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Duff & Phelps, Interview
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27 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner
Published July 10th, 2020 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Job Interviews     Companies     Money     Financial Services    

Question 1 of 27

If you noticed that a company's balance sheet was showing increased amounts of accounts receivables, what future impacts to that company would you consider to be feasible?

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1.

If you noticed that a company's balance sheet was showing increased amounts of accounts receivables, what future impacts to that company would you consider to be feasible?

At the root of this question, your interview will be looking to hear that you understand how the different lines on a company's balance sheet are related to each other. In your answer, be sure to point out your understanding of this as your job as an analyst with Duff & Phelps, will rely on your ability to do so.

Ryan's Answer #1

"An organization's lines on a balance sheet all have impact on other lines. In the case that I was made aware of an increase in accounts receivable for an organization, I would note that cash flow could be directly impacted and give a higher chance that the organization didn't have enough money to operate. As well, the reduced value of assets is a real possibility for that organization."

Ryan's Answer #2

"In reality, an increase in amounts receivable can have both a positive and negative impact. In the short term, accounts receivable show up as current-period revenue and have a positive effect on income statements. But over the long-term, a large increase in amounts receivable has a negative impact on cash-flow for the company."

2.

What software programs do you use in your current work and how adaptable would you say that you are in learning and using new programs?

Overall, your interviewer is simply looking to hear that you have a good grasp on programs to use to make you more efficient in your work and to do this, talk open and honestly about the programs that you currently use and talk about in what context that you use them. If at all possible with this role, try to research what additional programs you may have to learn if given this opportunity to join Duff & Phelps, and reassure your interviewer that your computer skills are fluent enough to pickup quickly if needed.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current role, I currently use a program called Zendesk that is an interactive customer support tool. When we started to use this tool a little over a year ago, I was very quick to learn and utilize all of the great functions of the program and have since become a trainer for new staff that join our team. As well, I'm very fluent in the entire Microsoft suite of products and would consider myself an expert on the Outlook, Excel and Word programs."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I consider myself very agile when it comes to using and appreciating the vast amount of software that is available to Financial Advisors today. In my current role, I solely use RightCapital as a financial advising tool with my clients. I really love its ability to help in the budgeting and comprehensive planning processes with my clients. I'm also very familiar with the MoneyGuidePro tool and have used it successfully in the past. If hired for this role, you can consider me an open book when it comes to learning and effectively utilizing any programs needed."

3.

We pride ourselves on teamwork here at Duff & Phelps, and this role in Client Services relies on teamwork. What are the top qualities would you would bring to a team based atmosphere here?

At the heart of this question falls your interviewers need to determine how well you will work with others on the team at Duff & Phelps,. You will be working with high level advisors and managers that are under a lot of pressure to perform in their jobs and your communications with them will either alleviate some of that stress or add to it. To ensure that your interviewer walks away from your conversation knowing that you are a team player that keeps the end goals of the company in mind, focus your answer on your effective communication skills, your knowledge of everyone's role on the team and your knowledge of what your role on the team will be.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As with any team that I have worked on in the past, my priority is knowing that everyone has an important piece in the overall success of the team. In customer service, this is knowing who to contact with the right questions and who to guide customers to when needed. This ensures that our work is done efficiently on our end of things and that our customers are handled efficiently and effectively. If hired here at Duff & Phelps,, my first goal would be to get to know everyone on the team that I would work with, what their roles are and how to best communicate with them."

Ryan's Answer #2

"My top quality is my ability to communicate, both verbally and through writing. I have excellent interpersonal speaking and listening skills and my past colleagues have always appreciated this. Here at Duff & Phelps,, your clients would appreciate this in my work as well. I am a very efficient and effective written communicator as well and this would be very beneficial at a company like Duff & Phelps,, where your offices are spread throughout the country and I can imagine that email communication is vitally important."

4.

If hired to this role here at Duff & Phelps,, what do you see as one initial hurdle you will have to overcome in your first weeks on the job?

