Investment banking job interview question: Do your socks match?

sock.jpgInvestment banking job interviews are meant to test your ability to think on your feet. Before you draw any attention to your shoes, make sure they are polished and your socks match…

Q: Let’s say you need to get up very early for an interview – in fact, before sunrise. You don’t want to wake your spouse, so you need to select your socks in the dark. In your drawer you have 8 red socks and 11 blue socks that are otherwise identical. What is the minimum number of socks you will need to take out of your drawer and carry into the other room to ensure you have a matching pair?

A: An oldie but goodie, this question is commonly asked and the solution is quite simple. The answer is you need to take three socks, that’s it. Two socks can be different, but a third must match one of the first two.

Special thanks for this interview question to Timothy Crack, author of Heard on the Street: Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews

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