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Table of contents
1.
What is Investment banking?
2.
Job profile
3.
Investment Banking Interview Questions
3.1.
Easy Level Investment Banking Interview Questions
3.2.
Medium-Level Investment Banking Interview Questions
3.3.
Hard-Level Investment Banking Interview Questions
4.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Jun 14, 2024

Investment Banking Interview Questions

Author Aditya Sharma
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Investment banking is a highly competitive field requiring a solid financial, economics, and mathematics background. When preparing for an investment banking interview, you must familiarize yourself with the questions you're likely to encounter. 

Investment banking interview questions

What is Investment banking?

Investment banking is a financial service industry that provides a range of services to clients, including corporations, governments, and financial institutions. 

  • The primary function of investment banking is to help clients raise capital, make strategic acquisitions, and manage financial risk. 
  • Investment bankers work with clients to structure and execute financial transactions such as initial public offerings (IPOs), mergers and acquisitions, and debt and equity financings. 
  • They use complex financial models and analyses to determine companies' value and help clients make strategic financial decisions.
  •  Investment bankers play an essential role in the capital markets, as they bring issuers of securities (such as corporations and governments) together with investors (such as institutional investors and retail investors).


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Job profile

Investment banking is a financial service industry that provides a wide range of services to clients, including corporations, governments, and financial institutions. Investment bankers work in a fast-paced and demanding environment, and their main responsibility is to help clients raise capital, make strategic acquisitions, and manage financial risk.

The job profile of an investment banker includes the following key responsibilities:

  1. Origination and execution of financial transactions: Investment bankers are responsible for originating new business opportunities and executing transactions, such as initial public offerings (IPOs), mergers and acquisitions, and debt and equity financings.
  2. Financial analysis and modeling: Investment bankers use complex financial models and analysis to determine the value of companies and to help clients make strategic financial decisions.
  3. Client relationship management: Investment bankers play a key role in developing and maintaining strong relationships with clients and ensuring that clients' needs and objectives are met.
  4. Negotiation and deal structuring: Investment bankers negotiate and structure deals, ensuring that clients receive the best possible terms and that transactions are completed efficiently and effectively.
  5. Risk management: Investment bankers are responsible for managing financial risk, including market risk, credit risk, and operational risk.
  6. Market and industry analysis: Investment bankers perform in-depth research
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Investment Banking Interview Questions

Now you are familiar with the facts of an investment banking career. So the next step is to be ready to face an investment banking interview.

So, let's get started with Investment Banking Questions!

Easy Level Investment Banking Interview Questions

Here is a list of some basic investment banking interview questions. Don’t skip this section since it develops a strong base.

Easy Level Investment Banking Interview Questions

1. What is a revenue bond?

Ans: A revenue bond is a type of municipal bond that is backed by the revenue generated by a specific project or asset, such as a toll road or a stadium. 

Revenue bonds can be used to finance the construction of new projects or to finance the improvement or expansion of existing projects. 

2. What is a pitch book?

Ans: A pitch book is a sales document used by investment bankers to pitch a potential client on their services, including M&A, equity or debt offerings, or other financial services.

3. What is a yield curve?

Ans: A yield curve is a graphical representation of the relationship between the yields of bonds of different maturities, usually displayed as a plot of yield against maturity.

4. What is a discounted earnings model?

Ans: A discounted earnings model is a type of valuation method that calculates the present value of a company's future earnings, using a discount rate to account for the time value of money and risk.

5. What is a comparable company analysis?

Ans: A comparable company analysis is a type of valuation method that compares the financial metrics of a target company to those of similar publicly traded companies to determine its value.

6. What is a leveraged finance transaction?

Ans: A leveraged finance transaction is a type of financing in which a company raises capital through debt, using its assets as collateral to secure the loan.

7. What is a due diligence process?

Ans: The due diligence process is the investigation and analysis of a company or asset to assess its value and potential for investment. 

This includes reviewing financial statements, market conditions, and the company's management and operations.

8. What is a financial statement analysis?

Ans: Financial statement analysis is the process of reviewing and evaluating a company's financial statements, including the cash flow, the income statement, and the balance sheet, to gain insight into its financial health and performance.

9. What is a credit rating?

Ans: A credit rating is an evaluation of a borrower's creditworthiness, including their ability to repay debt and the likelihood of default. 

This is determined by credit rating agencies and is used by investors to assess the risk of investing in a particular bond or loan.

10. What is a leveraged buyout (LBO)?

Ans: A leveraged buyout is a type of M&A transaction in which a financial sponsor acquires a controlling stake in a company using a significant amount of debt.

Medium-Level Investment Banking Interview Questions

Let’s move to some intermediate-level investment banking interview questions after seeing some basic questions related to investment banking. 

Easy Level Investment Banking Interview Questions

11. What is a Black-Scholes model?

Ans: The Black-Scholes model is a mathematical formula used to calculate the fair price or theoretical value for a European call or put option based on certain assumptions about the stock price, option volatility, and other factors.

