Say they ask why you want to work for them. You don’t really know, that’s true, but you at least know the answer they want to hear.
Say they ask what was their most noteable deal. You couldn’t give less of a fuck, but you know their top three and have a speech prepared discussing why you can’t pick just one deal as a favourite.
Say they ask what in your career as an i-banker has prepared you for potentially working at Blunderstone? You know the answer is nothing, but you have countless anecdotes and skills that you can pull out of your hat that will be guaranteed to tick the box of excellent skillset on the interviewer’s checklist.
Your interviewer finally comes in. He’s a Patrick Bateman type, ex i-banker, who unlike Frank, who is more of a Danny DeVito midget with a beer belly type, this guy looks sharp.
After a very brief introduction, and hearing that this guy called Ingo van Abee used to be an investment banker at Lemming Brothers, he pops the shocker question. An out of the blue, out of the box, and out of anything you could have possibly thought would come up, when he asks:
“So, how do we add value to companies in private equity?”
You think long and hard, go through the case studies of deals you read through preparing for this interview, the deals you worked on for private equity clients and anything private equity related that you can possibly remember, and all you can really think of is.
“Well, buy low sell high.”
You’re faced with Ingo’s cold stare for a few moment, after which a smirk and then a smile appear on his closely shaven, ice cold private equity face.
“Very well answered. I’ve had people interview here and spend half an hour explaining how we add value through growing revenues, expanding profitability, using debt and paying it off with the company’s own cash and here you are, hitting the nail right on the head. BUY LOW, SELL HIGH. I’m recommending you for the next round.”
Your jaw drops and you spend the remainder of the interview chatting about the weather and shooting the shit. Definitely a good start to the day.