Let me start with a true story. Many years ago I was sitting in a small auditorium at a University, studying finance, banking, and investment. Back then I had no idea of the things ahead, and that I will actually end up working in recruitment, interview coaching, and writing. I was just a 20 years old kid, eager to make it big in business, and earn a lot of money. My priorities were completely different than they are today, but that’s not the point of the story. At least not the one I want to demonstrate now.
In one of the classes, a teacher asked every one of us: “Why do you study Finance, Banking, and Investment?” Why did you apply to study at this college? Then we went, one after one. I sat in one of the back rows, and listened to the answers of fellow students. About half of them had no idea. Many opted for this difficult study program because they were “good in Math“, or because “finance will always be perspective“. The worst answers were like “My sister studies here and she said great things about the college“.
I cannot say what the teacher thought, but I was disappointed. These people were going to spent years of their youth in a hard study program, just because they liked Math, thought that finance were perspective, or because they siblings studied at the same college. Just one of them said something that struck me as a great answer: “I want to work as a Financial Analyst. I really like that type of work, and believe that a degree and knowledge from here will give me a head-start to this career.”
This guy really hit the nail on the head. Because he talked about the future, and what he hoped to gain from the studies. He had a goal he followed. And it likely won’t surprise you that he belonged to the best students in the class–because he had motivation many others lacked….
When they ask you in your interview–be it for a job, or for a place in a study program, why you opted for finance, remember this story. Because you should focus on exactly the same thing: your future, goals, a job you want to have one day, and perhaps how the field fits your strengths and personality.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. I tried to come up with some variety in the answers, including answers for both school and job interviews. Below the list of answers you will a few hints on how to deal with the question, as well as an ending to my university story–should it interest you :).
7 sample answers to “Why are you interested in finance?” interview question
- I would love to study finance because I would like to become an investment banker one day. It is my dream career. Of course, I know the road ahead is long and bumpy. First I have to graduate with excellent grades, which is my goal, and then progress up the career ladder step by step, continuing with my education along the way, and delivering in the jobs I’d have. But everything starts here, at a great college like this one, and I hope you will give me the chance to prove my motivation and skills in your study program.
- I am interested in finance because the field is just the right match for my skills, strengths, and personality. I’ve always enjoyed working with money, and I’ve been investing at the stock exchange since I was 18. What’s more, I‘ve read dozens of publications on the subject, including biographies of most successful investors, such as the Snowball from Warren Buffett. I just love the field, I am good with numbers, and see no reason why I should opt for another career.
- The job in an FP&A department of your company is simply the next logical step in my professional career. I’ve graduated from XZY college, worked as an intern in one of the big 4 companies for a year, gained the necessary experience, and now I am looking for more independence and a job in which I can have a bigger impact. That’s why I applied for this position, and I hope to convince you to give me a chance to prove my skills and dedication to the field.
- I am interested in finance because, first and foremost, I want to be rich. Let’s be honest. Nobody really wants to be a mediocre individual. Some people just do not find the courage to follow their dreams, or they lack the effort, or quit early. But that’s not my case. I hope to study finance here, understand how cash-flow works, learn from people with real experience in the field, and then eventually start my own business. Finances are without the doubt the blood of every business. Without understanding how it works, things just cannot turn our right. That why, as a future businessman, I find studying finance as the best possible choice.
- I know it may look strange, considering I’ve been working in HR for fifteen years. But I must tell you honestly that I am tired with the field, and looking for some change in life. I’ve gone through a lot of job offers, seeking something that would excite me, and at the same time a field in which I would benefit from my former experience. I’ve identified Finance as such a field, and that’s the reason why I sit here with you today. I want to assure you that I feel capable of handling the job, and actually doing great, though this is my first ever job application in the field of finance.
- I just feel that financial literacy is one of the most important skills for everyone, especially nowadays, when so many people struggle with money, apply for loans, and simply live on a debt. My motivation is to understand how finance works, in both personal life and business, and benefit from the knowledge down the road. I have not decided yet what job I’d love to have once I graduate, but I am sure that with a degree from finance many doors will be open, and I will eventually find my calling.
- I just follow my passion. I’ve been collecting money and trying to invest since I was a kid, and I always found it fascinating to dream, play with a calculator, and later on count how much I will make if I invested in this or that financial instrument one year ago. Honestly, money fascinates me. I am not 100% sure if it is good–because there are more important things in life than money. On the other hand, one can hardly live a happy life if they are broke. To sum it up, I believe one should study and work in the field they have a passion for, and that’s why I am interested in finance.
Be as specific in your answer as possible
Do not dare to dream. Show them that you think big, and one day will make it big–in their company, or somewhere else. Adding details and specifics to your answers makes it more authentic, and also easier to imagine for your interviewers.
So if you have any specific job on your mind–one you want to have now, or in fifteen years, say so. Explain the role your education, or the job you try to get now, plays in your journey towards achieving that goal. Show some excitement, and be specific. That’s the way to succeed in your interview.
The end of my story from the university
Maybe you wonder what I’ve said to the teacher, when they inquired why we decided to study finance. Actually I did not say anything. I had an answer ready. But I sat in a back seat, and the answers of fellow students took a long time, and eventually about ten of us didn’t have to answer. The teacher wanted to move on with the lesson, probably being disheartened with what they had heard so far.
Anyway, not much later I decided to quit the university, and focus fully on my business in recruitment, which I started while still studying. Many things have happened since, but I definitely do not regret my decision. After all, if I did not make it, you wouldn’t be reading these lines today :). So that’s my story. And what’s yours?
7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions you may face:
- What are you most excited about at work?
- What does leadership mean to you?
- Where do you see yourself in five years from now?