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Mic Technical Interview Workshop January 2010

Mic Technical Interview Workshop January 2010






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  • -they usually ask tax shield questions-state the formula to them in an explanatory matter... Don’t just state that this is the formula to get the WACC. They will ask why the formula was built that way
  • -do all assumptions run off of revenue? Check this... I don’t think so
  • -know the difference between using EV/EBITDA, or P/E multiples!What do you do when comparing companies with vast differences in debt?
  • -P/EPS…use the multiple on their EPS to get their relative stock price-EV/EBITDA…use the multiple on their EBITDA to get their relative EV
  • HAVE AN OPINION ON THE FINANCIAL CRISIS You will likely get the question “What happened?” or “Who is responsible?” Obviously no one really knows the correct answers or could answer everything within five minutes, but they’re looking for your level of understanding and passion in the financial markets-although the markets have taken such an extreme downturn, mention that dealflow is starting to increase, and familiarize yourself with some deals that have in fact gone through recently-note the improvement, and give your opinion on whether it will continue Although you will not be investing in stocks as an investment banking analyst, there are a surprising amount of questions on investing in interviews. This is possibly because it is one of the few ways you can demonstrate your genuine interest in the market – putting money where your mouth is. Do not mention anything you don’t know a lot about. Interviewers will likely continue asking you questions on that subject. Start investing! Or at least know one stock and one industry in extreme detail.
  • -if you pay less and receive more value, it is accretive
  • Estimate an accounting betaStep 1: Collect accounting earnings for the private company for as long as there is a history. Step 2: Collect accounting earnings for the S&P 500 for the same time period. Step 3: Regress changes in earnings for the private company against changes in the S&P 500. Step 4: The slope of the regression is the accounting beta
  • -how do you decide whether to finance with debt/equity? Which industries would likely be more inclined to use each type?
  • -make sure to remember and calculate the numbers in your answer, don’t just explain the theory-make sure to tell them your assumptions!
  • -Another question: On Jan. 1 of Year 3 the equipment breaks and is deemed worthless. Assume the company pays back the loan immediately. What happens to the 3 statements?
  • Even seemingly casual questions can be loaded. Interviewers want to see how you can speak and explain a story. You will have to be explaining your models to clients who do not understand financial mumbo jumbo in detail, so if you can’t explain your roles in past internships clearly, or how you chose McGill, then how will you be able to explain a DCF?
  • Discuss BMO first round dinner – fight (in a modest manner) to shine You should be the last person at every dinner and social event
  • If you can’t answer this question honestly, clearly, and correctly, there is no way you will make it to final rounds

Mic Technical Interview Workshop January 2010 Mic Technical Interview Workshop January 2010 Presentation Transcript

  • Investment BankingTechnical Interview Workshop
    Tuesday, January 19, 2010
    Presented by:
    Justine Erickson
    With contributions by Jessica Delfino, Mike Hudgin & Ekaterina Petrovitch
  • Introduction
    Justine Erickson
    Investment Banking Full-Time Analyst
    RBC Capital Markets, Toronto
  • Agenda
    Interview Format
    Public Comparables
    Precedent Transactions
    Sample Technical Questions
    The Infamous Accounting Question
    General Interviewing Tips
  • Deutsche Bank’s Interview Tips
  • Interview Format
    • First Round
    • 30-45 minutes
    • Behavioural and lots of technical
    • One to six interviewers
    • Second Round
    • 3-4 hours
    • Expect even more technical (reactions under fatigue/pressure)
    • One, two, or panel interviewers
  • How would you value a company?
