'Gray Wolf’—The Goldman Sachs Program for Engineering First-Year Analysts

10 OCT 2018

Before Engineering analysts begin their full time roles on the desk, they take part in Gray Wolf, a multi-week program that exposes new analysts to experiences, from writing code to networking, in order to accelerate their understanding of the engineering culture at Goldman Sachs.  

During Gray Wolf, cross-divisional teams are grouped into ‘pods’ to design, build and implement technology solutions that directly impact the business. Solutions are aimed at addressing multiple engineering needs of the firm, from improving an existing platform used for client onboarding to implementing enhanced automated financial controls.

The 2018 class of analysts participating in Gray Wolf came from diverse academic backgrounds, and not all were familiar with the technologies and platforms used by Goldman Sachs engineers. From Java to Python, React to Angular, IntelliJ to VSCode, analysts were challenged to learn and utilize different languages, frameworks and technologies.

A few participants from the class shared their personal experiences and key takeaways on how the program helped them transition from school to the desk. 

Leslie, an analyst in the Technology Division in Jersey City, came to the firm with a Master’s degree in Financial Mathematics but limited knowledge of computer science. “Everything I do here as an analyst is completely new to me and Gray Wolf helped me practice and develop good coding habits by teaching me to keep reusability, readability and maintainability in mind while programming,” she said.

Aaron, an analyst on the SDLC Engineering team in New York, explained that he “experienced the PURE technology and the use of a proprietary DSL to tackle business-specific problems.” He also “learned the importance of and the best practices for serializing data by building REST services between PURE and the web server.” Aaron was one of six analysts in New Jersey who built a UI powered by the firm’s DataLake to display business information in a new and exciting visualized way.

Cristhian, an analyst based in London, said Gray Wolf familiarized him with the technologies that he would be working with on the job, as well as the standard that he should be aspiring to. “Every piece of code submitted is relevant, has a time constraint, and has to be the best it can, which is the reason we are able to deliver high-quality platforms to our stakeholders either on time or ahead of time,” he explained. “We don’t only use our engineering skills to improve and fix platforms, but we also create work that meets the needs of our stakeholders.”

Analysts worked together in small teams and even collaborated across different cities and countries. Adrian, an analyst with the Equities Technology Synthetic Products Group, explained how having his teammates in the Tokyo office while being in Sydney improved his collaboration skills. “Working remotely, I learned new teamwork strategies and how to overcome geographical barriers when it came to dividing and conquering large software projects.”

“Communication is key, and being on the same page and staying interactive with your team, even if you are not working on the same components, is still very important,” added Reggie, who worked out of Saratoga Springs, New York, with the Risk and Control team in New Jersey. Working within a team environment also provided instant connections and the ability to build long-lasting professional networks.

“Daily  stand-ups, catch-ups, coffee chats and other meetings give you an immediate feeling of being a part of the team, and an understanding of work the team does outside of your immediate job,” said Cyrus, a new analyst who worked with the Balance Sheet Engineering team in London to enhance their financial reporting systems to help adjust to changes that arise from Brexit. 

The 2018 class was the largest on record with 850 first-year analysts completing 117 projects across 13 locations. The program concluded with a series of expos held in New York, London, Salt Lake City, Warsaw, Bengaluru, Hong Kong and Tokyo.