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Real-life interview questions asked by asset managers

If you are looking for a relatively safe and fertile area to work in financial services, asset management may be your best bet. Market conditions were favorable in the second half of the year and should remain so as we move deeper into 2014. And unlike in some other areas in banking, asset managers have been hiring fairly consistently.

But if you want the job, you’ll need to ace the interview. Below is a list of questions asset managers asked of prospective MBA interns as Stern Business School in recent years. How would you fare? (Note: the questions below were mostly centered on equity research and investment management/client services).

  • If the stock you recommended a few weeks ago began dropping precipitously, what would you do?
  • What is your favorite financial statement and why?
  • What would a mutual fund company's three financial statements look like? Walk me through them.
  • If you could invest in one underlying asset right now what would it be?
  • If a client gave you $100m to invest, how would you allocate their assets?
  • If you could buy one stock for the next 50 years what would it be?
  • Tell me about a time when you persuaded a person or group to do or think what you wanted?
  • How do you currently keep up with the markets?
  • Where do you see the market going in the next 6 months?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • If you could ask management five questions what would they be?
  • What is your biggest professional failure?


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AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • Mi
    15 January 2014

    Managers can ask 2 types of questions to job applicants: (1) Technical skills questions & (2) Personality-type questions. Questions shown in this article are Technical skills questions -- which are incredibly easy for any applicant who studied finance to give you a "good" answer.

    In the book HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST, I recommend you make a list of 6-9 most important job-related talents you are looking for -- and then ask "open-ended" questions to observe how well the applicant has each of the 6-9 job-related talents. Some of those 6-9 talents should be Technical skills -- e.g., as in questions shown in this article.

    But, since most people applying for finance-type jobs will possess the Technical knowledge, it is important to ask Personality-type questions -- so help you determine if the applicant will have a good work ethic (many people are lazy!), be honest on-the-job, collaborate with co-workers & clients, & "fit into" your corporate culture.

    Also, if you have enough employees in a particular job, you can give pre-employment tests, preferably with custom-tailored benchmark scores. The tests will be much more scientific & accurate at predicting job success or failure than even the best job interview.

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