Saturday, March 31, 2007

Investment Banking Interview X

Investment Banking Interview - Post Interview Follow Up

I am going to wrap up my investment banking interview session today. Anything you consider important in life, you must do some follow up work in order to make your desired result happen.

Investment banking jobs require the best candidates out of the best. So you need to prove yourself even in the post interview stage. This extra step can give you a significant advantage over less-proactive candidates.

How to follow up on an investment banking interview?

Frankly, you don’t have to follow up on every interview. I would only recommend following up on these occasions:

  • An interview that you feel comfortable with
  • An interview that you’ve done well and that you have a chance of getting an offer
  • An interview that you thought you’ll be happy to join the firm if you were given an offer

Investment banking interview is well known to be stressful. Even so, employers have to treat you reasonably well and make you feel comfortable and friendly throughout the process. If they don’t care to, they won’t care to treat you well when you join the firm.

If you don’t feel happy joining the firm, why bother to follow up?

When to follow up?

Is the sooner the better? No. You are telling the employer that you are desperate. Allow a reasonable timing. If you were told that the next round of interviews is going to take place in two weeks and that nothing happens after one week, it’s time to do something. If you were told that a decision is to be made in a week’s time, do something two days after the interview, like follow up on Wednesday if you had your last interview on Monday.

Take my recent career change as an example. My prospective employer showed urgency during the initial interview. As promised, they arranged the second round of interviews the next day, so I didn’t have to follow up. After the second round of interviews, I thought I am comfortable with the people, the firm and I am happy to join the firm, but I didn’t follow up immediately.

As I said, even if you dearly want the job, don’t let the employer feel that you are desperate. Choose an appropriate timing which indicates your interest as well as allowing some time for the employer to proceed with their internal hiring procedure.

Write a thank you letter?

Nothing is more efficient than a thank you email as it reaches your reader immediately.

As a headhunter, I receive a lot of thank you notes, in which candidates express how they enjoy and appreciate the meetings, which I doubt. Don’t over express yourself. Make it a well-worded polite note to thank them for taking the time out from their busy schedules to meet and speak to you.

Though a thank you note is an important indicator that you really want the job, but investment bankers are extremely busy people, they won’t care to read long thank you letters. Remember the golden rule: short and precise. Limit to 20 seconds, just like writing your resume cover letter.

Sample of a 20-second thank you letter

Consider these when writing a thank you letter or thank you note.

  • Appreciate the time they spend on you
  • State clearly that you are interested in the job
  • Indicate briefly why you like that particular job

I had my first interview on Wednesday. Next round of interviews were on Thursday. I sent out this thank you note on Friday afternoon to Henry, the hiring manager.

Dear Henry

Thank you very much for seeing me the other day out of your busy schedule. I am delighted to learn about HH’s unique culture and work style. I have finished the follow-up meetings with Peter, Paul and Mary, and appreciated that they gave me further insights about HH. I am definitely interested in this opportunity and am happy to continue with the process. I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me on my mobile or email.

Best Regards

Anna Maria D’Souza

Tips from Bank of America

An e-mail thank you to the person who interviewed you is appropriate but not required. If you do choose to send a thank-you note, make sure to tailor the message for the person you met with. It is not appropriate to send the same e-mail to multiple interviewers.

Informational Interview – to be continued

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

Monday, March 26, 2007

Investment Banking Interview IX

Investment Banking Interview – Preparation Guide IX

Questions to Ask the Interviewer

At the end of your investment banking interview, you are usually offered a chance to ask questions. However this is also a signal telling you time’s up and that you are allowed to go any time. Therefore, don’t wait to be asked to ask. Ask whenever you feel appropriate.

Recently, I was invited to join another executive search firm, so I have to go through a series of interviews. My preparation was just the same as I’ve told you, though I focus on headhunting while you focus on investment banking.

During my research, I found that my future employer has a unique company culture and fee structure. I have therefore prepared a few relevant questions. Once we touched those topics, I started asking. At the end of the interview, though I was offered a chance to ask, I’ve actually asked all I wanted to ask.

As Merrill Lynch said, students who ask well thought-out and well-educated questions are always impressive. It is important that you make it clear to interviewers that you’ve took time to learn as much information as possible about the position you are applying for.

Though your investment banking interview could be stressful, you should keep a clear mind as to formulate questions during the process. Ask some follow up questions that interest you during the discussion and ask for clarification or more information. You can also use this tactic during the second round of interviews as some interviewers like to start by letting you to ask.

If you are really out of questions to ask, say this: “I’ve actually asked all the questions I wanted to ask, so far, but may I ask what the next step is?" This shows your interest in continuing with the process.

Ask Only Good Questions
Don’t ask basic questions that can be answered by attending an employer presentation or reviewing the website. Have three or four intelligent questions ready, e.g. asking about the interviewer’s background or what he or she thinks would make a great analyst, trader, etc.

Sample of Good Questions
Man is not born equal. Take interns as an example, some are exposed to intensive training while some others do copy typing. Ask intellegent questions would help getting a good deal. Consider these:

  • What would be my summer responsibilities? How do these roles compare with that of a full-time associate? Try to make sure the answer you receive is as specific as possible.
  • How many summer interns were given permanent job offers in the last year and what’s the percentage? This shows you're interested in opportunities after graduation at the firm.
  • Would you rotate interns among departments? Let them know if you have a specific department that you want to work in.

