If you want an entry-level job in Goldman Sachs’ securities division, you’ve usually got to be good. You’ll probably be in your early 20s with a swathe of internships, some excellent academics, a bit of time studying overseas and maybe a CFA Level 1 exam pass somewhere. If you’re an inexperienced, unqualified 30 year-old, you won’t usually get a look-in. Unless (that is), you’ve pursued “a successful career in sport.”
Goldman Sachs just opened applications for its “London sports internship programme” in securities division. Anyone who’s achieved success in a sporting career can apply: there’s no mention of academics, no mention of finance experience, no mention of conspicuous prior interest in the markets. All you need is to have pursued a successful sporting career and to want a change of scene.
The six month internship marks a rare opportunity to get into Goldman Sachs mid-career. Goldman doesn’t define what sporting success looks like; nor does it put an age limit (which would be illegal in any case) on applications for its sporting vacancies. In theory, a footballer could use the scheme to get a leg-up onto Goldman’s trading floor. Retired footballers have historically become market stall traders or retail magnates instead of financiers.
Goldman didn’t respond to a request to comment on the programme. The reality, of course, is that getting a place isn’t that easy. Successful applicants appear to combine sporting careers and academic excellence and proof of prior interest in finance.
In the U.S., for example, Goldman’s former sports interns include the likes of Blair Yaworski, a former professional hockey player. Yaworski also happens to have a B.A. in economics from Yale University and a CFA Charter (completed whilst playing hockey). In Europe, Simon Mantell, a double Olympian with an eleven year hockey career (coincidentally) and a commerce degree from the University of Birmingham, has been through the sports internship programme too.
Will the six month securities internships lead to permanent jobs at Goldman for the former sportspeople? Not necessarily. While Goldman’s definitely partial to employees with a history of sporting prowess, neither Mantell nor Yaworski are working there now. Yaworski just finished an MBA at Chicago Booth, and Mantell – who spent two years at Goldman in total – is still “looking for opportunities” for opportunities to transfer, ‘valuable skills learnt on the sports field to the business environment.’
While some Olympic athletes make big money, many others don’t make much at all and would be keen of the opportunity to jump into banking. There, their physiques alone might win them plaudits: a Citi associate has been documenting his quest for a muscled torso, which he says is now necessary in a banking career.