The three styles of interview questions asked by investment banks

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As we mentioned last week, we recently came across an old investment banking recruitment guide from UBS. While it’s from 2010, there are a number of useful tips that can help win over any bank in the recruitment process. There’s even a section that includes actual interview questions.

As you’ll see, banks mix in theory, fit and more general inquiries fairly evenly. You’ll need to be well rehearsed at answering all three. And as you can tell from the last line of questions, keeping up with the industry news is critical.

Fit Questions

What three adjectives would your peers, superiors and subordinates use to describe you?

What is the greatest risk we face in hiring you?

Do your grades reflect your abilities?

What electives have you taken outside of finance and accounting?

How do you know you will be able to handle the hours required of an investment banker?

Do you consider yourself a risk-taker?

Theory Questions

Draw the yield curve

Show how convexity impacts a bond’s price to yield relationship

Discuss different accounting treatments for different securities (e.g. available-for-sale)

Where do deferred tax liabilities come from? — Give an example

What type of a company would be a good candidate for an LBO?

General inquiries

Where did the Dow, S&P and NASDAQ close yesterday?

What are three major news items related to the industry in which you are interested? What is the most interesting article you read in the WSJ of late?

Tell me about a recent IPO you followed

Describe a recent M&A transaction you read about—what were the reasons they merged?


How to ace an investment banking interview, courtesy of UBS

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