Tips from Citigroup
Try to attend as many recruiting events as possible, where you will have the opportunity to talk to employees, and find out more about what they do on a day-to-day basis and get a better feel for the position and/or industry. You should go to these recruiting events with a number of key questions to ask company representatives, e.g.:

  • What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
  • What do you think are the key skills you need to do your job?
  • What attracted you to the financial services industry and why?

    Source: Citigroup
The answers you collect from recruiting events will certainly help you formulating more good questions to ask at a formal investment banking interview.

Post interview follow up – to be continued

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

Friday, March 23, 2007

Investment Banking Interview VIII

Investment Banking Interview – Preparation Guide II

In an investment banking interview, what are employers’ expectations?

Deutsche Bank is a leading European Investment Bank. Let’s see their expectations from candidates during an interview. I have cropped a few questions from their FAQs section for your quick reading. To read the full article, click the link toward bottom of this page.

Please understand these are not only guidelines for preparing an interview with Deutsche Bank. Employers’ expectations are generally similar. You should take these into consideration while preparing for interviews with any investment bank.

How to prepare for the interview?
You’ve secured the interview, read the brochures, surfed the Web and talked to alums working in Deutsche Bank. How do you ensure a successful interview? The same way you’d go about doing the job once you’re there: With careful preparation, research and attention to detail.

The first step in any successful job search is research. Not only do you need to know about the position and division you’ll be interviewing for, you also need to know about who we are as a company, our characteristics, some of our history and what differentiates Deutsche Bank from the other institutions in our industry. Why? Because you need to convince your interviewer that you are the perfect person for Deutsche Bank as well as that particular role. It is as important for you to feel comfortable with Deutsche Bank, as it is for us to feel comfortable with you.

If you haven’t done so already, try to get a hold of our annual report and read it. We’re not going to ask you about the details, but you should have a general understanding of how we performed last year. A lot of companies claim to be "global" but we really are. Deutsche Bank operates in 76 countries. You can get all the basic facts and figures from our annual report and impress your interviewer with your knowledge of the company’s business mix.

Check out what the press has to say about us and review our press releases on the website, particularly for your division. Press releases and articles will tell you about our most recent initiatives, organizational changes, deals and other successes. You will get a good idea of the areas of our business that we are looking to expand and an insight into our growth strategy.

What should a candidate expect in a typical interview?
Be prepared to tell us why you are right for Deutsche Bank and why Deutsche Bank is right for you. If you are serious about an investment banking career, we understand that you will be talking to a lot of firms. But you should understand how Deutsche Bank differs from other financial institutions, and why the particular division to which you are applying is more suitable for you than another, similar job in the industry.

We will also expect you to have done your homework about Deutsche Bank and the investment banking industry. Your willingness to do your homework now is a good indicator for us of the type of employee you will be in the future.

We will expect you to demonstrate an understanding of the role you are applying to and the work you would undertake. You won’t be expected to perform quantitative Olympics at a derivatives trader level, but you should be familiar with the basic concepts of valuation. For a role in sales and trading, demonstrate your ability to persuade. For a position in corporate finance or research, you will need to understand financial markets and have a grasp of the basic tools of financial analysis. If you are applying to a role in a non-finance oriented division, tell us why you want to work in the financial services industry versus other industries.

What’s the biggest mistake a candidate can make in an interview?
A lack of drive and a lack of preparation. The first interview is not the time to ask about our vacation policies or get an education about the difference between "buy-side" versus "sell-side"; you should know this already. Instead, show us you’ve got fire in your belly to work with us. Sell yourself without reservation. The financial services industry is not for the faint of heart. Rapid change is the norm and you have to show us that you’ve got the persona and the intelligence to keep up.

Make sure you understand the question that was asked. If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification. We’d rather repeat a question than get a completely irrelevant answer. We also encourage candidates to be prepared to back up claims about their abilities with real life examples.

Source: Deutsche Bank

How to Prepare for an Investment Banking Interview – to be continued

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Investment Banking Interview VII

Investment Banking Interview – Preparation Guide I

Never go to any investment banking interview without preparation.

A smart guy from a reputable college, with good grades, outstanding in anything he does, might not get the job. A regular guy with sufficient preparation to answer the toughest investment banking interview questions will be granted an offer.

Seven days is good enough for your first interview. As you gather experiences along the way, you might spend less time in preparing for interviews with other banks.

Allow an hour or two a day and that will add up to 10-14 hours of focused preparation and you will be totally ready for your investment banking interview!

Three basic things to start with:

1. Know the firm
Browse the website of the bank that you are going for an interview. As a quick reference, I have listed the top investment banks’ career sites on the right hand margin of my blog. Take a look at the careers section, the profiles, the history of the firm, how its grown, where its going in the future, what deals or business its involved in, the training program offered, the organizational structure, the people and most importantly, its unique culture (if any).

This is time sensitive - Make sure you are aware of the bank’s stock close as of yesterday (the day before your interview).

2. Know the job
It will gain you extra credit if you actually know about the role and the situations that you might be faced with. If you don't know how to answer questions on these, your perceived value to the interviewer goes down and you will most likely not get the job. Find out from the bank’s website or whoever you know working in a similar capacity and ask them about their day-to-day role.

Write down examples that showcase your skills i.e. 'This is why I'm right for this role.'

