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A Complete Guide For Investment Banking Interview Questions

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investment banking interview questions

Investment banking is a unique area of banking that assists people or organizations in raising funds and offers them financial consulting services. They serve as a middleman between security issuers and investors and help startups in going public.

In this guide, we will discover the investment banking interview questions, investment banking interview cheat sheet, investment banking technical questions, investment banking internship questions, investment analyst interview questions, and questions to ask investment bankers to help you prepare for common interview questions and answers.

Who is an Investment banker?

An individual who works primarily for a financial institution and is primarily focused on raising capital for businesses, governments, or other entities is known as an investment banker. Famously, investment bankers play a significant role in the initial public offers (IPOs) of emerging companies getting ready to go public. They act as the go-between investors and private or public corporations. Many of them also provide services and guidance to investors so they can purchase the securities. Some might even help their clients with mergers and acquisitions and undertake municipal bond underwriting. This one of the best career option for a commerce student to start career.

Investment Banking Interview Cheat Sheet

An investment banking interview cheat sheet is a concise and comprehensive summary of key concepts, formulas, and processes used in investment banking. It is designed to provide a quick reference for investment bankers.

It includes information on financial statements, valuation methods, financial modeling, capital structure, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, and sales and trading. Investment banking interview questions are mostly based on these topics.

The cheat sheet is a handy reference tool, allowing investment bankers to quickly review important information and refresh their memory on critical concepts. It is meant to supplement a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter rather than increase it.

Some key points of the investment banking interview cheat sheet are:

  1. Financial statements: Understanding the structure and content of financial statements, such as the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement, is essential for investment bankers.
  2. Valuation methods: Knowledge of various valuation methods, such as discounted cash flow analysis, comparative company analysis, and precedent transaction analysis, is crucial for investment bankers as questions in investment analyst interviews be asked on these methods.
  3. Financial modeling: Familiarity with building and using financial models, including spreadsheet tools such as Microsoft Excel, is crucial for investment bankers. Investment banking technical questions are mainly based on Financial modeling.
  4. Capital structure: Understanding the components of a company's capital structure, such as debt, equity, and hybrid securities, is essential for investment bankers advising on financing options, as recruiters mostly ask investment banking interview questions from the capital structure module.
  5. Initial Public Offerings (IPOs): Understanding the IPO process, including underwriting, roadshows, and regulatory requirements, is essential for investment bankers involved in bringing companies public.
  6. Sales and Trading: Knowledge of various securities, such as stocks, bonds, and derivatives, as well as trading strategies and market dynamics, is essential for investment bankers involved in sales and trading. Some questions to ask in investment banking interviews are based on sales and trading strategies.

Investment Banking Interview Questions

Common questions that are asked in Investment Banking Interviews

Investment Banking Technical Questions

The technical segment of an investment banking interview includes questions about accounting, mergers, and acquisitions (M&A), initial public offerings (IPOs), corporate finance, and valuation.

These are typical investment banking interview questions, and the recruiter is looking for signs that you have some fundamental investment banking skills and can handle a bit of a challenge.

Q1. What are Financial statements, and what are their types?

Financial statements are standardized reports that summarize a company's financial performance, position, and cash flow over a specified period, typically a quarter or a year. There are three main categories of financial statements are-

  • Balance Sheet: A snapshot of a company's financial position at a specific time. It lists the liabilities, assets, and equity of a company.
  • Income Statement: It shows a company's financial performance over a specific period, such as a quarter or a year.
  • Cash Flow Statement: It shows how a company's cash balance changes over a specified period. It includes three sections: cash flows from investing activities, cash flows from operating activities, and cash flows from financing activities.

Q2. What do you mean by EBITDA?

EBITDA is a metric used to assess a company's profitability and stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. It analyzes a company's profits directly related to production without removing funds for debt payments, tax obligations, or asset depreciation.

An asset is an essential item that might be intangible, like intellectual property, or tangible, like real estate.

Q3. What is the enterprise value formula? 

The formula for an enterprise value (EV) is:

EV = Market Capitalization + Total Debt - Cash and Equivalents

  • Market Capitalization is typically calculated by multiplying the number of fully diluted shares outstanding with the current market valuation of a stock. For this methodology, you must have the knowledge about how share market works.  
  • Total debt-It is defined as a contribution given to creditors and financial institutions. It consists of both short and long-term debt and interest-bearing liabilities.
  • Cash and Equivalents- These are some of the most liquid assets in an organization's financial statement. EVs are subtracted from cash and equivalents as short-term investments, marketable securities, and commercial paper. They tend to reduce a company's acquisition costs.

Q4. How is a DCF valuation performed?

At a high level, DCF valuation entails evaluating a company's terminal value after estimating its expected earnings over a 5- to 20-year period. To perform a DCF analysis, you must precisely predict unhedged future cash flows, choose a discount rate, and figure out a terminal value.

The enterprise value is then calculated by discounting the terminal value and unhedged free cash flow to the present value. You get the company's equity value by deducting net debt from the enterprise value.

It is an essential investment banking interview question that recruiters usually ask.

Q5. What is an Initial Public Offering?

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is a company's initial public offering of stock. It allows a company to raise capital from public investors and become publicly traded.

Q6. What is meant by WACC, and how do you calculate WACC?

WACC stands for Weighted Average Cost of Capital, which is the average cost of the capital a company uses to finance its operations. It takes into account the cost of both debt and equity capital, and the respective proportion of each that the company utilizes.

