Goldman Sachs careers rarely start at discount supermarket chains. As we noted yesterday, they’re more likely to start with stupefyingly good A Level grades, followed by a top university, followed by a lot of internships and maybe some voluntary work.
It’s notable, therefore, that Goldman Sachs’ 2014 analyst class, comprised of people who started working for the firm in July, includes someone who most recently worked for the supermarket chain Lidl.
Robert Ratajczak, a real estate analyst at Goldman, joined the firm after completing a masters degree at Cass Business School, before which he spent a year and a bit as a, ‘food assortment manager’ at Lidl UK. Ratajczak wasn’t actually working on the shop floor at the discount chain – he was liaising with suppliers and implementing ‘commercial strategies’ to ‘maximise sales and profitability.’ Nonetheless, Ratajczak’s leap from Lidl to Goldman looks sort of impressive.
What does Ratajczak’s career path say to other people who work for Lidl (or Aldi, or Netto) and might want to get into Goldman Sachs? Firstly: quit and study an MSc. – The Cass MSc in real estate is known for being one of the best in its field and undoubtedly embellished Ratajczak’s CV in the eyes of the recruiters at Goldman Sachs. Secondly, try to appear entrepreneurial. Before joining Lidl, Ratajczak (who has a BA in marketing and travel management from London Met University) set up a catering company, ‘London Baguette Kitchen’, with 12 employees. Entrepreneurialism is another common feature of Goldman’s junior hires.
Goldman Sachs didn’t respond to a request for comment on Ratajczak’s arrival. Graduate moves from discount supermarket markets to investment banks may be less surprising than they seem. Aldi, for example, is notorious for paying a very generous graduate salary (£41k initially, rising to £70k after four years, plus a full expensed Audi A4) and lures students with promises to let them travel the world and own a multi-million pound business. On this basis, banks and discounters appear to be chasing students of the same type.