Get Started

Investment Banking Interview Guide: Interview Preparation & Mistakes

Oct 10, 2023 | Editorial Team
Investment Banking Interview Guide: Interview Preparation & Mistakes

Investment Banking - unique segment of banking that assists in huge and complicated financial transactions. For this purpose, they hire financial graduates and MBAs from top target schools. Investment banking professionals are expected to possess an excellent hold on the investment climate and investment vehicles as they form the main contributors to the investment processes.

Entering the investment banking industry can be very competitive and challenging. Many individuals do commit mistakes during their pursuit of a career in this field. This industry is mainly known for its fierce competition. And with the current economic boom, the competition is only going to be difficult. So if an individual is seeking options to achieve the dream job in investment banking, it’s essential to avoid making common mistakes and make a strategic, well-informed process into the investment banking career can significantly enhance the prospects in this competitive space.

In this article, let’s understand how to prepare for an investment banking interview and the common mistakes an individual makes when getting into an investment banking career:

Why Do Mistakes Happen?

Many professionals occur because of a lack of clear understanding of what investment banking is about, the roles within the industry, or the specific skills and qualifications needed to get into it. Due to less information gathered, do not adequately prepare, fail to adapt their approach to the competitive nature and also underestimate the challenges mistakes often happen.

The end-to-end investment banking interview preparation needs the best amalgamation of knowledge, skills, networking, persistence, and adaptability.

  • No Knowledge about the Investment
    Absolutely, not having knowledge of the investment banking industry is a big mistake during an interview for a role in the investment banking field. Interviewers expect the candidates to be well-prepared and knowledgeable about the industry they are trying to enter. Failing to understand the basics of investment banking gives an indication of no proper preparation and commitment.

  • Emotional Connect With Company
    An emotional connection with an organization or showing a strong bias towards a specific organization during an investment banking interview can be a mistake. If an individual possesses a strong emotional connection to a specific organization, it may come across as desperation during the interviews, which seems to look like one is less confident or less desirable to employers.

  • Lack of Patience
    Investment bankers are usually known for their patience. So if a candidate is that kind of individual who gets frustrated easily, this probably not going to be the best industry for those. During the investment banking interview preparation, make sure to be focused on the capability to deal with complex issues. And be prepared to speak about how the adversities can be handled and also share past experiences.

  • Too Much Investment Turnover
    Excessive turnover in the investment portfolio can indeed be a potential concern during an investment banking interview, as it may raise questions about the investment strategy, risk management, and commitment to a long-term career in finance. The interviewer might also wonder if the candidate has the potential to make well-reasoned and researched investment choices or not.

  • Waiting to Get Even
    Trying to time the market is indeed a potential mistake during an interview process. Market timing is a strategy where an investor tries to buy and sell assets based on predictions of short-term price movements. This method is generally discouraged in the investment banking industry for several reasons, such as unpredictability, risk management, client interests and many more. A candidate must present in such a way as the one who understands the industry's values and principles and works accordingly.

  • Failing to Diversify
    Failing to diversify the investment portfolio can indeed be a mistake and it is something that needs to be addressed very effectively in any of the investment banking interview guides. Diversification is a core principle of investment management, and it plays an essential role in risk management and portfolio optimization. The candidates who want to be investment bankers should be adaptable and responsive to transforming market conditions. A lack of diversification clearly states that there is inflexibility in adjusting investment strategies whenever necessary.

  • Allowing the Emotions Rule
    Allowing one’s emotions to rule during an interview is not a good idea at all. Investment banking is known for its demanding, high-pressure environment and effective communication. Employers expect candidates to stay composed and professional, mainly when discussing complex financial matters and investment strategies. They usually look for candidates who are active in handling adversity with resilience and a constructive attitude rather than succumbing to negative emotions.

  • Underestimating the Competition
    Many qualified candidates are already a part of this industry. And there are only a limited number of positions, mainly in prestigious organizations. Underestimating and thinking that the level of competition is less will usually lead to mistakes in the application as well as in the interview process.

  • Less focus on Internships
    Investment banking internships are considered as the most direct path and not leveraging them can be set back. They can be the best resource to secure a full-time position. Overlooking or underestimating the essentiality of internships can be a critical mistake.

How to Prepare for an Investment Banking Interview and Avoid Mistakes?

It is essential to thoroughly research the investment banking industry, including its core functions, terminology, recent trends, and the role one is interviewing for. Reaching out to professionals in this industry is a good idea before attending any interview. It is also advised to use reputable industry resources and consider taking programs or reading relevant books to enhance the understanding of the industry.

Being well-prepared not only maximizes the chances of success in interviews but also sets on a path to a successful career in investment banking. It is very important to maintain a professional and balanced approach to serve one better in securing opportunities in this competitive industry. In the interview always highlight the dedication you put for well-serving clients and aligning the investment strategies with its goals and risk tolerance.

The Bottom Line

Excel as an investment banker by understanding the several kinds of investment banks and the various roles that are present within the industry. Also, stay up-to-date on the latest news and developments that are happening to be well on your way to a growth-driven career. It is highly recommended to not put all your eggs in one basket. Every firm has its own culture, compensation method, and career journey. So make sure to apply to firms that are a good fit for the skill set you possess and the goals you want to achieve.