44 Questions to Ask About Mergers and Acquisitions in an Interview (With Sample Answers)
When you go in for an interview for a job in mergers and acquisitions, the interviewer is likely to ask you questions about money and investments. Your answers can help you make a good first impression and show how qualified you are for the job. One of the best ways to boost your confidence and increase your chances of moving on to the next round of interviews is to go over common questions so you can answer them naturally during the interview.
In this article, we list 44 common mergers and acquisitions interview questions, explain why interviewers ask them, and give you sample answers you can use to prepare for your next job interview.
General mergers and acquisitions interview questions
During the first half of the interview, the hiring manager will most likely ask you more general questions. They usually ask you these questions to learn more about you and make you feel more at ease before asking you more difficult questions to test your knowledge and skills. Here are some common questions that the interviewer might ask to start the meeting:
- How did you hear about this job and company?
- Why did you decide to send in an application for this job?
- Why are you quitting your current job?
- What led you to want to work in finance?
- What do you think the people you used to work with would say about you?
- What is the most difficult thing about working at an investment bank?
- Do you think that in five years, you’ll work in finance?
- When you’re under a lot of pressure at work, what keeps you going?
- What kind of skills do you need to do well at this job?
- How do you feel about working on a team?
- How do you think a manager of mergers and acquisitions spends a typical day at work?
- Where would you most like to work?
- What kind of mind do you need to do this job well?
- Doing more than one thing at once: what do you think?
Questions about your past and present
If you’re interested in the financial markets and want to work in a fast-paced, challenging environment, you might want to work in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). To get a job offer in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), you need to show that you have enough experience and the right education. Most of the time, this question comes up in the first part of an interview. Here are some common questions about your background and experience:
- What do you know about mergers and acquisitions?
- How did your schooling prepare you for a job in finance?
- Can you tell me about a time when you solved a problem by using your ability to do so?
- What was the best deal you worked on?
- Do you know how to keep the M&A process moving along?
- What do you know about planning acquisitions by using models and making predictions?
- Have you ever worked with someone who is an expert in money?
- Can you tell me about a project you worked on that didn’t go as planned?
- What is the most important thing you’ve done in this field as a professional?
- Have you ever talked to a big group of people?
- How well do you understand the “quote to cash” and “demand to quote” processes?
- How good are you at finding and looking for new deal flow opportunities?
It is also important to be ready for more in-depth questions. They usually focus on testing your role-specific hard skills and knowledge and give the interviewer a chance to see if you could do regular M&A tasks. You can look at these examples of interview questions to get an idea of what you might be asked:
- Who do we compete against the most?
- How would you tell someone who doesn’t know much about money how we do business?
- What’s the biggest threat to how we run our business?
- Can a company be worth less than what it is valued at?
- What’s the difference between asset beta and equity beta?
- Why do strategic acquirers usually pay more for a business than a private equity firm?
- Can you tell me what a banker does in an IPO or M&A deal?
- Do you know of any deals that our bank has made in the last few months?
- Why does a company’s present value often go down?
- What is the business’s rate of return?
- Can you tell me how the DCF analysis is used to figure out how much a company is worth?
- How do you figure out what the WACC parts are?
- Tell me how a merger model works.
- How would you analyze the market and your competitors?
Questions about mergers and acquisitions and how to answer them for job interviews
A great way to get ready for the interview is to go over common M&A questions, come up with answers, and practice them. It’s also important to know why the interviewer is asking each question. This will help you come up with better answers and highlight the skills that are most important for the job. Here are some common questions and their answers to help you get started:
1. What does it mean to buy something well?
This is a question that interviewers might ask to see how well you know the field. Most of the time, they expect you to shape your answer around their company’s business goals and market. Answer with confidence and think about how the company might change if the acquisition goes well.
Example: “When an acquisition goes well, the market price of the company that made the purchase goes up. So, a successful acquisition is often a big part of a company’s natural growth. When companies buy other companies, they often get access to new products, services, or markets that would have been harder to reach otherwise.”
2.What are the three main ways to figure out how much something is worth, and which one may give the most accurate estimate?
It’s common for hiring managers to ask how you’ve put your knowledge to use in the real world. This question is meant to test how well you understand theoretical ideas. Follow the interviewer’s instructions and use your critical thinking skills to pick one method.
Example: “The DCF analysis, the comparable company analysis, and the past transactions are the three main ways to figure out how much something is worth. All three of the main ways to figure out how much something is worth could do that, since it often depends on the industry, the time period, and the assumptions. In general, I’ve seen that previous transactions often lead to higher values than similar analysis. It is hard to compare these two methods to the DCF analysis because the DCF method is the most independent and has the most variable results.”
3.What was the most difficult thing you ever had to deal with in M&A?
Interviewers like to ask about different problems you’ve had in the past because it lets them see how you act when you talk about your successes. If you want to answer this question, you might want to use the STAR method. This is a great way to come up with clear answers that explain the situation, your role, what you did, and how you fixed the problem.
Example: “In my last job, which was my first full-time job in mergers and acquisitions, the company was losing a lot of money because several deals fell through in the same quarter. A few months ago, they gave me my own job as a mergers and acquisitions manager, so I had a group of analysts to lead and manage through this internal crisis. We were able to figure out what went wrong and suggest changes that helped the operations team make the deals work because everyone was so good at working together and as a team.”
4. What are the most important skills a good mergers and acquisitions analyst needs to have?
This question is meant to see how well you know the field and the job for which you are applying. The interviewer might want you to talk about the job description in your answer to this question. Be sure to talk about the skills you already have or are working on getting, as this could make you look like a self-aware and qualified candidate.
Example: “Most of the time, a good M&A analyst is someone who can easily plan and strategize about financial operations and partnerships. For them to do their jobs well, they need to know what’s going on in the financial world and keep getting better at what they do to meet industry standards. They should also be good at critical thinking, doing research, and talking to people.”