Investment Banking Interview Questions & Answers - FAQ - IBI

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Investment Banking FAQ

Over the past ten years, we have compiled a number of frequently asked questions. We have chosen the most relevant (and popular) and have published them in this section.

Investment Banking Training with IBI

Q: What can I add to my resume (and cover letter) when I finish this training program?

A: The skills that you acquire at IBI can be summarized on your resume in approximately 6 bullet points, depending on which you choose to add. Your cover letter should also be modified to include a paragraph stating that you can perform any first-year financial analyst or associate function. Keep in mind that all investment banking, private equity, and hedge fund interviewers will be scanning resumes for exactly those types of skills. (We individually guide every student through their resume (and cover letter) revision, interview preparation, and job search. This service can be arranged with any of our bankers or directors, is included in the tuition, and can begin as soon as your reservation is made).

Q: What's the best way for me to know if this program will help me reach my career goals?

A: As we previously mentioned, IBI has trained over 34,000 students and professionals over the past 14 years. Whether you were referred by a friend or even if you stumbled upon our website, the best way to find out if this program is a good fit for you is to simply give us a call. It will only take a few minutes, and one of our career counselors will help sort out all of your questions in no time.

Q: What differentiating factors set IBI apart from its competitors?

A: Here are specific points which set IBI apart in our approach to optimal training:
  • We offer the same financial modeling training program provided by Investment Banks, PE firms, and Hedge Funds
  • We tailor resume revision, interview preparation, mock interviews, and placement to individual students
  • Financial modeling and valuation analysis proficiency guaranteed after 28 hours of live training
  • Our financial modeling training programs are led by seasoned investment bankers with extensive transaction experience
  • We offer the longest training duration (1 full month, 28 hours of training)
  • We customize your class sessions to fit your professional schedule
  • You can make-up and/or re-take classes indefinitely, included in the tuition at no extra charge
  • Computer laptops provided to trainees upon request
  • Full time staff available for continued support and career advancement beyond the live training

Q: Is this only an investment banking course? What type of jobs and careers is the IBI training applicable to?

A: The IBI course is applicable to the following financial careers:
  • Investment Banking (Boutique, Mid-Market, and Bulge-Bracket)
  • Private Equity
  • Hedge Funds
  • Equity Reseach (Buy-Side and Sell-Side)
  • Asset Management
  • Corporate Finance and Strategy (Fortune 500 Finance Departments)
  • Private Wealth Management
In addition, the course will benefit business owners, IT professionals, corporate executives, attorneys, and accountants who are involved with financial transactions, private equity and hedge fund investments, or who may have reason to work with, hire, or negotiate against investment bankers and/or are interested in learning more about the finance industry and financial modeling.

In general, any high-paying finance job will require knowledge of the skills found on our syllabus. Valuation and financial modeling are an integral part of the day to day responsibilities of any finance professional. Click for a selected list of corporations and universities from which students and professionals have joined IBI.

Q: I don't want to feel like I'm listening to a lecture. Will IBI give me personalized instruction from senior bankers?

A: The most unique aspect of our financial modeling training is the interaction with the instructor that our small classes provide. Our instructors are seasoned bankers from large, well known firms with years of experience and expertise gained from hundreds of transactions. (Please call to request the resume and transaction experience of any of our Bankers/Instructors).

As a student, you will learn firsthand every aspect of investment banking and private equity as if you were working in your first year as a financial analyst or associate. You will also learn by interacting with the instructor; you will build financial models along with the banker in the classroom. Every aspect of financial modeling will be covered, from structuring LBOs and mergers to analyzing companies using all the traditional valuation methodologies.

Q: Is IBI affiliated with any other institutions?

The Investment Banking Institute is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:

The Investment Banking Institute Financial Modeling and Valuation Training Program has been accepted by the CFP Board for Continuing Education credit. 28.5 hours of CE credit have been granted by the CFP Board. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS will have their CE credit submitted automatically by providing their CFP Board ID number, and the last 4 digits of their Social Security number at the time of registration.

IBI University Training

Q: I am trying to enter the industry. How can this financial modeling training program help me?

A: Since inception, IBI has focused on training two distinct types of individuals: professionals who are already in the finance industry but seeking to refresh, or fine tune their existing financial modeling skills and individuals who are seeking to enter the finance industry. For those seeking to break into the finance industry, the Investment Banking Institute has implemented an approach which has helped numerous graduates from the program secure highly sought after jobs. Our commitment to your success goes far beyond the 8-session training (that's just the first step).

Over the years, our experience has demonstrated that the most effective method of breaking into the finance industry is through a carefully crafted plan. Below you will find necessary steps for an effectively structured job search:
  • Obtain high quality valuation and financial modeling training from seasoned Bankers with billions of dollars of transferable transaction experience
  • Demonstrate those skills on your resume, adding the relevant bullet points from your training experience
  • Master interviewing skills: learn interview Q & A's, practice mock interviews and gain confidence by knowing exactly what to say in a real interview
  • Learn how to send your resume to the most appropriate firms, including hundreds of midsize banks, PE firms, boutiques and equity research firms
  • Review and practice these finance skills, return to IBI as many times as needed to keep your skills up to date (no charge) and consult with us until you begin your job, or even later on if you need to refresh for any reason
  • Understand the interview follow-up process, and know exactly what to do during your first month of the job and how to add value from day one
Throughout this process, we take an individual, one-on-one approach in helping our trainees achieve their goals. Our training never ends at session 8. (For more information on this topic, please call our offices and ask to speak with any of our Directors)

Q: What is the difference between Investment Banking and Private Equity?

