Interview Prep Advice

Congratulations, you’ve been invited to interview! As a Career Advisor and former industry professional, I have conducted hundreds of real and mock interviews for finance professionals. Compiled below is an overview of my core advice on how to best prepare for an interview. Good luck!

Always Be Prepared to Answer these Questions:

  • Tell me about yourself / walk me through your resume.
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • Why are you interested in this specific role?
  • Why did you choose your major(s)? Why MFin?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a time that you failed or made a mistake.
  • What is your proudest accomplishment? Biggest contribution?
  • Tell me about a time you had conflict in the workplace. What was the conflict and what did you do?
  • Describe your leadership and/or teamwork style. Provide specific example(s) that illustrate how you work in teams.
  • What sets you apart from other candidates? Why you?
  • A current events/news question. Example: Tell me something you’ve read in the news lately and how you think it will impact the markets (or deals/transaction volumes).

… And, be prepared to ask questions! Remember that interviews are an opportunity for you to learn about the role, the team and company. In this role, will you be able to apply your skills and knowledge, as well as build upon them? Will the team dynamics create a productive environment for your preferred work-style? Is the company culture a fit for you?  Asking questions during an interview demonstrates interest in the role. Imagine if you were start working there today: what questions might you have?

Additional General Advice:

  • Practice out loud – even if it’s to yourself! Better if you can practice with a peer. Club members and even alumni will often offer their time and support to help you prepare. You can also sign up for behavioral mock-interviews with the CDO and leverage the online interview prep resources found on Your CDO.
  • S-T-A-R stories – Answer questions using the STAR story format. Situation Task Action Result. (Example: “We were trying to understand hedge fund performance attribution and my manager asked me identify key factors. I gathered data across 100+ hedge funds over 10 years and built a dynamic model to analyze trends. We identified two important factors.”) Sharing your experience as STAR stories provides structure and format – this makes it easier for the interviewer to follow and retain. It also shows YOUR contribution and highlights the RESULTS! Remember that stories/specific examples provide evidence and are most impactful. Speak to results when you can.
  • Give structure to your answers – Another helpful technique can be to structure your answers. It often works best when asked an open-ended question, such as “Why this company?”. Your reply may be something like: “there are many reasons, but it boils down to 3. It’s 1) research-driven, 2) analytical, and 3) tied to the markets.” Then you can elaborate on your points. “1. I love diving deep to understand a problem and the research-driven focus of your company speaks to my interests and background, 2. I enjoy assessing…. And 3) I’m passionate about the markets. They are dynamic and continue to change will always creates a challenging work place…” This strategy also helps you know when to STOP talking, because after you’ve listed your 3 reasons, you can say “so those are the 3 main reasons.” It also helps the interviewer follow you because you’ve outlined your main points.
  • Speak clearly and at a pace that’s easy to follow! Students tend to speak faster when they are nervous. Make sure to speak at a pace that the interviewer can follow. Especially when you are telling your story – you know yourself and have prepared for this question, but the interviewer doesn’t you, so don’t rush this answer! Give the interviewer (or AI) time to process your response.

Additional Interview Prep Resources:

  • The CDO has sample interview questions available to you under the Career Resources section on the MFin page on Your CDO. While majority focus on behavioral prep, there are some technical questions available, too.
  • CDO Workshop on “How to Prepare for Behavioral Interviews” is a great opportunity for additional advice. If you are unable to attend, read the slides posted on Your CDO following the session.
  • Wall Street Prep: Provides interview questions (and recommended answer techniques), as well as learning modules to help you prepare for modeling and technical questions.
  • Management Consulted: Offers interview questions for you to practice and receive virtual/AI feedback. It’s also found under the Career Resources section on the MFin Your CDO page.
  • HireVue interviews: Read this article for advice on how to prepare for an on-demand interview.
By Laura Angoff
Laura Angoff Senior Associate Director, Specialty Masters Career Education Laura Angoff