are not getting.

numi wrote:

I have zero business development and advertising. We routinely turn down clients that are too onerous to work with. It also means that the only thing I have ever considered was whether my fees were too low. I have increased my fees five times over the last two years and curiously, my client work has actually increased since.

Who is we?  I thought you were the one man band?  Don’t tell me you’re outsourcing this sht to some BO CFA in India.

Haha, I have some folks helping out with logistical things like responding to prospective client inquiries, getting clients scheduled, and so forth. However, it definitely is me and not some random schmo doing the advisory.

vandalay is a donkey

"You want a quote? Haven’t I written enough already???"

RIP

igor555 wrote:

vandalay is a donkey

+1

Would You Look at That wrote:

^He still can’t guarantee that the hiring manager will hire you.  He can’t guarantee that you’ll perform like he taught you to in the interview.

Just out of curiosity, if you hired numi and he insisted you put Vandelay Industries, CFA (after you get your charter, that is) at the top of your resume, would you? 

yes, i would do it. Id give him a chance to work his magic and do anything he said. I wouldnt like the CFA after my name, but sometimes one must defer to others in times of need