GUEST COMMENT: My experience of the summer internship at Goldman Sachs
Last summer, I interned in Goldman’s IBD division. Even better, I got an offer. I’m not going to tell you exactly what I worked on, or who I worked with because I want to preserve my anonymity, but for those of you who are interested, here’s my inside lowdown on how Goldman’s programme works.
The programme is structured as follows:
- 1 week of training
- 5 weeks in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group.
- 4 weeks in the Financing Group
Interns usually do one rotation in a group (Mergers and Acquisitions or Financing), then move to the other. You’ll spend 5 weeks in the first and four weeks in the second. I can’t guarantee that M&A will be where your 5 weeks are spent – this is just an example.
The key strengths of the summer intern programme at Goldman
- Training week: The goal is really to make interns as efficient as possible from Day one.
The lessons are made by experienced bankers on financial modelling, accounting, shortcuts, etc.
- Team presentations: Throughout the summer, interns attend mandatory presentations from almost every team within the Investment Banking Division in order to get to know every available opportunity: Leveraged Finance, Equity Derivatives, Pensions, Equity Capital Markets...
- Senior Speaker series: Each week, a partner delivers a speech to the intern class on his/her career path, the reasons behind his/her decision to join the firm, his/her view on the future of the financial industry... This year, senior speakers included firm stars such as Lloyd Blankfein (CEO) and Jim O'Neil (Chief Economist). These presentations really help clarify what a career in investment banking might entail.
- Social events: The social events during a Goldman internship come in two types. Team events are held for the whole team and are an occasion for interns to chat to their colleagues in a more informal way and meet senior people. Conversely, intern-only events are held 4 or 5 times over the summer so that interns can share their experiences and know each other.
The job itself
- If you spend a summer as an IBD intern at Goldman Sachs, you’ll get tremendous exposure. 10 weeks is very short, but the programme is built in a way that interns get to work with a number of different people across several teams and across the hierarchy. In the ten weeks that you’re there, you can easily work with 20 or 25 different people.
- People trust you: even if it's their first experience ever, interns are given a lot of responsiblities, to the point where best-performing interns often end up doing their analysts' work. Besides, you often work with senior employees who have been at the bank over 10 years. I have to say it felt good to see people believe in you
- Superiors take full responsibility for their interns' mistakes: although analysts and associates give interns responsibilities, they will review their work and give them feedback so they can improve rather than shout at them. This creates a feeling of comparative security and makes it easier to learn.
- No (or little) face time: Face time is not encouraged at the firm. If interns finish their work early, analysts often tell them to go home. If an intern stays very late and someone discovers he had nothing to do, it is more likely to have the opposite effect.