At the heart of this question, your interviewer is asking you to take an honest look inside of yourself to discuss what you feel is the biggest learning curve you will have if offered this position. This will give your interviewer a sense of how to handle your onboarding process if hired for the position and give them a sense that you have the ability to see what your biggest need would be. Similar to the what is your greatest weakness question, the key to answering this question is humbly pointing out a flaw that you may see and making a plan for how you will overcome that flaw.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Having put a lot of thought into this even before submitting my resume for this position, I realize that my greatest hurdle would be making the leap as an Auditor into the financial focused industry. My five years of experience out of college have been focused on management and technical consulting services, but I feel that I've built a very good knowledge base and experience for this role here at Duff & Phelps,. If given the opportunity to join your team, my initial focus would be to get enthralled in auditing in the financial industry and I'd do this by being attached at the hip to my colleagues and taking the time to talk one on one with a lot of other staff to help better understand what they'll expect of me in this role."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Understanding that my role here at Duff & Phelps, would have me working with the entire advisory staff, the first hurdle would be getting to know everyone on that team and showcasing the skills that I could bring to their work. If hired for the job, I would hope to be invited to team meetings where I could introduce myself and my role with the team and I'd invite an open conversation with the entire team."

5.

Can you think of a situation where raising debt over equity would be beneficial?

Debt and equity have a very closely bonded relationship with each other in relation to a company's finances. In most situations, raising debt can create too high of an amount of pressure to meet payments versus raising equity. But, there are a few key situations where there is a distinct advantage in raising debt over equity and your interviewer will be looking to hear that you understand at least one of those advantages to be tax shielding, reducing cost of capital and not diluting the stake for investors.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In the situations where I've advised an organization to increase debt, they've received a distinct advantage in a lower cost form of financing versus equity financing. In the end, this reduced the organization's WACC and came out to be a win for them."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Last year, I advised a manufacturer to take the debt over equity route when adding a new line of products that was guaranteed to be very profitable. This fact allowed the company to simply and quickly repay the loan plus interest while being able to reap the rewards of the extra profits. In that same case using equity, final profit would've been less."

6.

How would you define what working capital is for a company and what does its measurement mean?

As a Financial Analyst with Duff & Phelps,, you will be asked to help measure working capital of organizations. In your definition that you provide to your interviewer, ensure that you give them at least the basic definition of the calculation being current assets minus current liabilities. Then, talk about real situations that you've used the measurement to make critical decisions in the work that you've done in the past. This will confirm with your interviewer that you have the ability to use the measurement in this job.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current role, we measure working capital to gauge the ability of a company to pay off its debts quickly. In working with many industries, from retails to the public sector, the determination of a company's ability to do so based on calculation can differ greatly from industry to industry. To calculate, a range of line items from the company are used to take their current assets minus their current liabilities. In the retail industry, seasonal spikes in business create the need for a much higher working capital and if hired for this role, I have a great understanding of each industries specific needs."

Ryan's Answer #2

"In a very broad sense, working capital is found by subtracting an organization's current liabilities from their current assets. In my current role, I utilize a more focused calculation of adding accounts receivable plus inventory and then subtracting accounts payable. The more focused calculation give a better idea of total working capital for organizations when trying to get a better overall picture of their health and efficiency when projecting out towards the future."

7.

Do you consider yourself stronger in C++, C#, Java, or Python?

Before your interview, do some research to understand what tech stack Duff & Phelps, uses so you can best prepare and highlight your expertise. If you aren't as strong in one of the skills you feel is necessary, be sure to explain how you've used it and how you are growing your knowledge to become better. Be sure to be honest in your answer, as the company will likely test your strengths.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my last company, we had a bit of an outdated tech stack and used C# and .NET. I found myself fully immersed in those technologies, but had a strong desire to learn more and become more familiar with modern technologies and how I can apply that in my career. That's what has me so interested in this role. Over the last year, I've taken courses in Java and C++, which I noticed you prefer. I've become proficient in the skills and in side projects, applied my increasingly strong knowledge. I'm probably strongest professionally in C# as that has been where my experience lies, but my passion and dedication is on the Java and C++ side, as I feel that's the more modern alternative. I'm excited about the possibility of applying that knowledge in a role at Duff & Phelps,."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I am motivated and excited about this new opportunity because it will challenge me to grow in my (X) skills. I love soccer and enjoy spending time with my teammates. I am interested in continuing my education by studying (Y) to further my career."

8.

In your experience as a Financial Analyst, what do you feel is the best metric to gauge a company's future stock performance?

As a Financial Analyst with Duff & Phelps,, you will be relied upon by clients to provide the best risk and reward opportunities for them to have the most successful investments While there are many great metrics to use and no right answer for this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are confident in why the metric is important by talking about the details of it. The confidence that you project to your interviewer will carry over to your work with clients and your interviewer will be keying in on this aspect of you answer.

