20 Investment Banking Interview Questions Every Fresher Must Be Ready For

Welcome to the thrilling world of investment banking interviews! 

You all must already be knowing that investment banking is a financial service that helps companies raise capital and advises on financial transactions. Well, it seems like you’re not here just to learn but to become a pro in this diverse field, gearing up for those challenging interviews! Right?

Now, you might wonder why these interviews are such a big deal, especially for freshers like you. 

Imagine this: You’ve just entered the world of finance, full of ambition and with stars in your eyes. Your attention has been drawn to the fast-paced environment of investment banking and its potential for significant rewards. But hey, breaking into this prestigious industry is no walk in the park. Interviews for investment banking come into play at that point and are really important.

Being prepared and knowledgeable about common investment banking interview questions is like having a well-sharpened sword before heading into battle.

Let me break it down for you: 

  • First Impressions Count: Nailing those common interview questions sets the tone for the entire conversation. When you answer with confidence and precision, it shows you mean business, and that’s an instant win.
  • Demonstrate Your Interest: Nothing says “I’m serious about this job” better than knowing your stuff. When you’re well-prepped, you showcase your passion for the industry, and interviewers love that enthusiasm.
  • Ace the Technical: Investment banking is all about numbers, figures, and financial know-how. Expect questions on valuation, financial modeling, and market trends. Having those answers ready makes you a hot commodity.
  • Ask Intelligent Questions: Interviews are a two-way street. When you’re well-prepared, you can ask insightful questions about the company, projects, and team dynamics. It shows you’re genuinely interested in being a part of their world.
  • Stand Out from the Crowd: Investment banking is a competitive world, my friend. When you answer questions with finesse and depth, you stand out in a sea of applicants, making you memorable to the interviewers.

During these interviews, it’s not just about knowing your way around the balance sheets and income statements (although, that’s essential too!). Still, it’s also about showcasing the right attitude, communication prowess, and a penchant for thinking on your feet.

The importance of investment banking interviews for freshers comes in the fact that they serve as a springboard for your ideal career by getting you a job at a reputable investment bank, which can then lead to doors opening to amazing chances for you.

However, there’s still more! 

So, in this essay, we’ll provide you with the information and insights you need to ace these important questions. We have you covered for everything from the technical tidbits that will impress the interviewers to the soft skills that project confidence and charisma. 

When we’re done, you’ll be prepared to ace those interviews and equipped with the skills necessary to dazzle, persuade, and land a position in the glamorous field of investment banking.

Infact if  you’re looking to pursue a career in Investment banking, we’ll also tell you about IMS Proschool, a premium institution that can provide you the right guidance and make your interview preparation journey a breeze.

Understanding the Investment Banking Interview Process

Just like any interview an investment banking interview has a typical structure and format. Think of it as our very own behind-the-scenes tour of what to expect when you’re expecting an interview:

  1.  Warm-Up Round: It is important in investment banking interviews for new hires because the goal at the beginning is to establish a rapport. It about finding out more about you than just your resume is the key.
  2. Grilling Techniques: The actual action starts right here! Be prepared for a flurry of technical inquiries. They will delve deeply into capital markets, accounting and finance ideas, and perhaps even valuation techniques. Remember that they want to see how you react to financial pressure.
  3. Behavioral Exploration: Time to show off your interpersonal skills! Be prepared for behavioral questions that gauge your teamwork, problem-solving ability, and how you handle challenges. Stories of your past achievements and how you overcame hurdles will shine here.
  4.  Q&A Showdown: The tables turn, and you get to ask your own questions. This is your chance to demonstrate a genuine interest in the firm, its culture, and the projects you might be working on. Be inquisitive, and show them you’ve done your homework.
  5. Final Flourish: As the interview wraps up, there’s often a chance for some closing remarks. A last opportunity to leave a positive impression or mention anything you feel is essential to your candidacy.

Be ready for a lengthy procedure because the interview process normally lasts 3-6 weeks, but it occasionally takes 3 months or longer. 

Candidates often go through 4 steps while applying for a full-time post or an internship program:

  • A cover letter and resume shortlisting
  • Tests of aptitude (for some candidates)
  • First Round of Interviews to gauge your technical knowledge
  • Interviews in the final round/Super Day

As someone who is planning to prepare for investment banking interviews, you must remember that each interview might have its unique twists and turns, but this general structure sets the stage for what lies ahead.

Now let’s further understand the structure of this interview.

Investing banking interviews are a combination of 3 crucial aspects and mastering these only increases your chances of landing that perfect job: 

  1. Technical Knowledge: In the fast-paced world of investment banking, technical expertise is like gold. Having a solid understanding of finance, accounting, and capital markets is non-negotiable. 

