Investment Banking question


I have a friend who is currently applying to several investment banks for a graduate position. He is struggling to come up with an answer to this question.

Given current market conditions what do you think Deutsche Bank should do to remain competitive? (Max 100 words) *

Any help would be much appreciated!


Active member
"Stop putting silly (but presumably expensive) artwork in the lobby." (and he'd even save a few words)

More seriously it probably doesn't matter a great deal what your friend says as long as he can back it up. On the other hand if he takes an answer off the internet which talks of things he doesn't understand / isn't fully familiar with I would have thought the chances of it getting picked up on at interview are pretty good and the result would be pretty bad.

Have a look at the Annual Reports here to see what they're actually doing. Telling them either: 1) their strategy is crap; or 2) they should scrap IB to concentrate on FI trading or similar is likely to be a bad idea, so play around the edges with what they say they're doing in the IB area and what your friend understands. i.e. if he's been doing work at Uni on economics in overseas countries and they talk of expansion into the new EU states then suggesting they scale up / down in Eastern Europe for reasons X, Y and Z is likely to look good and would be something he could go into more detail on if they ask.

Your friend could always be cheeky, and say that if Deutsche Bank needs to ask graduate trainees to find out the answer, then surely something somewhere higher up is definitely up the creek. But somehow I don't think that will get him a job.

For a serious answer (100 words is not much) suggest that they carry out competitor analysis across all sectors of their business, and then use the standard 80/20 principle to address each of them ruthlessly and without kowtowing to internal politics. Oh, and ask the postroom staff because they will know more about what's really going on than any management team.

Airthrey Capital

Well-known member
Any graduate who is having difficulty answering a simple question like that, won't get a job at MacDonald's never mind Deutsche Bank.

There won't be anybody there to hold your hand when you get in to the big bad world of work.

Try thinking for yourself!


Active member
have to agree - its a very open ended question i.e. theres loads of things you could say. As with most Inv Bank Grad type interviews they care more on how you strucutre and back up your argument.


Experienced member
Quote 'He is struggling to come up with an answer to this question.'...

Not much hope then is there!


Senior member
There is a need for people of his calibre at Burger King


Senior member
The reality is that his application will be vetted by HR so he only needs some resonable arguments to show he has done his homework. Plenty of information online about the current state of investment banking. Just keep to the general points don't get specific and be able to argue intelligently around those points. They are not offering him/her Akermanns job.

Deutsche's reputation has never been higher. In dubbing it “Bank of the Year 2003”, International Financing Review, the capital markets' favourite newssheet, purred that Deutsche was a “lean, aggressive, focused universal bank”. In the league tables that investment banks watch so keenly, Deutsche excelled last year as lead manager of bonds and convertible bonds and of some racier products, such as repackaged debt securities and high-yield “junk” bonds. In other disciplines it rarely fell below the top ten in the world.
However, it is still nowhere near the top in equity offerings and advice on mergers and acquisitions, except in Germany. It still has a problem with costs, which were a fat 82% of income in the third quarter of 2003, thanks mainly to the thick pay packets of its investment bankers and its poor returns from corporate and retail banking.

That took all of 30 seconds.


Active member
I think thats a pretty tough question to ask actually. I mean if he starts criticising the company to the interviewer then he is opening himself up to further grief. On the other hand if he just goes into "tough investment banking market - cut costs etc etc" type arguement then it would show he hasn't done his homework beforehand.....only my opinion tho.

Slightly off topic: whats the most random (investment banking) interview question you have been asked? Mine:

"I am an alien. describe the game of tennis to me?"


Junior member
Blairlogie - quality lol


Experienced member
Who'd want to work for an IB anyway?

If you have ANY ability in life, you are better working for yourself. You'll never get the most out of life working by the rules someone else has imposed on you so they can exploit you under the veil of a fat bonus structure. What good is the bonus if you can't enjoy life or get the time to spend it??

Why do you think everyone looks so damn miserable in the City? Trying to keep up with the Joneses in some pathetic attempt at self worth.

You only get one shot at life. Dont sell it to the machine. Learn to trade properly for yourself and you wont need to succumb to the IB rat race.

Hey freak out hippie! I'm off for a toke!


Senior member
Having spent a lot of time in the city myself before going it alone, I am inclined to agree with you BBB.
The thing is
I learned to trade using other peoples money and that certainly has its upside. The only thing you have to try and remember is that if you work in city as a slave then do not get into a situation where you are unable to leave. I know many people that have fallen into that trap and they are fatter, sadder and generally have less hair than I do.
On the upside you can have a lot of fun earning and spending those nice bonuses if you get into the right team while getting wined and dined at the best London has to offer by all those brokers.


Experienced member
lol - yea I can see that point of view.

Before I became a local, I was trading for a small prop firm. I was trading the gaffers money, but he split it 50-50 which was good of him. If you want to find utter contempt for IB workers - go talk to an ex local!

Anyway, when he chipped back to Chicago, I was left on my Jack Jones so went it alone. I found it a whole new ball game when I realised it was my money not his. I was far more risk averse and found it hard to start - just another mountain to climb! Got over it eventually when I looked at my bank balance and realised I had to start making some money. Never looked back! (until they closed the floor and had to start on another mountain!

What about you? How did you find the transition from OPM to your own bunce?


Active member
interesting posts.

Working in IB does have its good points - you generally get to work with pretty bright people (I did say generally) and in general (yes generally but not always) you get paid pretty well for less risk than you would take on if going it alone. For someone in their early to late twenties there are very few jobs where you can earn as much in a salaried job and gain very valuable experience at the same time....if only in anger management :devilish:

I fully agree that you don't want to let it run your life for ever tho.....please take note certain t2w members! :cheesy:



Experienced member
Yea right. I remember leaving Uni and some mates going to work for the IB. 6 day weeks 12-14 hour days! They were rewarded a grand sum of 30k. This was about 6-7 years ago.

Another mate went to work for Sony writing video games. He was on 40k as a grad and only worked 3 full days a week. The rest were 'creative day' spent in the boozer getting 'creative thoughts'

The IB's are now all stressed and busy making the boss happy. Yea they are well paid (the ones who didn't get the axe and are told 'they will never work in the City again (big deal)). The bloke who went to Sony is pretty much half retired already. Runs his own consultancy and takes bits of work here and there. He's got a far higher standard of living, less stress, and far more money. He's his own man and I respect him for that. He's never sucked up to the corporate machine and been spat out after giving the best years of his life.


Experienced member
PS none of my IB mates were traders, but I do know a few fromLIFFE - all they had was a boss forcing them to trade 'what do we pay you for' when they didn't feel sure about the market.
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