Harvard MBA candidate Alex Song, who previously worked at Bain Capital and Morgan Stanley,
has some excellent advice on Quoraon how to crush an investment management interview.
Interviewing in investment management is supposed to be really challenging.
However, Song simplifies it by breaking the interview process down into two key parts — behavioural (basically everything about you as a person) and skills/knowledge.
Here’s his advice (emphasis ours):
The interview can be broken down into 2 portions:
- Behavioural: the most important thing is to emphasising your work ethic, passion for the markets, passion for investing, good team player, and strong sense of morals. At the end of the day, they want someone decently pleasant to work with, and dependable when it comes to work. THIS IS NOT EASY. Everything I just said sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised at how difficult it is to appear normal and well-grounded in an interview setting.
- Skills/knowledge: Make sure you convey the fact that you really know your stuff when it comes to the markets. Make sure you read the WSJ/FT/NYT and know all the recent deals and recent drivers of the markets. Be able to talk about upcoming catalysts for both the markets and individual relevant stocks. Since you’re focusing on equities, you should absolutely have a stock pitch prepared.
Your game plan should be to come up with the rough content of what you want to say (write it out, bullet points, etc., whatever works for you). And then practice practice practice. Ask a friend to mock interview you and work on your delivery. Get constant feedback. You can always do better than the last time.
The stock pitch is definitely important. Another Quora user, Sanjeev Vaidyanathan, emphasised that people wanting to get into investment management need to prepare way in advance.
Stock pitch(es): you have to pitch 1-3 stocks, Buy or Sell. The prep time for this is anywhere between 1 to 3 months as you understand the companies’ business models, estimate their future performance and fair value of stock price with models and, most important of all, create the investment theses that support the Buy or Sell decisions. I would say prepare 2-3 stock pitches well but have 4-5 more additional ideas as well. Usually this takes 50-60% of the interview time – even more in the initial rounds.
We’ve heard this before. Hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson told us that if you want a job with him, you need to send him an idea, not a résumé. Daniel Loeb of Third Point has also asked recruits in the past for their best investment ideas.
Now start preparing.