Here’s why it matters so much:

  • Proving Your Competence: Demonstrating your grasp of complex financial concepts shows that you can handle the challenges of the job with finesse.
  • Building Credibility: When you confidently discuss valuation methods, financial modeling, or market trends, it establishes your credibility in the eyes of the interviewers. They want someone who can speak the language of finance fluently.
  • Handling High-Stress Situations: Knowing your technical stuff prepares you to tackle tough situations, where precise decision-making is vital.
  1. Behavioral Questions: Investment banking isn’t just about crunching numbers; it’s also about teamwork, communication, and adaptability.
  • Cultural Fit: Investment banks value team players who can collaborate effectively. Behavioral questions help them gauge if you’ll fit into the company culture and work well with the existing team.
  • Problem-Solving Abilities: How you’ve handled challenges in the past speaks volumes about how you’ll tackle future obstacles.
  • Leadership Potential: Employers want to identify future leaders. Your responses to behavioral questions can highlight instances where you took the lead or demonstrated strong initiative.
  1. Case Studies: Ah, the ultimate test of your analytical skills! Case studies put you in real-world scenarios and assess your ability to think critically and come up with practical solutions. Here’s why they’re a big deal:
  • Practical Application of Knowledge: Case studies bridge the gap between theory and practice. Interviewers want to see if you can apply your technical knowledge to real business challenges.
  • Simulating On-the-Job Scenarios: Investment banking involves making informed decisions in uncertain situations. Case studies mirror this reality and help interviewers gauge your decision-making process.
  • Differentiating Candidates: Solving a case study effectively sets you apart from other candidates. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities and creativity.

Also Read – How to Become an Investment Banker in India?

Top Investment Banking Interview Questions for Freshers

In this section, we’ll thoroughly explore crucial questions commonly asked in investment banking interviews, covering everything from understanding the queries to providing guidance on how to prepare effectively.

So, whether you’re a recent graduate or a fresher with a passion for finance, having a thorough understanding of the fundamental investment banking interview questions is essential. 

Here we will delve into the core investment banking interview questions that freshers should be well-prepared to answer, equipping you with the confidence to face the challenges of the hiring process

Let’s break down the two major types of job openings in Investment Banking – Front Office and Back Office 

Front Office

Back Office

Definition  Front Office is where all the action happens! 

Front Office professionals are like the face of the bank; they interact with clients, make deals, and play a critical role in generating profits for the firm.

Back Office is the backbone that ensures everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.

They handle all the administrative and support functions, making sure the Front Office deals are executed seamlessly.

  1. Investment Banker
  2. Sales and Trading
  3. Private Wealth Management
  4. Research Analyst
  1. Operations Specialist
  2. Risk Management
  3. Compliance Officer
  4. Financial Control 
Importance  Front Office generates revenue and builds client relationships Back Office ensures smooth operations, risk mitigation, and compliance, making the entire operation efficient and trustworthy.

Both types of roles are essential in the dynamic world of Investment Banking, contributing to the overall success and reputation of the firm.

After understanding the process and differences, let’s dive into some questions.

So let’s begin with the most crucial query. 


This is an important subject given how difficult it is to break into the investment banking industry. Being an investment banker requires a lot of labor, long hours, and hard work. Candidates that are passionate about investment banking and have the drive to succeed in the industry are sought after by employers. 

You can more effectively strike these points by preparing a response to the following questions:

  • Why investment banking is so important to you?
  • How do you envision a career in investment banking?
  • What aspect of investment banking excites you?

Bonus Tip – Though less distinctive replies like “I like corporate finance” or “I enjoy fast-paced environments” are acceptable, they won’t help you stand out. Your response will be more genuine if you can identify your personal connection to investment banking and what drives your love for the industry.

You might have noticed that the two main formats for all of the questions above are as follows: 

  • General nature- such as “Why investment banking?” or “Why should we hire you?” that call for specific responses
  • Scenario queries- ‘Tell me about a time.’ that can be addressed by employing a repeatable framework

Moving next we have the top 10 front office interview questions you might be asked in an investment banking interview. Get started by looking at some exciting questions and how to answer them!

Top 10 front office interview questions 

Q1. How would you explain the role of the front office in investment banking and its significance in driving deals and financial market activities?

Explanation: The front office in investment banking plays a crucial role in driving deals and financial market activities. It serves as the face of the firm, directly engaging with clients and managing relationships. Front office professionals are responsible for originating and executing deals, such as mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings (IPOs), and other capital-raising transactions. They work closely with corporate clients and investors to provide tailored financial solutions, ensuring the smooth flow of transactions and maximizing profitability.