  • Three General Ways to Value a Company:
    Discounted Cash Flow
    Public Comparables Analysis (Relative Valuation)
    Precedent Transaction Multiples
    For each method, interviewees should address:
    Basic overview (why this method is used)
    How it’s practically used (mechanics)
    Pros & cons of method
  • DCF – Overview
    DCF is the method of valuation that allows for the most flexibility (and possibly precision) in coming up with the intrinsic value of a firm
    The DCF method that we use is FCFF (you might know it as WACC method, but refrain from calling it this…)
    Mapped on many assumptions
    Based on future expectations of a firm’s cash flows (numerator), and the risks associated with those cash flows (denominator)
  • DCF – Basic Steps
    First determine WACC = D/V * Rd (1-T) + E/V * Re
    Effect of capital structure
    Use target (optimal) D/E ratio
    Re , Beta  CAPM
    Rd (1-T)  discuss importance of tax shield
    Mechanics of FCFF
    FCFF = EBIT(1-T) – CAPEX + NCC +- Δ NWC
    Explain that CAPEX and NWC are all cash sources/uses that don’t affect EBIT, therefore we must adjust.
    Analyze historical performance to come up with future set of assumptions (COGS, SG&A, R&D, “DEP”, “CAPEX”, “NWC” as a % sales)
    Therefore, we need to use revenue as a driver, and determine its growth from year to year during our explicit forecast period (5-10 yrs)
  • DCF – Basic Steps (cont’d)
    Determine FCFF’s each year using assumptions driven off of revenue
    Determine TV at last year of forecast period
    2 methods
    Growing perpetuity
    Assumes constant growth rate (2-3%) – not really used
    Terminal multiple
    Assumes an exit multiple of an operating metric like EBITDA or FCFF, to determine a value for the enterprise at that point in time
    Bring everything back to present value at WACC
  • DCF – Basic Steps (cont’d)
    Now we have the value of the enterprise (Enterprise Value = Net Debt + Equity + Minority Interest + Preferreds - Cash)
    In order to determine Equity Value, we must first subtract Net Debt & Minority Interest
    At this point we have Equity Value
    Divide by Shares Outstanding to obtain PPS
    Sensitivity analysis provides for flexibility in model
    WACC / Growth Rates / Terminal Multiples
  • DCF – Pros & Cons
    • Too many assumptions
    • The model is only as good as your assumptions
    • Know sources of info used to develop assumptions
    • Allows for flexibility
    • Firm can improve margins over time - DCF models are usually optimistic
    • Industry outlook can change, and DCF model can reflect that
  • Public Market Comparables (Relative Valuation)
    Relative Valuation is a reality check to see how investors in the marketplace are valuing similar companies like the one in question
    Public Market Comparables are used to determine typical public market valuation with respect to certain operating metrics (EV/Sales, EV/EBITDA, P/E)
  • Relative Valuation – Basic Steps
    Determine the target company’s EPS, EBITDA, and Sales for current year and possibly forward year (using research analyst estimates)
    Determine the set of comparable companies (comp universe) and their trading multiples
    Similar companies based on industry, size, business model, risk, capital structure – anything you can control for
    Separate lists if company is a conglomerate
    Multiply average industry multiple by current or forward performance of target company to determine the relative value of the firm
  • Relative Valuation – Pros & Cons
    • Stock prices are determined by relative values
    • Don’t have to make assumptions that are necessary for DCF
    • Not a gauge of intrinsic value
    • Reflects the market’s current opinions on value – average could be skewed based on company-specific factors, especially in this economic environment
    • Only values companies if they were valued the same way as their peers
    • Often difficult to find exact comparables
    • Can use sum-of-the-parts valuation for a diversified corporation, which is a weighted-average of each division under specific industry multiples
  • Precedent Transactions – Overview
    Value of a company if it were to be taken over by another company (i.e. take-out value)
    Precedent transaction values should always yield higher values than relative valuation
    Historical take-over premiums are 20-30%; much higher recently. Be able to explain why!
    Not relevant if company is under certain scenarios (company is family-controlled and not looking to sell, etc.)
