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Morgan Stanley HireVue Questions – Investment Banking and Entry Roles

By April 27, 2022No Comments

How HireVue Works

The Morgan Stanley HireVue questions are a critical component of the bank’s recruiting process. After you submit your MS application, the firm will email you a unique link to complete its HireVue interview. The interview will ask you a series of questions, usually behavioral in nature. For each question, you have to record a video of yourself on the spot answering the question. Therefore, make sure your computer has a functioning camera and microphone. In the beginning of the HireVue, the system will automatically test your camera and microphone. It will only allow you to start the assessment if both are working.

HireVue interviews are designed by the recruiting-technology firm HireVue. The system uses camera recordings to analyze candidates’ responses, facial movements, word choices and voice to generate an “employability” score. This means that as you work through the Morgan Stanley HireVue questions, you must be attentive to your delivery. Your delivery is just as important as the content of your response. Make sure to smile.

The questions are set by MS, not by HireVue. It will show you one question at a time. This means that you don’t get to see all the questions at once. You only get to see the second question after you submit your video recording for the first question. Each question comes with one retry. However, once you finish a question, you do not get to go back and edit it. Once the system shows you the question, it’ll give you some time to prepare your answer. Then the system will prompt your camera and microphone to start recording. When you see that the recording has began, you should deliver your answer.

Morgan Stanley HireVue Questions and Answers

OK, so now we understand how HireVue works. In this next section, we’ll go through the real Morgan Stanley HireVue questions for past Investment Banking Summer Analysts. We’ll look at the exact questions, provide our analysis on the approach, and show you illustrative answers.

In the past, Morgan Stanley usually ask candidates 2-3 questions. However, since 2022, Morgan Stanley has started asking more than 3 questions in HireVue. Most of Morgan Stanley’s HireVue questions are behavioral in nature. Whereas Goldman Sachs switch questions every year, Morgan Stanley tend to ask similar questions year after year. In other words, there’s a high probability that last year’s HireVue questions will appear again on this year’s HireVue.

Candidates must record a video response to each question. Each question comes with its own specified preparation time and recording time. Morgan Stanley usually gives 30 seconds of preparation time. After the 30 seconds is up, the system will automatically begin recording your answer. For each Morgan Stanley HireVue question, you must limit your answer to 1.5 minutes. You have 1 retry for each question.

You don’t have to use all of the allotted time. There isn’t a single “right” answer to each question per se. The “right” answers are ones that are clearly delivered and highlight your positive characteristics.

If you have a technical issue or disruption, don’t worry – you’ll have another chance to record your response. However, your second response will be automatically submitted and you’ll progress to the next question.

Please remember that these are past Morgan Stanley HireVue questions. There’s no guarantee that MS will use the same questions or assign the same time limit for future interviews.

Morgan Stanley HireVue Question #1

HireVue Question: What recent transaction interests you and why?

Lumovest Analysis: This is a very common Morgan Stanley HireVue question. It is specific for candidates applying to Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division. While it may also appear for candidates applying to other roles, it is particularly common for the Investment Banking HireVue. Morgan Stanley has asked this question for several years. Therefore, we highly recommend all investment banking candidates to prepare for this question in advance. First, you should pick a transaction that occurred within the last 6 months. Second, you should pick a recent transaction that Morgan Stanley worked on. You should not pick a transaction that MS was not involved with. And third, you should be able to explain that transaction clearly and succinctly.

Sample Answer

A recent transaction that interests me is Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in an all-cash transaction. On this transaction, Morgan Stanley served as the lead M&A advisor to Elon Musk. Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, Space X, Boring Company and Tesla, first announced in early April 2022 that he had purchased 9% of Twitter’s outstanding shares. Subsequently, he made an offer to purchase the entire Twitter for $54.20 per share. This is about a 38% premium to Twitter’s undisturbed stock price prior to Elon Musk announcing his 9% stake.

I found this transaction very interesting not only because I’m a Twitter user, but also because of how things transformed. The process involved various M&A hostile takeover tactics and defense mechanisms that I thought made the deal very interesting. Twitter was initially resistant to the acquisition and even adopted a poison pill. Elon Musk then indicated that he will launch a public tender offer. Other major shareholders also indicated their support for the sale. While the poison pill can prevent him from acquiring more shares, it can’t stop other shareholders from supporting Musk. Eventually, the Twitter board agreed to the deal and Morgan Stanley was able to carry this landmark transaction across the finish line.

