Why Investment Banking

How to ace this important interview question

So, why do you want to work in investment banking?

You’re almost guaranteed to be asked this question in an investment banking interview.

This can actually be a harder question to answer than it seems.  On the one hand, you need to play into the investment bankers ego about how great the job is, and on the other hand you have come across as doing it for the “right reasons” (i.e. not just for money, even though that’s probably why the vast majority of bankers do it).

Positive reasons to want to go into investment banking

Valuation & financial modeling work
Investment banking offers the opportunity to become an expert at building large, complex financial models at earliest stage of your career.  Why bankers aren’t necessarily great investors, they do spend a lot of time on valuation work, and this can be an excellent way to start your career.

Exposure to high profile transactions
Most of what bankers work on is top secret until it’s publicly announced, and when it is finally announced it’s usually on the front page of the business section.  If you say something to this effect it will stoke the ego and it’s a pretty compelling reason to go into the industry.

An extreme challenge
If you can call out the fact that IB requires extremely long hours and you’re actually motivated by the challenge, that will go a long way.  It’s helpful to draw parallels to your personal life, like competing as an elite athlete, musician, or some extremely challenging event (like climbing Everest).

Negative reasons to want to go into IB

Doing it for the money
Even though the money is most likely a huge motivation for you, it’s not a good idea to say that you’re motivated by how much money bankers make.  It may be true, but most people find it distasteful, so avoid saying that.

Doing it as a stepping stone to something else
This any also be true, but you should avoid saying that you ultimately want to get into private equity or hedge funds and you think IB is a great way to get here.

More career resources

If you’re looking for a job in IB be sure to check out our guide on how to get a job in investment banking.  It contains tips on networking, your cover letter and resume, and technical skills that are required.

Once you’re set on a job in IB you can really ACE an interview by being super strong technically. The best way to do this is though our financial modeling and valuation courses.  We’ll teach you how the pros build valuation models from scratch!