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Cryptic questions allegedly asked during markets interviews at JPMorgan

We received the questions listed below as part of our win-an-iPod competition. They were allegedly asked during an internship interview for a sales and trading role and are therefore comparatively simple. But at least you know where the bar is set.

1) I can pay you twice your money every two years, three times your money

every three years or four times your money every four years. Which option do you choose and why?

2) I flip a coin. If it's heads you pay me 100. What should I pay you to

play this game? What about if I only have to get 1 heads in two

tosses, what is the new price?

3) What is the smaller angle between the two hands of the clock when it's five minutes past nine?

4) What happens to pension liabilities when interest rates go up?

5) What will you do if you don't get an offer at JP Morgan?

6) Do you have any remunerated work experience? Did you get on well with your manager?

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Jo
    15 December 2010

    I have been asked 4 of those questions. A couple were worded differentely. Not at JP, Were quite easy at the time as got the job.

  • Pa
    14 December 2010

    Actually part (1) is very interesting, if you want to ask for the most profitable way to be paid!

    The key is to generalise it; your salary goes up by a factor N every N years. If P0 is your initial pay, your pay after i years will then be:

    P(i,N) = P0.N&(i/N)

    Holding N constant and plotting P(i) gives your earnings as a function of time. Holding i constant, and plotting P(N) is more interesting...

    What is the optimal value for N? Differentiate P(N) w.r.t N gives:

    (I've skipped out the trivial steps - the key is to re-write P(N) as e&ln(P(N)) ...)

    dP(N)/dN = P0.N&(i/N) .[(i/N&2).(1-ln(N))]

    which is a maximum when (1-ln(N)) = 0
    giving: N = e&1 = 2.718....etc

    In an ideal world, you would like your salary to go up by a factor e every e years. :-)

  • ha
    14 December 2010

    It depends if payout allows reinvestment of proceeds..... if so, every 2 years make more sense.

  • Un
    Una dimehor
    14 December 2010

    thank you thank you

  • no
    not at JPM for sure
    14 December 2010

    please tell me this is a joke

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