12. What is a Monte Carlo simulation?

Ans: A Monte Carlo simulation is a method of modeling and evaluating the risk of a financial decision or portfolio by generating many random outcomes and calculating the average result.

13. What is a stochastic process?

Ans: A stochastic process is a mathematical model used to describe the behavior of a system or variable that is subject to randomness or uncertainty.

14. What is a VaR calculation?

Ans: VaR stands for Value at Risk.

Its calculation is a statistical measure of the maximum loss that a portfolio is expected to experience with a given level of confidence over a specified time period.

15. What is the LBO model?

Ans: The LBO stands for Leveraged Buyout.

This model is a financial model used to evaluate the feasibility of a leveraged buyout transaction, including the amount of debt required, expected returns, and the impact of financing assumptions on the overall financial structure of the deal.

16. What is a DCF model?

Ans: DCF stands for Discounted Cash Flow model

  • It is a financial valuation method that estimates the value of an investment by forecasting its future cash flows. 
  • The future cash flow is discounted back to its present value using a required rate of return. 
  • DCF considers the time value of money, according to which a dollar received today is worth more than a dollar received in the future, and is commonly used to value assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and businesses.
     

17. What is the WACC calculation?

Ans: The WACC stands for Weighted Average Cost of Capital.

WACC calculation measures a company's cost of capital, taking into account the different sources of financing and their respective costs and weighting them according to their relative importance in the capital structure.

Hard-Level Investment Banking Interview Questions

Let's discuss some of the most challenging hard questions that you can encounter in your investment banking interview. 

Hard Level Investment Banking Interview Questions

18. What is Investment banking?

Ans: Investment banking is a financial service industry that provides a range of services to clients. The services include corporations, governments, and financial institutions.

  • Investment banking helps clients raise capital, make strategic acquisitions, and manage financial risk.
  • Investment bankers work with clients to structure and execute financial transactions. Such as IPOs, mergers and acquisitions, and debt and equity financings.
  • Complex financial models and analyses to determine companies' value. This help clients make strategic financial decisions.
  • Investment bankers play an essential role in the capital markets. They bring issuers of securities together with investors.

 

19. What are the key responsibilities of an investment banker?

Ans: The key responsibilities of an investment banker include the following:

  • Origination and execution of financial transactions: 
    • Investment bankers are responsible for originating new business opportunities and executing transactions. Such as initial public offerings (IPOs), debt, equity financings, mergers, and acquisitions.
  • Financial analysis and modeling: 
    • Investment bankers use complex financial models and analyses to determine companies' value. This helps clients make strategic financial decisions.
  • Client relationship management:
    • Investment bankers are responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with clients.
    • Ensures clients' needs and objectives.
  • Negotiation and deal structuring:
    • Negotiates and structures deals, ensuring that clients receive the best possible terms.
    • Ensures all transactions with clients are completed.
  • Risk management: 
    • Responsible for managing financial risk, including market risk, credit risk, and operational risk.

 

20. Explain CAPM and its use in investment banking.

Ans: The CAPM stands for Capital Asset Pricing Model and is a theoretical model used to determine the expected return of an investment based on its risk.

  • In investment banking, the CAPM is used to determine a company's equity cost, which is an essential factor in the valuation and pricing of securities.
  • The CAPM formula is: expected return = risk-free rate + beta (market return - risk-free rate).

 

21. How to calculate the weight of a stock in a portfolio using the Markowitz portfolio optimization method?

Ans: To calculate the weight of a stock in a portfolio using the Markowitz model, follow the below steps:

  1. You'll need to know the stock prices and which stocks are in the portfolio to calculate the expected returns and covariance matrix of a portfolio. 
  2. The risk tolerance of a portfolio is used to determine the constraints on the overall risk of that portfolio.
  3. To solve the optimization problem, you will need to use the expected return, covariance matrix, and risk tolerance as input. This process is to find the best weights for individual stocks that will result in a portfolio with an expected return above some predetermined threshold.
  4. The optimization problem is to find the best weights for each stock in a portfolio, which will result in maximal profit.
     

The weight of a stock in a portfolio represents the fraction of the portfolio that should be invested in that stock based on the expected returns, risks, and correlations of the stocks in the portfolio. 

The weight of a stock is a critical factor to determine the overall risk and return of the portfolio.

22. Explain the difference between an investment bank and a commercial bank.

Ans: Commercial banks are businesses that provide basic banking services to individuals and businesses. These include accounts such as savings, checking, and loans.

  • The goal of commercial banks is to generate profits by providing traditional banking services, such as taking deposits and issuing loans. These providers also charge fees for their services.
  • Investment banks offer a variety of services to companies and other organizations, including issuing and underwriting securities, facilitating mergers and acquisitions, as well as providing financial advice.
  • The primary goal of investment banks is to help clients raise capital, manage risk, and make strategic financial decisions. Investment banks generate revenue through fees for their services, such as underwriting, advisory, and transaction fees.

