How do you impress Goldman Sachs? It’s a question that 97% of people who apply for a job there, and fail, would like to know the answer to.
It’s slightly easier to get into Goldman at the entry level, but even there competition is incredibly stiff. George-Mihail Mandres, a first year economics and statistics student at UCL, is an example of how to get into Goldman at the bottom, without going through the usual routes.
Mandres won this year’s Goldman Sachs UK Student Challenge, an annual event where first year university students are asked to come up with a solution to a real business problem set by companies within the bank’s 10,000 Small Businesses UK Programme.
He beat eight other finalists. His prize? Participation in Goldman’s Spring Insight Week and £9,000 towards paying his tuition fees.
Lindsay Boden, EMEA head of talent acquisition at Goldman Sachs, said that the competition would attract students who might not have “thought about banking previously”. However, Mandres appears to have put a lot of thought into his future banking career. When he started university in September 2014, he already had four internships under his belt, undertaken whilst at 'high school' (the equivalent of college in the UK).
Mandres' internships comprise two Spring insight weeks – at Erste Group and Swiss Capital – and two summer internships at SocGen and ICAP. Admittedly, three of these were in his native Romania, rather than the more competitive London market, but it’s still impressive.
This is not the limit of Mandres' experience. He also won either first or second places on the Deutsche Bank Trading Game, Citi Corporate Banking Challenge and the UCL IS Equities Investment Challenge. Oh, and he was captain of his school football and basketball teams.
Any suggestion that getting an investment banking graduate job post-crisis has got any easier is clearly wrong. Mandres is an example of an increasing number of uber impressive graduates with scores of internships under their belts, impeccable academics and the requisite extra-curricular activities. Is this what it takes?