Tips to answer this question:

  • Highlight your client interaction skills.
  • Showcase any deal-making experience you’ve had in the past.
  • Demonstrate market knowledge.
  • Emphasize your teamwork abilities and problem-solving skills.

Q2. Can you demonstrate your understanding of various financial markets, such as equity, fixed income, foreign exchange, and commodities?

Explanation: Start by mentioning that a comprehensive understanding of different financial markets is essential for success in investment banking.

Mention that: 

  • Equity market, investors trade ownership stakes in publicly listed companies, seeking capital appreciation and dividends. 
  • Fixed-income market involves buying and selling debt securities, providing a steady income stream with a defined maturity. 
  • Foreign exchange, or forex, is the largest and most liquid market globally, where currencies are bought and sold to profit from exchange rate fluctuations.
  •  Lastly, the commodities market deals with the trading of physical goods like gold, oil, and agricultural products, offering opportunities for hedging and speculation.

Tips to enhance this answer:

  • Provide Examples: Incorporate real-world examples to illustrate how these markets function and impact investment decisions and highlight how these markets are interconnected and influence each other. 
  • Relate to Investment Banking: Connect each market’s relevance to investment banking services, such as underwriting IPOs, issuing bonds, or providing forex hedging solutions.
  • Link to Global Economy: Explain how fluctuations in these markets can reflect broader economic trends and geopolitical events, indicating a macroeconomic perspective.

Q3. What factors do you consider when evaluating potential investment opportunities or deals in the financial markets?

Explanation: Start by mentioning that when you evaluate potential investment opportunities or deals in the financial markets, you consider a few critical factors. What are those critical factors?

  • Keen eye on the current market trends: Knowing where things are headed in the future. It helps one gauge the growth potential and any possible risks associated with the investment. 
  • Dig into the company’s financial performance and valuation metrics
  • Industry analysis is also a big one for you and understanding the competitive landscape and growth prospects helps you assess the company’s position within its sector. 
  • Don’t overlook the regulatory environment: This point would make sure that you leave a positive impact on the interviewers making them realize that going forward you will provide the best advice to the clients.

Tips to enhance this answer:

  • Emphasize Due Diligence: Stress the importance of conducting thorough research and due diligence on the investment opportunity.
  • Link to Client Goals: Discuss how you align investment opportunities with your client’s specific goals and risk appetite.
  • Discuss Macro Factors: Briefly touch on how broader economic conditions and geopolitical events factor into your investment analysis.

Q4. How do you stay updated with market trends, economic indicators, and geopolitical events that can impact investment decisions?

Explanation: To effectively answer this question, it is essential to stay informed by regularly reading newspapers and financial news, and keeping track of the latest trends and events. 

Engaging in the following activities will enhance knowledge and facilitate a comprehensive response.

  • Financial News Sources: Regularly follow reputable financial news sources such as The economic times, Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal. These publications provide in-depth coverage of global markets and the latest economic developments.
  • Economic Research Reports: Rely on economic research reports from reputable institutions like IMF, World Bank, and central banks. These reports offer valuable insights into economic trends and forecasts.
  • Industry Reports and Analyst Notes: Keep an eye on industry-specific reports and analyst notes to stay updated on sector-specific developments and potential investment opportunities.
  • Participating in Conferences and Seminars: Attending industry conferences and seminars allows me to network with experts and gain valuable insights into emerging trends and opportunities.

Tips to enhance this answer:

  • Emphasize Proactivity: Highlight your proactive approach in seeking out information and staying ahead of market trends.
  • Link to Investment Strategies: Explain how this up-to-date knowledge directly impacts your investment strategies and client recommendations.
  • Continuing Education: Stress the importance of continuously educating yourself through courses, webinars, or certifications in finance and economics.

We know investment banking interview questions can sometimes feel like a tough nut to crack. But guess what? At IMS Proschool, they’ve got you covered! They teach you exactly how to master those tricky investment banking interview questions and ace all your answers like a pro!

Q5. Describe the process of deal origination, from identifying potential clients to executing transactions in the front office.

Explanation: This may appear to be a challenging question, but the key is to break it down into simple steps. 

