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Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Do you want to get into Goldman Sachs?

Hi all…

I found this article on getting into Goldman Sachs. By the way, my professional specialization is management consulting for the financial services industry….so my life’s not only about slimming down and making money online…hahah and…I hope that makes me less bimbo-ish? haha

Anyway, for those who are fascinated about Goldman Sachs as “The Firm” to get into…the article below may prove useful to you :)


Want to land a job at ‘The Firm’? Here’s how, by those who’ve done it before.

1) Interview again and again (and again)

Most front-office banking jobs involve a handful of interviews. Jobs at Goldman involve a dumper-truck full. We spoke to one former executive director at the bank, who joined as an associate back in the late 1990s. He had 47 interviews for the role.

“Back in those days, there was a real feeling that hiring by consensus was the way to go,” he says. “Two people tried to veto me and I had to re-interview with them and convince them that their initial assessment might not have been spot on.”

Now that Goldman’s grown a bit, he says the number of interviews isn’t quite so extreme, but neither are they down to single figures just yet: “I’d be surprised if any lateral hire got away with anything less than 15 interviews.”

Another ex-Goldmanite tells us the bank performs cross-checks between different interviewers to make sure your story holds up. “If you are not consistent in your stories, you will not get hired,” he tells us. “You will probably not find out why.”

2) Exude enthusiasm

If you manage to get a job at Goldman you’ll almost certainly spend more time in the office or on a plane than you will elsewhere. The demanding interview process is therefore equally a means of ascertaining your appetite for the demanding job and the degree of delight you’d feel were you only to land it.

“The key thing to surviving the interview process is enthusiasm,” says our ex-Goldmanite. “If you don’t have a technical advantage, then you’re a commodity candidate and total enthusiasm and hunger are key. You’ll also need to come across as incredibly hardworking – that’s what they’re trying to find.”

3) Find a sponsor

David Schwartz, a former head of HR for the European investment banking division at Goldman turned headhunter at US firm DN Schwartz & Co., says most people who interview at Goldman at anything above associate level have an insider on their side.

“At more senior levels, most people who interview at Goldman are there at the invitation of the firm,” says Schwartz. “People in the firm know who their competitors are and know who’s good, and will invite them to come around for a chat. It’s virtually impossible to come into the firm on a lateral basis unless that’s the situation.”

It may also be possible to get an interview after ingratiating yourself with existing employees (if you know any). “Work out who you know there and make your interests known,” advises Schwartz.

4) Perform surgery on your CV

It’s no good applying to Goldman if your CV is looking a bit peaky. One ex-MD says the bank will instantly bin anyone who makes spelling or grammatical errors. On a similar note, he says your CV will stand out if it suggests you’re an interesting person rather than a City drone. “They like action people and people who have done a lot of stuff,” he says. Adventure sports are popular.

And if you’re too old for adventure sports? It will help if you’ve taken a few risks of the entrepreneurial variety.

5) Accept defeat

Both Schwartz and the ex-director say Goldman isn’t great at breaking bad news. According to the ex-director, this is one reason for interviews running out of control: rather than a rejection letter, a candidate receives another interview invite.

Schwartz says internal sponsors can come in here, too: “It can take individuals a lot of time and effort before they realise that they haven’t made it. But a sponsor will be upfront and honest with you.”


Some side comments from me:

All the recent talk about earning big money by becoming bankers…has caused a rush by everybody (be it fresh grads, experienced professionals, etc) into the financial services industry. It is true that the money is in this industry now.

However, to be earning the top dollars (i.e. to be in the front line) one need to be a certain calibre and I hope most of you agree with me that not everyone in this world is top calibre. And also, one got to look at what are the sacrifices for such money and prestige.

I have to admit that I am not top calibre…and personally I would recommend most of us who are like me and who wants to have a comfortable life…to not chase after all the “glamour” that has been reported in the media about the financial service industry…the media are just reporting people who make it..but not those who have fallen…

Some words of wisdom from me…”When people are rushing into something, it’s time for the wise to get out or stay away…” Just think, the financial services industry has its own ups and down. Companies around the world are cutting costs…job cutting can come anytime..beyond any employee’s control..

After some thinking about the situation, I would still think for people like me, not of the top calibre, we should try out and plan for sources of passive income (such as those I am working on now). These allow the average tom dick or harry to exihibit his potential to the fullest (without trying to impress bosses). The best thing is, you do not need to slog and work ridiculous hours (try to check out an investment banker’s working hours) for these types of income. That’s why I call them “passive income”.

Feel free to try out those programmes (refer to the "links for passive income generation" at the top of the page) which I am into now and earning a decent (though not spectacular) passive income with very minimal effort :)


womanofsubstance said...

I'm considering attending a campus interview of Goldman Sachs'. I am very confident that my resume is the best around my campus. However I
recently couldn't make it through a Big4's campus interview as I didn't get past the Group Discussion. I am very sure my resume would have had a very good impact had it been seen.

My communication skills are good, however, I am always at the dilemma whether during a GD, one has to be very loud and dominate the conversation to impose to the interviewing panel that we have a communicative talent, or you should make your points and also show the interview that you know how to listen. Had an HR interviewed us, the latter would have been preferred but the auditors sought the first.

The other pitfall perhaps could have been a questionnaire that we had to fill and rate ourselves on our IT skills. Having developed the MIS system for college, I know I do possess good IT skills, but rating myself "excellent" or "very good" sounded my blowing my own trumpet. I marked my self "good" Perhaps that was a pitfall. Should I show off at an interview to be noticed?

Anonymous said...

As a former recruiter (not for Sachs) I would say ALWAYS make sure you are clear about your skillset. It was a mistake and a typical female one to just say "good" for IT skills that were much better. Don't be obnoxious and arrogant but do be assertive and in GD it should be a balance of letting others talk and also getting your own point across.

Being "loud and dominating" is not communicating and is definitely is not a "talent". Recruiters know that sometimes one person will be hard to shut up in a group and how you handle that will be looked at. Are you respectful but firm? Are you calm in the face of criticism? Do you take everything personally? Do you have a sense of humor? Immaturity is never a sign of leadership.

Leadership can be shown by respectful behavior towards others in the GD and knowing how not to be silenced. Complimenting and encouraging others(genuinely)is another good sign.

Remember: There are three corners to the job triangle, 1)experience 2)skills/education and 3)people skills.
If people are bright with good people skills they can get the experience.
If they have the right experience and people skills they can be trained/educated
But noone can teach you people skills. You either have them or you don't. No decent employer will employ anyone who displays negative social interaction. Get plenty of experience interviewing and in GD (because unlike your belief in your resume) that is always the make and break. Maybe take on some volunteer work that shows leadership and empathy.

Anonymous said...

People that want to work for Goldman Sachs are the furthest thing from entrepreneurs. Like this girl over here, "woman of substance". Apparently she didn't read the part that said you're automatically rejected if you make grammatical errors. She made at least one. No, don't show off in the interview. Just show skin. Unless you're another four eyed geek wanting to do quantitative analysis, which you probably are. Goldman Sachs couldn't handle a real businessman. That's why they conduct campus interviews. They need people they can control to do their grunt work. You think making 200k a year is good? Yeah, keep thinking that. Their top guys make billions. Have fun with their piggy bank change. You're not smart, just easily controlled. The smartest people in the world don't have to work for somebody.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I wonder if "womanofsubstance" was one of those female GS's employees that got sexually harassed not too long ago?? This was obviously dated a while back so, it's possible. Ha, that would be funny. "Having developed the MIS system". Nerdy bitch.

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