Investment Banking Superday Explained in Plain English
You will likely face a varied range of bankers from analyst level to MD. But given you are within touching distance of a $100,000+ offer, the interviewer-sheet will be stacked towards the senior side, which means less junior bankers than first rounds and definitely no HR reps.
Numbers wise, you could face anywhere from as little as 3 interviews to as many as 7 or more.
As you can imagine a true banking Superday can last anywhere from 3 hours to the good part of an entire day. And sometimes they can even spill into the night.
But fear not. Banks tend to err on the side of less is more, because it’s an insane logistical task to organize more than 5 interviews per student and overall it’s a surprisingly exhausting use of bank resources.
We are referring to senior bankers’ time here of course – not the $20 an hour analysts! Note the sliding scale with respect to range, interviews and length; the bigger the bank and the recruiting drive, the greater the range/interviews/length. No wonder BBs (bulge brackets) are the source of infamous Superday war stories then, as opposed to the middle market i-banks and lower end boutique investment banks.
Why does the focus of each superday banking interview differ?
Different interviewers will be staffed with testing you on different things. This is often decided based on their level.
Consequently students can experience 40 minutes of technical questions when interviewing with Analyst Chuck Chuckford and 40 minutes of “Tell me about yourself” mind numbing questions during MD Larry Larryson’s hour of power.
Let’s break it down very clearly though…
The younger monkeys (analysts & associates) will throw down the technical questions gauntlet as they try to objectively assess you for brains. Think McGee in NCIS. If you’ve got some finance and accounting study or worse – a banking internship – under your belt expect to be pushed a lot harder than someone with a liberal arts major.
Although the technical finance questions might hurt, the investment banking accounting interview questions won’t – they’re comparatively easy.
Meantime the graying apes (MD Larryson and the other BSDs) will go ‘fit’ and ‘you’ crazy as they try to answer the question “Would Richard make a strong member of the team and do I want to work with him?”. For this think Gibbs in NCIS. But don’t forget Larry will also enjoy asking you (with a deadpan face) “How many 128-slide pitch books would fit in a chartered Lear Jet to Greenland?”*. In other words, interviews with the graying apes will often involve both technical and fit questions. The Masters of the Universe will give you a taste of everything!
Finally, it’s worth noting that multiple interviews at the one bank can also overlap in both theme and the specific questions asked. This is done on purpose. Just like a computer-driven personality test, this process of repetition allows bankers to spot inconsistencies in your answers over time when they share notes at the end of the day.
Were you actually lying about your leadership experience at Chucky Cheese? Either way they’ll find out.