3. Know the person you are talking to
When you are invited to an interview, ask for the name of the interviewer and confirm his or her title. If you have only the name, call up the investment bank and find out.

On the internet, search for that person and jot down anything of interest, for example if the interviewer had won an award, recently had a promotion or involved in an important deal.

The interviewer will definitely appreciate the time you put into your research. How serious you are doing your preparation work reflects how serious you’ll be in your future work. It does worth spending a few minutes to convince the interviewer how serious you are.

Golden rule: Know exactly what to say, how to say it and when to say it. Proper preparation would make the toughest investment banking interview a lot easier.

How to Prepare for an Investment Banking Interview – to be continued

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

Monday, March 19, 2007

Investment Banking Interview VI

Brain Teaser Questions

In any typical investment banking interview, brain teaser questions are unavoidable. No matter you like it or hate it, you just have to deal with it. Don’t panic if you cannot answer. The hiring manager won’t expect all candidates can produce an answer. They just want to see how you deal with stress.

Brain teaser questions can be traditional or trendy. Some are being asked more frequently while some are not. Let’s take a look at some of the more trendy ones from bulge brackets, like Lehman and Goldman.

Traditional Brain Teaser Questions - See if you can answer any of these:

  1. How many gas stations are there in the US?
  2. Fidelity question: if the entire population China stood up with outstretched arms touching, how many times would they encircle the Earth?
  3. How many manhole covers are there in NYC?
  4. It's 3:15 - what's the angle between the hands on the clock?
  5. You have a 3 liter jug, a 5 liter jug and a continuously running hose. Using those 3 things, how do you get exactly 4 liters in the 5 liter jug?
  6. You have 9 balls, with one weighing more than the others, but you can't tell by just picking it up. Using a scale no more than two times, how would you find the ball that outweighs the others?

How to prepare for an investment banking interview – to be continued

Is investment banking your dream job?

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

Friday, March 16, 2007

Investment Banking Interview V

Investment Banking Interview – Questions Frequently Asked

Today, we are focusing on core questions in a typical investment banking interview. Your answers should be creative and most important of all, ‘be yourself’. No need to discuss with your friends and exchange model answers. Let the hiring manager have your personal insights and thoughts. This is one of the best ways for you to stand out from the crowd.

Questions on Investment Banks

  1. What department do you want to work for inside investment banking and why?
  2. Who is in the bulge bracket?
  3. Rank firms on Wall Street and where do we fit? Who is our competition (in the major categories)? What differentiates our firm? What are our firm's strengths? Weaknesses?
  4. Describe a typical day of an investment banking associate?
  5. Do you understand the lifestyle issues associated with this profession?
  6. What is your greatest concern about investment banking?
  7. How does your past career qualify you for a position in investment banking? Why are you not going back to prior career?
  8. If you were the CEO of our firm, what major changes would you implement?

Random Questions

  1. What is your personal Beta?
  2. Are you more risk averse or risk seeking?
  3. What is the riskiest thing you've ever done?
  4. What did you eat for lunch? How do you like New York? What do you do when you're bored?
  5. Think of the team you worked with the most and give me a word that describes each team member.
  6. Let’s imagine you died and are giving a speech at your funeral. What would you say?
    How would you spend $1,000,000 besides investing it?
  7. While interviewing for a job in the New York office, the interviewer tells you that he/she is getting the impression that you are more interested in the Boston office. You are. However, why do you say?

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Brain Teaser Questions – to be continued

Investment Banking Interview

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Investment Banking Interview IV

Investment Banking Interview – Questions Frequently Asked

Let’s move on to the more technical part of the investment banking interview questions. If you study finance or related subjects, the jargons and terms won’t be new to you. However if you are from a non-finance academic background, you might want to take time to get use to some terms as well as getting to know about investment banking. and are both good resources to start with for the preparation of an investment banking interview.

Remember, your preparation work won’t limit to your banking knowledge, but also your personal views and perspectives, and how update you are on current events.

We’ll talk about how to prepare for a successful investment banking interview in a few days.

Finance Questions:

  1. Why would two companies merge? What major factors drive mergers and acquisitions?
  2. What are some common anti-takeover tactics?
  3. What is an LBO? Why lever up a firm?
  4. Why might a company choose to issue debt vs. equity?
  5. What could a company do with excess cash on the balance sheet?
  6. How would you calculate a firm's WACC? What would you use it for?
  7. What is the Beta and where would you find a firm's Beta? How and why would you unlever a Beta?
  8. What is the CAPM?
  9. What would greater impact a firms valuation, a 10% reduction in revenues or 1% reduction in discount rate?
  10. What major factors affect the yield on a corporate bond?
  11. How would you evaluate the creditworthiness of manufacturer with three factories in different locations throughout the US?
  12. Company A trades at a P/E of 20. Company B trades at a P/E of 10. Both are considering acquiring Company C, which trades at a P/E of 15. For which of the two acquiring companies would the deal be dilutive. For which would it be accretive? Explain why for each.
  13. Suppose you are buying a new fixed asset - part cash and part debt. Take through how it affects all the financial statements.

