Morgan Stanley Interview Questions

Morgan Stanley is one of the leading financial services companies in the world, helping people, institutions, and governments raise and manage capital to achieve their goals. If you are interviewing for a position at Morgan Stanley, you’ll want to prepare for the firm’s interview questions, which are a mix of traditional, behavioral, and strength-based questions. Ready to dive into Morgan Stanley interview questions?

Morgan Stanley Interview Questions

Table of Contents:

  1. Morgan Stanley History & Culture
  2. Life at Morgan Stanley
  3. Morgan Stanley Interview Tips
  4. Morgan Stanley Internship Interview
  5. Strength Based Interview Questions
  6. Question Examples

Morgan Stanley History & Culture

Knowing the history and culture of Morgan Stanley is important as you navigate the interview process. Morgan Stanley interview questions may take you in many different directions, but keeping in mind what the firm is all about can help you deliver better answers.
Morgan Stanley was founded in 1935 as one of the earliest investment banks on Wall Street. It handled $1.1B in public offerings and private placements that year, representing a 25% market share. The firm great steadily over time, reorganizing as a partnership in 1941 to enable its rapidly expanding business activities. It joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1942. The firm co-managed the World Bank’s $50M bond offering to help reconstruction efforts in Europe after World War 2.

In the 1970s, Morgan Stanley grew dramatically and was the first international investment bank to open an office in Tokyo. In this era, it also launched the departments that continue to this day: Sales & Trading, Research, Investment Management, Realty, and Private Wealth Management. The bank went public in 1986 and in 1997, merged with Dean Witter to create the largest securities firm of the time.

Giving back to the community is also a clear part of Morgan Stanley’s history. Examples include:

  • The bank’s involvement in the U.S. Committee for the Care of European Children in 1940
  • The launch of the Morgan Stanley Foundation in 1961
  • Investing $60 million to build the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Today, Morgan Stanley has 5 core values it lives by:

  1. Do what you know is right
  2. Client needs are always the priority
  3. Lead with exceptional ideas
  4. Be committed to diversity and inclusion
  5. Give back to the community

Life at Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley seeks people ready to inspire, innovate, and collaborate. That is true whether you are an investment banker, market research analyst, or software engineer. Regardless of the division you work in, you will be placed in a fast-paced environment where solving problems collaboratively and clearly communicating your perspective – both internally and to clients – is highly valued.

Morgan Stanley is committed to diversity and inclusion. It has a variety of programs tailored to the career needs and aspirations of the firm and its employees. For example, there is the Return-to-Work program (for those who’ve been out of the workforce), Veterans at Morgan Stanley, Financial Advisor Associate, and the Experienced Professionals programs. In addition, the newly created Morgan Stanley HBCU Scholars Program provides scholarships and training to students at historically black colleges and universities.

Morgan Stanley Interview Tips

The Morgan Stanley interview process is intended to find out who you are and your motivations. Morgan Stanley is keenly interested in whether you understand its general business model and the specific role you are applying for. The interview process and Morgan Stanley interview questions themselves should be thought of as an opportunity to show the company what you will bring to the organization.

The company provides interview tips on its website. Some of the points they try to reinforce about the Morgan Stanley interview process include:

  • Each interview is different. Anticipate questions you’ll be asked by understanding the role and job description.
  • Enjoy the discussion and do not be afraid to be honest and real. Morgan Stanley is looking for unique individuals.
  • Know your personal story. Be able to describe all relevant facts and themes from your resume without reading from it.
  • The right answer is not always important. Morgan Stanley wants to understand how you work through scenarios and think about a question.
  • Think about your personal brand and how to communicate and reflect it. What differentiates you? How do you want to present yourself?
  • Be professional, measured, and confident. Don’t be afraid to collect your thoughts before speaking.
  • Practice interviewing. It isn’t natural to speak about yourself for hours on end, so it helps to practice doing so.
  • Prepare a compelling rationale for why and how your interests bring you to Morgan Stanley. Why is this industry and firm a good place for you? Are you passionate about working for Morgan Stanley? Try to find ways for that to shine through.
  • Familiarize yourself with the industry, firm, division, and current affairs and trends associated with the role for which you are applying.

