The firm has an incredibly strong mentoring culture – both formal and informal.
I work in the Industrials group in the Investment Banking division. We are responsible for advising clients on transactions and general corporate finance activities. While I work mostly with diversified industrial companies, the group works with a variety of clients, including aerospace and defense, automotive, building and construction, business services, transportation and paper and packaging companies. My responsibilities include working in teams to structure transactions, perform financial analysis and prepare presentations for clients. As the analyst on the team, I am closest to the numbers, the company specific details and the presentations.
I think the most beneficial part of the investment banking analyst role is the tremendous opportunity you have to work on some of the largest and most important transactions in the market today. Investment banking allows you to work closely with companies that range in size and business focus and lets you gain a deeper understanding of the inner-workings of large corporations while being involved in major and difficult decisions that these companies face.
Our work is team-based and we all work toward a common goal and take ownership of our product, however we are each responsible for specific tasks. Our teams are generally comprised of a combination of junior and senior members. The senior members entrust the junior members with a considerable amount of responsibility and we all applaud anyone who questions conventional wisdom and can generate out-of-the-box ideas.
I am currently working on a buy-side transaction and am responsible for creating the model from financial data. Our team coordinates with specialized groups across the firm to gather their opinions and points-of-view and we compile all of this expertise and discuss each aspect of the transaction until we are ready to give a recommendation to our client. I am also working with a large, diversified industrial company to provide them with feedback on their dividend and share repurchase policies.
I think the most challenging part of my job is juggling many different projects and prioritizing tasks. Inevitably, there is more work to do than there are hours in the day and using your judgement is essential. This is clearly not a 9-to-5, Monday to Friday job from which you can disengage on evenings and weekends. It is a lot of hard work with long hours, but is incredibly rewarding if you pursue it whole-heartedly.
The relationships I have forged over the course of my time at Goldman Sachs are extremely rewarding. The firm has an incredibly strong mentoring culture – both formal and informal. Many senior people take a genuine interest in your development and learning and provide you with the help and guidance to succeed.
I worked on the equity trading floor of another investment bank during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college and decided investment banking was what I wanted to try next. I contacted Goldman Sachs and joined the firm for a summer internship in the Investment Banking division which was the perfect fit for me. After I graduated college, I joined the same group as a full-time analyst.
My first few days at the firm were quite overwhelming. Coming from a non-finance background, training materials often seemed like they were in a foreign language and I found that I needed to look up many terms on the internet and in corporate finance textbooks. This feeling passed remarkably quickly and I soon felt quite at home with the concepts and assignments and was very glad I had chosen investment banking. The members of my team were always eager to help - explaining even basic principles to me - and got me up to speed quickly and efficiently.
When I started at Goldman Sachs, I quickly realized that there is a wide array of personalities and people with varying experiences and backgrounds – people do not simply fit into one category.
After the analyst program I was offered a direct promote to an associate which I accepted because I believe that Goldman Sachs is a place where you are given ample opportunity to succeed if you are willing and eager to take on responsibility.
Looking back five or ten years, I would never have imagined that I would be working at an investment bank. Frankly, until college I didn’t know what investment banking was.
Beginning at age 8, I spent all of my free time studying music and performing in musical theatre productions. Before going to college I took a year off from school and started a grassroots community service program in Toronto, which incorporated a significant musical component. In college, although I pursued a rigorous academic degree in economics, I split my time at a conservatory in Manhattan studying classical music performance.
I stumbled into investment banking because several of my friends from school were looking into it and I thought I’d see what it was like. While it was never what I expected to be doing, I found that the fit was remarkable. I think this shows you should keep an open mind and be willing to try an unexpected career path.