There is no such thing as a “typical” day here. I find this to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the job.
I never imagined I’d be working on Wall Street. As a Psychology major, I was under the common misconception that in order to excel in finance—let alone at a firm like Goldman Sachs—I had to be a Finance or Business or Economics major. However, that myth was quickly debunked as I met and interviewed with employees whose undergraduate degrees ranged from history and Spanish to engineering and biology. I realized that while there were indeed many individuals at the firm with finance-oriented backgrounds, there was significant opportunity for those with a liberal arts education as well.
I initially learned about the firm’s summer internship opportunities during my sophomore year in college through a recruiting event on campus. I applied through Goldman Sachs’ Scholarship for Excellence process and, after about a dozen interviews, was awarded the scholarship and given an offer to join Private Wealth Management (PWM).
After spending a summer in PWM, I expressed interest to my recruiter in joining Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), specifically the institutional marketing team. I had met with members of the team during my PWM summer and was very interested in what they did. When I was on campus my junior year, I was asked to return the following summer to intern with the institutional marketing team. The rest is history! I was offered a full-time position and accepted it on the spot. I did not interview anywhere else.
When I started at the firm, I was immediately impressed by the work ethic of all those around me. The people at Goldman Sachs are truly committed to achieving excellence in all that they do and their passion to over-deliver and exceed expectations becomes contagious. Furthermore, the collaborative environment fosters strong relationships among individuals and teams, and as a result, creates a truly unique culture. I was particularly amazed by the willingness of individuals to provide advice and offer insight into their respective businesses.
I work on the institutional strategic marketing team within Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM). We specialize in developing marketing strategies to help our sales force position GSAM’s products and services. We execute these strategies through a variety of initiatives, including marketing literature, strategic campaigns, product positioning and new product launches, client communications, educational forums, Web site development and public relations. Our clients are institutional investors including corporations, public pension plans, insurance companies, financial institutions, endowments, foundations and unions.
The most interesting element of my job is the broad exposure that I gain from our group’s unique position as a bridge between the investment teams and our sales force. When developing and executing our marketing strategies and initiatives, we engage and coordinate with a number of businesses, including portfolio management, product development, sales, client service, legal and compliance. As a result, we develop strong relationships with individuals across the firm and gain insight into different aspects of their businesses.
There is no such thing as a “typical” day here. I find this to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the job, as I enjoy the dynamic nature of what I do. A portion of each day is spent focused on our strategic initiatives and campaigns while another portion is spent supporting sales and client service professionals by assisting them in responding to client requests and pursuing sales leads. One of the most challenging parts for me is balancing the two – or, what my manager would refer to as our “Inbox-Outbox” workflow.
As with any major marketing initiative, the work we do is very team-based and every person is actively involved. From the idea generation phase to the actual execution of a campaign or event, we work in an extremely collaborative fashion. I’ve found that the best ideas come to life this way.
I’ve found there to be many resources available at the firm to facilitate my personal and professional growth, including training opportunities, service projects, recruiting trips and mentorship roles. For employees interested in enhancing certain skills or broadening their industry knowledge, Goldman Sachs University provides several training opportunities and educational sessions where senior investment professionals from across the firm give presentations on their respective businesses. I’ve found these to be an excellent way to expand my knowledge of the business as well as network with colleagues across various areas.
There are a number of ways to stay active outside of your day-to-day role. For example, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans, I travelled with a group of Goldman Sachs volunteers to assist in the Gulf Coast recovery and rebuilding efforts. I’ve also become an active member of my university’s recruiting team and serve as a junior mentor to two summer analysts each year.
For those considering a career in finance, my advice would be to ask a lot of questions! No question is a stupid one, but, at the same time, do your research. You want to demonstrate that you’ve made a concerted effort to acquire as much knowledge about the business on your own. Leverage others to fill in any gaps or to talk you through challenging concepts. The best way to stay up to speed is to keep abreast of the latest market trends, the economic environment, timely business news and current events. The more information with which you equip yourself, the more prepared you will be to engage in intellectually rich conversations and to ask intelligent questions.