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25 pieces of power jargon to stun banking interviewers with

Leveraging up

You have an interview for a job in banking and finance. Aside from polishing your shoes and memorizing ever element of your resume as recommended by recruiters at Goldman Sachs, what must you do to prepare? Why not become a fluent speaker of power jargon - the (often) meaningless buzzwords with which senior bankers everywhere like to pepper their discourse?

To help you along the way, we've combed through the transcripts to some of the recent presentations by senior executives at Barclays, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley. Based upon those transcripts, this is the key vernacular that big name finance professionals are employing now. Inject these words into your interview responses and you and your inquisitor will be on the same page and fully strategically aligned.

Advantage - As in 'competitive advantage', or 'I am strategically aligned with your area of competitive advantage."

Battleground - As in 'strategic battleground', or, "I can help you on the strategic battleground"

Capabilities - As in 'strong capabilities', or "I appreciate that the firm has very strong capabilities."

Core - As in 'core markets,' 'core franchises', 'core capabiliies, ' core skills,' etc.

Deep-  As in 'deep relationships', or, "I bring deep relationships in your core markets."

Decisions - As in 'difficult decisions', or, "I am not afraid to make swathes of people redundant."

Drive - As in 'drive strong returns/change/cost reductions, or "I can help drive this business into the ground future."

Discipline - As in 'cost discipline', or "I bring cost discipline." (Unfortunate subtext: "I am accepting of lower pay")

Fit - As in strategic, or 'good strategic fit, or "I am clearly aligned to your area of focus."

Focused - As in, "I am very focused," or , "I can help this business become very focused."  Or, "I can help you drill down into your core strategic priorities."

Franchise -  As in, 'core franchise', or 'core strategic franchise.'

Granular - As in working at a granular level, having attention to detail, focusing on the core strategic franchise.

Headwinds - As in anything that's gone a wrong to date and can be blamed on factors outside your control.

Journey - As in 'career journey', or 'transformation journey' or, 'process of laying off people and focusing on the core franchise.'

Player - As in 'major player', or 'key player' or 'top player.' To be used in reference to the organization at which you want a job.

Pay-back - As in if you invest in me it will pay back rapidly.

Leverage - As in 'leverage the franchise.'

Materially- As in materially improving revenues/profitability or both.

Optimizing - As in optimizing a business to focus on leveraging the core franchise.

Positioning - As in positioning for leadership, growth, or franchise optimization.

Scenarios - As in, "I can deliver returns under all scenarios."

Signature - As in, "Your signature franchises". (Interchangeable with core franchises)

Suite - As in product suite. Sometimes interchangeable with franchise when the suite is a large one.

Transition - As in, "I can help you transition your core product suite to face future headwinds."

Upside - As in, "The upside of hiring me is that I will bring discipline and drive to your core/signature franchise."

Related articles:

How to present your strategic ideas like a McKinsey consultant, James Gorman edition

Character traits employers want to see in their interviewees, country by country

Six questions you should prepare to answer in any junior trading interview



AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ah
    23 June 2014

    Hahaha do people still say "Leverage?" Its close cousin "Utilize" is missing from this list.

    I would have expected to read an article like this in The Onion, but thanks anyway for providing a ready-made BS Bingo card.

  • Je
    20 June 2014

    What can you bring to XYZ bank ?

    I can think of a few Scenarios where I can Position your Core Capabilities in a Focused manner.

    For instance, if I were to Leverage the Signature Suite at a Granular level in the strategic Battleground, I believe I can be Materially Optimizing the Fit of your Franchise.

    The Upside ? Well assuming headwinds are in our favour we can go on Journey together that will continue to Drive the business forward.

    In my opinion a Player like XYZ Bank should not be considering Cost Discipline at this stage as I am confident that the Transition to Pay Back would expeditious.

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