If you’re a Pre-MBA or recent graduate, finding a job is probably at the top of your list. You’ve sent in your resume, made it through initial screenings and landed the next big step: an interview. This is your chance to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Here are some expert tips on how to prepare for your interview with an investment firm in 2021.
Start with general interview preparation
As with an interview for any job, make sure you do plenty of research about the company before you go. See what they have done well in the last few years, along with focusing on the parts that they could improve on. Make sure you’re aware of what their portfolio consists of and what kind of investments they focus on. Then make sure you know the details of those types of investments whether they are private equity or venture capital. Have a look through the “About Us” sections of the company websites. The more general knowledge you have of the company and recent activities, the better you can answer questions with relevant information.
Brush up your answers to common interview questions that include: “Tell me about yourself”, “what are your long-term career aspirations” and “why do you want to work for this company?”. Identify your biggest strengths and weaknesses, hobbies and biggest setbacks and achievements in life.
Be prepared to present your resume and experience in a way that highlights your technical knowledge of mergers and acquisitions, transaction or case experience, industry benchmarks, academic background and overall interests and personality.
Finally, review your accomplishments until now. In this review, think of the best examples of accomplishments that you are proud of and how to explain them in a succinct way. When it comes to interviews, practice and preparation are your best tools to make an impression.
Prepare answers to Investment-related interview questions:
There are several specific questions that most investment firms will ask. Prepare your answers to the following questions:
- What type of deals/consulting projects have you worked on? (with details)
- Why do you want to pursue a career in investment or consulting?
- What are your long term career aspirations within investment?
- Would you invest in company/sector X? If yes, Why? (Make your case around their product, business model, competition, valuation, margins, market size, costs, capital requirement, risks involved, and management experience)
- Gather detailed information on funds you are interviewing for (e.g. AUM, investment style, assets classes, deal track record, geographical presence and team construct)
- What are the key parameters you will look at while evaluating a potential investment opportunity?
Additionally, prepare to answer questions about market sizing and questions that test your critical thinking skills such as guestimates, brain teasers and other puzzles.
Prepare for last round skills tests
For many investment firms in India, expect to have to complete a detailed financial modelling test as part of the last round within the hiring process. Preparation in advance will give you a good advantage. Usually, you will be given 4-5 hours to complete the model, along with a brief investment deck which you would then need to present to the interview panel.
Know your material
Finally, for any investment firm interview, make sure you have sound knowledge about general investment concepts.
Investment firms will want to be sure you know what a balance sheet and other financial statements look like within specific industries. Also, think of ways to demonstrate your knowledge of many fundamentals of corporate finance, including valuation methodologies, ratios and multiples.
Also on an industry level, firms will want to know what knowledge you have about broad micro and macro trends and what your own mid-to-long term view is on these trends.
An interview at an investment firm can be intimidating, especially if it’s a company that you really want to work for. Prepare well in advance for these interviews to get an advantage over other applicants, and to be sure you are showcasing your vast knowledge and talent for investment.