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GUEST COMMENT: Why I wish I’d chosen RBS over Goldman Sachs


I am a final year student at a well known UK university. I have been to numerous insight events and have done three top tier front office spring weeks. When it came to applying for summer internships, I was therefore full of confidence. I applied to all the usual large investment banks and went to 8 assessment centres. This was significantly more than any of my peers. So naturally I thought I would get a couple, if not, more offers.

However as Sod’s Law would have it, out of the first 7 assessment centres I attended, the only offer I got was from RBS.

Whilst I was still glad I had something, I was quite disappointed that I had not received any ‘bulge bracket’ bank offers, or to be completely honest, an offer from any other bank apart from RBS. But then, just as I was about to sign my RBS offer – reluctantly after holding out as long – I got a surprise call from Goldman Sachs, from whom I had completely given up on ever hearing back.

Goldman asked me to attend an interview the subsequent week. After an intense few further interviews, I was delighted to receive a second job offer. I had no hesitation in jettisoning RBS, and accepting Goldman Sachs.

This has proven a colossal mistake.

What I didn’t realise at the time, was how tough it would be to get a graduate job at Goldman from its intern programme. From the very beginning it was a constant fight just to not simply fall behind the other interns in terms of networking and completing extra work after hours to please the traders. All the while my friends at other banks were having a great time and working nowhere nearly as hard as I was.

When the offers were finally given out, I did not receive one. It wasn’t entirely surprised as the competition had been so fierce. What frustrated me more than anything, however, was that my friends at other banks who – even being completely modest – were nowhere near as good as me, were all receiving graduate offers.

Even more infuriating: when I applied to these banks for their graduate programmes, I was turned down. They had all filled their vacancies from the intern class.

So, I have ended up with nothing for my efforts, apart from having Goldman Sachs’ name on my CV, which I am beginning to think is not worth as much as I thought.

Many of my friends who interned at RBS received graduate offers, and are starting there next summer. I am certain if I had interned there I would have had a graduate offer too. Instead, I have nothing.

Comments (8)

  1. Great article, haven’t had a good laugh like this for a while.
    Welcome to the finance industry mate.

  2. Everyone in life is dealt a hand of cards and you, and only you, chose how to play them. The real acid test now is how you bounce back after your first, of probably many, career decision mistakes. I’m sure you’ll recieve plenty of advice on here from the harsher critics to ‘get over it and move on’, but to be honest, in the world of finance, it’s probably fairly good advice!

  3. I work for RBS – To be honest, given the bullets flying internally at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a load of redundancies next year.

    Plus no big salary rises and/or big bonuses.

    Could be a blessing in disguise !!!

  4. “…it was a constant fight just to not simply fall behind… in terms of networking and completing extra work after hours to please the traders. All the while my friends were… working nowhere nearly as hard as I was.”

    There may be a clue in those statements as to why GS chose to hire others.

  5. Forgot abotu the endgame .. so did you want GS on your CV, or a Graduate job?

    Look on the bright side you managed to get one of them .. so now you need to focus your efforts on finding a job.

    MikeTheMechanic Reply
  6. cry me a river mate…

  7. As the saying goes, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”…..the advice I would give to any graduate nowadays is quite simply this – if you receive a job offer then take it. Just remember that according to official statistics around 80 (yes, 80!) graduates are chasing every available graduate position and the situation is going to get more, not less, challenging for the next few years at least.

  8. “constant fight”, “networking”, “working extra hours to please the traders” – does this fall within the bounds of an internship ??

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