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Joel Associate, Life Science Tools & Diagnostics Global Investment Research Division, New York

Joined GS:  Interned, 2010; Full time, 2011
Undergrad:  University of Pennsylvania
Studied:  Majored in Neuroscience; Minors in Economics and Healthcare Business

It's just never too early to reach out to school alumni or people who work at a company you're considering for an internship.

I grew up in Margate, New Jersey, which is a small vacation town on the Atlantic Ocean right outside of Atlantic City. I was a swimmer growing up and a lifeguard on the beach.

I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, as did my mother and grandmother. My major was the biological basis of behavior—basically neuroscience—and I minored in both healthcare business and economics.

After my junior year in college, I did a 10-week internship in Global Investment Research (GIR) at Goldman Sachs. I assisted the primary analyst in conducting due diligence that would later be incorporated in the initiation of coverage of a company. The internship in GIR is both about learning a lot on the job and adding tangible value to your team. You're doing the daily work that you would do as a full-time employee.

I learned about the internship opportunity through an information session on campus, where I met the person who actually became my manager for the summer. We had a great conversation for about thirty-five minutes. Goldman Sachs did an excellent job bringing their people to the information session, especially Penn alumni. There was a real sense of community. 

Right now, I work in GIR on the life science tools and diagnostics team, which is a team of four—I am the junior associate on the team with a senior analyst and two other junior members. We collaborate as a team to develop a consensus view in our research on the state of healthcare, whether it's globally or in the United States. For example, we recently did a survey of hospitals across the entire United States and published a large report on hospital utilization. We collaborated with various teams of subsectors within healthcare to arrive at single team view, on the state of the industry. Arriving at a consensus view is only possible through collaboration, and has proved particularly useful for our clients making investment decisions with long term horizons.

I am often asked whether my academic background in healthcare helps in doing healthcare research. It does help occasionally when I'm reading clinical papers. But at the end of the day, it was only meaningful when I was starting out. Now the majority of my work is more financially-geared: understanding how to look at a company's fundamentals, how to understand the business drivers, how to value the company, and then how to present ideas to our clients. Once you get those basic skills, you can apply them across any subsector.

On a typical day we spend the morning assessing news on companies that we cover or the industry. If there are relevant news, we'll write a piece and distribute it to clients. There may be some outbound or inbound conversations with clients that have questions about a company, the industry, or the assumptions that we're making in our models. Later in the day there is work on longer term projects—we may be launching coverage on a new company, or performing due diligence for an IPO. Occasionally I’ll be working on broad industry reports. The day tends to be different during earnings season, which is a very important time in GIR. Earnings season happens four times a year, when the companies we cover report their financial results.

My advice to students considering career options is to listen and network. It's never too early to reach out to school alumni or people who work at a company you're considering for an internship. Maybe you're a sophomore and the information sessions are generally geared toward juniors. Go to the information sessions and talk with people.

Recently I completed the New York City Triathlon, which is an Olympic distance event. So it's a mile swim, 25-mile bike, and a six-mile run. Swimming was probably my best part of the race, even though it's tough in the city to get swimming workouts in. We have great workout facilities here in the building, so I would train after work—but you have to be flexible and establish priorities. For me it’s all about maintaining balance, and working at Goldman has afforded me that opportunity. I'm going to try to do a half-ironman in the spring.