Investment banking interviews are a golden chance to land that highly coveted job. If you prepare well for the interview, not only are you able to create a long-lasting impression but can also demonstrate why you are the most suited candidate for the job. One of the most commonly asked questions during the interview is “What are your career goals?” You may also be asked a more pointed question such as “What are your short-term and long-term goals?”
By answering this question well you can show the recruiter that your future is aligned with the particular role and industry. Here’s how to answer this question in the most ideal way possible:
1. Set SMART Goals
One of the best ways to answer the career goals question is to think deeply and clearly about your career goals. Do you know what you want out of your Investment Banking career? Which skills, technical or transferrable, do you want to hone? Which positions do you aspire to attain? Writing down your goals allows you to articulate a clear answer to this question. The SMART method is one of the most optimal ways to create actionable goals:
Specific: Ensure that your goals are as specific and narrow as possible. It’s better to say “In the next 3 years, I would like to be a junior analyst within the M&A division” than to simply say “I want to grow in the company.”
Measurable: A goal must be attached to metrics that allow for its progress to be measured. This could be in terms of monetary values or the number of people you would like to manage or the percent increase in revenue you hope to make.
Attainable: Choose realistic goals. A highly lofty goal that may not necessarily be fulfilled in the company can work against you.
Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to you and your values. They should also be relevant to the industry or division you intend to work in.
Time-based: Goals must come with a timeline in order to be achieved. This helps the interviewer see that you are serious about accomplishing them.
2. Tailor Your Response
While this question is aimed at you and your plans, it must fit in well with the company’s values and the opportunities they offer. So, research the company and find out how it can help you achieve your goals. This could be in the form of mentorship programs and career development opportunities. You can also talk about your plans to grow within the company, and how that can help you advance your technical as well as leadership skills.
3. Show that You are Action-Oriented
When answering the career goals question, also talk about how you intend to achieve them. For example, if your goal is to become a manager, talk about the steps you may have already taken in that direction. It doesn’t have to be substantial at this stage but it shows the interviewer that you are seriously working towards achieving your goals. Maybe you managed a small project at an internship or managed a club at University. Highlight these examples.
Further, also talk about the actions you will take once you become a part of the organisation to attain your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to partake in creating social impact within investment banking, talk about the programs at the company that will allow you to positively influence the community.
4. Be Honest
Yes, it is important to align your answer with the investment bank you are interviewing for and its values. However, don’t go overboard and talk about something inauthentic. It is evident to recruiters when you lie, and that does not leave a good impression. Have a balance between the company’s persona and yours. Most interviewers will appreciate your honesty and are looking to understand the distinct qualities you will bring to the organisation.
The career goals interview question is one question that you will be asked in some way or form. This also gives you the chance to prepare for your answer beforehand. Your goals must be formulated using the SMART method, tailored to at least one of the company’s objectives or values, reflect who you are and have an actionable path for achievement. Following this method will allow you to present a stellar response to this question.