Identify potential clients The first step is to identify potential clients who may be interested in selling their businesses or raising capital. This can be done through a variety of channels, such as attending industry events, networking with other professionals, and conducting online research.
Qualify potential clients You then need to qualify them to determine if they are a good fit for your firm. This involves understanding their business, their financial situation, and their goals
Develop the deal thesis This is a document that outlines your investment thesis for the deal, including your analysis of the target company, your valuation, and your exit strategy.
Pitch the deal to potential investors If you are a venture capital firm, you will need to pitch the deal to potential investors. This involves presenting your deal thesis and convincing investors that the deal is a good investment.
Negotiate the terms of the deal If you can secure funding from investors, you will need to negotiate the terms of the deal with the target company. This includes the purchase price, the structure of the deal, and the rights and obligations of the parties involved.
Execute the deal This involves closing the financing, completing the due diligence, and transferring ownership of the target company.

The deal origination process can be long and complex, but it is an essential step in the investment process.

Q6. Can you provide examples of successful deals or transactions that you believe had a significant impact on the market or your organization?

Explanation:  The purchase of Company X by our company is one notable instance of a successful transaction that had a substantial effect on the market. With the addition of a new client base and an expanded product line, this purchase helped our business develop in terms of market share and revenue. The agreement strengthened our position as a major player in the sector and our competitive edge.

Tips for answering the question:

  • Mention the deal or transaction by name and provide key details about its impact on the market or organization.
  • Emphasize how the deal brought positive changes and advantages to the company.
  • If possible, include quantifiable data to showcase the deal’s significance, such as increased market share, revenue growth, or cost savings.

Q7. How do you approach client relationship management in the front office, and what strategies do you employ to build strong and lasting connections?

Explanation: When it comes to client relationship management in the front office, mention that you believe in putting the client first. Your approach is all about understanding their needs, actively listening to what they have to say, and tailoring solutions accordingly.

To build strong and lasting connections, focus on a few key strategies: 

  • Communication is paramount: Make sure to stay in touch regularly, respond promptly, and be there whenever they need assistance to build trust.
  • Additional advice: You also believe in going the extra mile to provide value to your clients. Whether it’s offering personalized advice, keeping them informed with relevant information, or anticipating their future needs, you show that you genuinely care about their success.
  • Form a connection: Taking the time to know your clients beyond just business discussions helps you forge a real connection and better understand their goals and challenges.

Tips for answering the question:

  • Showcase client-centricity: Highlight your focus on understanding and meeting clients’ needs.
  • Emphasize value delivery: Mention going above and beyond to provide valuable solutions.

Q8. What skills and traits do you possess that make you a suitable fit for a front-office role in investment banking?

Explanation: While this question may appear simple, it holds significant value in your interview.

Let’s understand the essential skills and traits required for investment bankers, as we explore what makes a person well-suited for a front-office role in this field.

Skill/ Trait  Role
  • Strong Analytical Abilities
The ability to analyze financial data, assess market trends, and make informed decisions is crucial in investment banking.
  • Attention to Detail 
Precision and accuracy are vital, as even small errors can have significant consequences in financial transactions.
  • Excellent Communication Skills
Effective communication is necessary to interact with clients, negotiate deals, and work collaboratively with team members.
  • Adaptability
Investment banking is fast-paced and subject to market fluctuations, so being adaptable and quick on one’s feet is essential.
  • Problem-Solving Skills
Dealing with complex financial situations requires creative problem-solving abilities.
  • Financial Knowledge
A solid understanding of financial concepts, markets, and instruments is fundamental in this role.
  • Relationship Building
Building and maintaining strong relationships with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders is critical for success in investment banking.
  • Ethical Conduct
Upholding high ethical standards is vital, as investment banking involves handling sensitive financial matters.
  • Continuous Learning
Staying updated on industry trends and developments ensures relevance and competence in the field.

But can a single person have all these skills? 

In the interview, your goal is to convincingly demonstrate that you possess the ideal combination of technical skills, interpersonal abilities, and a strong work ethic, making you a perfect fit for a front-office role in investment banking.

Q9. How do you handle high-pressure situations and tight deadlines that are common in front-office positions?

Explanation: The trick to answering this question is to highlight your strengths:

  • Handling high-pressure situations and tight deadlines, you thrive on the challenge: You start by prioritizing tasks and creating a clear plan of action to manage your time efficiently and ensure meeting deadlines without compromising quality.
  • Remaining calm and composed is your strong suit:  even in the face of pressure. You take deep breaths and stay focused on the task at hand, allowing yourself to think rationally and make well-informed decisions.
  • You understand the power of teamwork: you are not afraid to seek support from your colleagues when the pressure is on. 
  • Proactively communicate with stakeholders: keeping them informed about your progress and any potential hurdles you might encounter.

