Early rounds of the investment banking interview process
So you finally landed that interview. Typically, most of the investment banks have multiple rounds of interviews. The 1st round (depending on your location) could be a phone interview, but if the bank comes to your college campus, more than likely it will be an in-person interview. The bankers conducting on campus interviews are often alumni of that school and have a vested interest in finding successful candidates from their alma mater. First round interviews tend to focus on technical questions to ensure that the basic skills are there. Sometimes the 1st round interview is followed by a 2nd round interview (phone or on-campus). If you make it to the final stage, you’ll be invited to a Superday.
During a Superday, the investment bank flies out all candidates that it is seriously interested in and puts them up in a nearby hotel for on-site interviews the next day.
The bank will often hold a small happy hour/dinner/networking event the night before to meet candidates informally. These interactions should be treated by prospective analysts as interviews (i.e. no double-fisting beers).
Although not common, in some instances, groups make hiring decisions after this networking event and simply confirm their decisions the next day during interviews – so again be careful about what you say. The next day (interview day), you will go to the corporate office, pick up your schedule for the day, and meet other prospective candidates from other schools who are also interviewing (you may have conversed with some at the networking event from the previous evening).
It is a great networking opportunity and you should exchange contact information when you can – don’t view them as competition as you never know how they can help you later. The day of interviews is exhausting as you are constantly meeting with different hiring groups (you may have filled out a product/industry group preference form before the Superday). These interviews are usually one-on-one or two-on-one and questions can range from technical to fit. You will definitely get both types of questions. At some firms, the hiring decision is a match process, whereby you are hired directly into a specific group within the firm, so at the end of the superday you rank the groups that you interviewed with and they rank you, and if there is a match, there is an offer. At most firms, however, you are hired into a general pool.