By Victor Paquet (Mergersight Operations) and Carlo Leopardi & Tommaso Arona (Boston University partners)
This question is arguably the most important behavioral question. It gives you the opportunity to show-off to the recruiter that you have spent time researching about the firm.
While researching a firm:
- Make sure you are up-to-date with the firm’s recent deals, and know at least 1 deal in-depth (check out our website www.mergersight.com where detailed reports on deals are categorised by Financial and Legal Advisors).
- Know their CEO and other key executives.
- Learn how the firm is structured via their homepage or speaking with current employees.
- Speak to as many people as you can at the firm (Important so that you can name drop them when discussing company culture).
Aim to find about 3 reasons why something about this firm appeals/relates to you.
Think about perhaps a specific business model characteristic of the firm (e.g., industry, bulge bracket vs. elite boutique, financing vs. advisory) and why/how that particular characteristic would improve your own professional development.
Another answer to give would be commenting on a highly specific aspect of the firm (one that cannot be applied to other firms), perhaps an aspect which also the firm is very proud of. This may include a specific firm policy, a specific recent deal, a new division or growing part of the business that characterizes the firm. Speak about how that particular aspect appeals/relates to your own endeavors.
Additionally, it is very important to convey to the recruiter that you are the right fit for the company culture. The investment banking industry is notorious for its long work hours, so recruiters want to ensure that you could get along with people at the firm. Name drop people you have spoken to previously at the firm, and how they have been extremely helpful and thoughtful. If the firm is known to be intense, you can mention how you admire people’s work ethic and intelligence.
Ultimately, try to convince the recruiter that you really want to work at that firm and that you have done your research. Attempt to do this by applying your life and professional experiences to the narrative.