1. What is a Superday?
|Definition: Superday is the final step/interview round in the recruiting process for analyst and associate roles at Investment Banking. The purpose of the Superday is to select the best possible candidates who can thrive in the Wall Street environment. That’s why it is designed to simulate the similar pressure of working at banks with a variety of behavioral questions and challenging technical ones.|
The Superday usually happens somewhere from July to October annually depending on each firm. As you might know, the process would be extremely competitive since it is seen as a counterpart of generous compensation, prestige, and learning opportunities that Wall Street jobs offer.
Annually, hundreds of thousands of prominent applicants compete for the small number of slots offered. The number of successful candidates and the pass rates vary from firm to firm, and from region to region. Yet in the nutshell, on average 2% of applicants reportedly pass the notorious Superday to get hired, approximately 300-400 slots each firm.
The table below presents the competition of earning an offer in ONE Bulge Bracket Bank, for reference purpose only:
|18,000||the number of applications annually|
|1,000 – 2,000||the number of spots for the first round interview/HireVue/ Phone Screen|
|500-600||the number of invited candidates to Superday|
|300-350 (2%)||the number of offers delivered|
Disclaimer: The number varies annually depending on the firm financial performance, the demand of human force, the number of applicants, and the quality of applicants.
2. Superday – In the Whole Interview Process
The interview process of an Investment Bank mostly happens in 2 rounds. If your resume is qualified, you will be advanced to the first round interview. The first round interview is to assess your practical abilities with several behavioral questions, technical questions, or writing graph analyzation. Specifically, the firm will send you a link to complete a video-recording process – HireVue, which big firms such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, etc. are deploying, or Phone screen, which is largely used by Investment Banking firms.
The second round of interview is Superday (U.S) or Assessment Center (EMAM), when selected candidates will be gathered in the office or nearby hotel to meet interviewers in person. Superday (U.S)/ Assessment Centers (EMAM) are designed to assess both your technical capabilities and physical/mental stamina. Here, in order to receive offers, the most highly-achieving candidates will have to get through an intense interview day (simulating the real working pressure) with a ton of questions largely hinged on their respective division/industry preferences in their application.
Note: Though called Superday, it is not just one day. Superday often takes place on Friday or Saturday because the number of candidates is large, and each candidate can have many preferences that need processing in a day. For out-of-town candidates, investment banks often cover the flight and hotel cost for the trip.
Superday is not just an interview day, it is a series of events accompanying the Interview day.
- Pre-Superday Reception – Networking event
- On-site Interview – Main Superday
- After Superday
- Job Offers
2.1 Pre-Superday Reception – Networking Event
Description: Networking is an integral part in bankers’ employment advancement. With the aim of building networks for candidates, Investment Banks usually organize a networking event prior to on-site/main interview day. The networking event is literally a dinner / a refreshment with the participation of candidates and Investment Banking senior levels in the firm (Managing Directors, Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents).
Though the event seems less official, it is still a part of the recruiting process. So your behaviors can be observed closely by recruiters.
Advice: For further connection, don’t be reluctant to give away your contact and have some new connections with fellow candidates. One little advice is instead of firing technical topics, you can find more interesting topics to hold a conversation. Professional bankers have to deal with technical work all day, that’s why topics such as sports or politics can work better to grab their attention if you start a conversation naturally.
2.2 On-site Interview – Main Superday
Following the networking night, you’ll be invited to the main Superday. Superday is regarded as the “SUPER intense interview DAY”. You are likely to face as little as three to as many as five interviews in just a day, with each interview lasting around 40 to 60 minutes.
These interviews are often one-on-one or two-on-one with questions largely based on your industry or product group preferences. Within 40 to 60 minutes, you should expect a number of questions not only in your strengths but beyond your interested industries as well.
Specifically, interview questions will be around two main parts, including behavioral questions and technical questions. The former focuses on your resume, your experience, your strengths and your weaknesses, while the latter is used to test your technical capabilities such as accounting, finance, and valuation to assess if you are ready for the jobs at Wall Street.
A typical Superday could last an entire day, that means the interviewers are quite wiped out after a variety of interviews. Though less frequently, the interview day could even spill into the night. So you should show up prepared and try to keep the conversation interactive until the end.
2.3 After the Superday
The hiring decision at investment banking is a match process. Though you tick on boxes for your preferences, the bank just places you into your most suitable group based on your performance at the interview. Also, there is another type of matching process. Your rankings and the interviewers’ rankings will be saved. If the two sides have a match, an offer will be made to the candidate.
Most of the firms, however, will put you into a general pool. The selection process will be a summary of the number of votes and comments of the interviewers with the assistance of the HR department. The process enables the recruiters to evaluate how a candidate fits into a certain group, allowing the firm to choose best candidates whom they believe deserve offers.
2.4 Job Offers
Following stressful hours at Superday, the offer letters could come into your email within one to two days. If not, it can take longer, around one to two weeks depending on each firm.
