Are Goldman Sachs' sales and trading internships particularly cut throat affairs? Yes, according to some of the students who've been through them.
According to students who went through the Goldman Securities Programme last year, it consisted of:
- 2 weeks of classroom based training
- 2 weeks of one hour rotations, networking events, a trading game and market wrap quizzes
- 2 weeks of 2x1 week of desk rotations
- 4 weeks of 2x2 weeks of desk rotations.
The classroom training
This is simply said to be, "loads of theory," and an introduction to the bank.
The one hour rotations
Former interns say the one hour rotations are automatically assigned and are intended to maximise exposure to different desks. At the end of the two weeks, interns are asked to submit a list of preferences for the desks they want to rotate on during the one and two week rotations. HR match these preferences to desks looking for interns and will assign options automatically if preferred desks don't have any space.
The market wrap quizzes
Market wrap quizzes reportedly begin in week three and continue until the end of the internship, getting progressively harder as the week progresses. It is imperative that you perform well in them: HR use them as an important indicator of how much you know about the market.
The one and two week rotations
The one and two week rotations are the all important bit. These are your chance to spend more time on a desk you might want to work on in a graduate capacity. In this time, you'll be assigned projects that will enable you to demonstrate what a great graduate hire you'd make.
For example: an emerging markets sales desk an intern was asked to come up with a cross-asset portfolio of trading ideas including the use of derivatives; a credit sales intern was asked to present to an investor on a recent bond issue and to judge whether or not the investor should participate; a rates candidate was asked to bootstrap a yield curve.
Tactics for this phase:
How you play this element of the internship will be crucial to whether you get a job.
If you want to maximise your chances of getting an offer, you need to maintain relationships with at least two separate desks. Even when one rotation has finished, you therefore need to be keeping in daily contact with members of the team you previously worked with. Know who to impress; focus on the MD.
Particular challenges of the Goldman internship
Internships at Goldman are said to be particularly competitive. Previous interns say candidates are able to compete against each other in a very obvious way for the same job. For example, one intern claims he was the frontrunner for a place on a particular desk until the last week, when another candidate expressed an interest in the same desk and managed to get the position.
One of the hardest things about the process is said to be keeping up relationships with various desks. This often necessitates working on multiple projects simultaneously, which can be exhausting.
The author is a third year student at one of the UK's better known universities.
Addendum: A comment from Goldman
Sarah Harper, head of EMEA recruitment at Goldman Sachs, says...
"The Goldman Sachs internship is a structured rotation programme in Securities. Over the course of the 10 weeks, students begin by spending relatively short periods of time on many desks which we assign to them and then as and when they begin to form a view on where their interests lie, they are able to spend longer amounts of time on desks they are focussed on. When we are interviewing we try to ensure that we select candidates with a wide mix of interests in order to avoid too many people with the same niche skills."