Goldman Sachs Market Madness: HBCU Possibilities Program

14 APR 2022

At Goldman Sachs, we have long believed in the power of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their students. That’s why we are continuing to build on our $25 million commitment to meaningfully invest in talent at HBCUs over a five-year period.

In its second year, the Goldman Sachs Market Madness: HBCU Possibilities Program honored this commitment by hosting 125 students from 12 select HBCUs to participate in the immersive, four-month program that culminated in a case study competition. The students, spanning 26 different teams, engaged in weekly educational sessions with nearly 50 Goldman Sachs coaches, who introduced them to the businesses, people and culture of the firm. Each student team served as a Goldman Sachs client advisory group that analyzed and strategically counseled this year’s partner, PepsiCo. Participants were tasked with conducting and presenting industry and company-specific research, a strategic business solution and a plan for how the market may react to their proposed solution.

On April 13, five finalist teams representing Florida A&M University, Howard University, Morgan State University, Prairie View A&M University and Spelman College competed in the final case study competition. They each presented their strategic business solution in front of a live audience at Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York to a panel of judges including CEO David Solomon, and senior leaders from around the firm. PepsiCo’s EVP of Strategy & Transformation, Athina Kanioura, also served as a judge, scoring the student teams on innovation, critical reasoning, demonstrated analysis, and presentation delivery. Live results revealed the team from Howard University as this year’s winner earning them $1M in prize funding for their school. 

The event kicked off with an exhilarating performance from the Brooklyn United Evolution Drumline pumping up the finalists and getting the audience excited for the presentations. Hundreds of other HBCU students, family and friends of our participants, and Goldman Sachs colleagues tuned in to the event to support the student teams and their hard work. The teams were also surprised with video messages of well wishes from the presidents of their respective schools. Here is what some of the winning team members and their coach said after reflecting back on the last 12 weeks:

"I have enjoyed participating in the program. I’ve learned a wealth of financial industry information that will supply my future career. The program has been very helpful in the development of teamwork, fellowship, and education." 
– Jaiden, Howard University 

“The program was fantastic. The quality of the program stood out to me as we were given opportunities to speak with firm leaders such as Akila Raman and Tucker York, and as program directors and speakers made themselves available for after-hours conversations. The program has been very educational and has fortified my intent on applying to work in investment banking.” 
– JD, Howard University

“It has been rewarding to pay it forward and mentor these students over the course of the program. Watching these students grow and apply all of the learnings from the program into their final presentation was quite impressive to see. They all have bright professional futures ahead of them.”
– Mike, Vice President, Asset Management Division, Howard University Team Coach

As Megan Hogan, Chief Diversity Officer of Goldman Sachs reiterated, this program is all about providing early access and exposure to careers in finance for diverse talent. We are excited to share that as a result from our inaugural program in 2021, we will welcome 22 program alumni to the firm as interns this summer and were able to deliver over $5M in funding through direct grants to schools and scholarships for students. We are set to do the same as a result of this year’s program. 

“Our commitment to HBCUs and the growth of the Goldman Sachs Market Madness: HBCU Possibilities Program has furthered our ability to convene diverse perspectives and backgrounds, bringing top black talent into the firm as a continuation of our investment in racial equity. These students have accomplished a great deal over the last 12 weeks, culminating in the final pitch. The funding they’ve won for their schools will go beyond their team, benefiting and supporting future generations of HBCU students.”
– Megan Hogan, Chief Diversity Officer

We’re proud to be supporting the power of HBCUs by giving back to the institutions shaping these students and paying it forward.