In this guest blog LSE alum, Yuri Khodjamirian (MSc Economics, 2008), shares his top tips and insights on interviews for roles in finance.
Picture this scenario. You are in an interview for an investment bank or asset management firm and the interviewer asks you – tell me something interesting you read recently? Take a second to think how you would answer this question.
Read on for some useful tips on how to prepare effectively for a finance interview, written by someone who has been on both sides of the table.
- Set expectations.
The best single piece of advice to mastering interviews for finance is to set expectations, ideally below where your actual knowledge is. Then spend the rest of the interview resoundingly beating these expectations.
- Read the financial press.
Reading the FT or WSJ is important but how is even more important. It is amazing how many times in an interview someone regurgitates that morning’s article. Is this really the most interesting thing you have read? Reading the financial press is a long game.
- Interesting is the key word.
In the question above focus on the word interesting. It is far easier to show passion about a topic you are actually interested in – it doesn’t matter what it is.
- Interesting Finance.
Naturally finance is your interest. The sheer amount of information out there can be rather daunting, as I found myself when applying. This is why I created www.snippet.finance. It is a blog about finance, that has interesting short snippets that can help you impress in interviews.
- Know your topic well.
Once you decide on your answer be prepared for questions about it. Intellectual curiosity is crucial in the financial world. Companies are looking for people who can demonstrate a unique perspective as a result of relentless pursuit of knowledge.
- Think for yourself.
The financial news is full of noise. It is important that you demonstrate critical thinking when reading. Try to weed out the facts and the different arguments. Then form your own view and don’t be afraid to express it.
- Read the company website
Make sure you have a very good idea of what a company does and how it does it. Try to be strategic, weave this information into answering other questions and don’t repeat facts in a prepared way.
- Interview experience matters.
Like most things in life, experience is vital. As you go to more and more interviews your confidence levels will rise and you will start to encounter similar questions. Stick with it and don’t get disheartened at first.
- Asking questions at the end.
The worst mistakes I have seen is asking questions for the sake of asking questions. Ask something only if you want to know the answer to it.
- Get help.
Cast your net far and wide and find people who you can speak to. They will have insights that you can’t read in a book. LSE Careers can be a great place to start – I found it hugely helpful during my time there.