  • Precedent Transactions – Basic Steps
    Find historical takeovers within industry
    Again, look for similar transaction size, and most recent first
    Try to cover at least one economic cycle in terms of precedent transactions, as some takeover premiums might reflect a takeover boom in an industry
    Multiply relevant multiples (P/E, EV/EBITDA, EV/Sales, etc.) by company’s figure to obtain firm’s value in event of a takeover
  • Precedent Transactions – Pros & Cons
    • Often very relevant, especially for undervalued firms
    • Reflects how much the company would be worth in the eyes of its industry peers
    • Often used when firm is selling off a division
    • Only useful if firm will consider takeover
    • Precedent transaction values are often higher than intrinsic value (reflect over-payment in takeover transactions)
  • Current Events
    • Interest in finance will be tested during the interview
    • Be prepared to discuss current events that you are following and able to respond to questions
    • Case: Housing crisis in general
    • Case: Kraft/Cadbury deal
    • Case: Drastic commodity price fluctuations
    • Case: CanwestCCAA filings
  • Sample Technical Questions
    If a company with a higher P/E acquires a company with a lower P/E, is this an accretive or dilutive merger?
    Why would an acquirer be willing to pay a premium to the current trading price?
    What method of valuation would result in the highest value? Why?
    What is minority interest? Why do we add it to the Enterprise Value formula?
    Can you walk me through a cash flow statement?
    How do you find a firm’s beta? How do you find a firm’s cost of debt?
    What are some different ways of calculating a firm’s cost of equity?
  • Sample Technical Questions Cont.
    • What are some common valuation metrics?
    • Why can’t you use EV/Earnings or Price/EBITDA as valuation metrics?
    • Why do you subtract cash in the enterprise value formula?
    • How would you calculate the return on equity for a private firm with no comparables?
    • What is cheaper, debt or equity?
    • If you own a start-up mining company in Canada and you require additional capital, would you rather finance your company with debt or equity? Why?
    • What would have a greater impact on the value of a firm: a $1,000,000 rise in FCFF for the next five years, or a $500,000 rise in the terminal value FCFF?
  • Brainteasers
    • Interviewers are not looking for you to answer the question immediately, it’s not a test of smarts
    • Do not panic!
    • Logically think through the question, interviewers are analyzing your capacity to think logically in stressful situations
    • Think out loud, don’t sit in silence
    • Ask questions if you’re confused but totally stumped (but make sure to listen to the answer well)
    • Sometimes thinking backwards is the key to many brainteasers
    • Don’t feel rushed, work through everything and they may help you along the way
    • Speak confidently and clearly
    • You don’t have to come up with an absolute correct answer, they are usually looking more for the way you approach the question
  • The Infamous Accounting Question …
    If you are able to land interviews, particularly final rounds, you will be asked this question!
    Question: A company makes a $100 purchase of equipment on Dec. 31. Half of this amount is paid for with cash, the other half is financed by debt. How does this impact the three financial statements this year and next year?
    Key Points:
    • Equipment Capital expenditure
    • Order of financial statements  1) Income Statement 2) Cash Flow Statement 3) Balance Sheet (most difficult is to balance)
    • Assume the company’s fiscal year end is Dec. 31
    • This year and next year
    • The numbers are not important, but use them when
    learning the important underlying concepts
  • First Year
    Income Statement:
    • A purchase of equipment is considered a capital expenditure which does not impact earnings.
    • Further, since the fiscal year end is Dec. 31, we are assuming no depreciation in the first year, and there is no impact to net income, thus no impact to the income statement.
    • This holds true regardless of whether the capital expenditure is financed by debt or equity.
    Cash Flow Statement:
    • No change to net income so no change to cash flow from operations.
    • $100 increase in capital expenditure: therefore a $100 use
    of cash in cash flow from investing activities.
  • First Year
    Cash Flow Statement Cont.:
    • In our cash flow from financing section, we have an increase in debt of $50 (source of cash).
    • Net effect is a use of cash of $50 (-$100 + $50)
    Balance Sheet:
    • Cash (asset) down by $50
    • PP&E (asset) up by $100
    • Debt (liability) up by $50
    • Therefore, we balance!
  • Second Year
    Income Statement:
    • Let’s assume straight-line depreciation over 5 years and a 40% tax rate.
    • Let’s also assume a 10% interest rate on the debt and no debt amortization.
