Last week, we released our latest Vault Banking 50, a ranking of the best investment banks to work for. Our rankings are based on a survey of 2,800 banking professionals, who were asked to rate firms other than their own in terms of prestige and to rate their own firm in various workplace categories, including culture, hours, training, compensation, and more.
In addition, we asked survey respondents to tell us about the quality of life, career development, diversity practices, pay and benefits, business outlook, and interviewing process at their firm. And as part of our questioning about the interview process, we asked respondents to tell us some of the exact interview questions they received during their hiring process.
To that end, below are a baker's dozen of the most difficult technical interview questions and brainteasers that banking professionals told us they received, along with the firm that asked them the question.
1. “How many footballs are sold in the U.S. each year?” [Bank of America]
2. “What's your view on the current domestic and international economy (and monetary and fiscal policy)?” [Bank of America]
3. “Walk me through how you'd value a commercial building in Midtown Manhattan? What about one in a rural area?” [Bank of America]
4. “Rank from highest to lowest beta: a midstream energy company, a tech startup, and a slot machine.” [Evercore]
5. “If you were buying a single oil well, would you want to finance it with debt or equity and why?” [Evercore]
6. “Why would companies with the same EBITDA be worth different amounts?” [Evercore]
7. “You're advising the CEO of a public company announcing a large acquisition tomorrow. S/He is asking you what points s/he should include in the press release—what are the top five points you would want to mention?” [Goldman Sachs]
8. “Are there specific market or investing themes that you believe are compelling in this environment, and why?” [Goldman Sachs]
9. “What's one thing happening in the world right now that may impact our clients?” [Goldman Sachs]
10. “If only two of the three statements (income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet) were available to you to evaluate a company, which two would you choose and why?” [Guggenheim Securities]
11. “What does it mean to have negative net working capital? And describe a business that would naturally operate with negative net working capital.” [Houlihan Lokey]
12. “How should rising interest rates affect what I’m willing to pay for an asset?” [Morgan Stanley]
13. “Walk me through the impact to the three financial statements of a $100 million purchase of equipment that is all debt-financed (non-amortizing/interest-only loan) and has a useful life of 10 years (no salvage value).” [Perella Weinberg Partners]
A final note: Although you might not receive these exact questions if you interview with the corresponding firm, you will likely receive questions that are very similar. Also, our survey respondents told us that most top banking firms require you to know how to value a company, the various methods used to value a company, what the equity markets are doing, in detail about a stock you like and why, and the answers to most of the basic behavioral questions—that is, the "Tell me about a time ..." questions that top employers now like to ask.
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