You know what’s awesome?  At IMS Proschool, the investment banking course ensures you’re well-prepared to enhance all the crucial skills and excel in your interviews! Their students even receive placement support and undergo mock interviews, enabling them to handle high-pressure situations with greater confidence compared to other candidates.   

Also Read – 10 Essential skills for a successful Career In Investment Banking

Q10. Can you discuss the ethical considerations that are crucial in front office roles, especially when dealing with clients’ financial interests?

Explanation: As an investment banking professional, you must firmly believe that maintaining ethical standards is non-negotiable.

  • Transparency is key: Mention that it’s essential to be upfront with clients about potential risks, rewards, and any conflicts of interest that may arise during financial transactions.
  • Confidentiality is paramount: Clients trust us with sensitive financial information, and we must uphold their privacy and safeguard their data with the utmost care.
  • Avoiding any form of insider trading or market manipulation is crucial: We must strictly adhere to laws and regulations to ensure fair and ethical practices in all dealings.
  • Maintaining objectivity and avoiding any biases in our advice or decision-making process is essential:  We must provide unbiased guidance that serves the client’s needs and objectives.

Tips for answering the question:

  • Highlight confidentiality: Mention the significance of protecting clients’ sensitive information.
  • Avoid unethical practices: Discuss the need to steer clear of insider trading or market manipulation.
  • Prioritize clients’ interests: Show your commitment to putting clients’ needs before personal gain.

Top 10 back office questions:

Q1. What are equity and derivative instruments, and what are the key differences between them?

Explanation:  In simple words, Equity instruments represent ownership in a company, while derivative instruments derive value from an underlying asset without ownership.

In order to explain this question you can use the following points of differences.




Types Common stock, preferred stock, REITs, ETFs, etc. Futures, options, swaps, and

forwards are common types.

Purpose Investors buy equity to gain ownership and share in the company’s profits. Derivatives are used for hedging, speculation, and arbitrage purposes.
Trading Location Equities are traded on stock exchanges like NYSE, NASDAQ, etc Derivatives are primarily traded on specialized derivatives exchanges or OTC

(over-the-counter) markets.


Contract Duration Ownership in equities is perpetual unless sold Derivative contracts have specific expiration dates,

varying from days to years.

Tips for answering the question:

  • Elaborate on the use cases: Provide specific examples for instance, explain how investors use derivatives to hedge against price fluctuations in commodities.
  • Recent market trends: If available, mention any recent developments in the equity and derivatives markets 
  • Practical experience: If you have personal experience or expertise in either equity investments or derivatives trading then showcase your understanding.

Q2. Can you explain the concept of a financial market and its role in the economy?

Explanation: Financial markets play a crucial role in the economy as they are the backbone of the overall financial system. They are platforms where buyers and sellers come together to trade financial assets like stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities. 

Here’s how you can explain the role of financial markets while tackling this question. It’s pretty straightforward, so don’t worry! Just try to relate these points with some examples or your own experiences. 

  • Capital Allocation: Mention that financial markets facilitate the flow of funds from investors to businesses, governments, and individuals, allowing them to raise capital for various purposes.
  • Price Discovery: They determine the fair value of financial assets through the forces of supply and demand, ensuring efficient pricing and allocation of resources.
  • Liquidity: These markets provide a platform for the easy buying/selling of assets, ensuring investors can convert their investments into cash quickly, and promoting market efficiency.
  • Risk Management: They offer various financial instruments, such as derivatives and insurance, allowing participants to hedge against price fluctuations and manage financial risks.
  • Economic Growth: By providing access to capital, financial markets foster economic growth and development by enabling businesses to invest in new projects and technologies.
  • Market Confidence: The stability and efficiency of financial markets contribute to overall market confidence and investor trust in the economy.

All in all, financial markets are like the beating heart of the economy. They help businesses grow, give regular folks like us a chance to invest, make sure everything is priced fairly, and even offer ways to manage risks. 

Without them, our economy would be a lot less dynamic and exciting!

Also Read – How to Successfully Land a Job as Investment Banker

  1. Describe the trade life cycle for equity and derivatives trades, from initiation to settlement.

Explanation: Remember, the trade life cycle is a structured process that ensures seamless and efficient trading operations, allowing you to navigate the equity and derivatives markets with confidence!

This is how you should explain its process in a simplified form.



