Everyone knows that it’s difficult to get a trading internship at Goldman Sachs, but when you see 100 students from a single university gathered in a campus presentation where you’re told there are 10 available jobs across the bank, you realise how competitive it is.
Earlier this year I was told that I was successful in securing an internship this summer within Goldman Sachs’ securities team in London. This isn’t a full-time job, but given that the bank attracts 250,000 applications from students every year, I feel like I’ve gone some way towards one.
It’s been tough to get to this point, but this is what you should expect from the Goldman Sachs internship application process and what I believe are the necessary steps to success.
Goldman Sachs doesn’t do psychometric testing, but there’s an online component to the application process, which is really tough. Goldman has started using HireVue, a digital interviewing system overlaid with artificial intelligence, to vet candidates at the first stage.
Practically, this means that you’re faced with questions recorded by HR and you’re required to record your responses back on camera. These are usually competency-based – for example, I had to explain how I’d handle a complaining client, what role I usually take on in a team, give an example of a challenging project and also explain why I want to work in finance.
It’s intimidating for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you’re essentially talking to a blank screen about yourself for a few minutes and you need come across well. It’s also under time pressure – there are five questions, and you have 30 seconds to prepare you answer for each. You then have just three minutes to answer, so have to be concise.
This was the hardest part of the whole process. It takes just 30 minutes to go through this interview, but I spent two days preparing for it. Preparation and practice is absolutely key.
Once you get through the online interview, Goldman Sachs then invites you in. During the course of one day, you have to complete three interviews with people in the division you’re applying to.
Expect to be questioned on your CV in great detail – this is usually the entry point of every interview. There are also competency based interview questions – overcoming a difficult situation, accomplishments most proud of – but there are also divisional specific questions. You have to sell your own trade ideas and explain in great detail why you think these trades could be a winner.
The fact is that your CV won’t even make it through the screening process unless you’re both studying at the right university and have some level of practical experience. I had worked at banks in the U.S, Switzerland and Hong Kong and this helped my application stand out. None of this matters, however, unless you can explain yourself clearly during the interview process.
My number one tip is to find out everything you can about Goldman Sachs before even applying. I read every article I could find, and prepared for every question on Goldman Sachs’ culture, values and the characteristics it looks for. This helped keep me calm and focused and meant I was able to showcase these values during the interview.
In other words, getting an internship in a front office position at Goldman Sachs requires the right blend of experience, attitude and aptitude but you'll never make it through the interview process unless you're able to demonstrate this through the interview process. Good luck!
Max Chardwell, a pseudonym, is studying a Masters in Finance degree at a top UK university. He starts at Goldman Sachs this summer