What was the general interview process for the companies you interviewed? Please mention the number of rounds and the nature of the interview process.
I interviewed for quite a lot of companies which come on Day 1. But, let’s just focus on JPMorgan, since this was the company I was essentially aiming and preparing for. Talking about the process, it started with C.V. submission on E.R.P. and also on the website of the company. It was followed by a pre-placement talk, which was very informative and quite insightful about the profile and expectations from the student. After that came the Psychometric test, which was non-eliminatory. It was succeeded by a written test, which was all about writing an essay on a financial topic. Based on this test and our CV, a shortlist of about 20–30 students was released for the final interview process. On the final day, there were two interview rounds, both of which were essentially technical.
Could you please list down questions were you asked in the different rounds? Puzzles, HR questions, any other discussion in general that you think will prove to be helpful for students.
Starting with the written test, as I mentioned earlier, we had to write an essay on a topic related to finance. The time limit for about 30–40 minutes and a word limit of 500 words was laid. Before the test, I practised writing essays on some general financial topics with a time constraint, which helped me later. Talking about the interview process, there were two rounds of interviews of about 30 minutes each. First-round was completely technical, where questions related to corporate finance were asked. I was asked a few questions based on macroeconomic factors and their influence on the market, such as inflation because I had worked on these factors during my CDC internship. Then came the second round, which was a mix of HR and Technical questions. Again, the major focus was on corporate finance and macroeconomics.
As a pre-final year student, what can students do to maximize their chances? Please suggest some strategies or resources for the same.
At this stage, I would suggest them to start reading about the markets via newspapers, podcasts, etc. I read Finshots and Zappchai because these are relatively easier to understand. Later, I started reading a few newspapers. All these helped me strike a good conversation with the interviewer. Apart from that, I want all pre-final year students to practice quant and quick math, which would be helpful in all the profiles. CAT papers and Quantitative Analysis for CAT by Arun Sharma, are always good for quant, while quick math is all about practice. If you are particularly aiming for this role, ensure to brush up on your corporate finance. Make sure you can justify everything that is mentioned in your C.V., as it is very important. During the last week of your preparation, have mock interviews with your seniors or friends about the companies you are aiming for. It is better to have an idea of how an interview works, than actually sitting in front of the interviewer for the first time.
What do you think about the weight a certification like CFA or FRM adds to a CV for this role?
I did not have either CFA or an FRM certificate, so it is not mandatory to have either of them. The final outcome depends on the interview. Having cleared the CFA level 1 or higher would give you a good knowledge of corporate finance, which ultimately helps in the interview. But having these certifications indicates that one has a good hold over these topics. That might also bring more complex questions your way. In the end, it all depends on how well you can defend what you have on your C.V.
Shruti, How did you prepare for the rounds involved once you were shortlisted?
The shortlist was announced in the last week of November, which left me with 2–3 days to prepare. So, once I was shortlisted, I brushed up on my knowledge and revised the topics of finance. I took the suggestion from my seniors who previously prepared for the same profile and prepared accordingly. I also had a few mock interviews with them, which provided me with an idea of how the final exam would be. My actual interview was quite aligned with those mock interviews.
Anything else that you’d want to share with the students?
I would suggest them to start with prioritizing the companies and profiles they are aiming for. Then, start talking to the seniors about how to start preparing for particular companies and their interviews. At the same time, stay in constant touch with your peers who are aiming for the same profile. Try to help and motivate each other. Talking about the interview phase, it is necessary to know that it is not compulsory to answer every question throughout the interview. Sometimes, I had to say that, ‘I’m not aware of this topic…’ or ‘I’m not sure about the answer.’ Remember to stay calm, even if you don’t know something. Do not panic. Apart from this, I would also suggest being more interactive with the interviewer. Try to have a conversation, rather than a question and answer session. It would help in making the interview interesting.