Financial Market Questions:

  1. What did our firm's stock close at yesterday?
  2. What is the DJIA at today? NASDAQ? S&P500? Long Bond? Fed funds rate?
  3. Where is the market going? Bond, equity and foreign exchange? Where do you think interest rates will be in the next 12 months?
  4. What happened in the markets in the past three months?
  5. Do you read the Wall Street Journal everyday? What's on the front page today?
  6. Do you follow an industry, a stock?
  7. What do you personally invest in?
  8. What industry do you follow and what numbers do you look at to determine if a firm is doing well in the industry.
Accounting Questions:

  1. What is EBITDA?
  2. Walk me through the major line items of a Cash Flow Statement.
  3. Say you knew a company's net income. How would you figure out its cash flows?
  4. What is the difference between the balance sheet and the income statement?
  5. What is goodwill? How does it affect net income?
  6. A firm is using LIFO, the COGS start decreasing. What are effects on I/S, BS and CFS?
  7. What is the difference between Purchase and Pooling accounting? Under what circumstances would you use one or the other?
  8. What are deferred taxes? How do they arise?
  9. What is working capital? How would you calculate it?

Tomorrow we’ll focus on investment banking questions.

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Investment Banking Interview III

Investment Banking Interview – Questions Frequently Asked

Resume and Personality Questions

Here are some typical investment banking interview questions about your resume and personality. Be prepared to explain every line on your resume. Remember these are mainly set for entry level or junior positions. You would expect additional challenges while interviewing for senior positions.

  1. What made you choose your undergraduate institution? Why did you pursue a major in _____?
  2. What other business school did you apply to? Which ones accepted you? Why did you choose Stanford? (I just use Stanford as an example)
  3. What was your favorite class at Stanford so far? Why?
  4. What classes are you currently taking to get ready for the summer?
  5. Are you a leader or a follower? Give me an example where you were successful in both roles?
  6. Who has influenced you the most, besides family members?
  7. Say you are at a meeting with a client and your MD is giving a presentation. You suddenly notice a mistake in some of the calculations, which you have prepared. Do you mention it? When? What do you say?
  8. Why should I take you instead of someone from Wharton?
  9. What is one skill that you think is most relevant to banking?
  10. Why are you interested in banking?
  11. How would your peers describe you? How would you characterize yourself in the group dynamic? If I spoke with your peers, what would they say you needed to improve?
  12. What do you read? What's your favorite book?
  13. As an associate, what tasks would you like to spend most of your time doing? What percent of each day do you see yourself spending on those tasks?
  14. What is in a pitch book?
  15. Be prepared to answer questions related to your accomplishments and/or failure experiences, at school, at work or at life.
  16. Be prepared to answer questions on your strengths and weaknesses.

Tomorrow, we'll look at another set of investment banking interview questions.

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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Investment Banking Resumes


Investment Banking Interview II

Investment Banking Interview – Questions Frequently Asked

What are the most frequently asked investment banking interview questions? They are generally categorized as follows:

  • Resume / Personality
  • Finance
  • Financial Market
  • Accounting
  • Investment Banking
  • Random
  • Brain Teaser

North America is where bankers can learn a lot. For those who really want to make a lot, Asia Pacific is the paradise. While Goldman Sachs is one of the most admired employers, let’s take a look at their video briefing to candidates for how to prepare for an investment banking interview in the Asia Pacific region. Source: Goldman Sachs

Top 10 Investment Banking Interview Questions
  1. Walk me through the highlights of your resume. I'm interested in the decisions you have made.
  2. Why investment banking? Why our bank?
  3. How do you value a company?
  4. Why did you choose Goldman?
  5. What other firms are you interviewing with and why? Are you interviewing with consulting firms also? What career opportunities are you exploring other than iBanking?
  6. What were your grades in college? What were your grades for the first semester at university? What was your GMAT score? Be ready to explain any weak-points.
  7. What qualities would you consider most important for a career in iBanking? What are your greatest strengths? What are your weaknesses?
  8. What do you understand the responsibilities of an associate/summer associate to be?
  9. Describe a current event in the market?
  10. What questions do you have for me? Always have at least two questions prepared per bank.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the other sets of iBanking interviewing questions.

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

Monday, March 12, 2007

Investment Banking Interview I

Investment Banking Interview - A Stanford Student's True Story

I don’t mean to scare you, but investment banking interview is known to be the most difficult, tough and even crazy among all types of job interviews.

Though you might hire a resume writer to write your resume and cover letter, you must have to do the interview yourself. You’ve gone through a lot of hurdles before attending an interview. Please do get well prepared.

Before we talk about how to prepare for an investment banking interview, I want you to read this true story. It is written by a Stanford student describing the series of interviews he had with Credit Suisse. It looks like a lengthy process, but it is usual. The more senior the position you are interviewing for, the more complex the interviewing process would be.

See if you can answer the gold brick cutting question. I am going to post more IB interview questions for you to answer.

Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

Friday, March 9, 2007

Amazing Resume Cover Letter

Jimmy Sweeney’s Amazing Cover Letters
Lands the Exact Job Interviews You Desire

Comparing with Jimmy Sweeney, I am just a newbie in writing resume cover letters. In the past eight years as a headhunter, I dealt with investment banking resumes and cover letters intensively. However Jimmy has 23 years experience in writing result-focused sales letters.

Jimmy’s ebook Amazing Cover Letters dominates the number one best selling position among Clickbank’s marketplace on employment. FYI, Clickbank is the largest online information seller. All products are subject to immediate download after you made a payment.

