We spoke to four former Goldman Sachs interns to learn about their experiences and what they’ve taken away from their time at the bank so far.
Michael is studying Computing at Imperial. He completed Spring and Summer Internships in Goldman Sachs’ Technology Division.
There are lots of things you can do with a computer science degree, but I was enticed by the idea of solving real-world technological problems. One field I felt I could definitely do this in was the financial sector.
The Spring Internship was a chance for me to gain a better sense of the industry and to figure out whether it might be something I’d enjoy.
The programme introduced us to the different proprietary technology frameworks and languages that the Technology team at Goldman Sachs uses. We were also given presentations about the work the bank does, and how the bank’s technology operations relate to the financial side of the business, and vice versa.
The Spring Programme gave a feel for the business, including the environment and the culture, my experience laid the foundation for me to return to Goldman Sachs the following summer.
The Summer Internship was a step-up from a technical perspective. I was given a real-time project to sink my teeth into: I was asked to build an application that could be used by the bank’s trading teams.
I was creating something that people were going to be relying on, and if one link in the chain breaks, it can impact the entire trading system. It was a lot of responsibility, but I was always able to ask for help from other people, both in my team and in other teams and divisions.
One of the key things I picked up on was the importance of managing people’s expectations. As an intern, you naturally want to make a good impression; however, it’s important to deliver high-quality work, so you need to be honest and able to say when you’re too busy to take on more work.
At university, you don’t email your lecturer until the end of the project when everything is signed and sealed. But in the professional world, it’s different: you’re part of a team and it’s important you keep people updated on your progress, so that they can factor it into wider work processes. You need to be constantly communicating with the people around you.
Janet took part in the 2016 Summer Internship programme with Goldman Sachs’ Securities Division. She is currently studying Maths and Economics at LSE.
I’d been interested in a career in finance for a while, and for me it was about taking the opportunity to see what that would be like.
A key milestone from me was attending a breakfast hosted by the Women’s Network at Goldman Sachs – it was a great opportunity to speak to people from the bank, and get a feel for what working life there would be like. It made up my mind to apply for the firm’s Summer Internship programme.
Because the Securities programme is rotational I was able spend time with several different desks and experience working in a number of different roles. Some teams, such as the flow trading desk, were extremely fast-paced, while in others there was a focus on longer-term projects.
I was always really busy, and I soon realised that the work I was being given was impossible to solve alone; they were designed to get you talking to as many people on the team as possible. I learnt that the culture at the bank is extremely team-orientated, with everyone working towards the same goal.
I was supported during the programme by colleagues from almost every level of the organisation: an analyst buddy, a vice president mentor, a managing director champion and a partner sponsor. I was able spend time with them all every week and each one was able to offer me a different perspective on life at the bank.
There were also plenty of networking events organised throughout the summer. I particularly enjoyed the Women’s Trading Event – it’s always inspiring to see senior women succeeding at a high level!
These experiences gave me the confidence to approach and engage with people across different levels of the organisation. Get involved, ask questions, put your hand up and ask for feedback – just because you’re younger or have less experience doesn’t mean people aren’t interested in what you have to say.
The whole experience was a real eye opener, and one I would highly recommend. Even if you’re not 100% sure that finance or investment banking is the career for you, you’ll never lose the skills and experience that you gain over those few weeks.
Mohamed Nimul Amin is studying Actuarial Science at the University of Kent. He completed a Summer Internship in the Operations Division at Goldman Sachs.
I developed an interest in the financial workings of companies while helping my father to run his fjrm. In particular, I was intrigued by how statistical methods can be used to drive businesses forward.
I was considering a number of career options, but when I finally looked into investment banking it played to all my interests, so I decided to undertake a Summer Internship to find out more.
One thing I found surprising was how willing the team were to give me real projects and real deadlines. During my first placement with the regulatory operations team, I was entrusted with putting out a daily report that involved a lot of in-depth statistical analysis.
Getting my head around the financial language and concepts was a big step up for me. Fortunately, the people I was working alongside were all experts in their field so there were always people to call on whenever I needed help.
By the end of the summer, I had a much better understanding of the financial markets, and I’m ready to hit the ground running when I begin work as an analyst next summer.
Now I’m back at university, my confidence is so much higher and I’ve decided to further my interest in statistical analysis. I’m currently studying risk management and it’s great knowing my skills can be applied in solving real-world problems.
My advice to anyone considering doing an investment banking internship is to indulge your curiosity. The more curious and interested you appear, the more opportunities people will be willing to offer you.
Alexandra is a Psychology and Business student at Edinburgh University. She completed Spring and Summer Internships in the bank’s Investment Management Division.
I joined my university’s Trading and Investment club in my first year, where I crossed paths with a number of people who had done finance internships.
Talking to them really sparked my interest in investment banking; I went to a number of campus networking events, and was offered a place on the Goldman Sachs Spring Internship.
The hardest part for me was being introduced to so many different financial concepts in a short space of time. Coming from a non-finance background it felt like a steep learning curve, but there were always people around to provide support.
As a Spring Intern, my core responsibility involved researching potential investment opportunities for the bank’s clients. I was tasked with analysing the Research team’s outlook for different asset classes and geographical markets. My job was to review this information and to look for the things I felt would be relevant to each client.
During my Summer Internship, I was invited to join calls with clients. This was really helpful in understanding their priorities and the kinds of questions they ask and how to answer them. The reports I produced ended up being used in the portfolio overviews we sent to clients – it was great to know my input was having a positive effect on the team!
The Spring Internship is a bit like the movie trailer. You get a taste of the industry, a sense of the culture of the firm and whether it’s the right place for you. This lays the foundations for the Summer Internship, which is a lot more in-depth and helps you decide whether the role is the right fit.
Both schemes are an amazing learning opportunity in their own right – whatever stage you’re at, it’s important to allow yourself time and space to learn and improve, and not to expect to have all the answers from the start.