Working at Goldman Sachs makes me part of a community that has its own unique culture—it’s something that has to be experienced. People here like putting in more effort because in return, they are recognized, nurtured and rewarded.
In my teen years, I wanted to be a fashion designer, but I just couldn’t draw. As I grew up, the nerd in me grew too, and I started tinkering with how things work. I started to enjoy soldering my earrings back together or writing an algorithm to manage my shoe inventory.
I received a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore. The curriculum covered both coding and networking, and when I joined Goldman Sachs, I was able to choose which of these I was able to pursue.
I chose to work in technology infrastructure, specifically in networks, because I found the area interesting and I wanted to apply in practice everything that I knew in theory. I chose to stay in India, because it’s an area where I can do nothing but grow. India, specifically Bangalore, is growing leaps and bounds.
My first day here was a mixture of chaos and anxiety. Coming straight out of college into a large firm can be overwhelming—I was amazed by the sheer size and the number of people, all busy with their own tasks. We were told to announce ourselves in the lobby and wait for our managers to receive us; I was the last one waiting so I was all knotted up.
Once inside, it was all a flurry of events, with so much to take in. I was meeting people, answering questions, thinking about smart-sounding questions to ask, etc. Then there was orientation where I learned about the firm—its history, principles, rules, regulations, forms to fill, your new phone number. Its all a blur but it was a great experience, because I finally was in and it was the beginning of a new chapter for me.
Joining Goldman Sachs as a New Associate was a great advantage. We have a great training program that not only teaches us more about the technology we will work on but also about the soft skills we need to succeed. We have had training sessions on presenting, negotiations, capital markets, email etiquette and so on.
We work in a number of teams—there’s your immediate local team, then your global colleagues, then groups throughout the company that are your clients or that you are a client of. And with each one, the definition of teamwork changes very subtly. More or less, it must always be about putting the interest of the team first. We also need to understand the boundaries between different groups—where the role of one ends and another begins.
Goldman Sachs gives us the opportunities to become successful leaders. I’ve spent three years in network management, working with the same team, but even there our roles have changed. More responsibilities, and projects with greater impact have come our way, so we still have fresh challenges. And when I’m not sure what’s next for me, I’ll go hunt for the next opportunity elsewhere.
I belong to the Women’s India Network, Women in Technology and India Women in Technology. All three have helped me connect with colleagues across the firm. Through these forums I have been exposed to the challenges that face women in the workplace and have been more prepared to tackle them.
The technology forums allow us to keep abreast of the new trends in our fields and learn about new initiatives in other spheres. They also add a fun element from time to time, like Family Fiesta, which is a day when the office is transformed into a carnival and we invite our families into our workplace.
The LGBT networks open us up to ideas and challenges that we may not think about on a daily basis, I have learned to be more sensitive because of this forum—and participating in its open mic night is always fun.
All of these groups allow us to connect with senior leaders of the firm, to pick their brains and understand their thought process.
I am part of the Goldman Sachs Mentorship Program, where I visit a school for the underprivileged and help children study and learn. These students are bright, but do not have access to the best methods and opportunities. My job is to make them aware of their opportunities, provide guidance on career choices and help them prepare for exams and job interviews. Sometimes they need guidance on soft skills—they may be afraid to talk in front of an audience or are not well versed with preparing a presentation. Its interesting and mentally satisfying to be involved in someone’s growth process.