With my tips on resume cover letter writing tailored for investment banking jobs, plus Jimmy’s help to write in an appropriate tone, you are going to be busy with the job interviews you desire.

Jimmy writes sales letters for a living. He has been writing the world’s most effective cover letters for thousands of thrilled men and women all over the world. He is currently the President/CEO of a unique marketing and advertising company located in California.

According to Jimmy, it is easy for job-seekers to stand out from the crowd in any field, landing the exact job interviews they desire if they had the properly-worded resume cover letter.

The main focus was to get the hiring managers to say to themselves, “hmmm, I want to meet this person. I like the tone of this letter… it’s straight to the point…I’m going to book an interview right now.”

His amazing cover letters had brought extraordinary results to thrilled clients worldwide, from college graduates to top level executives and everywhere in between.

To use his amazing cover letter creator is as easy as 1-2-3!
1. Point and click to choose the type of cover letter – hot, cold or other.
2. Point and click to choose the size of applicant job pool – large, medium or small.
3. Point and click to choose the amount of experience you have – yes, little or no.

Finally, you will personalize and customize your amazing cover letter step-by-step, quickly and easily using Jimmy’s powerfully-written sentences.

It is important that you customize your letter. Hiring managers can tell if you are using a canned letter from a library book.

Investment bankers want to hire outstanding people with good education and appropriate skill sets. However creativity is also highly desired. Make sure your resume cover letter is a good representation of yourself.

Check to meet Jimmy Sweeney and his Amazing Cover Letters.

Resume Cover Letter

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Resume Cover Letter

Resume Cover Letter - For Investment Banking Jobs

A resume cover letter is a sales letter that lands you interviews. Stop writing it the hard way. Here are the two key elements for a job application letter unique to any investment banking positions: short and precise.

Investment bankers never have time to read long cover letters. They usually spend 20 seconds on each of them. Therefore you have a very tight word count and every word should add value.

Though a resume cover letter has to be short, you do need to get across a lot of messages in order to make the hiring manager wants to see you. Here is a formula.

A 20-second cover letter must answer all these questions precisely:

1. What are you doing?
2. What do you want to do?
3. What are you able to do?
4. What do you want the reader to do?

In my eight years’ life as a headhunter for investment banking jobs, here is one of the most classic cover letters that I have read. I have re-phrased it in order to groom it up and protect the author’s privacy.

Trader Positions

Hello, my name is Anna Maria D’Souza and am currently trading live Asian markets for a $1 billion hedge fund in London. I am willing to relocate given the right fit and opportunity. In a nutshell, I have my own book as well as do some facilitation whenever I am needed. I have experience in a variety of products ranging from cash, options/derivatives, CB's, etc.

Please let me know who I should talk to in order to pursue opportunities.

Believe it or not, this cover letter generated three replies within five minutes, even without attaching a resume.

Obviously, this classic investment banking resume cover letter is from an experienced trader. What if we are a beginner or have less experience? Can we do something similar? Yes. Just copy my formula and answer the four questions I have set.

Here is a draft, assuming I am a fresh graduate. As nowadays almost all cover letters and resumes come through email, I have therefore omitted the traditional letter format.

Entry Level Analyst Position

Hello, my name is Anna Maria D’Souza. I have just obtained my master’s degree from the Yale University. My focus was on financial engineering and economics. I am looking for an entry level analyst position. I have been a quantitative analyst intern at Goldman Sachs and have a good understanding of the US and Asian markets.

I have attached my resume and would welcome an opportunity to meet you. Please contact me on 12345678 or email

Remember, in a 20-second resume cover letter, every word counts. Every word should add value. Never write long sentences, such as ‘I take the liberty to submit my resume’ or ‘I would most appreciate it if you would call me for an interview’.

What if I am replying to an ad? Well, easy, use the same formula and modify the headline like this.

Entry Level Analyst Position - Reply to Your Advertised Vacancy

Consider the busy level of bankers, your 20-second resume cover letter will certainly attract the most attention and is a guarantee that the hiring manager read your letter in full and wants to see you.

Tomorrow, I’ll introduce a key figure in writing resume cover letters. He will certainly help you write in an appropriate tone and with his help, you are going to have your phone ring off the hook with job interviews.

Recommended websites:
Amazing Cover Letter
Executive Search Online

Resume Cover Letter

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Investment Banking Resume Sample

Investment Banking Resume Sample - Young Banker Looking for Career Change

This resume sample belongs to a candidate who has six years of research experience in the investment banking field. His package is towards $400,000 p.a. In this resume sample, I have replaced the bank name with a similar tier investment bank as well as dummy personal details. See how he spells out his experiences that are of high value to his next employer.

