Sonia Executive Director/Vice President, Consumer Retail Healthcare Group Investment Banking Division, San Francisco
Hometown: Pullman, Washington
Degrees: BA, Brown University; MBA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Joined GS: Interned, 2011; Full-time, 2012
Interests / Hobbies: Traveling and Outdoor Adventures, Healthcare Policy, Cooking
I love the tangible nature of my job; markets move so fast that if the right window of opportunity opens, you have to do something.
I grew up in Pullman, Washington, the lentil capital of the world. It's a tiny town on the border of Washington and Idaho of about 30,000 people, including Washington State University. There is a lentil festival every August—but I think garbanzos may be taking over as the bigger agricultural product now, given the hummus craze!
I'm an associate in the Consumer Retail Healthcare Investment Banking Group. It's an interesting group, because as a junior banker, there is an opportunity to work across an incredibly diversified set of companies. Within healthcare alone, there are many subsectors: pharma, biotech, devices, diagnostics, and healthcare services.
I attended Brown University as an undergrad and studied community health—the education at Brown is liberal arts and very multidisciplinary. After graduating, I was a healthcare strategy consultant before jumping over to business school at MIT Sloan—which I chose specifically because I wanted to go into healthcare finance.
After a few years of consulting, I wanted to pursue something a bit more tangible, more focused on the markets, and driven by real-time execution. I interned at Goldman Sachs in the summer of 2011 in the Investment Banking Division in the group I'm in now, and then joined full-time in the fall of 2012.
I love the tangible nature of my job, where markets move so fast that if the right window of opportunity opens, you have to do something. In addition to strategic advice—where you help a company think about options and decide whether it's the right time to pursue any given path—there's an executional component as well. That's what I enjoy. As a consultant there's generally one project at a time, maybe a really long, in-depth study. In banking, we work with multiple clients at a time on ideas and strategy, and if any of them want to do a deal, we can be instrumental in execution. I think Goldman Sachs in particular is very rigorous about making sure we help our clients think through the right decision.
An associate in the Investment Banking Division is managing all the pieces—internal, external, upward, downward, with clients and other advisory teams—to get work done. Our work ranges from being deep in complex financial models, to creating pitch books, to writing 75-page documents that explain everything about a company, to holding client relationships.
Within the Investment Banking Division, we're set up in a matrix. There are industry groups, such as healthcare consumer, natural resources and industrials on one axis, while on the other axis are the product groups, like equity capital markets, debt capital markets and structured finance. At Goldman, everyone within these industry groups works on deals alongside all of the product groups. Also, M&A is nested in the individual industry groups, meaning that all junior bankers can work on live M&A deals. That's really fun, because it’s a classic part of the business.
Companies and organizations need financing and M&A to grow, to develop and to achieve their goals. We help them do that. It goes back to the Goldman Sachs’ business principles and always putting the client first. It's really exciting to watch something that your team has worked very hard on come to fruition in the marketplace in a way that makes a positive impact for your client.