If you want to land a role as an asset manager, you’ll face an asset management case study interview. The asset management interview is similar to a consulting case interview, but has some important distinctions.
Why? Compared to consulting, asset management is a market-focused role. Asset managers focus on creating and managing portfolios for their clients (e.g., institutional investors). They are expected to know the markets and macro-economic environment much more than consultants are, but both roles are inherently strategic and client facing.
For example, an asset manager will need to understand the client’s specific financial goals and then construct a portfolio accordingly. In addition, asset management firms need a strong client base, so it is the asset manager’s job to keep clients happy (even – and especially when – the market is in a tailspin).
As such, asset management interviews are multi-faceted. The asset management case study interview will test your problem-solving skills, passion for investing, and ability to build portfolios. The fit interview portion will assess your client management skills and ability to build relationships. Let’s explore further.
What Is An Asset Management Interview?
The asset management interview tests three skills in the following ways:
Skill 1: Market knowledge – tested through:
- Questions on the market (e.g., what is going on in the stock market and why) – the interviewer will probe deeply here. The questions are intended to weed out people who don’t have a passion for investing and/or don’t have a feel for the markets (aka the people who read up on the markets 10 minutes before the interview)
- Asset management case study – see below
Skill 2: Technical skills and analytical capabilities – tested through:
- Modeling tests
- Questions on basic valuation and accounting concepts
- Asset management case study interview – see below
Skill 3: Fit within the firm and interest in investing – tested through:
- Understanding your story, including strengths, weaknesses, and how you handle adversity
- Understanding your passion for investing
- Understanding why you want to work at a specific firm
- Pro-tip: the types of fit questions you will be asked are similar in other investing roles (venture capital interview, private equity case study interview)
What Is The Difference Between A Case Study And A Fit Interview?
In an asset management case study interview, you will be given a specific prompt to test your analytical capabilities and market knowledge. These prompts mimic what you will see on the job. For example, the prompt may be around how you would structure a client’s portfolio. Then, throughout the interview, you will need to break down the situation to understand the client’s specific circumstances, liquidity preferences, etc. E.g., the portfolio construction for a retiree looking for stable cash flow via dividends will differ from the portfolio construction for a high-net-worth younger family looking to create generational wealth.
On the other hand, a fit interview is entirely qualitative and focused on understanding your experiences, gauging cultural fit within the firm, and why you want to work in asset management. We can help you prepare for both asset management case studies and fit interviews – reach out today!
What Should I Expect in a Case Study Interview?
The asset management case study interview may involve putting together a portfolio for a client. In this scenario, it is the interviewee’s job to break down the problem and understand what specific points you need to learn about the client to make a tailored portfolio allocation. For example:
- What is the client’s age and wealth?
- What is the client’s risk tolerance?
- What are the client’s liquidity needs?
- Will the client need to access the initial investment in the short-term?
- Will the client need distributions from the investment? If so, what will the distributions support?
The interview may be done in-person with the interviewer or may be a take-home exercise. At times, take-home cases may be coupled with modeling tests where you will be asked to model the client’s portfolio and create financial statements on the portfolio (e.g., statement of cash flows).
Asset Management Interview Questions
Typical asset management interview questions include:
- What happened in the markets today?
- Why is the market up or down?
- What happens to yields if the Fed raises rates?
- What are the biggest risks in the market?
- Where do you think the market will go in the next month?
- Whose investing style would you like to emulate and why?
- How would you construct a portfolio for a high net worth individual?
- How would you construct a portfolio for an institutional investor?
- How do the three financial statements tie together?
- Walk me through a discounted cash flow (“DCF”)
- What are ways to value specific companies and when would you use each method?
How To Prepare For An Asset Management Interview?
There are multiple ways to prepare for the asset management interview:
- Know the markets inside and out
- MC pro-tip: make sure you know the second and third level insights on the market; if you make a statement about the market, assume the interviewer will probe
- Prepare ~5 stock pitches
- Understand how you would allocate the portfolios for different client archetypes
- Brush up on basic accounting and finance topics, e.g., discounted cash flows; financial statements
- Know your story, including:
- Why you want to work in asset management
- Why you want to work at the specific firm
- Why you want to work on a specific desk
- Your strengths and weaknesses
If you want to go into asset management, know that preparation for the interview process takes time – the asset management case study interview is multi-faceted. It is critical to have a passion for the markets and understand how to leverage your knowledge of the market to build portfolios. It is also important to understand finance fundamentals. Finally, you’ll need to have stories prepared that showcase your client management skills, why you are a fit for the firm, motivation to join asset management, and more. For 1:1 coaching on how to craft your story, book an hour with an expert coach here.
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