3 Most frequent Investment Banking interview questions

Female Lawyer or notary in her office

I’d like to tell you about the top 3 most frequent questions in Investment Banking interviews so that you can prepare the answers, impress the interviewer and land the job. I my 7 year career as a Vice President in a Bulge Bracket Investment Bank I have seen many excellent candidates fail and I want to help you avoid it.
The first one (and these are in no particular order) is how do you calculate an options’ delta?
This is one of the more technical ones you may be asked it during a sales and trading interview but maybe not if you are applying for a corporate finance role.

I would answer “An options’ delta can be calculated in 2 ways, either with the Black Scholes models or numerically”.
By differentiating analytically the formula you can get the sensitivity of the option price to the underlying asset, and that is your delta. Numerically, you can just bump the underlying up or down by a given amount (this method is technically called “finite differences”) and you can figure out how much the option price changes by.

The second question is “why do you want to work for us”?
Every time you get this question you should be jumping up and down out of happiness in your mind. I can guarantee you will get this 99% of your interviews and it’s one of the most important questions overall in an interview. So prepare for it and make sure you have an outstanding answer. Don’t just prepare an answer, prepare and outstanding answer. It needs to be outstanding. Get it?
I usually structure my answer in 3 bullet points, from the most to the least important. Make sure every bullet point has a statement and proof with example from your CV of the statement. One day I may put together a stand-alone piece on how to answer interview questions, but that’s a different topic to itself.

The last most frequently-asked question is “Estimate the annual demand for car batteries in XYZ country”. Now, this one may surprise you and seem completely impossible if you haven’t come across this type of questions before. They are also very frequent in consulting interviews. The end figure you come up with doesn’t matter, no-one (not even the interviewer) knows the answer for that matter. This is all about checking you are a logical thinker. On this one think out loud, don’t think just in your head. You are getting the question wrong if you are just trying to come up with a number in your head.

The population in XYZ country is about 100 million (if you really don’t have a clue, just assume) and assuming there is a car every 2 people, that is 50 million cars. Let’s say an average car needs to have the battery replaced every 5 years, that’s 20% of cars needing a new battery every year. So that’s 10 million batteries. You could also add something about new cars, etc.
If you found this insider information helpful, make sure to get my free report, “5 Reasons Why Good Candidates Fail Investment Banking and Other Interviews”.