Internship and job opportunities

How to ace that nerve wrecking interview

It’s that time of the year when the days are short, the weather is miserable, and many of us are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Summer. Most of us at BI have ambitious career goals, and often, these involve securing internships during the summer break with top industry employers. If you have an upcoming interview, or simply want to get a head start, this is how I landed an internship at Bank of America.

Full name: Adrian Luthi
Home country: Switzerland
Previous university: University of Manchester (UK)
Previous studies: B.Sc. in Mathematics with Finance
Current study programme at BI: M.Sc. in Quantitative Finance

1. Preparation

Just like any assignment or exam, preparation is the key to unlocking a successful interview. Often, employers hide desirable candidate qualities within their job description. So, our first step is to write down a list of skills and knowledge that the ideal candidate possesses.

Secondly, we must reflect on our own experiences and education to come up with concrete evidence of when we have showcased those desirable qualities. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have direct industry experience, your job is to prove that you can transfer those skills to this potential role. For instance, a waitering job requires strong client service skills and develops effective communication (perhaps even in different languages).

To sum up, we should try to create a bullet point answer bank to these kinds of skills-based interview questions.

interview 2

2. Research the company

With one tool under our belt, how do we further improve our chances? I want you to remember the last time someone made an impression on you and the reason it made you feel that way. Perhaps they met you once and remembered your name or maybe they knew of a special date/event for you. As humans we are naturally driven by emotions and making a positive impression on our interviewer can largely swing the interview our way.

We do this by dropping nuggets of information throughout the interview that show that we have spent significant time researching the company and its industry. Firm-specific information can be found on the company website or LinkedIn. We should look for examples such as webinars with industry experts, earnings announcements, or the sponsoring of volunteering events. Industry-specific information can be obtained by researching the internet or even better, by using the proximity principle. In essence, this principle states that by surrounding ourselves with people who research and work in the industry we can build our understanding and network, enabling us to join the sector.

interview 3

Applying this principle to my own experience, I connected with candidates who had already undergone the recruitment process and were working at the firm. Surprisingly, most were willing to join a zoom call or have a coffee and discuss their outlook on the industry and the firm, as well as tips for the recruitment process. Now that we have collected valuable information, we nimbly drop these nuggets during the interview, helping you score bonus points.

3. Practice and “get in the zone”

You might have done both 1 and 2, but still manage to fumble your interviews! Acing interviews is never a certain science, but often nerves and a lack of practice are the culprit behind interview under-performance. Why don’t you find a friend and practice a couple mock-interviews before the real deal? This can help you “get in the zone” and increase your confidence. I would also suggest some meditation and a nice warm tea to ensure you get that all important sleep the night before.

I wish you all the best and hope that this advice helps guide you towards a successful career.

All the best,