Which division of the bank are you applying to? Please provide details of the personal skills you developed that have prepared you for a role within this division.
Julia Barber, director of graduate recruitment of The Cornell Partnership advises:
Why are they asking this? The reason banks ask this question is to discover the abilities you have developed through your work and life experience. This is particularly relevant if your background is atypical for an investment banking candidate (eg you've got a degree in fine art and no banking experience).
How should you answer? By making logical links between your background and the role for which you are applying. For example, it might be good to talk about your experience using spreadsheets, or to mention demonstrable evidence of sales or negotiation skills and client-facing activity, perhaps gleaned when organising university events.
This question also demands a genuine knowledge of the day-to-day reality of the role of an investment banker. So ask yourself: "Is my answer really specific to investment banking or could it relate to any graduate position?" Of course, there are a number of skills you could focus on, but try and choose three key areas in which you have made a significant contribution.
And what mistakes should you avoid? With this kind of question it is easy to fall into the trap of being overly clichéd. Remember - every applicant will present themselves as 'hard working', 'enthusiastic' and 'driven', so find something different to say and hang your response on concrete examples.
Also, try not to use too much emotive, flowery language, including exaggerated adverbs such as 'very', 'highly', 'incredibly' and 'extraordinarily'. This may be difficult, when the main aim is to sell yourself, but you'll come across a lot more impressively if every point is substantiated by a tangible example.