Henry H. Hunter
Tel: 1-12345678 email:
1210 Grosvenor Place, London E14, 5AA


Vice President, Global Quantitative Research, London, 2000 – present.
Risk Modeling, Transaction Cost and Portfolio Construction
  • Risk Modeling - Designed and constructed multifactor macroeconomic risk attribute models (RAM) for Europe.
  • Responsible for the entire R&D process, development of the SPLUS code, report writing and marketing to clients in Europe.
  • Impact Cost/Optimization - Marketed the Goldman Equity Impact Cost model to clients in the region. Installed the proprietary Stockfacts software and trained clients. Bespoke client projects (impact cost reports, optimizations, portfolio risk analysis)

Alpha Models

  • Quantitative Stock Selection – Extensive experience in all aspects of systematic quant stock selection models (anomalies documented in academic literature, style factors, data quality issues, backtesting & performance analyis using SPLUS).
  • Involved in the R&D, maintenance and client servicing of global relative value/momentum stock selection model (World Radar Screen).
  • Style Factor Backtests – Designed/implemented an efficient backtesting framework in SPLUS that performs automated data downloads & includes a flexible menu of backtesting options (equal or value weighted tests, univariate or multivariate, stop losses, sell rules etc.)
  • Statistical Arbitrage – Designed/implemented (SPLUS, VBA, Factset) stat arb pair trading models (AsiaPac Ex Japan, Japan and South Africa) as part of a 3-person team.

Research Assistant, Centre for Financial Engineering, Chicago, 1998 – 1999.
Presented a research paper on the application of neural networks and feature selection for stock selection models.


Peking University and Harvard University, part time, joint program
Master of Science, financial engineering, 2005

CFA, 2001

University of Chicago, (on government scholarship)
Bachelor of Financial Engineering, 1998

Note: In this resume sample, you would notice this young banker has started with his experience, followed by education. It is highly condensed of information needed by a hiring manager looking for a quantitative analyst. This resume sample has just the right amount of information that generates a hiring manager's interest to call him for an inerview.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Investment Banking Resume Sample

Investment Banking Resume Sample – Entry Level Position

This resume sample belongs to my niece. I have put my name instead as she doesn’t want to publish her name. I have used the resume template that I posted yesterday and fill up with actual information. This is a typical resume sample for any entry level investment banking jobs.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at another resume sample with a few years of work experiences.

Anna Maria D’Souza
Tel: 1-12345678 email:
1210 Royal Court, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong



Bachelor of Science (GPA 3.9), Financial Engineering, 2006

Straight A’s in O-level and A-level exams, school topper throughout


  • CBS Distinguished Student Scholarship Award (2006)
  • Dean’s Certificate of Academic Achievement (2006)
  • Reporter of CUHK’s Press Committee (2005 - 2006)
  • Debater of CUHK’s English Debating Team (2004 - 2005)
  • Hong Kong Young Ambassador Scheme (2002 - 2003) - Gold Medal, Outstanding Project Award, trip to New York for award presentation
  • Hong Kong Bank Foundation of JPC Award (2001) - Best Member Award, trip to Beijing for award presentation
  • The Hong Kong Award for the Young People (2000 – 2002) - Bronze and Silver Award
  • Hong Kong Odyssey of the Mind Competition - Champion, Awards of Best Style and Best Performance in Spontaneous Problem (1998 - 1999), 2nd Runner-up (1997 - 1998)


Summer Intern, Equity Research, Hong Kong, 2006
Member of the Asia ex-Japan equity research team. Assisted in data collection and compiling of research reports.

Summer Intern, Risk Management,
Hong Kong, 2005
Member of the reinsurance brokers team for 15 Asian clients’ reinsurance programs. Developed skills in risk management and spread of risk across variety of financial instruments.

Born in 1985, speaks fluent English and Mandarin, manages MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint. Knowledge of Bloomberg.

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Investment Banking Resume Template

Resume Template

Here is an investment banking resume template. For college leavers looking for their first job, this is good enough. Tomorrow, I'll put in some personal particulars to make it a real resume sample.

Your Name ∙ (XXX) phone number
Street Address

*****Do not include career objective or profile please*****


Harvard University, Cambridge, MA – 2000 - 2004
A.B. [Concentration], [With Honors]
GPA: X.X / 4.0, (Financed X% of total college tuition.)
Academic Awards: Award #1, Award #2,
Scholarships: Scholarship #1, Scholarship #2


Goldman Sachs, New York, NY
Summer Analyst, June - September 2003
• Description
• Description

Another Investment Bank, New York, NY
Summer Intern, Division, June – August 2002
• Description
• Description


Activity #1, Title, Period of service
• Description
Activity #2, Title, Period of service
• Description


• Bloomberg, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, FactSet, CapitalIQ


• Interests, hobbies, etc. – list only those that reflect your personality and be considered relevant to a banking career
• Languages spoken


Do not include ‘reference upon request’ or a ‘reference list’
No over-size fonts and colour fonts.
Do not over use effects of bold, underline or italic

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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Investment Banking Salary

Investment Banking Salary
Who’s Making Money and How Much?

Investment Banking Salary Overview
Investment bankers’ income package usually consists of base salary and bonus. While salary is paid monthly, bonus is paid annually. Hence if you leave your job before bonus pay day, you’ll loss your bonus which usually contributes a major portion of your total annual income. However this is usually part of the deal when you negotiate with your potential employer. Sign-on bonus are usually paid as compensation.

Investment banking salary package becomes sophisticated as your position goes higher. Compensation would include housing, stock options, healthcare, club membership, auto etc. If relocation involves, home leave, children’s education and COLA (cost of living standard adjustment). The monthly COLA amount can excess some normal people’s monthly salary. One of my candidates had his COLA as high as US$4,000 per month.

Investment Banking Career Map
While “investment banker” is a general term, there are actually many specialized work areas. Depends on your strength, interest and the opportunities you are exposed to, you can develop expertise in any of the following areas. However all these jobs have few things in common: long working hours and some of the deals go on round the clock, very stressful and extremely high pay.

