Hi, dear editors
I am a student pursuing my finance graduate degree in USA. After reading the article “Entrée just for starters”, some questions are generated from my mind. I’d really appreciate it if you could help me take these questions to Mr.
Marcus. The first one: Mr. Marcus focused his article on MBA students with certain working experience. However, what’s his attitude towards those students who are just graduated from MBA program rarely with working experience or even are enrolled in other programs like finance master or marketing master? Would big investment banks like GS take these rigorous young boys and girls into consideration.
The second one: Mr. Marcus mentioned that the contributions of newbie are more important. So what type of contribution does the HR department prefer—-something like quantities analysis mind or the ability to communicate with others? I know that these two are both significant to be an excellent financial practitioner. But I think there must be something hr appreciates more.
If Mr. Marcus would like to offer some tips or hints to us young students who are chasing our goals down the road, I appreciate him so much!
Thanks a lot for giving us such an opportunity!
A Chinese finance graduate student in USA.
RESPONSE – To be translated (561 words)
When we consider MBA talent, we focus on students who have at least two years of work experience, and four is probably the norm in the US. We especially value MBAs for their maturity, client readiness, and prior work experience in our industry or related sectors. We have, however, always hired students in 5 year programs like Wharton’s and will certainly consider those who have gone straight into business programs if they have had relevant or significant internship experience. In regard to other grad programs, we hire from international affairs programs like the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia because these recruiting efforts can be easily combined with MBA efforts at adjacent schools, and these students have strong business interest and international knowledge. Different divisions will also consider different types of degrees valuable, we have a number of Phd hires in our more quantitative practices each year, and masters candidates in finance often have skillsets similar to MBAs. The challenge for students looking for associate level jobs from non-MBA programs is that they need to be aware of our MBA or undergraduate recruiting events on campus and of the application cycles. We review the applications of all associate level candidates from our target schools even if they are not in the business programs, but we don’t have a strong campus presence at most non-MBA granting graduate schools.
In terms of a quantitatively strong mind versus the ability to communicate, we place an emphasis on both. Not all of our successful hires are tremendously quantitative, but almost all have a comfort with basic math and a willingness to learn the technical skills needed for the job. It’s very rare that we will hire someone with limited communication skills since they will have trouble making it through an interview, but there is definitely a range in what’s needed in terms of the ability to present in front of groups or write extensive research reports.
As general tips and hints to help you navigate through the recruiting process and entry-level years at Goldman or other investment banks, I’d offer the following:
Having a great attitude and being enthusiastic and willing to learn is paramount.
This is a competitive environment, so strive to do well academically in whatever your field is. No particular field of study or advanced degree is a prerequisite to success, but we look for achievement oriented people.
As an intern or new hire, no job should be too small for you, but you should always seek to stretch yourself.
To prepare for an interview, try to learn as much as possible about the firm and our business. Keeping up with the industry is also not just for interviewees, you should always stay abreast of the market and developments in your particular area.
Recognize that your first job may lead to a lifetime career at a firm, or be a springboard to other things. Network within the firm, make connections, and try to explore the careers of others that you might want to consider. Many people at Goldman have succeeded through divisional and regional mobility, and these transitions often involved switches they never anticipated in school or when they were first hired. Don’t ever burn your bridges with colleagues or superiors because you want them as allies to help your continuous advancement.