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Authors # 01 MAY 2011

Authors share tips for successful interviews for finance jobs

GUILLERMO BARANDALLA CASADO has undergraduate and Master’s Degrees in business from the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao. He completed a program in advanced corporate law from the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, and began his career in private banking and the capital markets with a major American investment bank. Guillermo is currently a mergers and acquisitions advisor in the corporate finance department of a consulting firm. He’s a member of the Universidad Comercial de Deusto and London Business School Alumni associations. He’s been a speaker and has published articles on economy and finance for scholarly publications such as the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

PEDRO GARRIDO GOYA has undergraduate and Master’s degrees in business from the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, as well as postgraduate work in corporate finance from the Instituto de Estudios Bursátiles (IEB) in Madrid. He began his career in auditing, and since 2007, has been working as an advisor in the areas of corporate and investment banking for a major European bank. He’s a member of the alumni associations of the Universidad Comercial de Deusto and IEB. Pedro has been a seminar speaker in the investment banking realm for university master’s programs.

Guillermo Barandalla and Pedro Garrido publish 101 Preguntas para una entrevista de M&A Q: Can you tell us how you met? A: We were at college together. We studied Business Administration

Later, we were interviewed again when we changed jobs (Pedro left his

Q: Why do questions referring to the technical knowledge of the

job at one of the Big Four auditing firms for a job in investment banking,

interviewee play such a large role in the process?

and Guillermo left his job in the capital markets division of a big inves-

at the University of Deusto. Since then, despite working for different companies, or even living in different cities, we have kept in touch.

tment bank for a new one in M&A).

Q: What made you interested in writing this book?

In our new jobs, we both usually conduct interviews in order to find

dates who can demonstrate interest in the financial field and sufficient

appropriate candidates for internships and analyst jobs. Interviews

knowledge to grow quickly as professionals.

A: We realized that job interviews in the corporate finance industry –

are usually very technical and candidates must master main financial

specifically M&A (mergers and acquisitions) – are a big challenge for last-year university students. They want to join a firm in the financial industry but they lack any practical experience to understand and master the relevant knowledge. For this reason, we thought that writing a very practically minded book, defining the main financial concepts that are essential to work in this industry, was a good idea. We have tried to include all the vital knowledge in the book in order to be successful even in the most demanding M&A job interview. Q: Can you tell us about your experience conducting interviews and being interviewed? A: We both have experience conducting interviews and being interviewed. We were interviewed for first time in 2005, when we were studying in our last year at the University of Deusto. Thanks to the University, we had the opportunity to meet with a lot of companies (from a wide range of sectors) interested in hiring people from our school.

A: Technical questions refer to the main financial concepts that candidate will use on a day-to-day basis. Due to this fact, employers like candi-

Interviews are usually very technical and candidates must master main financial concepts

concepts, testing not only their knowledge but also their reasoning skills.

Q: What is the most common question in the selection process of hiring someone for corporate finance?

Q: What is the most difficult question you have ever had to answer during an interview?

A: There are a lot of common questions, but one of the most common could be: how can you be of value to a company?

A: If you do not master some financial concept and the interviewer asks you about it, your lack of knowledge will be your biggest handicap. But,

Q: What is the most important thing the reader will get from this book?

apart from technical matters, questions about reasoning (for example: how many golf balls are in the air right now in Madrid?) or solving

A: The main conclusion is that everyone with a good education and

mathematical riddles are one of the most ‘uncomfortable’ questions at

acceptable knowledge of financial concepts can get a job in the financial


industry. This is not a field for a chosen few, rather, it is an industry for hardworking people with a lot of common sense. And this is, precisely,

Q: Have you ever had an interview go terribly wrong? A: Taking into account that answering everything perfectly is not easy, sometimes interviews do not go as well as you would like. However, fortunately, we do not remember any horrible interviews.

what this industry needs.

Q&A with authors Guillermo Barandalla and Pedro Garrido  

Guillermo and Pedro are former classmates from the University of Deusto in Bilbao. They've written "101 preguntas para una entrevista de M&A...

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