Ryan's Answer #1

"While there are many excellent metrics to consider for the future of a stock performance, the one that I weigh the most heavily is the price earnings to growth ratio. I prefer the PEG ratio because of its consideration of expected growth rate where simple P/E calculation doesn't consider that. This calculation is specifically great when looking at a wide array of companies within an industry to level their playing field."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Being familiar with metrics like free cash flow, payout ratio, debt-to-equity and price-to-sales, all can be very useful depending on the situation. In a recent economic downturn like we've had recently, I've relied heavily on the debt-to-equity measurement to measure future performance. As we've seen with many large retailers recently, a simple look into their debt would've shown the potential for disaster in their stock."

9.

At Duff & Phelps,, our Financial Analysts have to often work under a tight deadline. Talk about a time you had to work under a tight deadline in the past. How did you handle that situation and what made it a success?

The financial field can sometimes be chaotic and stressful for analysts working on high pressure deadlines and the work life at Duff & Phelps, is no different. To test how you will perform in these situation if hired for this role, your interviewer will be looking to hear about a time where you did just that. No matter what the situation is that you discuss, be sure to show how you remained calm, focused and on-task to get the job done. Try and stress how you are resourceful and willing to utilize a team effort if necessary.

Ryan's Answer #1

"In my current role, I'm tasked with preparing some reports for our leadership team's bi-weekly meeting. Upon first taking that responsibility, I made sure that I kept myself organized during each work day and saving and prepping relevant information needed for their report. A couple of months ago, I was informed first thing in the morning that the meeting was being moved a week up to later that day due to some conflicts and vacation time for some of the team. Right away, I moved some things on my calendar to make this a top priority. From there, my regular organization of the materials needed made it easy for me to complete my job."

Ryan's Answer #2

"During my last semester of my MBA program last spring, I was nearing completion of my capstone project. The project was a case study of mergers within the manufacturing industry and was a great overall project to learn from. During the semester, my full-time job I was working to put myself through school was becoming much more demanding and parts of my project got postponed to a point where I was fearing not being able to complete it to the best of my abilities with the final due date approaching. Right away, I rearranged my work schedule to work half time and began plugging away at the final pieces of the project. To complete it, I had to sacrifice some outside weekend events with friends. While sad to do that at first, I learned some great lessons on time management, project management and sacrifice."

10.

What programming languages would you consider yourself fluent in?

While this question gives your interviewer insight into the diversity of your programming language experience, they most importantly want to know that you are adaptable and able to learn on the fly if needed. Talk about the different languages that you consider yourself fluent in and, if possible, do as much research into Duff & Phelps, as you can prior to your interview and try to speak to the specific languages that they work with.

Ryan's Answer #1

"From the start of college, where software engineering grew into a passion for me, I've become very fluent in Java, JavaScript and C++. My current role has me working primarily with C++, but I pride myself on my ability and passion to learn new programming languages and would be able to do so if hired for this role with Duff & Phelps,."

Ryan's Answer #2

"During my training to be an engineer and then in my current role since graduating, a majority of my experience falls within Python. My current role delves deeply into artificial intelligence and Python is awesome with this advanced technology. As I understand it from talking to another engineer here at Duff & Phelps,, a requirement would be for me to learn Scala. Though I haven't worked directly with Scala, I believe my experience and willingness to learn would have me up and running in no time if hired for this role."

11.

We pride ourselves on our interdepartmental teamwork here at Duff & Phelps,. If hired for this role, what kind of team player could we expect you to be?

In the financial world, teamwork at an organization is the key to success and life at Duff & Phelps, is no different. As you talk about your abilities and experiences in being a great team player, try to highlight certain themes like building trust, gaining respect and being a subject matter expert as part of a larger team. Don't hesitate to show flexibility in your ability to both lead others and be lead by others and use examples of times that you've done both. To seal your answer for this question, talk about your desire to work as part of a team and do your research on this position to find out what types of colleagues you will be working with.

Ryan's Answer #1

"My colleagues that I work closely with would tell you that I'm knowledgeable in my area of expertise to contribute to the much larger team and do so without hesitation. As well, I'm able to communicate effectively, take direction and run with when needed and always willing to help out other areas if I have free time. I understand that I would be working very closely with the Advising staff here at Duff & Phelps, and know that they would have high expectations out of my work."

Ryan's Answer #2

"I prefer to work in an environment that promotes teamwork and collegiality. If I were fortunate enough to join the team here, I want you to know that I love being in a leadership type role on a team where I can delegate work and help train others to better the organization. As well, I also thrive in a role where I am the minion and taking direction from others. I'd say that my key skills in working as a team are my ability to friendly, honest and trustworthy with my team."

12.