After the Superday ends, you might belong to one of the following three categories:
- If you hear an offer decision from the bank, then congratulations. Landing the offer is the beginning of an exciting and rewarding career in Wall Street, which can change your life thereby.
- If you get rejected, don’t take it too personally. You still have other opportunities at different banks. What you should do here to keep your energy up, and continue other recruitment processes. In the meantime, if you have contacts at the bank, you can ask them to reassess what your shortcomings are and how you can improve. This will work better in the next chance.
- In case you receive unfavourable offers, and the bank expects an immediate reply of joining the firm while you are still interviewing with other banks in hopes of landing a better position. You should consider carefully and thoroughly. You would not want to burn any bridges to get there.
3. Natures of a Superday – Goldman Sachs Superday
After you learn about steps in Superday, the most important part is how you can overcome such an intense day. First, you should learn about the nature of a Superday interview.
3.1 Mental and Physical Draining
Candidates will be pushed up to limit. Compared with earlier interviews, Superday requires much more mental and physical stamina. Getting into Investment Banking is a long journey, in which you have to prepare both physical and mental health. Throughout the Superday, thorough preparation enables you to keep your energy up under the high-pressure space.
3.2 Diversity of Interviewers
You will be likely to face a varied range of levels from Analyst to Managing Director. Yet most of the time, the interviewee sheets will be stacked towards the senior side. That means there are less junior bankers than the first round, and literally no HR representatives in the Superday.
Regarding seniority, while younger bankers – vice presidents and associates – tend to ask tricky challenging questions about techniques, older interviewers – managing directors, senior vice presidents – prefer asking behavioral questions to technical ones.
Nonetheless, there is not literally always a clear-cut, so you can be asked any types of questions.
4. What are the Interview Questions?
4.1 What do Recruiters Evaluate?
Investment banks will evaluate your skills, your technical knowledge, and how you are interested in the position you apply for. Many questions are designed to test these competences. Simply put, interview questions will be around 2 main parts:
- Behavioral questions, Fit questions
- Technical questions
4.2 How to Prepare and Ace an Interview
You can visit our interview questions articles for analyst and associate roles for more details.
#1. For fit/behavioral questions, this is the part where you tell your stories with interviewers. Thanks to these questions, recruiters will learn how your previous academic and work experience fits into the division/industry you apply for.
The questions in the first place always surround:
- Introduce a little bit about yourself / Walk me through your resume
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- Your achievements and failures
- Future plan and why Investment Banking?
What you should prepare here are crafting your own stories (reflecting your achievements, past experience, transferable skills and leaderships), and backing up small personal stories to answer questions related to strengths and weaknesses.
If you have some disadvantages in your profile such as low GPA, non-target background, fewer outstanding accomplishments, non-banking internships, and etc., you have to prepare stronger responses to make up for these “real weaknesses”.
#2. For technical questions, what you will be interviewed usually circles around accounting, finance, valuations, and practical deals.
- Accounting: Financial statements (types of financial statements, links between different types of financial statements), revenues, operating costs, EBITDA, debt & equity, etc.
- Finance: Equity Investments (stocks), Fixed Income Investments (government bonds, corporate bonds, commodities, currencies) , Derivative Investments (options, futures, forwards, swap), etc.
- Valuation: Valuation metrics and multiples, (Discounted Cash Flow, LBO modelling, paper LBO), knowledge about mergers and acquisitions, etc.
Beyond technical comprehension, investment banking’s recruiters also want to test your knowledge about the market, practical deals and companies. Your work is to keep abreast of news about markets, imminent IPO, bond issuances, and mergers & acquisitions on a daily basis. The questions largely depend on your experience shown on your resume. That means if you present your active involvement in transactions/deals, you might get many questions about it. Discussing the deals is considered the most challenging part in an interview.
5. Tips to be The Best on Superday
Instead of listing cliche tips like be yourself, know your resume deeply, talk about your accomplishments not job descriptions, etc, in the nutshell, tips to be the best on Superday is nothing but two main key takeaways below.
Network with alumni in your alma mater, or network with current professional bankers are what you definitely have to do as soon as possible. Not only do they give you the most insightful information, but they can provide mock interviews as well. Besides, investment clubs at your college might help you out in networking. With supports from these connections, your way to pass Superday is much smoother than other fellows without networks.
You can read our articles about networking to learn more about how you can make efficient cold calls, emails to build rapports, what are the main points to grab the attention of pro-bankers so that they would return your emails/calls here. (Embed networking)
5.2 Practice, Practice, and Rehearse
Practice means preparation in knowledge, research about firms you are going to apply, and coming armed with positive attitudes. Before entering the Superday, mock interviews with your friends and senior bankers are totally advisable. Preparing your posture, facial expression, hand gestures, and so on will do you only good but no harm. On the other hand, remember to reach your university career service because most of them provide you with mock interview sessions and interview workshops.