WACC = (E/V) * Re + ((D/V) * Rd) * (1-Tc)

E =Market value of equity

V =Market value of debt + market value of equity

Re =cost of equity

D =Market value of debt

Rd =cost of debt

Tc =Corporate tax rate

The hiring manager generally asks the above-mentioned investment banking interview questions during the interview round.

Investment Banking Internship Interview Questions

Q1. What are the essential qualities required to become an Investment banker?

Ans. The essential skills required to become an investment banker are strong analytical, quantitative, and financial modeling skills, good communication and interpersonal skills, and the capacity to work well under pressure in fast-paced environments are vital skills for an investment banker.

Q2. What is the basic difference between investment and commercial banks?


  • A commercial bank is a type of financial organization that offers its clients services including loans, bank overdrafts, savings accounts, etc. These organizations generate revenue by providing loans to people and collecting interest on those debts.
  • In contrast, The purpose of investment banks is to provide services to investors. Investment banks uniquely conduct their business, serving as a middleman between stock and bond buyers and sellers to assist clients in acquiring funds.
  • The candidates should know the basic difference between an investment bank and a commercial bank, as the interviewer can as investment banking interview questions about the differences.

Q3. How to make a good financial model?

Ans. A good financial model defines each of a business's key elements. The model should also be able to simulate dynamic error checking and built-in analysis scenarios. It takes time to create the ideal finance model, which must be precise and accurate.

Q4. Which is higher in most cases: the cost of debt or equity?

Ans. The cost of equity exceeds that of debt since borrowing costs are tax deductible. It should be mentioned that equity investors are never first on the list of liquidators, unlike lenders who are assured investors.

Q5. How can enterprise value be differentiated from equity value?


  • The value of operations that the company attributes to all capital providers is known as enterprise value, also known as takeover value.
  • It aids in developing valuation ratios and metrics, whereas equity value is a component of enterprise value that represents the share of value attributed to shareholders.
  • These are some investment banking internship questions that a recruiter asks a candidate during an interview.

Investment Analyst Interview Questions

Q1. Who are Investment Analysts?

Investment analysts are financial experts who appraise securities, stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments. They locate lucrative investment opportunities, examine corporate economics, and counsel clients.

Moreover, they contribute to financial decisions by undertaking rigorous research and evaluating market patterns and results.

Q2. What are the essential responsibilities of an investment analyst?

  • An Analyst performs business and asset valuations.
  • Calculating potential and current clients' risks and opportunities.
  • It also analyzes prior financial decisions and produces vital takeaways.
  • Conducts Meetings with management clients that are held throughout the year.
  • Creating complex financial models for use in decision-making processes.

Q3. What is the basic difference between an investment analyst and an investment banker?

An investment analyst is responsible for conducting research, analyzing financial data and making investment recommendations to clients or investment managers.

They may work for banks, investment firms, or other financial institutions and typically focus on evaluating different investment opportunities, analyzing financial statements, and forecasting market trends.

Investment bankers are essential in devising merger and acquisition (M&A) strategies and also underwriting new stock issues. They must evaluate businesses and time the market to maximize earnings for their company or clients.

Investment bankers, as opposed to investment analysts, are directly in charge of bringing in funds and making investment decisions.

Q4. What are the skills required to become an Investment Analyst?

  • Excellent understanding of economics and financial concepts
  • Intense research and communication skills.
  • Must be well-versed in mathematical concepts.
  • Capacity to perform well under pressure.
  • Strong hold on technical skills like excel, SQL, etc.
  • Teamwork and problem-solving skills.

These are some of the essential investment banking interview questions that the candidates can prepare for an investment banking interview.

Some other questions to ask an Investment Banker

  1. Can you walk me through a recent transaction you worked on and your role in it?
  2. How do you stay up-to-date on market trends and industry news?
  3. How do you approach valuing a company and determining a suitable investment strategy?
  4. How do you handle conflicts of interest between your firm and clients?
  5. Discuss a challenging situation you faced in your career and how you resolved it.
  6. How do you build and maintain relationships with clients and other stakeholders in the industry?
  7. Can you discuss a current trend or innovation in investment banking that you find particularly exciting?


Investment banking is one of the numerous specialist fields available to those working in the finance industry. Investment banking offers various job options for individuals with different degrees and levels of expertise.

Investment banking interview questions can be challenging, but you can succeed with preparation and practice. Hopefully, the above-mentioned investment banking technical questions, investment banking internship questions, questions to ask investment bankers, and investment banking interview cheat sheet will help you thoroughly in preparing for the investment banking interview.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How can you become an investment banker?

Ans. A solid educational background in finance, economics, business, or a related field is required to become an investment banker. You should also gain relevant experience in finance or related fields through internships or entry-level positions and develop strong analytical, quantitative, and financial modeling skills.

Q2. What is necessary education required for an investment banker?

Ans. Investment bankers usually have a bachelor's degree in finance, economics, business, or a related field, as well as advanced degrees like an MBA.

Q3. Is investment banking a lucrative job?

Ans. Investment banking is a very demanding and competitive industry that calls for excellent analytical, quantitative, and must have good communication skills and the capacity to put in long hours and handle stress.

Investment bankers help businesses and governments in raising money and provide advice on mergers and acquisitions and other financial transactions.

Q4. What are the typical working hours like for an investment banker?

Ans. Investment bankers must be able to manage multiple projects and priorities while working long hours, including evenings and weekends.

Q5. How much does an investment banker make on average?

Ans. The base pay for investment bankers in the US is generally between $70,000 and $150,000 annually. The average salary in India is between INR 6-7 lakh per year.