Ani Associate, Merchant Banking Merchant Banking/Private Equity division, London
You’ll always be out of your comfort zone, you’ll never be bored. You’ll frequently be exhausted but you’ll always be learning and know you are working to your full potential.
After graduating from the University of Sydney I joined an international corporate law firm and spent a number of years working in their London, Paris and Dubai offices before commencing an MBA at Harvard Business School. After graduating, I returned to London where I now work with Goldman Sachs.
The Interview Process
I interviewed with fourteen people—in many ways the process was far harder than any single interview question. Since I’ve joined I’ve come to understand why the interview process is so extreme. The quality of the people you work with at Goldman Sachs is both high and consistent. You can take it for granted that everyone on the team will pull their weight and do their best.
Starting Out at Goldman Sachs
You will always be out of your comfort zone. On my first day I was told I would be going to Spain later that week to join the due diligence process on a live deal. In that week I was asked to interview, hire and onboard advisors, attend due diligence meetings and start working on potential deal structures—nobody seemed to notice that I’d only joined the firm a few days ago!
Life at Goldman Sachs is definitely fast paced—when I first started I couldn’t believe how active and intense these people were. Now this pace seems quite normal and when I look back and think about what I’ve done in the last year I can’t quite believe I’ve managed to fit it all in.
Working in Merchant Banking
The work is rigorous and multi-disciplinary. As well as conducting financial analysis, I use my legal background—analyzing regulations, negotiating financing documents, sale and purchase agreements and shareholders’ agreements. And I also use the skills I learned during my MBA—marketing, human capital management, entrepreneurship and operations.
There are so many parts of this firm pulling in the same direction—one of the strengths of this institution is that teams from different parts of the firm are willing to help to get a deal done. You can pick up the phone and call investment banking, tax, legal, credit and offices in Europe, the Americas and Asia and if they can help you, they will.
When you first join Goldman Sachs it can be a slightly surreal and disconcerting experience — the culture here is very strong. My mentors and managers helped me understand that you can’t expect to fit in straight away and that retaining your individuality is important. Over time you come to value and marvel at the culture of the firm.
I belong to, and now co-head the Investment Banking Division/Merchant Banking Division Women’s Network, which provides opportunities for both genders to discuss issues relating to women in finance. It also provides women at Goldman Sachs with opportunities to meet each other. From a personal perspective, I find co-heading the network energizing. Connecting with other women has made me realize that although there still aren’t enough of us in finance, being a woman at Goldman Sachs doesn’t have to be an isolating experience.
Having an international perspective has been incredibly useful in this job. Our division’s Europe/Middle East/Africa team is multi-cultural—I walk into work every day and hear a mix of English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Danish. We work with companies all over Europe, so being sensitive to different cultural and commercial norms is important.