I joined as an analyst working in the Credit Risk Management department. Since starting at the firm, I have remained within the same department but my teams and responsibilities have evolved over the years. In my current role, I manage the real estate and structured finance credit risk management teams for the Americas. Credit Risk Management is responsible for managing the firm’s credit risk, which is the risk that the firm takes a loss on due to a counterparty defaulting on its obligations to repay a loan or trade. I’ve covered different industries, and products and have been involved in various projects that have made my career very interesting and exciting.
I discovered Goldman Sachs in an unexpected way. While I was a junior at Yale, I worked at the Afro-American Cultural Center and happened to see an ad for the Scholarship for Excellence (SFE), a scholarship for black, Hispanic/Latino or Native American students. SFE recipients receive a scholarship while they are participating in a summer internship at Goldman Sachs. The SFE application connected me to a Goldman Sachs recruiter and after interviewing with several groups at the firm, I ultimately received an offer from the Corporate Treasury team.
My interview with Goldman Sachs was one of my first interviews in financial services. In addition to spending time learning about the financial services industry, I was able to prepare with the assistance of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) Career Prep Program (2006 cohort). MLT is a partner organization of the firm that is involved in our diversity recruiting efforts. The program partners you with a coach within MLT to help you prepare for a career. After doing some research on the firm, I called my coach and received additional interview tips. This preparation was integral to my internship interview process and in reflecting on this experience, it makes me happy to know that MLT is a partner organization of Goldman Sachs.
During my internship, I split my time between two teams. I worked on the corporate treasury team for seven weeks and was then presented with the opportunity to intern on the credit team for the remaining three weeks. Moving to credit was a calculated risk because I only had three weeks to prove that I could be an integral part of the team. Upon receiving the offer to return full time, I realized the importance of taking calculated risks because that decision introduced me to the team that I am still on, 10 years later.
I chose Goldman Sachs over going into law school after college for several reasons. My interest in law school was rooted in a passion for qualitative analysis and problem solving, and I was able to tap into that at the firm. I had little background in what I was working on but there were people across the firm who were willing to train, teach, and mentor me to make sure I learned the things I needed to know to be successful. There was a culture of apprenticeship that drew me to the firm. One clear example of this during my internship was the use of Excel. When I first came to the firm, I had never used Excel. Due to training from my teammates and peers, I was proficient by the end of the summer and was then able to build on the skills I’d acquired once I started full time.
Affinity networks play an important role in creating a sense of community within the firm. Earlier in my career, I served on the steering committee for the Finance Women’s Network. Currently, I am chief operating officer for the Finance and Risk Black Network. The network is focused on increasing the number of black professionals in the Finance and Risk divisions by providing opportunities for professional development and for connecting with senior leaders across the firm. This includes events such as Partner and Managing Director round tables, recruitment activities, mentorships with interns, and partnerships with other networks to provide commercial training opportunities. The network also offers a forum for facilitating open dialogue on issues around race that have been happening across our country. This programming has been very important to me. As a black woman and an immigrant, it is important that I feel comfortable bringing my full and authentic self to work; this includes sharing my frustration on the challenges facing my communities and engaging with my colleagues on ways to address these issues within and outside the firm.
My advice to anyone seeking opportunities at Goldman Sachs is to do your research beforehand so that you have a good sense of where you can see yourself and why. The firm is willing to help its people get to where they need to be but it is helpful when you come with direction that will guide the conversation.
It is very important to me that I maintain work-life flexibility. Reading and traveling are my favorite hobbies, given the fast-paced nature of my job. Traveling allows me to stay connected with family, most of who live outside of the US. I also try to stay active in my community by working with service and not for profit organizations.