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Morning Coffee: Goldman Sachs interview questions get all ethical. American bankers' London faux pas

Most people fail Goldman Sachs interviews

Like other investment banks, Goldman Sachs is about to kick off its graduate recruitment season and – as usual – your chances of making the cut are infinitesimal.

Goldman is already whittling down the 250,000 or so applicants it receives by using an automated video interview process provided by HireVue, which uses “predictive analytics” and identifies 15,000 traits to recognise commonalities among top performers.

But assuming you make it through to a human interviewer, Business Insider has compiled a list of interview questions you might expect this year. Despite the fact that the ‘brain-teasers’ are being phased out by Google, Goldman still asks candidates how many square feet of pizza are eaten every year, horse betting odds, or how to use code to identify amusing colleagues.

But the main commonality among this year’s questions is that they seem to be testing your moral character. “What do you do if a client insists on making a trade or transaction that you know is not profitable for them in the long run, but it would benefit the bank?” is one question asked to an operations analyst.

'What's your opinion about Adolf Hitler?' asks another. And: “You are a waitress at a restaurant with an employee policy that all tips are put in a jar and split at the end of the day between the wait staff. A very satisfied customer gives you a large tip and tells you not to share it because you deserved it. You also know that some of the other waiters and waitresses have been pocketing their tips. What would you do in this scenario?” You have been warned, be prepared.

Separately, by now you should have seen the New Yorker's (huge) investigation into Deutsche Bank's 'mirror-trading' scandal during which it bought shares in Moscow and traded them in London through offshore entities and therefore laundered up to $10bn, it suggests. There's a lot of meat in the piece, even if - as Matt Levine at Bloomberg View points out - it doesn't answer the very technical question of how they closed out their short positions in London.

To pull out a rather trite point, when the 'Big Bang' hit the City in the 1990s and thousands of American bankers came to London to work in expanding U.S and European investment banks, the centre of power at Deutsche Bank shifted from Frankfurt to London. Because of the hundreds of American bankers working in its London office, the German management team were forced to place a sign in the entrance hall with a phonetic spelling of 'Deutsche Bank'. Up until that point, many had been calling it 'Douche Bank'. These days, Deutsche Bank just has a Youtube video demonstrating the correct pronunciation.


Jefferies has started making cuts in its equities team. Rhys Brooks, its co-head of equities cash sales trading, has been ‘removed’ from his post (Bloomberg)

“Given what you’d normally expect at this time of year, you could say the FIG [debt] market – particularly for subordinated debt – is white hot right now.” (Financial News)

European banks, primarily Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Credit Suisse have $102.5bn in complex illiquid derivatives hanging on their balance sheet (Bloomberg)

Private equity funds in Europe are pushing ahead with fundraising, even after the Brexit vote (Financial News)

Hedge fund launches aren't exactly in plentiful supply right now, but Honeycomb Asset Management run by former SAC Global Investors fund manager, David Fiszel has just gone live with $200m in assets under management (Financial Times)

First Neil Woodford, now the former CEO of the investment trust is setting up an investment trust that will not pay bonuses to its fund managers (Financial Times)

UK financial services firms are muddling through Brexit in fine British style (Financial News)

Nomura has hired 10-15% more M&A bankers in the U.S. since April to handle more cross-border transactions. (Bloomberg)

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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