Equities - sales, trading, research

Fixed Income - sales, trading, research

Foreign Exchange - sales, trading, research

Investment Banking - corporate finance, M&A, DCM, ECM

Fund Management / Asset Management - portfolio management, hedge fund management

Private Banking / Wealth Management

Private Equities

Investment Banking Salary / Career
Investment banks usually recruit fresh graduates as entry level analysts. Though many are promoted to associate level within five years, there isn’t a standard rule. UK hedge fund Marshall Wace’s youngest partner Anthony Clake is only 25.

Few people made their way to regional head before 40, but there are exceptions. The youngest regional head I ever placed was only 36 when he became the head of Asian equities of a US bulge bracket in 2002. His guaranteed package was US$2.5 million. Therefore the kind of money and position to earn is all depend on YOU.

What kind of investment bank salary would you expect? Entry level analysts usually make around US$60,000 in the first year. Performance is the major factor to determine future earnings.

I am going to give you some real figures of people with 10 years of experience or less. I placed these people in 2006, the numbers included base salary and bonus.

Investment Banking Salary – Real Samples

Candidate #1

Title: Quantitative Analyst
Client: US Investment Firm
Package: US$350,000
Banking experience: 6 years
Qualifications: B. Eng., M. Sc., CFA

Candidate #2
Title: VP, Equity Trading
Client: US Bulge Bracket
Package: US$500,000
Banking experience: 8 years
Qualifications: M. Politics, M. Economics, banking & finance, CFA

Candidate #3
Title: MD, Country Head
Client: US Hedge Fund
Package: US$1,250,000
Banking experience: 10 years
Qualifications: B. Law

Is investment banking your dream job? Take a Free Career Test!

Investment Banking Salary

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Investment Banking Resume Writing Tips - Content and Layout

Investment Banking Resume Writing Tips - Content and Layout

Have you collected a lot of resume writing tips before reading my blog? And did you collect them from your fellow job seekers or resume service providers?

Why not checking out expectations from resume readers? Hiring managers are readers, so as headhunters. As a professional IB headhunter, I am here to express my thoughts regarding resume writing.

Basic Principals
Resume writing is an art. A resume is a sales tool. It tells your past story to prove that you are able for your future.

Investment bankers are busy. Therefore your resume should help them quickly figure out who you are and how you can contribute to their business. Omit career objective, summary or profile, as they are considered superfluous.

Below are some winning resume writing strategies.

These strategies are based on my experience being an IB headhunter reviewing numerous resumes/CVs daily. I have also merged some resume writing guidelines from leading investment bank Goldman Sachs as well as thoughts that I collected from hiring managers.

Key Characteristics Sought by Investment Bankers

  • Quantitative / analytical skills
  • Drive for results
  • Negotiations skills
  • Power of persuasion
  • Relationship building skills

Tailor your resume in a way to demonstrate these characteristics. For entry level applicants, it can be from any context other than investment banking.

Look and Feel
Look and feel (L&F) is one the most important resume writing skills.
Though good L&F won’t guarantee success, bad L&F loses readers quickly. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression! Good resumes have one thing in common, simplicity. Make it your mantra.

  • Sans serif fonts work best on paper as well as on computer screen. Arial 11 is the most desired font and size.
  • A good balance between text and space.
  • Limit to one page.
  • Block capitals, bold or underline type can help to direct the reviewer's focus. However over-using of these effects will spoil your L&F. Be consistent in your formatting.
  • Avoid lengthy paragraphs; use bullet points to condense a list of details.

Personal Details

  • Your family name should be underlined or bold. For example, Ngo Tan Chen.
  • A current mailing address, a phone number that can reach you and an email address.
  • Your email address should project a professional image of yourself.
  • Employers from Asia might expect more personal details like age, status, nationality. Employers from the Americas and Europe generally not. Best is to check their websites and find out.

Education and Qualifications
For young bankers and undergraduates, education and qualifications should be listed first, followed by work experiences. After a few years, experience will weight higher and should appear in the most eye-catching position on the resume.

Emphasis achievements and awards such as school topper through out, scholarships or having been a young ambassador.

Work Experience

  • Start with your current job and work backwards.
  • Indicate who you have worked for, in what capacity and for how long.
  • Indicate location of work, such as New York, London or Tokyo. As your experience cumulates, this reflects you have an international vision. Relocation and travelling involves a lot as you move ahead on your career path as an investment banker.
  • Tips: Do not use a functional resume, as it won’t work in the investment banking world.
    Use numbers to back you up, such as your ranking in an analysts’ poll or percentage of business growth during your service.

    Personal Development/Skills

    • Write about any courses, societies, voluntary work or responsibilities you consider relevant.
    • On top of appropriate skill sets, investment bankers need strong ability to tolerate various personalities, ambiguity, and so on. List activities that reflect your personality.
    • Indicate your technical skills such as Bloomberg or Reuters. This is important for undergraduates to stand out. It is less important for experience bankers, as you are assumed to have these skills.
    • List the languages you speak.

