REAL ISB INTERVIEW EXPERIENCES

Investment Banking / 3 years 5 months

Interview Duration30 minutes
Interviewers’ Profile3 panelists
Final DecisionADMITTED
    • What does your work involve?

A lot of cross questions. Lasted about 10 minutes. Went into a lot of detail on why I chose to be a Chartered Accountant (CA), what interests me about business and commerce, and why I chose to work with my current employer (a top-3 investment bank).

  • Describe both your projects in granular detail.

This was again quite microscopic in its focus. As I explained the projects I worked on, there were counter questions on what my role and specific contribution was, why I chose to do things in a particular way, and why that was the best way (or if a different approach could have been taken). Some perspectives in this question also touched upon global regulations, the state of investment banking in India and abroad, and how Indian capital markets regulations are different from those abroad.

  • What conflicts did you resolve?

I had written about this in my essays, so this point was possibly picked up for that reason. Explained to them in detail how the conflict arose, and what approach I took to resolve it. This was met by a couple of counter questions from the ISB interview panel on how I would deal with difficult employees, and if I was selected for ISB, how I would manage ISB classmates in a student club who do not follow rules. I explained all this in detail and this took 5-10 minutes in itself.

  • Given that you co-ordinate between so many teams as part of your project role, explain the nature of differences in communication styles when you speak to each team.

This was a tough question. I began by putting forward a couple of perspectives, but was immediately interjected by an ISB interview panelist who said that my approach was very naive. I took a few seconds to understand his point, and explained why my approach would work. I also made the point that I would imagine myself in my manager’s/reportee’s shoes when tailoring my communication, and saw the senior-most panelist nod, which calmed me down. I then put forward a couple of more strategies and concluded.

  • Why Corporate Finance?

This began well, as I explained my reasons for seeking a role in Corporate Finance. However, one of the ISB panelists then asked me why I needed an MBA to get into Corporate Finance given that I was already a Chartered Accountant with some experience. Gave him the answer, and discussed with him a couple of pros and cons on pursuing the MBA (cost-benefit analysis).

  • The path to a CFO role also passes through consulting. Would you be open to it?

I felt this was a trap question, so politely put forward my views on why I believed the consulting route was not optimal and why I was not taking it. Then put forward a couple of points on why Corporate Finance was the right path for me, given my education, skills, and experience. The panel seemed convinced about this point. The panelists looked at each other, nodded, and asked no further questions.