Sumi Executive Director/Vice President, Client Implementation Operations Division, Seoul
The facilities and culture at Goldman Sachs grant me more flexibility in managing my life.
In 1990, I graduated from a Korean university. After working in other industry for 7 years, from 1997 I began work in the finance industry. In 2000, I was offered an operations manager position with a European securities office in Seoul and one year later, I was promoted to COO. In 2006, a search firm approached me to work at Goldman Sachs as a project manager and I started here in February 2007.
The Interview Process
Goldman Sachs spends time and effort when interviewing their candidates. My interview process lasted nine months and during that time I met with many people in the firm. My advice would be to use this time to begin networking, ask questions and learn about the Goldman Sachs culture.
Getting Started at Goldman Sachs
From Day 1, my hiring manager helped me get situated without even knowing my concerns. She assigned me with a peer buddy who showed me the Goldman Sachs culture and shared her experiences with me. My manager also allowed me to start in the Hong Kong global office where I got to meet all the managers in the region. During that time, I was able to build some essential networks that allowed me to start navigating within the firm.
In addition to the arrangements made by my manager, there were several helpful tools that were made available to me. Periodic follow-up emails, hiring training and orientation helped me adjust to working here.
Working in Operations
As an operations manager, I ask questions in order to solve issues. Often times, other managers and I brainstorm and collaborate with relevant groups to efficiently achieve our desired results.
When I joined Goldman Sachs in 2007, I was involved in building new products. I became Manager of Operations in 2008 for Goldman Sachs International Bank, Seoul Branch . In 2009, I became Manager of Koreas Operations in Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C, Seoul Branch. In 2011, I relocated to the US to manage client due diligence in American operations.
We were building a new product, our IT developer approached me two days before completion with a challenging issue. Working together with my colleague in the finance team, we translated the necessary documents into a software program for our IT to implement. As a result, we were able to launch as planned.
I am part of the Asia-Pacific Operations Network and I co-lead the Career Development pillar. Through this affinity network, I gain many new insights, learn how to better handle challenges and network, both with my peer groups who are out of my daily reach and with senior leaders in the organization. I also get to participate in creating and driving programs, demonstrating my leadership capabilities.
In prior firms, I was always classified as a manager who was useful only to a specific region. But working at Goldman Sachs has allowed me to seek opportunities and experiences in areas outside of Korea.
I have always wanted to gain broader personal experiences and at the same time expose my family to more diversified cultures as they grow up. With the support of Goldman Sachs, we have been given the chance to experience life in the US. I will use this opportunity to learn as much as possible.
My four years at Goldman Sachs have never been dull, as I have been constantly faced with new challenges. I’ve worked on many projects such as licensing, product builds and system rollouts. Each one helped me to be proud of my team and proud of myself.
My proudest moment came with my first project. There was a lot of collaboration with multiple departments. My part in the project was not big, but I was able to build some credit, network and learn the culture of the firm.
Earlier in my career, I would work long hours and study during nights and weekends to enhance my knowledge of finance. I received great support from my family during that time. But soon after, I realized that my family needed me. I then began to split my hours between my family and my work.
Joining Goldman Sachs allowed me the flexibility to manage both my family life and my work life. The culture here allows us to attend to both areas of life through training and sharing our experiences. So, I think I am juggling much better now.
Programs like 10,000 Small Businesses which helps to create jobs and promotes economic growth and 10,000 Women which provides business training to women entrepreneurs..
Teamwork is the most valuable trait I look for in an applicant. For Goldman Sachs employees, I recommend staying curious, being open to challenges and keep asking questions.