People don’t think of technologists as creative people, but here at Goldman Sachs the best technologists are the most creative.
I’m in the Technology division of Goldman Sachs. Specifically, I co-manage the Banking Desktop group. We are responsible for developing the software used by investment bankers in the execution of their deals.
What I like about our environment is that you can create your own opportunities. Recently a colleague of mine had an idea to create a product that would greatly improve the productivity of our bankers. Although the project wasn’t planned for at the beginning of the year, the compelling business justification made us reallocate our resources to make it happen.
People don’t think of technologists as creative people, but here at Goldman Sachs the best technologists are the most creative. We have to understand our business problems inside and out and then, as a team, come up with solutions. On the whole, Goldman Sachs is very team based, and my department is no exception. But there are people who work best alone and we try to accommodate that. We realize that one size doesn’t fit all.
We have a tremendous number of projects right now, all interesting and impactful. One that springs to mind is a project to encourage the reuse of pitch book materials, for greater efficiencies. As a developer that problem isn’t difficult to solve; the main challenge is to figure out how to change organizational behaviors.
The most challenging part of my job is prioritization. We have so many projects and only a finite number of resources. We have around 50 people in our group. Prioritizing projects is relatively easy, but very often we have to share our people with other technology groups. It can be hard to prioritize your projects against projects from another area.
The most rewarding part of my job is watching our solutions in use. When something we’ve helped to develop, name and deliver becomes part of the Goldman Sachs vernacular, it can be rewarding. For example, one solution I helped develop (called gStyle) has become so entrenched in the firm that it is actually now a verb, i.e., “Can you gStyle this?”
I was a consultant at Goldman Sachs for a few years in both the London and New York offices. In 1999, I became a full-time employee. I remember being really impressed in my first few days with just how smart everyone was and how people worked as a team.
I’ve been at Goldman Sachs for 17 years. When I was in college I thought I would be going into public policy; my dissertation was on the effects of housing on education. So I didn’t expect to be working in financial services and technology. I’m glad I made the move. I feel challenged in this role because there is always more to learn.
The world of technology is becoming an increasingly competitive field, so I would recommend doing your homework if you’re considering a career in it. Internships are a great opportunity to find out more about technology in the finance industry, and Goldman Sachs’ internship program is second to none. You get real hands-on experience with great mentoring so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Internships are an opportunity to “try on” a company and see if it suits you.