Shifting Careers: From Professional Cycling to Goldman Sachs
Simon Gerrans, a former professional cyclist who has competed in the sport’s most elite events, shifted careers after retiring from cycling and now works in e-FX sales in the firm’s London office. Simon shares his insights into the career transition.
After taking up cycling as a teenager, Simon Gerrans turned professional and went on to compete in a dozen Tour de France races, two Olympic games and numerous cycling world championships. His accomplishments in the sport include winning stages on all three Grand Tours, wearing the coveted yellow jersey, and winning two of cycling’s one day ‘Monuments’.
“When I knew my cycling career was nearing its end, I was lucky to pivot and identify what my next challenge was going to be,” says the Melbourne native. Simon joined Goldman Sachs as part of a programme in our London office, providing opportunities for former athletes, one of many initiatives designed to encourage individuals from all backgrounds to explore opportunities at Goldman Sachs. “Throughout my time at the firm I have connected with a number of other former professional athletes who have gone through a similar career shift, and it has been incredibly helpful to have their support,” he says. “I have always enjoyed a challenge, and starting out in a completely new career has been just that.”
Growing up in Australia, a career in financial services wasn’t the career path Simon envisioned. “Being raised in a rural farming community and then getting into sports from a young age, the first interaction I had with anyone in financial services was during my racing career,” says Simon. “Every person I have met over the last few years has given me fascinating insights into the range of roles and services they perform.”
After spending six months gaining experience across various roles in the Securities Division, Simon, now an associate, is providing FX solutions to institutional clients. “Throughout my career I’ve embraced being out of my comfort zone, it’s where I see the most growth—and I certainly felt that stepping into the world of finance. The learning curve is very steep, but I’m relishing it.”
He’s also finding surprising similarities between the two careers. “Goldman Sachs is a place where teamwork and collaboration are essential—we are all working to get the best outcome for our clients. Working collaboratively is the only way we can achieve our goals. It’s the same way for cycling, which is both an individual and a team sport.”
Simon admits that changing careers is not without challenges. “I don’t come from a finance background and so I’m really taking the time to build up my knowledge and understanding of our systems and products, and getting to know our clients. I’m very much still learning.”
Of course there are other adjustments he has had to make, too. “In the past year I’ve changed jobs, I’ve changed countries, and I swapped cycling shorts for suit trousers,” Simon says. “Cycling through the mountains of France feels pretty far removed from what I’m doing right now!”
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