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Associate Equity Research
I interviewed was for a junior position, off cycle. Three rounds, all with direct reports and future team members, with one with HR at the end of the first round, and one with Research management at the end of the third.
I know some other candidates have had to sit through 2-hour case studies where they had to make a financial model and write a basic investment thesis, but it wasn’t my case (thank God).
My questions where a mix of behavioural and technical, but with a lot more technical. The people were direct, to the point, and MS felt much less ‘political’ than other places I’ve also interviewed at. Soft skills felt less important, somehow.
The interviews were short (30 minutes), so perhaps that’s why they didn’t ask me what my favourite colour was… Don’t get too worked up about the Technical questions. At CFA Level II you know more than enough to answer any hard question.
Clarity felt almost as important as content: when asked a question, be it behavioural or technical, don’t get wishy washy and vague – make it short and to the point. Be… well, analytical: short, factual sentences, with some extra details over and above what was asked. A strong knowledge of Financial Analysis seemed a given, perhaps because the process was off-cycle and I did not get any training as in an Analyst Programme. Still – there was clearly an expectation that I would not need explaining once on the job, which made me wonder how Humanities graduates, for instance, would perform in this process.

Sample questions you should prepare:
- Case study… Obviously. I wrote a ‘Guide to Case Studies’ for hedge funds, but feel free to refer to it. You need to come to the interview with strong, well supported Long and Short ideas (at least one of each), preferably in the sector your interviewer is covering. Be strong on numbers, but don’t forget to add a few anecdotes that showed you know all there is to know.
- Broader views on the market. Here the field of potential questions is infinite.. but start with some views on the direction of the market and on the relative appeal of different asset classes and regions. And memorise some of the most watched numbers (10-year treasuries, the S&P 500, a few market caps). Nothing too fancy, but enough to show a genuine interest in the markets and that it’s not ‘Just a job’ for you.
It is important – especially if you apply for junior roles – that you back absolutely everything you say with data – numbers, names… They’re more convincing, they show that you’ve done your homework, and that you are not easily swayed by the managements you will meet.

A final point – Brainteasers!!
Maybe it was just me (I don’t think it was) but I’ve had brainteaser questions at almost every meeting except with HR and management. An example would be to estimate the weight of a fully loaded jumbo jets leaving Heathrow to New York. Another would be “What is the cheaper stock? The 10% grower trading on 10x, or the 20% grower trading on 20x?”. As always with these, describe each step of your thinking in details (this will buy you some time!), get the maths right, and back any assumption you make with a source or some context. How you get there matters more than the answer.

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