Morgan Stanley HireVue Question #2

HireVue Question: Tell us about a time you knew things were not going well with a particular project, process, or activity. How did you know? What did you do to solve the problem?

Lumovest Analysis: This is another common Morgan Stanley HireVue question for investment banking candidates. We have seen Morgan Stanley ask this question and its variations for several years. One variation, for example, asks you to recollect “a time when you noticed something that didn’t appear right.” Slightly different wording, but inherently the same question. It’s OK to talk about a real experience that didn’t go well. In fact, these answers are oftentimes the most sincere.

Sample Answer

During the school year, I was a part-time investment banking intern at ABC Capital in Denver, Colorado. The firm was advising a publicly-traded company on a complicated transaction. The company was going to spin-off a business segment, enter into a sale leaseback on its corporate headquarters, and sell the remaining business to another strategic. So there were a lot of moving pieces of the puzzle in this transaction. The analyst on the team ran the entire financial model. Unfortunately, he left the firm midway in the transaction to pursue another opportunity.

My staffer staffed me on the transaction to replace the analyst. Because of the complexity of the model, I chose not to re-build it from scratch. However, I quickly realized that was a poor choice. A lot of the model outputs I made had errors and the numbers in different outputs frequently don’t tie. This happened numerous times and I can sense that the associate and vice president were losing patience.

I realized that the origin of the problem was that I didn’t have a full grasp over the model. It’s difficult for one person to fluently manipulate a model built by someone else. I would make one change in the model not fully appreciating how that will flow through the entire model. And so these inconsistencies would constantly happen. In the interest of putting a stop to all the mistakes, I invested a full weekend of work rebuilding the model from scratch so I can know exactly how the model works. And it paid off. I became aware of the different parts of the model I need to change for different outputs. Through this experience, I learned the importance of acquainting with the model when working on a new project.

Morgan Stanley HireVue Question #3

HireVue Question: What have you learned from your academic experience that can be applied to a career at Morgan Stanley?

Lumovest Analysis: This is a common and somewhat generic behavioral Morgan Stanley HireVue question. It’s a classic “HR” type of question. It’s not specific to the Investment Banking Division. It can appear in the HireVue for early insight programs as well as various divisional roles. In other words, you should prepare for this question no matter what division you apply to. Soft skills are important here. Some candidates overly focus on their hard technical skills that they learned in school. Soft skills are equally important, if not more important than raw finance technical skills for this question.

Sample Answer

I’m a sophomore at Princeton University double majoring in Biology and Spanish. Through my academic experience, I learned valuable lessons in communications, attention to details, and teamwork.

I discovered really early the importance of communications, thinking in the form of not only what I wanted to say, but also in the form of how the audience will interpret what I say. My studies in Spanish as my second language made this challenge especially visible to me. At Morgan Stanley, I will think about communications from the client’s perspective. This will steer me to create materials that optimize the message we’re trying to communicate.

Equally important is the attention to detail that my academic studies imparted upon me. In my biology lab studies, I have to be very vigilant and attentive to small details that might seem meaningless to outsiders. But the reality is that a small change in a minuscule detail can completely alter the results of a study. And so I naturally developed a habit of paying attention to the details and double checking my work. I think this is highly relevant for a career with Morgan Stanley.

And lastly, I learned how to work with others. Through my studies, I saw how a team’s effort can be far great than the sum of individual efforts. I learned how to be a good team player and put the team’s interests and needs in the first place. Morgan Stanley has a very team-driven culture, which is something that I really admire.

Are There No Technical Questions?

For entry-level positions, the most technical Morgan Stanley HireVue question is the one about a recent transaction that you follow. You should prepare for mostly behavioral questions for MS’s HireVue. 

Preparing for the Next Round After HireVUE

After you pass Morgan Stanley HireVUE questions, the next step is in-person interviews. These interviews can potentially be highly technical in nature. Having a strong finance technical foundation is a must.

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