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Tricky interview question: How much is the Eiffel Tower worth?

The question

This question was asked during an interview for an investment banking analyst role at a bulge bracket firm in Australia: “How much is the Eiffel Tower worth, and why?”

The candidate’s reply

I answered in three ways:

1. Replacement value (i.e. How much it would cost to rebuild the tower from scratch, inclusive of acquiring the land).

2. Salvage value (i.e. How much the structure could be taken apart for and materials sold for, including the sale of the land).

3. Ongoing business value (i.e. Value of the ticketing / other revenue streams associated with the building) .

After answering in the typical finance fashion, I said something along the lines of: “Having said all the things you want to hear, the bottom line is, it’s priceless.”

How he would have responded in hindsight

I think I did pretty well, however, my MasterCard joke at the end could have backfired if the interviewers were not light hearted. I got the job.

How would YOU have answered?

Use the comments box below to suggest a better response to the interview question above.

Comments (3)

  1. Good approach overall to highlight three definitions of value – that’s better than getting caught up in the numbers. the banks want to see your working – problem solving skills

  2. It’s all about context. The first answer was really replacement cost, not value; the second is irrelevant, given the context. The third is ‘getting warm’, as they say in a treasure hunt. The correct answer, I believe, is ‘it’s priceless’.
    Dahlan Simpson, Cash Harvest

    Dahlan Simpson Reply
  3. It’s a world wide icon, goodwill (or is it intangible asset) value is huge.

    To Paris it’s a shining star, it draws tourists, it makes them proud, it puts them on the map.

    The above must be mentioned, focus on the tangibles only is a fail IMO.

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