At Duff & Phelps,, we pride ourselves on providing the best overall customer experience. Talk about your customer service experience and explain why it will help our clients here.

In the financial services industry, overall client experience is a major predictor of business growth and the team at Duff & Phelps, takes the overall client experience seriously. For this question, your interviewer will be looking for you to expand upon your customer service experience past what they can see from your resume. To seal the deal for your interview, try to talk about times that you have went above and beyond the call of duty to provide the best service possible for a customer.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Over the past five years in my current role in customer service, my number one mantra has been to create the most personalized experience possibl for each person. I have done this by taking the time to get to know the customer, find out what their needs are and creating an experience unique to them. Where my time in automotive sales has really prepared for this role with Duff & Phelps, is in this approach. If hired for this role, I know that I will be relied upon to use open and honest communication skills, time management skills and to take a empathetic and personalized approach with each client and I can definitely be relied upon to do that."

Ryan's Answer #2

"In my years in a front facing customer service role, I've prided myself on being the face of the franchise. More often than not, my interactions with customers can be the difference between a repeat customer and a person who never comes back again. To ensure repeat customers, I make sure that I am knowledgeable about our products and services, I'm proactive with their needs and I'm always accountable for any mistakes that are made on my organization's side of things. If given the opportunity to join the team here at Duff & Phelps,, I will work hard to be highly educated in your services and be proactive and accountable in every interaction that I have."

13.

At Duff & Phelps,, we expect our Business Analysts to put extra emphasis into the risk management aspects of their project work. How have you performed risk mitigation and risk avoidance in your previous roles as a Business Analyst?

The financial field is often posed with great risks and Business Analysts must always factor potential risks into the equation of any project that they work on. To get a better idea of how you will do this if hired at Duff & Phelps,, your interview is giving you a chance to talk about your knowledge of risk and how you have worked with risk mitigation and risk avoidance in your previous positions. If new to the financial services field, it is important to show that you know that common risks can be systematic, operational, legal and credit related.

Ryan's Answer #1

"As you can see from my resume, my Business Analyst experiences come from the software and manufacturing industries where common risks were associated with systematic and operational faults. Similar to the finance industry, I also have experience in helping mitigate legal risk. In my current role, I mitigate legal risk by working with a team of legal experts to know the laws and then develop a series of what-if questions to propose potential scenarios. Based on the what-if scenarios, we can implement specific requirements into the project to help minimize potential risk."

Ryan's Answer #2

"From an early point in my career as a Business Analyst, I learned that a solid analysis process is the key to reducing any risk in a project. Two areas that apply the most are scope creep and impact analysis. To reduce scope creep and avoid any risks associate with it, I ensure that all stakeholders understand the scope of the project from the start and that I check in to validate the requirements as frequently as I can."

14.

One huge philosophy that we believe in at Duff & Phelps, is professional development. How have you worked to develop yourself professionally throughout your career?

In an ever-changing field like financial services, Duff & Phelps, knows that professional growth and development is vital to them staying at the forefront of their industry. For this question, your interviewer is looking to ensure that your values surrounding professional development match the values of the company. Use this question as an opportunity for you to highlight the many ways that you grow and develop yourself to be the best that you can be in your career. Highlight any continuing education you have completed, any societies or groups that you belong to and any publications that you read on a regular basis that will prove to your interviewer that you aren't comfortable being stagnant in your career.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I am a firm believer in being a life long learner in my work as a Data Analyst. As technology and times have changed over the course of time, I see it as very important to be learning and changing along with the times. Just over the past two years, the Data Fest and Data Summit national conferences and participation in these events on a yearly basis is super important to me to help me grow and develop."

Ryan's Answer #2

"In the financial field, I have to stay at the top of my game to compete with other advisors and keep clients happy and flourishing. To do this, I subscribe to and read many of the great publications that are out there. Some of my favorites include the Wall Street Journal, Money magazine and Forbes. I also subscribe to many others. As well, I am a member of NAIFA and I have attended the organization's Congressional Conference on a few occasions."

15.

Think back over your career up to today and tell me about the most difficult day on the job you encountered. What made the day difficult and how did you handle that situation?

We've all had our share of difficult days on the job and how we handle those days in particular can really make or break where our careers go in that position or with that company. Think of a particular day ahead of your interview that really outlines your ability to handle adversity and proves that you were able to handle it with grace rather than turning your uniform in and heading home for the day. Another important piece of your answer should be discussing what lessons you learned from that particular day moving forward that you still carry with you to this day.