    Other Key Elements

    • Avoid general benefit statements such as a good team player, highly analytical or a good communicator etc. You are assumed to have all these qualities for almost any job.
    • Jargons are allowed. Feel free to write AUM, M&A, IPO etc., as bankers all know these terms and it demonstrates that you are speaking their language.
    • Support your statements by facts. Instead of saying that you are good at multi-tasking, it would be more convincing by naming the various activities and roles you’ve taken up while studying full time.
    • Everything should add value. Don’t waste valuable space in writing statements like ‘references available upon request’ or a reference list or your previous employers’ company descriptions and full addresses.
    • Before Submitting

      • Spell check! Many people overlook its importance during resume writing. Though perfect spelling won’t gain you extra credit, typos certainly work against you.
      • Print out a copy and ask yourself the following questions:
        • Is my resume easy to read?
        • Is the content concise and effective?
        • Is my resume a good reflection of me and my experiences?

        Ask a friend to proof read for you and ask them the same set of questions.

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        Friday, March 2, 2007

        A Good Investment Banking Resume

        A Good Investment Banking Resume
        Makes You Stand Out from the Crowd

        A good investment banking resume has unique qualities in its layout and content. Before I go into details, let me talk about the off page criteria which are equally important.

        Investment Banking Resume - Off Page Criteria
        You might hire a resume writer to produce an extremely professional resume for you. However there are factors beyond the hands of the resume writer. Here are several off page criteria you should consider in preparation of a really outstanding resume for your investment banking career.

        Please keep this in mind as you need to work towards it while you are still at school or just begin your first full time job.

        Work History
        Headhunters are reluctant to propose a candidate who changes job every year. Likewise, hiring managers hesitate in considering this type of candidates. They just don’t have the confidence that the candidate will stay long enough in order to be contributive to their firms.

        One major factor that investment banks rate our (headhunters’) services is how long our candidates stay with their banks.

        Tip: the primary off page criteria of an investment banking resume is your work history. Make sure to choose your first full time job carefully and stay there for a considerable period of time.

        Degrees & Professional Qualifications
        In a young banker’s resume, degrees and qualifications count heavily. I come across a candidate who obtained two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees in five years. He also made his CFA while working full time. I was completely impressed even before I read his work history.

        This example could be a bit extreme, but investment bankers do want to look for outstanding people who are able of multi-tasking, who is good at time management and can cope with the crazy work schedules of investment banks.

        Tip: the second off page criteria of an investment banking resume is qualifications and studies. Bottom line is to show the hiring manager that you are hungry of knowledge and you can manage the time between work and study. This is especially important for young bankers when hiring managers had not much reference to check on your abilities.

        Money-Related Hobbies/Activities
        This is something you should start building as an undergraduate. Bankers don’t want to hire someone whose life is between home and school. Get involve in some activities, such as you are a treasurer of the student union at the same time provide research assistance to professors. Remember, taking up a role is better than pure participation. Taking up a finance-related or leadership role is even better.

        Have you ever run a shadow investment portfolio? Try it. The hiring manager would be interested in it. Keep track of the transactions, profit and lost numbers. It doesn’t matter you made a fortune or went broke. The objective is to demonstrate your potential of becoming an investment banker.

        Try The JPMorgan Online Trading Game
        JPMorgan has designed the FantasyFutures online trading game. Students from the US or Europe can participate. The simulated interest rates game allowed students to act like traders – tracking global markets and taking risks. Winners will be published weekly, and will receive an invitation to visit JPMorgan’s trading floor, apart from other prizes.

        Tip: the third off page criteria of an investment banking resume is money-related hobbies. Create or invent some investment or money-related hobbies/activities while at school. It will certainly make you stand out from your rival applicants for your first full time investment banking job.

        Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the layout and content of a good investment banking resume.

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        A Good Investment Banking Resume

        Thursday, March 1, 2007

        Investment Banking Resume Writing

        Investment Banking Resume Writing - Blog Objectives

        The goal of this blog is to introduce resume writing skills for investment banking jobs.

        The mission of this blog is to help undergraduates and young bankers to build a successful investment banking career.

        How much a young investment banker can make? Well, one of my candidates who is a hedge fund manager, made US$4 million in 2006, at the age of 29.

        How senior can a young investment banker be? Well, Anthony Clake became the partner of Marshall Wace, a UK hedge fund, at the age of 25.

        Do you want to be a successful young investment banker? The first step is to enhance your resume writing skills. And this blog is set up for you.

        Resume Writing for Investment Banking Jobs
        My name is Anna. I have been working for a global headhunting firm in the past eight years. We do only the most senior recruits for investment banks worldwide. Therefore, young bankers are usually not in my company’s radar. However I would want to make use of my knowledge in resume writing to help young people to build their investment banking career.

        Investment banking is not only a job, it creates wealth, makes you outperform your peers and eventually leads to early retirement and a lifestyle that you desire.

        Your investment banking career all starts with resume writing – a resume that lands you the first IB job. Actually a cover letter, the resume itself and interviewing skills are all in a row towards the same goal. Therefore I am going to cover all these topics in my iBankingresumes blog.

        As a professional IB headhunter, I am not going to tell you general guidelines of resume writing, but things that hiring managers are actually looking for in the real world of investment banking.

        If you’ve already started your investment banking career and are planning for your next steps, this blog is also for you. Read other bankers’ stories and set a target for yourself.

        If you are an experienced banker however didn’t had an interview in the past 10 years, you might want to refresh your interviewing skills from reading my blog.

        Enjoy iBankingresumes blog and share your thoughts with me.

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        Resume Writing