Recruiting Engineering Talent From Nairobi, Lagos and Accra

On February 3, the Goldman Sachs 2020 Africa Recruiting Initiative (ARI) kicked off across three major African cities, beginning in Nairobi, Kenya and moving to Lagos, Nigeria and Accra, Ghana. This year, over 1,200 students from 26 universities on the continent applied for summer and full time analyst positions through ARI.

With a greater focus on expanding diversity recruiting across the continent, more than twenty Goldman Sachs Engineering and Human Capital Management colleagues from our offices in Hong Kong, London, New York and Tokyo participated. The initiative expanded to Kenya for the first time this year, joining Nigeria and Ghana – where the firm launched the initiative in 2017.

In each location, day one kicked off with an overview of Goldman Sachs and the role of engineering at the firm. Next followed workshops with hands-on technical projects as well as mock interviews to prepare students. Day two included training for the HackerRank technical assessment, a prerequisite for campus analyst-level engineering roles at Goldman Sachs. One technical project tasked students to develop a robo-advisor for a digital service and pitching their product for potential investment. The activity incorporated key skill areas: product development, technical design, problem solving, project planning and decision making.

Session coaches encouraged student teams to address the user experience design and technical implementation elements of their products before a panel of judges. Throughout the process, each team had Goldman Sachs advisors to guide them as well as assess their individual and team contributions. Judges selected the winning team based on scores for overall pitch, product uniqueness, team effort and technical soundness. Students also heard from engineers and campus ambassadors who discussed their own experiences joining Goldman Sachs through the ARI program.

While in the region, the Goldman Sachs team met with educators, business leaders and entrepreneurs in the technology industry. The discussions centered on opportunities and challenges with cultivating and retaining STEM talent. A highlight of the trip for many attendees was meeting Ghana’s former president, His Excellency John Kufuor. He expressed excitement about the initiative and emphasized the role the firm could play in achieving a balanced partnership with universities, local businesses, and the government sector.

“The candidates have worked hard to develop their skills, and were keen to experience what a career at Goldman Sachs could offer,” Ben Runnacles, a managing director in Japan who joined the ARI trip this year, observed. “I would love to see us extend this program to other countries and find more diverse talent for the firm.”   

As a result of the initiative, close to 50 students are currently in the interviewing process for Engineering roles.

“This is one of the coolest and most inspiring recruiting events we do in Engineering,” said George Lee, the firm’s co-chief information officer.