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Sara Executive Director/Vice President, New Markets Sales Trading Securities division, London

One of the rewarding things from my job would be the satisfaction from crossing up a big trade and getting good prices for my clients.

My Work

I work in New Markets Sales Trading in the Equities division of Securities. I cover institutional and hedge fund clients who want to invest in the New Market Regions (Russia, Turkey, Central Europe, Middle East, South Africa, etc). In terms of daily activities, my role is very much focused on the markets and providing access to the markets for my clients.

The interesting thing about my role is the uncertainty that comes with working in the markets. In addition, working on the trading floor means you’re right in the middle of the action as news hits the tapes and there is always some activity going on the floor.

As a sales trader, I also work with the trading and research desks to generate trade ideas to match my clients’ needs. I also get to interact with people at a really senior level. I speak with people who have been in the industry for over 20 years – and they want to hear my opinion on the market.

Opportunities are readily available at Goldman Sachs. For example, I was given the opportunity to move across to the New Markets desk after starting my career on the Pan-European Sales Trading desk. After spending a year and a half on the Pan-European desk, I was able to move to the New Markets desk and learn about a whole different set of markets.

My Day

I currently provide coverage to a range of accounts from hedge funds to institutional investors and provide access to New Markets. Most of my day is spent on the phone with clients while tracking market moves and client orders. One of the most interesting aspects of trading the markets that I do is the volatility that goes with them, as history has shown some of the emerging markets can be very volatile and trying to trade around that can be very challenging but makes my job interesting.

One of the rewarding things from my job would be the satisfaction from crossing up a big trade and getting good prices for my clients. I get a great sense of fulfillment from being able to go home at the end of the day knowing that I contributed to the firm.

My Path

I applied for a number of internships for the summer before my last year of university. I made use of the careers pages of the Goldman Sachs Web site as well as campus recruiting events. I got offered a few internship placements with banks across the street but accepted the Goldman Sachs internship and spent 10 weeks working in the Securities division in the London office in 2005. I then rejoined in 2006 full time.

As for my first impressions working at the firm, I was struck by how dedicated and professional everyone was. Everyone was very welcoming and happy to answer any questions I had.

Myself

I studied Civil Engineering in Trinity College in Dublin and hadn’t ever really thought about getting into banking. I did a couple of internships in the engineering industry and although I really enjoyed studying engineering I couldn’t help feeling like I wanted a faster paced working environment. That’s when I started exploring other industries and came upon investment banking.

If I were to provide career advice to someone considering finance, I would recommend researching the industry in as many ways as possible – using banks' websites, special events held at banks, and any friends or family that are in the industry – that way you can try and get a good feel to see if the industry suits you and your personality/skills. Another bit of advice would be to start your research early… Don’t wait until your last year of university, there are plenty of events that start as early as first year university that you want to try and be involved in if at all possible.