We spoke to Lucy Pollard, an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs who helps organise the programme, as well as two recent participants, about what it entails.
Goldman Sachs' perspective
What is the thinking behind the programme?
“The New Analyst Training Programme is a way of bringing all new Goldman Sachs analysts together in one place before they join up with their teams back home.
“The programme kicks off in early July each year at our offices in New York and New Jersey, with over 2,000 analysts taking part in 2015 alone.
“We feel it’s important that, wherever they’re from, all graduates begin their career at the firm on the same page; the training ensures they have a clear understanding of the strategy and culture of Goldman Sachs.
“Networking is also very important. We provide many opportunities for the analysts to get to know each other and the analysts, associates and senior managers in New York.
“We help them to understand they’re part of a global organisation – they have a network of colleagues from all around the world that they can draw on over the course of their career.”
How is the training structured and what do the analysts learn?
“All the analysts complete a two-day orientation programme on arriving in New York, which includes an introduction to the history and culture of Goldman Sachs.
“Following orientation, they begin their divisionally-aligned programme, which can vary from 10 days to 8 weeks in length.
“Each division provides their own combination of technical skills training, delivered by both internal and external experts, as well as regular talks, lectures and panel sessions.
“By the end of the programme the analysts should have the skills and confidence to hit the ground running with their respective teams in London or elsewhere.”
Analyst perspective: the computer scientist
Sam Stone joined the firm after completing a Computer Science Masters at Nottingham University.
Having interned with the firm, he attended the New Analyst Training Programme in Summer 2015. Sam has since started work as a Software Developer in the Prime Services team in London.
How did you feel when you heard you were going to New York?
“I’d never been to New York, but it was high on my list of cities to visit. It definitely didn’t disappoint – the best part was having people to show us around the city and who could point out the best places to go.
“I was also really excited about being reunited with some of the people I’d met during my internship. It was great spending time with them, and I also enjoyed getting to know new people from across the organisation.
“Some of the closest friends I made during training were from the Singapore and US offices; my roommate was from Brazil.”
What did you enjoy most about the training itself?
“One thing that really impressed me was how the programme took into account the specific needs of each of the analysts. Technology is an extremely broad discipline, so everyone had strengths and weaknesses in different areas.
“My training included a mixture of training workshops in small groups (15 or less) as well as larger, lecture-style classes with up to 50 analysts taking part.
“The workshops were based around the various tools and programming languages we use in the Technology Division at Goldman Sachs. It was very hands-on – an expert would deliver a demonstration of the product before giving us the chance to try it out for ourselves.”
What were the key things you took away from the training?
“Gaining this exposure to these tools before I met up with my team in London was absolutely invaluable.
“The firm builds many of its tools and applications in-house, so the technology is quite different to anything we worked with at university. Having had chance to get used to it means I’ve been able to get stuck in straight away and to begin working on live projects from day one.
“In some cases I’ve been the first person in my team to work with a particular tool, which means I’m the one showing others the ins and outs of how it works.”
Analyst perspective: the biologist
Kathryn Finnis joined Goldman Sachs in London in 2013 from Oxford University.
She took part on the programme that summer and now works as a Financial Analyst in Private Banking within the firm’s Investment Management Division.
What did you like most about the programme?
“What was really great about the training was just how varied it was. We were given a mixture of talks and lectures, as well as workshops and other interactive sessions.
“Each week we looked at a different area of finance; perhaps an asset class like equities one week and interest rates the next.
“We saw how people value and trade these products and learnt how they respond to macro- and micro- economic events.
“We were also given projects, which usually culminated with a mock client pitch or presentation to a senior manager. Each project was judged, with prizes awarded to the groups delivering the best pitches.
What was the social side of the training like?
“The social side of the programme was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my time in New York. I had been studying flat-out over the previous months in the build-up to my final exams, so it was great to be over there and meeting new people.
“There was a fantastic camaraderie between all the analysts on the programme. We were encouraged to arrange our own social events, which meant plenty of New York sightseeing as well as trips to the beach and Atlantic City at the weekends.
“The firm also organised several networking events – my favourite was an open-air cinema trip on the Hudson River, which was led by one of the managing directors in the New York office.”
How has the experience helped you since starting work as an analyst?
“Coming from a non-finance background, the training helped to bring me up to speed very quickly with the technical aspects of my role as well as giving me a solid grasp of financial theory.
“Both of these have been invaluable to my role here in London; it meant I was able to start my career at the firm on an even footing with all the other analysts in my division.
“I’ve since been back to New York on two occasions for follow up training sessions, which every analyst gets to do as part of their graduate training.
“Having the opportunity to refresh my learning and catch up with the contacts I made has been really important from a personal perspective as well as a professional one.”