What does it take to get a graduate job in equity research at Goldman Sachs? We’ve already looked at what equity research at Goldman Sachs involves, but if you want to know about succeeding in the recruitment process, Katherine Chan, a third year economics student at York University (with a graduate offer of an equity research job in Goldman’s asset management arm), has offered her extensive insights to York University’s student publication.
This is Katherine’s advice (summarised), and what we’ve gleaned from her account of getting into Goldman:
1. Be persistent, start young
Initially, Katherine thought she wanted to go into law. When she realised she didn’t, she decided to investigate her interest in banking. While she was at sixth form college, a teacher recommended she go for an insight day at Goldman. That was enough to ignite her enthusiasm: “everything else was simply a step [to getting there],” she says.
2. If you have a pre-university gap year, spend it in a big brand name – even you apply for an admin role
Katherine’s gap year was in the Bank of England during the financial crisis. She applied for a role as a secretary but ended up taking on far more responsibility.
“[My placement] was in 2008 when the financial crisis happened… Because of that I took on a lot more responsibility and by the end of the year I was doing data analysis which was really interesting.”
3. Don’t be put off by rejection
When Katherine applied for spring weeks (first year internships at banks), she was rejected. This didn’t deter her.
4. Do some volunteering
“I volunteered at Christians Against Poverty and they’re a national debt counselling charity, so it’s a different side of finance. In first year I did that on a weekly basis and I also spent a month working in their head office in Bradford.”
5. Apply for a lot of internships
Katherine applied for 15. She only heard back from one: Goldman Sachs.
6. Don’t expect a numeracy test if you apply to Goldman. Do expect a big emphasis on fit
The graduate application process had three stages: an online application, two interviews, but no numeracy test.
The first interview was, “more of a chat I found, [with] them trying to see if I’d fit in with their culture.”
7. Don’t expect bizarre questions
Katherine said there weren’t any trick questions: it was more about testing how she arrived at an answer to a standard question.
8. Do expect a combination of ad hoc projects and a long term project during the internship
“My long term project was ‘What are the opportunities for consumer staples in Africa?’” said Katherine. “So consumer stocks are items like shampoo and Africa is potentially the next big demographic of people who will be able to buy shampoo, packaged food, and beer, so I was looking at when is Africa going to be big and rich enough to afford these products?”
9. Do expect speed-dating style networking dinners
Goldman Sachs’ intern networking events apparently include a dinner set up like speed dating event, with a different course at each table.
10. Do expect to be actively assessed against other interns
There was an intern debate halfway through the internship and Katherine was also asked to make a stock pitch presentation to the research directors at the end of the summer.
11. Do expect to work very hard. Try to be enthusiastic and pleasant
Katherine arrived daily at 6.45am and finished around 7.30pm.
She attributes her success to hard work, passion about her Africa project, and to being a good team member.
12. Don’t expect to receive an offer immediately
Katherine had to wait until two weeks after the internship until her offer from Goldman Sachs came through.