A: This question has to be answered in two parts; (i) from a valuation methodology perspective and (ii) from an agent vs. principal perspective. First, and most importantly, from a valuation (financial modeling) point of view, both Investment Banking and Private Equity are identical. This is due to the fact that the same traditional valuation methods are required for both practices, meaning that although the buyers (or sellers) change, their targets do not (i.e. whether an I-Bank or a PE Fund is doing the valuation on a target, the same methodologies will be used). This is why so many Private Equity professionals launch their careers at Investment Banks. In short, if you can effectively perform all the functions of an investment banker, you can transition those skills into private equity.

The second part of this answer has to do with the agent vs. principal investor role taken by each respective practice. This, of course, is where investment banking and private equity differ. Simply stated, the investment banker executes transactions (does deals) on behalf of his clients, whereas the private equity practitioner will execute transactions on behalf of his Fund (I-Bankers use their clients' money and assets, PE Firms use their own). Again, the valuation side is identical but the investor side is different. Most private equity firms will require a year or two of investment banking experience before hiring a professional. They are simply stricter when handling their own money than when handling their clients' funds.

Q: If I learn how to do what's on your syllabus, will I know more about valuation and financial modeling than an Ivy League MBA?

A: Absolutely, yes. Even finance majors from the best schools will admit that they cannot build a fully integrated LBO model or a full blown Merger Model. There are simply no classes (especially small 25 person classes like ours) that will teach this particular skill. If you are able to perform these tasks efficiently, you will certainly stand out in any interview. We have trained many non-MBAs and MBAs as well, how to successfully model financial statements using a number of traditional valuation methodologies.

Keep in mind that what we teach is not a class; it is a training program, the exact same training program you would be exposed to at any major financial institution in New York or anywhere else around the world. In short, our syllabus answers the question: "What do I need to know to be an effective analyst or associate at any I-bank or PE Firm?"

Q: Once I complete the financial modeling training program, what materials will I get to keep?

A: Our deliverables are a very integral part of our program. We designed this 4 week course to teach you how to become an effective analyst or associate; part of that training includes giving you a detailed reference library which you can use throughout your investment career. Once you finish the course, you will have all the slides (over 500), all the Excel based financial models and any other handouts offered in each session. They will be in electronic format, set up to easily print if you decide. This is an invaluable tool, as you will be able to use the Excel templates and reference materials at any firm where you become a financial analyst or associate.

Course Materials Included with Tuition:
  • 4 Week IBI Financial Modeling Training: Eight 3.5-Hour Sessions taught by a Senior Banker
  • CD-ROMs with all class materials and Financial Models
  • Training Manuals and Case-Studies, including Distressed Security Analysis
  • Detailed reusable, modifiable Excel model templates
  • Prerequisite Materials sent electronically in advance
  • Personalized resume and cover letter revision
  • Interview preparation, career advice, and job contacts
  • 200 page electronic manual, "IBI Desktop Guide to Valuation and Financial Modeling: A Practical Approach"

Q: I have just been offered a job in investment banking (or private equity) and the firm has a training program once I start. Would I still need to take your financial modeling training program?

A: Intuitively it would seem that it no longer makes sense to take our financial modeling training, since you have already been hired and will also be trained. However, there are two more factors to consider which are not so obvious (unless you have worked in banking for years and understand their process). The first factor is gaining a lead over the other trainees, as the training period in the bank will be very competitive and decisive to your future at the bank. Being able to perform better than your peers, (by already knowing the material) during the training will qualify you to (i) be chosen by a higher quality group, i.e. leveraged finance versus the generalist group (ii) start working on live deals, rather than pitch books (live deals go on your resume, pitch books do not).

The second factor is training method. When you are trained at a bank, many times the training will be led by second year financial analysts and associates, who not only see you as their future competition, but are also very busy working on their own transactions. The training is very good; however, there is a palpable sink or swim atmosphere to contend with, as the analysts in charge of the training simply do not have the time to answer all your questions. Being trained before starting at a bank or private equity firm will immediately put you at the head of your training program once you are inside. Consider how important your future is to you.

Q: How will this course help me in an interview?

A: To reiterate, this is a comprehensive investment banking and financial modeling training program. The skills taught by IBI are exactly what you need as your foundation when joining an I-bank (bulge bracket or boutique), private equity, or hedge fund. You can expect AT LEAST 85% of the technical questions you are asked in an interview to be taken directly from the material you learned at IBI. IBI will also show you what to expect from the rest of the interview, and help you prepare for it. The IBI team is composed of accomplished investment bankers who have spent significant time hiring and training Financial Analysts and Associates, they know from experience what you will learn over time. If you are looking for the inside edge, this is it.

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