Morgan Stanley Internship Interview

A Morgan Stanley internship interview will vary based on the division to which you are applying. First, you will likely go through an initial screening type interview with someone from Human Resources. From there, a more typical “fit” interview will take place, with some standard behavioral interview questions being asked. However, a more technical interview often follows the screen, where you are asked questions about the market, analytical approaches, or specific tools and techniques relative to the role.

Questions such as “What are the advantages of Object Oriented Programming?” or “What is quantitative easing and how does it affect the markets?” may be asked. To land a Morgan Stanley internship, you’ll need to know your stuff, but what exactly that “stuff” is will depend on the role. If you land a Morgan Stanley internship video interview, treat it like an in-person interview. Be on-time and dress to impress.

Strength Based Interview Questions

Morgan Stanley interview questions may be traditional, behavioral, strengths-based, or technical (as described above). Let’s review these terms and provide some examples. Traditional interview questions are what most people envision when they imagine a business interview. The questions try to get at your knowledge of the company. They also allow you to discuss your skills, strengths, personality and working style.

  • Why do you want to work at Morgan Stanley?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Who are Morgan Stanley’s competitors?
  • Can you tell me about Morgan Stanley?

Behavioral interviews are becoming more common in corporate America. How they differ from traditional questions is they invite you to use past experiences to demonstrate a particular competency. You’ll be asked to provide specific instances in which you demonstrated certain behaviors. Your responses to behavioral interview questions should provide the person interviewing you with clear evidence of your skills.

Behavioral Interview Question Examples
  1. What skills did you learn in your current role that will help you succeed at Morgan Stanley?
  2. How have you dealt with client rejection or objections?
  3. Can you tell me about a time you successfully prepared for and delivered a presentation?
  4. Financial Advisors who are active in their community see more success. Tell me about an organization or group outside of work you are involved in.
  5. Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it.
  6. What are some of the major ways you helped your last organization succeed?
  7. Describe a time when you successfully managed a very heavy workload?
  8. Have you ever been asked to act unethically? If so, what did you do?
  9. Can you describe your experiences being a part of or managing a team?
  10. How have you, or would you, show clients that you are a trusted source of financial information and advice?
  11. How do you stay current on the latest trends in this industry?

A newer form of interviewing you might encounter would be strength-based interview questions at Morgan Stanley. This type of interview gives candidates an opportunity to talk about natural strengths and the scenarios in which the candidate thrives.

It can be challenging to prepare for this type of interview in advance in the way that you can for competency-based interviews. The questions are more personal. Interviewers will ask several questions in succession to try to force you to answer naturally and not use prepared answers. Quick, genuine, and energetic responses are ideal.

Strength Based Interview Question Examples:
  • What makes a good day for you?
  • Do you thrive when working independently?
  • Do you love working as part of a team?
  • What activities come naturally to you?
  • What always gets done on your ‘to do’ list?
  • What types of tasks do you avoid doing?
  • What things did you really enjoy doing when you were younger?
  • When would your friends and family say you are happiest?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • In your life, what have you done that you are most proud of?
  • What are your greatest strengths? Do you ever overuse them?

To effectively answer strengths-based Morgan Stanley interview questions, think deeply about your strengths well before the interview date. Identify strong examples of when you have used those strengths and how they would benefit Morgan Stanley in the specific role to which you are applying. Remember to draw on experiences from all aspects of your life – academia, voluntary work, athletics, paid jobs, clubs, etc.


Morgan Stanley is a powerful global brand in the finance industry and beyond. A passion for finance and an understanding of how it can improve people’s lives is helpful when answering Morgan Stanley interview questions. If you need help preparing for your Morgan Stanley, take advantage of our interview prep resources today!

Additional Reading:


Filed Under: Corporate Interviews