Sunday, April 1, 2007

Investment Banking Interview – Informational Interview

Informational Investment Banking Interview – Pre Formal Interview Stage

Why is an informational interview needed?

You need to determine whether an investment banking career suits you.

Many investment bankers retire at their 30’s. Consider the firm they work for, the title they hold and the money they make, everyone will admire them. Why these bankers choose to go skiing, visit penguins at the South Pole or even return to school?

There are two major reasons. They just can’t put up with their stressful investment banking jobs any more. They’ve made enough money to maintain their desired living standard for the rest of their life. A lot of them return to work after a two-year sabbatical, only because they are workaholics.

According to WikiHow, investment banking is the number one suggestion for those who want to retire in their 30’s.

If you are already in your mid or late 20’s, it might be a little late to talk about retirement in your 30’s. You have to start planning while you are still at college.

Do you really fit an investment banking career?

I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this blog, to step into the door of any bulge brackets at the Wall Street, you need to start with a good work history in order to build an impressive resume.

Many of my outstanding candidates’ first jobs were actually where they had their internships. Therefore you need to plan your investment banking career when you are an undergraduate. Aim for an internship at a reputable bank. Make it a goal for your resume to be on the radar screens of every Wall Street recruiting director by December holidays.

What is the best way to get to know how an investment banking career is like? The best is to do informational interviews.

What exactly is an informational interview?

An informational interview is a highly focused information gathering session with a networking contact designed to help you choose or refine your career path by giving you the “insider" point of view.

How to look for contacts for an informational interview?

Networking - Investment banking is all about relationship. Talk to EVERYONE – alumni, relatives, parents, friends of parents, classmates, parents of classmates.

Career Fairs– meet bank representatives and prepare a set of questions to ask.

Talk to Alumni - Alumni investment bankers are among the best connections you can make – meet them, learn from them what’s happening in the firms (deals in the works, deals that they’ve worked on, trends). If they offer to take your resume to circulate among their co-workers, take them up on it. Ask if there are others within the alum’s firm that they could recommend to you for contacting.

Go to New York, or to wherever you want to be located, and introduce yourself to alumni that work in investment banks in that location. Email or phone calls may work, but face-to-face is the best. Ask for their observations, perspectives and advice on how to get connected with other industry players.

If you are dedicated to an investment banking career, you need to know New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. I will cover investment banking travel in my future posts.

Tip - In any information interview, focus on information collection ONLY. Don’t ask to have your resume circulated unless the interviewer offers to.

How to set up an informational interview?

An information interview can be obtained through personal referral, written request, or cold-call telephone contact. An email followed by a phone call would be most effective.

Questions to ask at an informational interview

· Work Environment
· Ideal Skill Set/Qualifications
· Industry Trends
· Career Path of Interviewee
· Lifestyle
· Typical Compensation
· Challenges/Rewards
· Career Ladder of Field

Resume writing services for investment banking jobs – to be continued
Recommended reading: IB Interview Guide

Investment Banking Interview

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