  • Initiation
  • It all starts with the trade initiation when the individual or the client decides to buy or sell equities or derivatives.
  •  This decision is then communicated to their trading desk or directly to the market.
  • Order Matching and Execution
  • The exchange or trading platform matches the buy order with a corresponding sell order, and then executes the trade at the agreed price.
  • Trade Confirmation
  • Following the completion of the trade, a trade confirmation is received.
  • This document includes all the pertinent trade details, such as the trade date, quantity, price, and other transaction information.
  • Clearing and Settlement: 
  • Here, the exchange or clearinghouse acts as an intermediary, ensuring the smooth transfer of assets and funds between the buyer and seller.
  • Confirmation Matching
  • In some cases, confirmation matching may be required to reconcile the trade details between both parties to ensure accuracy before settlement.
  • Trade Capture and Processing
  • The trade details are captured and processed by the back office team.
  •  This involves verifying the trade information, updating records, and preparing for settlement.
  • Trade Validation and Reconciliation
  • Before settlement, the trade is validated and reconciled to ensure that all parties involved agree on the trade details.
  • Fulfillment and Settlement
  • Finally, the trade is settled, which means the buyer receives the assets, and the seller receives the payment as per the trade terms.
  • Post-Settlement Activities
  • After settlement, post-trade activities such as updating accounting records, generating reports, and regulatory compliance may take place.

Tip: Try including some potential challenges or risks that may arise during the trade life cycle and explain it.

Q4. How do you handle trade discrepancies and resolve trade breaks in the back office?


  1. Trade Confirmation Process: You ensure that all trades are accurately confirmed and documented, cross-checking the trade details with the counterparty’s records.
  2. Investigation and Root Cause Analysis: When a trade discrepancy arises, you promptly investigate the issue by reviewing trade tickets, communication logs, and relevant documentation to identify the root cause.
  3. Communication with Counterparties: You engage in effective communication with the counterparty, discussing the discrepancy and providing supporting evidence to find a resolution collaboratively.
  4. Escalation: If the discrepancy persists, you escalate the matter to the appropriate management level or involve other departments like compliance or legal teams.
  5. Coordinating with Traders and Front Office: You collaborate with traders and the front office team to efficiently resolve trade breaks, leveraging their insights and expertise.
  6. Maintaining Documentation: Throughout the resolution process, you diligently document all steps taken and communications for future reference and audits.
  7. Implementing Preventive Measures: After resolving the trade break, you analyze the underlying cause and work with the team to implement preventive measures, such as process improvements or system enhancements.

Suggestions to make the answer better:

  • Add specific examples or instances where you successfully handled trade discrepancies in your previous role.
  • Demonstrate your technical prowess, mention any specific software or tools you have used in the back office for trade reconciliation.
  • Share your accomplishments if you have expertise utilizing automation or technology-driven solutions to show how forward-thinking you are.

Q5. What are the risks associated with trade settlements, and how do you ensure timely and accurate processing?

Risks Associated with Trade Settlements-

  • Counterparty Risk: There is a risk that the counterparty may default on its obligations, leading to settlement failures.
  • Operational Risk: Errors in trade processing, data entry, or communication can result in settlement delays or inaccuracies.
  • Market Risk: Fluctuations in market prices between trade execution and settlement can lead to financial losses.
  • Liquidity Risk: Inadequate funds or securities to settle trades can cause settlement failures.
  • Regulatory Risk: Non-compliance with regulatory requirements can result in penalties and reputational damage.
  • Technology Risk: System failures or disruptions can hinder the settlement process.

Ensuring Timely and Accurate Processing-

    • Real-time Monitoring: Continuously monitor the settlement process to identify and address potential issues proactively.
    • Reconciliation Procedures: Conduct regular reconciliations between internal records and external sources to catch discrepancies early.
    • Risk Management Protocols: Develop and adhere to comprehensive risk management protocols to mitigate counterparty and market risks.
  • Standardized Documentation:  Ensure all trade-related documents are standardized and accurately filled out to minimize errors.
  • Staff Training: Provide ongoing training to the team to keep them updated on industry best practices and regulatory changes.
  • Contingency Plans: Have well-defined contingency plans in place to address unexpected disruptions or settlement failures.
  • Collaboration with Front Office: Collaborate closely with the front office team to resolve any trade discrepancies promptly.

Tip: If applicable, mention any specific trade settlement software or tools you have used to improve efficiency and reduce operational risks.

Q6. How do you calculate the net asset value (NAV) for mutual funds or hedge funds?

A NAV computation is undertaken once at the end of each trading day based on the closing market prices of the portfolio’s securities. 

The formula for a mutual fund’s NAV calculation is straightforward:

NAV = (Assets – Liabilities) / Total number of outstanding shares

When the holdings in a fund’s portfolio change, the value of the assets of the fund will also change, leading to a change in NAV. Additionally, NAV can change if the fund’s liabilities change.

