Landing a Job or Internship in Finance or Consulting

Finance and consulting are alluring professions for recent college graduates and business schools graduates due to their prestige and high paychecks.  But, the competition is fierce and the top companies look for articulate, highly analytical problem solvers who can think through complex business situations as well as crunch the numbers.

I asked some of my colleagues from the industry what they look for in potential candidates. Diane Exter, former Managing Director of Bain Capital and Gad Berdugo, Managing Director, Sector Head Life Sciences and Healthcare Investment Banking at Tegris LLC weighed in on how best to prepare for an interview.

Have a clear idea of not only the company, but also the position for which you are applying.  What does the job to which you are applying actually entail and what does the day-to-day look like?  For example Sales is different than trading which is different than investment banking which is different than research which is different than commercial banking which is different than compliance or operations. It is important to know the difference going into the job interview.  Nothing turns a future employer off more than a candidate who comes in and doesn’t know what job he or she is interviewing for.

Below is a description of various finance related positions

Guide to College Majors in Finance

Understand the difference between the types of financial instruments. Corporates vs. municipals vs. derivatives vs. foreign exchange are all very different.  They each require extremely different workdays and skills.  Understand what they are and how your skills and interest correspond with each one to make the match.

Keep Abreast of the Economy.  Read the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and The Economist for a few weeks before the interview.  You should be informed on the big picture markets and current events.

Know how to perform key financial analysis.  It is important to understand how to calculate EBITDA and free cash flow to be able to run a discounted cash flow analysis.  Knowing how to perform and interpret these key financial metrics is important to demonstrate your financial knowledge.

Focus the interview on how you think, not canned answers Investment banks and top tier consulting firms want to understand how prospective candidates think through complex situations.  Bain & Co., Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and McKinsey provide practice case studies to help you practice thinking through investment or consulting recommendations.

Bain and Company Interview Tips and Case Studies

BCG Case Studies

McKinsey Case Studies and Interview Tips

Good luck on the interviews!

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