    • Depreciation is an expense so operating income (EBIT) declines by $20 ($100/5 years).
    • $5 of interest expense (0.10 * $50).
    • Net result is a $15 reduction to net income [$25 * (1 – 0.40)].
    Cash Flow Statement:
    • Net income down by $15 and depreciation up $20.
    • No change to cash flow from investing or financing activities. (If we assumed some debt amortization, we would
    have a use of cash in financing activities.)
  • Second Year
    Cash Flow Statement Cont.:
    • Net effect is cash up $5.
    Balance Sheet:
    • Cash (asset) up $5
    • PP&E (asset) down $20
    • Therefore left-side of Balance Sheet down $15
    • Retained earnings (shareholders’ equity) down $15 (remember, net income decreased by $15?)
    • And we balance!
  • Final Part of the Question …
    If depreciation is non-cash, explain how this transaction caused cash to increase $5.
    Because of the depreciation and interest expenses, the company had to pay the government $5 less of taxes so it increased its cash position by $5 from what it would have been without the depreciation and interest expenses.
    Another question you could be asked:
    On Jan. 1 of Year 3 the equipment breaks and is deemed worthless. Assume the company pays back the loan immediately. What happens to all three statements?
  • General Interviewing Tips
    • Take the time to think about the question before you answer it
    • The last thing you want to do is go on a tangent or talk too much
    • If you don’t know the answer right away, walk through your logical thinking process
    • Always try to work out the problem. Don’t say I don’t know!!
    • Don’t stress and keep your cool
    • Be confident and comfortable
    • Always have questions to ask them
    • Don’t be cocky or pretend like you know everything about banking. Bankers, especially analysts, find this extremely aggravating and can see through it
    • Don’t forget to e-mail them after your interview and thank them for their time
  • General Interviewing Tips (cont’d)
    Tell me about yourself …
    • Have a story (1-2 minutes)
    • Logical flow
    • Progression
    • For everything you did, explain why (i.e. I chose business school because I’ve always been fascinated about what makes a good business)
    • Be convincing that I-banking is what you want, and why
  • Super Day Dinners
    • Everything is part of the interview
    • DO NOT get drunk
    • Try not to ask too many nerdy finance questions or talk about how bad the markets are – unless, of course, a banker asks you your opinion
    • Expect out of the blue questions about the economy and investing
    • Do not talk about things you don’t know anything about, try to learn from others, don’t be cocky
    • Try to sneak your interests into conversations that aren’t always relevant in interviews (e.g., interest in art or different cultures)
    • Goal: Try to come across as an interesting and ambitious person who can also have some fun and be enjoyable to work with
    • One slight mess up can definitely cost you your offer
    • Judgment and social skills are extremely important parts of your job as an investment banking analyst, and the Super Day dinner is a quick way to evaluate these
  • General Interviewing Tips (cont’d)
    Why I-banking?
    • Many good answers
    • Suggestions
    • Being able to learn a boatload in a short amount of time
    • Being surrounded by intelligent people willing to teach
    • Interest in financial markets
    • Like to work on projects and see rewarding results (even see it in the paper…)
    • Intense environment, fast-paced, pressure, multi-tasking
    • Anything else that suits you …
  • Questions to Ask Them
    • What made you choose [insert firm’s name]?
    • Have you seen the current economic turmoil/credit crisis affecting your everyday work? If so, how?
    • In what industries does your office see the most dealflow?
    • As a summer analyst will I be placed in one industry group or will I be a generalist?
    • How would you describe the culture of your office?
    • What, in your opinion, is the most important aspect or quality that a summer analyst should possess and display?
    • Finally, ask questions pertaining to your interviewer specifically to show you’ve been listening. For example, “What made you initially switch to private equity and then what drew you back to investment banking?” or, “How did you find the New York/London office compares to the Toronto office?”
  • Resources
    Career Services website: Vault Guide to Finance Interviews
    Damodaran online: more material on valuation
    News: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Financial Times, etc.