 

23. Explain the dividend discount model and its use in valuing stocks.

Ans: The dividend discount model is a financial model used to value stocks based on the expected future dividends. 

  • The model assumes the value of a stock is equal to the present value of its expected future dividends.
  • In investment banking, the dividend discount model is used to value stocks for clients, determine the fair value of a company's stock, and assess the potential returns from stock investments.

 

24. How do you manage risk in investment banking?

Ans: Risk management in investment banking involves assessing and mitigating various types of risk, including market risk, credit risk, and operational risk.

  • Diversification: 
    • Diversifying investments across different asset classes, industries, and geographic regions. It helps reduce portfolio risk.
  • Market Analysis:
    •  Investment bankers analyze market trends, economic indicators, and other data. Which helps in predicting potential risks and making investment decisions.
  • Risk Management Systems: 
    • Investment banks use advanced risk management systems to watch and control risks in real-time. Which includes market risk, credit risk, and operational risk.
    • These systems provide real-time information on the portfolio's risk profile. These systems can trigger alerts to take action in the event of a risk event.
  • Hedging Strategies:
    •  Investment bankers use various hedging strategies, such as options, futures, and swaps, to manage risk.
    • These instruments allow investment banks to offset potential losses in one investment by gains in another.
  • Stress Testing:
    •  Investment banks perform stress tests to replicate possible damaging scenarios and check the impact on their portfolios. This helps to identify potential risks and develop contingency plans to manage them effectively.

 

25. Explain the discounted cash flow (DCF) model and its use in valuation.

Ans: The discounted cash flow (DCF) model is a financial model used to determine the value of an investment by discounting its expected future cash flows to the present value. 

  • In investment banking, the DCF model is used to value companies and assets, such as real estate, infrastructure, and natural resources. 
  • The model takes into account the expected future cash flows, the discount rate, and the cost of capital to calculate the present value of the investment.

 

26. Difference between a primary and secondary market offering.

Ans: These are two different types of securities offerings that refer to the initial sale and next trading of securities.

Primary market offerings

Secondary market offering

Primary market offerings refer to the initial sale of securities, such as stocks or bonds, from the issuing company to investors.Secondary market offerings refer to the next trading of securities after they have been sold in a primary market offering.
In a primary market offering, the company raises capital by issuing new securities and selling them to the public for the first time.  In the secondary market offering, securities are bought and sold among investors rather than from the issuing company. 
This can be done through an IPO, where a private company becomes traded, or through a direct placement, where securities are sold to institutional investors. Secondary market offerings take place on stock exchanges, such as the  (NYSE) New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ, or through over-the-counter (OTC) markets. 
The returns from a primary market offering go to the issuing company and investors. These investors buy the securities in a primary market offering and become the owners of the securities.

The secondary market provides liquidity to investors. Which allows them to buy and sell securities without going back to the issuing company.

 

27. What are the PE ratio and their use in valuation and analysis?

Ans: The PE ratio stands for the price-to-earnings ratio.

It is a financial ratio used to determine the value of a company based on its current stock price and earnings per share (EPS). 

  • The PE ratio is determined by dividing the current stock price in the market by the earnings per share.
  • In investment banking, the PE ratio is used to compare the value of different companies. It is used to check the potential returns from stock investments, and determine the fair value of a company's stock.

 

28. What are Gordon Growth Model and its use in valuing stocks?

Ans: The Gordon Growth Model is a financial model used to determine the intrinsic value of a stock based on its expected future dividends. 

  • The model assumes that the growth rate of dividends is constant. Which calculates the intrinsic value of a stock by discounting the expected future dividends to the present value.
  • In investment banking, the Gordon Growth Model is used to value stocks for clients. It determines the fair value of a company's stock and checks the potential returns from stock investments.

 

29. Explain the role of an underwriter in an IPO.

Ans: An underwriter plays a crucial role in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) by providing financial and logistical support to the issuing company. 

The underwriter helps to determine the offering price, allocate shares to investors, and manage the sale and distribution of the securities.

 

30. What is the role of an investment banker in the capital markets?

Ans: An investment banker acts as a mediator between issuers of securities and investors. 

  • They assist clients in raising capital by underwriting securities and selling them to the public.
  • Clients' risk management, financial plan, mergers, and acquisitions are all handled by investment bankers. 

Conclusion

Congratulations on finishing the blog; these are a few investment banking interview questions you might encounter. By familiarizing yourself with these topics and preparing, you can increase your chances of success in your investment banking interview.

If you think this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge about the investment banking interview questions, and if you want to learn more, check out our articles and many more on our Coding Ninjas Studio.

After learning about investment banking interview questions, recommended readings are:

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Visit our website to read more such blogs. Make sure that you enroll in the courses we provide, take mock tests, solve problems available, and interview puzzles. Also, you can pay attention to interview stuff- interview experiences and an interview bundle for placement preparations. 

Happy Learning!

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