Ryan's Answer #1

"It's funny that you ask this question because I can honestly say that my worst day on the job happened just a few short weeks ago. Upon arriving to work in the morning, I quickly learned that our entire network was down and we wouldn't be able to work within our CRM or other programs that day. Many of my coworkers were visibly upset and questioning how we would be able to do our jobs that day. Rather than joining the crowd and freaking out about the situation, I huddled our group together to talk about solutions to the workday after we found out that the network likely wouldn't be fully up and running until late afternoon. While some colleagues carelessly went home for the day, I helped brainstorm how we could keep our phone lines open and my boss was very grateful for my efforts that day. Looking back, what made this the most difficult for me was seeing how others responded so negatively over an issue that we had no control over."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Early in my career, I had a day where my entire office came down with the flu and I was left alone with the receptionist for the day. Being trained and working Financial Advisor, my colleagues also handled market analysis, retirement plans and insurance plans. At first, the receptionist and I went about our business. After being flooded with calls and in-person visits into our office, we connected again to talk about a plan moving forward. We discussed what types of calls she could handle and which ones I would handle and she triaged from there. I made contacted with my personal clients I had scheduled that day to reschedule and we worked well from there. If I couldn't answer a question for a client of one my colleagues, I ensured they knew that my colleague would follow up as soon as possible. Looking back, I learned that on days where you have to break routine like we did then that it was important to make a plan as early in the day as possible."

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27 Duff & Phelps, Interview Questions
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Interview Questions

  1. If you noticed that a company's balance sheet was showing increased amounts of accounts receivables, what future impacts to that company would you consider to be feasible?
  2. What software programs do you use in your current work and how adaptable would you say that you are in learning and using new programs?
  3. We pride ourselves on teamwork here at Duff & Phelps, and this role in Client Services relies on teamwork. What are the top qualities would you would bring to a team based atmosphere here?
  4. If hired to this role here at Duff & Phelps,, what do you see as one initial hurdle you will have to overcome in your first weeks on the job?
  5. Can you think of a situation where raising debt over equity would be beneficial?
  6. How would you define what working capital is for a company and what does its measurement mean?
  7. Do you consider yourself stronger in C++, C#, Java, or Python?
  8. In your experience as a Financial Analyst, what do you feel is the best metric to gauge a company's future stock performance?
  9. At Duff & Phelps,, our Financial Analysts have to often work under a tight deadline. Talk about a time you had to work under a tight deadline in the past. How did you handle that situation and what made it a success?
  10. What programming languages would you consider yourself fluent in?
  11. We pride ourselves on our interdepartmental teamwork here at Duff & Phelps,. If hired for this role, what kind of team player could we expect you to be?
  12. At Duff & Phelps,, we pride ourselves on providing the best overall customer experience. Talk about your customer service experience and explain why it will help our clients here.
  13. At Duff & Phelps,, we expect our Business Analysts to put extra emphasis into the risk management aspects of their project work. How have you performed risk mitigation and risk avoidance in your previous roles as a Business Analyst?
  14. One huge philosophy that we believe in at Duff & Phelps, is professional development. How have you worked to develop yourself professionally throughout your career?
  15. Think back over your career up to today and tell me about the most difficult day on the job you encountered. What made the day difficult and how did you handle that situation?
  16. The day-to-day life at Duff & Phelps, can be hectic and stressful at times. If hired for this role, how would you keep yourself motivated when working with stressed colleagues and pushy clients?
  17. List the top 3 skills that you have acquired in your last role.
  18. What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?
  19. Our clients here at Duff & Phelps, expect top-tier service and products and we will expect you to do just that in this role. Have you ever went the extra mile for a client when it wasn't expected? Why did you do so?
  20. Among the common issues that are faced by Data Analysts in their work, which one or two problems do you feel really challenge analysts in the financial industry?
  21. We are looking for innovators to join us here at Duff & Phelps,. Where have you brought innovation in automation to a process in your career?
  22. If you joined the team here at Duff & Phelps,, how would you build relationships with those that you would be working closely with?
  23. In this role with Duff & Phelps,, we will rely on your analytical reporting skills on a regular basis. Why do you feel analytical reporting is important in the financial field?
  24. How can Duff & Phelps, motivate you on the job?
  25. What statistical analysis tools do you have experience working with?
  26. In this role with Duff & Phelps,, we will rely on your organized and methodical approach to provide financial analysis reporting. What does your current reporting process consist of?
  27. Here at Duff & Phelps,, we are expecting someone with strong leadership skills to take this role. How would you describe your management style?
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