To tackle the very common investment banking interview question "Tell me about yourself" effectively, you must describe yourself in terms of the skills and competencies your prospective employer is looking for in candidates, and illustrate how and when you have demonstrated these skills and competencies during education or previous work experience.
Preparing for this Question
Before your interviews, consider the core skills and key competencies that all investment bankers need to possess. For example, investment bankers need to be:
- Hard workers - An Analyst will work approximately 100 hours a week.
- Strong team players - Deal teams consits of analysts, associates, vice presidents and managing directors.
- Analytical - Analysts will need to consult large companies on complicated business strategy.
- Quantitative - Analysts need to build financial models and review financial statements.
During (or after) your interview, your interviewer will almost certainly complete a sheet about your specific abilities, competencies and skill set. Make sure you "tick all the boxes" for your interviewer, in your interview.
Also, make sure that you are very clear about your CV. You should be able to talk about any experiences listed, and be able to answer any question that your interviewer may have about dates, activities, or anything else.
Answering the Question
When introducing yourself at the start of this question, be yourself. Your interviewer wants to find out about your personality (and if you will be a personality "fit" within the company) as much as your skills, competencies and experiences.
Qualify your skill-set by using pertinent examples from your educational, life and work experiences. For example:
- Hard worker - "I have completed a academically challenging course in Economics and Finance at the University of Manchester, where I also worked part-time for an insurance company and captained the university debating team. During Christmas and summer vacations I completed internships at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers respectively".
- Team player - "Whilst at university I captained the debating team, was treasurer for the finance society and was top goal scorer for the University of Manchester football team".
- Analytical - "During my work experience at Lehman Brothers I took part in a consultation project".
- Quantitative - "As treasurer for the university finance society I helped arrange a financial process discussion group".
When walking your interviewer through your CV just give basic details of the job and then more detailed descriptions of the skills and competencies used and developed. If your interviewer is interested in a particular period of work or other experience from your CV they will ask you to tell them more. When the interviewer asks you follow on questions like this, give more detailed responses and explain what you enjoyed most.
To conclude your answer, explain that you think with all your skills and competencies you think you would make a great hire for the firm.