  • A measure of a fund’s net worth is its net asset value. It resembles shareholder equity, which may be seen on a public company’s balance sheet.
  • Due to their ability to utilize more leverage and purchase esoteric investments, hedge funds are only marginally more complex than mutual funds. 
  • Even so, if you have access to a hedge fund’s financial records, figuring out its net asset value should be rather simple.

Q7. What is the role of a custodian in the back office, and how do they safeguard clients’ assets?

A financial organisation known as a custodian bank is one that stores customer securities in a secure location to guard against theft or loss. It can control how clients’ accounts and transactions are handled, how financial transactions are settled, how assets are tracked, and how tax laws are followed.

Role of a Custodian in the Back Office:

  1. Safekeeping of Assets: The custodian is responsible for securely holding and safeguarding clients’ assets, which can include cash, securities, and other financial instruments.
  2. Settlement of Trades: Custodians facilitate the settlement of trades executed by the client, ensuring the timely and accurate transfer of assets between parties. 
  3. Corporate Actions Processing: Custodians handle corporate actions, such as mergers, acquisitions, and stock splits, ensuring clients’ interests are protected during such events.
  4. Tax Support: They assist clients with tax-related matters concerning their investments, such as tax withholding and reporting.
  5. Proxy Voting: Custodians may help clients exercise their voting rights in companies where they hold securities.Safeguarding Clients’ Assets.
  6. Physical Security Measures: They implement stringent physical security measures at their facilities to protect physical assets like certificates.
  7. Disaster Recovery Plans: They have comprehensive disaster recovery plans to ensure continuity of operations in case of unexpected events.

Tip: If you have experience working with custodians or understand their relationship with other stakeholders in the financial industry, elaborate on it.

Q8.How do you handle corporate actions such as dividends, stock splits, or mergers in the back office?

Here’s how you handle corporate actions such as dividends, stock splits, or mergers in the back office:

  • Monitoring: Regularly monitor corporate action announcements and updates from relevant sources.
  • Verification: Verify the corporate action details and their impact on client holdings.
  • Client Instructions: Seek and process client instructions regarding their preferences for corporate action.
  • Record-Keeping: Maintain accurate records of corporate action processing and client responses.
  • Coordination: Collaborate with other departments, custodians, and external parties involved in corporate action.
  • Execution: Ensure timely and accurate execution of corporate actions on behalf of clients.
  • Reporting: Provide clients with comprehensive reports and updates on the corporate action outcomes.

Suggestions to make the answer better:

  • Consider mentioning any specific corporate action processing systems or tools you are familiar with 
  • Elaborate briefly on the potential challenges or risks associated with corporate action processing and how you address them.

Also Read – CFA Exam and Investment Banking. How to become an investment banker.

Q9. Can you explain the importance of reconciliations in the back office and how you ensure data accuracy?

Reconciliations are vital in the back office to ensure accurate and reliable financial data. 

  • Detecting Errors: Reconciliations help identify discrepancies between internal records and external sources, highlighting potential errors.
  • Mitigating Risks: By comparing data sets, reconciliations reduce operational and financial risks, preventing costly mistakes.
  • Timely Resolutions: Identifying discrepancies early allows for swift resolution and prevents issues from escalating.
  • System Integrity: Reconciliations verify the integrity of systems and data sources, identifying potential vulnerabilities.

Ensuring Data Accuracy

  1. Utilise automated reconciliation solutions to speed up the procedure and reduce human mistake.
  2. Reconciliations should be carried out frequently to identify differences quickly.
  3. Employ specialists with training and attention to detail for correct data handling.
  4. Implement validation checks to ensure that the data are accurate during the reconciliation process.
  5. Investigate and address the underlying reasons for disparities in order to stop them from happening again.

Suggestions to make the answer better:

  • Consider starting the answer with a sentence like, “Reconciliations play a critical role in the back office to maintain data accuracy and financial integrity.”
  • Mention any specific reconciliation software or tools you have experience with to showcase your technical knowledge.

Q10.How do you stay updated with the latest regulations and industry trends related to back-office operations in investment banking?

Mention the following:

  • Industry Publications
  • Professional Associations
  • Regulatory Websites
  • Internal Training
  • Online Resources

These questions might seem a bit difficult but don’t worry,  if you want to stand out from the competition and secure your dream role in investment banking, don’t hesitate to check out IMS Proschool’s Investment Banking course.

Handling difficult or unexpected questions during an investment banking interview can be nerve-wracking, but with the right approach, you can maintain composure and impress the interviewer. 

