As someone trying to break into the industry, this is the most important question that you can be asked. And even if you are not asked this explicitly, other questions will likely try to elicit from you the same information. Most people trying to get a banking job have the intellectual abilities to be a banker. The question is do they have the attitude, the mindset, the willingness to sacrifice and the attention to detail. There are a range of answers that will help you portray that you have both the ability and attitude to be a banker. Here are a few:
– I’ve always enjoyed the aspects of my past jobs/classes in school that involve corporate finance.
– I like the fast paced environment of banking as I’ve always excelled in pressure situations.
– I am excited to be able to work on many projects at the same time and the fact that I’ll never be bored.
– I can’t wait to be in an environment where I’ll always be learning.
– Even though I know I’ll be playing a junior role for a number of years, I like that ultimately I will be able to help advise senior management of companies.
– I enjoy reading about M&A transactions in the newspaper.
– All of the bankers that I have met are really smart and I want the opportunity to work with them and learn from them (just make sure you say this one with a straight face)
Whatever responses you give, make sure that you can back them up with actual stories and details from your experiences.