Here are some tips to help you navigate through such situations:

  1. Remain Calm: As a candidate you need to recognize that pausing to gather your thoughts before reacting is okay. So try to keep your cool and take a few deep breaths before speaking. It is better to maintain composure than to react hastily because the latter is more likely to lead to hasty responses.

Common Answers to Unexpected Questions 

Question: Please describe a time when you confronted a major obstacle and tell how you handled it.

Response: That’s a fascinating question. I’ll need a moment to reflect.  In my prior role, as we raced to finish a customer project, our team ran into unforeseen technology obstacles. We assigned assignments to team members, asked the IT department for assistance, and worked late hours to assure timely delivery in order to solve this difficulty.

  1. Acknowledge the Complexity: It’s crucial to acknowledge the question formally even if you don’t know the answer or it sounds complicated. This demonstrates humility and sincerity, and the interviewer might find your eagerness to learn commendable.

Sample Response

Question:Can you explain the Black-Scholes model and its assumptions?”

Response: “I’ll do my best to remember all the assumptions, but the Black-Scholes model is pretty complex. This mathematical model, which takes into account efficient markets, constant volatility, and the risk-free rate, is used to price options.

  1. Bridge to Related Topics: If you don’t have an immediate response, try to connect the question to a related but more familiar subject. This indicates your capacity for critical analysis and concept synthesis.

Sample Response 

Question: “How do you handle conflicts within a team?”

Response: “While I haven’t seen much conflict within a team, I think that good communication and active listening are essential in clearing up any misunderstandings or conflicts.”

  1. Be Honest and Transparent:

If you don’t know the answer to a technical question, don’t make something up. Instead, be honest about your lack of knowledge and express your enthusiasm for learning.

  1. Turn the Question into a Discussion:

If appropriate, engage the interviewer by turning the question into a discussion. Ask for clarification or seek additional context to demonstrate your active interest.

IMS Proschool’s Investment Banking Course is your gateway to mastering all the essential skills and tips needed to excel in the finance domain. From understanding the trade life cycle to acing interviews with your newfound expertise, this course has got you covered.

In fact, you can unlock endless possibilities in the finance domain by exploring range of finance courses, including CFA, Financial Modeling, CFP, and Option Trading on IMS Proschool.

Additional Tips for a Successful Investment Banking Interview

As you prepare for your interview, let me share some additional tips to boost your confidence and ace it like a pro:

Create a special response to the “why Firm X?” query.

  • As you prepare for your investment banking interviews, it’s crucial to sketch and practice a response to the common question, “Why Firm X?” This question is frequently asked, and you should make a conscious effort to provide distinctive reasons for wanting to work specifically at the company you’ve chosen. 
  • Your justifications should be tailored exclusively to that particular firm, highlighting your unique interest and fit for the organization.

Learn about the company’s core beliefs

  • While it’s not common to be directly asked about a company’s values during investment banking interviews, most investment banks have a mission statement or a list of values displayed on their website. 
  • Familiarizing yourself with these values can be beneficial as it enables you to align your responses with the company’s principles and the way they operate. 
  • This consistency can reflect positively on your candidacy and demonstrate your understanding of the company’s ethos.

Practicing your responses aloud

  • Engaging in self-interviews by speaking your prepared responses aloud is a highly effective method to practice.
  •  As you recite your prepared answers and stories, they should flow naturally from memory, ensuring you don’t forget any essential information or end up repeating them word for word. 
  • This approach enhances your interview performance and boosts your confidence in handling any questions that come your way.

What to wear?  Well, White or beige are secure colors to wear for interviews. 


Key Points for Success in Investment Banking Interviews:

  1. Stay updated on industry developments and regulations through reading trade journals, networking, and continuous education.
  2. Remain composed during challenging questions, acknowledging complexity when needed, and making relevant connections.
  3. Interview success in investment banking significantly depends on careful planning and preparation. It’s essential to comprehend the many jobs, to grasp industry knowledge, and hone your technical abilities.
  4. To improve your chances of landing a job in investment banking, make use of the tips and advice offered in this article. Utilize advice on handling challenging inquiries, remaining current, and appreciating the significance of reconciliations and corporate actions.
  5. Be honest about your strengths and demonstrate a willingness to grow professionally.
  6. Support your responses with specific examples when discussing your experiences and skills.

You can distinguish yourself from other applicants and do well in investment banking interviews by remaining well-prepared, exhibiting your enthusiasm for the field, and showcasing your capacity to handle difficulties.

Remember that you can easily achieve your professional objectives in the fascinating sector of investment banking if you accept the opportunity to learn and grow along the process.

Don’t forget to check out the Investment Banking course at IMS Proschool to further enhance your skills.

Best of luck on your journey!