Sonal's Summer at Goldman Sachs
Sonal interns in the Operations Division of Goldman Sachs’ Bengaluru office and is pursuing her Master of Commerce (M.Com) in logistics and supply chain management at Manipal University.
APPLYING WHAT I LEARNED TO MY STUDIES
09 SEP 2015 - BENGALURU
Now that I’ve finished my internship and have returned to Manipal University, I find myself thinking back to when I first interviewed with Goldman Sachs. Throughout the interview process I was asked to take my studies in logistics and supply chain management and relate them to investment banking. At the time, I was a little unsure of myself as I tried to tie together the concepts I’d studied in theory to the world of finance. Now, after my internship, I see the relationship. I am able to take each concept we discuss in class and relate it to the operational processes I was exposed to at Goldman Sachs.
In my Operations Strategy class this semester, we’ve been scrutinizing the way in which companies make tradeoffs to achieve goals like responsiveness or efficiency. As I contemplate the strategies adopted by companies in our case studies, I now have a much clearer picture of the real world processes for making these decisions.
A big part of what I learned at Goldman Sachs came from working on a global project where Operations interns from around the world helped to centralize process tools that are leveraged to ensure seamless operation in the event of any system issue. It was a challenging project because we were coordinating with team members across the globe and we had to plan timelines and break down tasks. Now, as I read about project management in my textbooks and relate it directly to that project, it reminds me how much I learned during my internship.
INSPIRING AND BEING INSPIRED
28 AUG 2015 - BENGALURU
As I approach the end of my internship, I have been reflecting on the people and things that have been most inspiring for me. Working with so many talented and accomplished women at all levels has been a great inspiration. I’ve come to look up to these women and they are role models that I aspire to emulate as I develop my career.
Just as I have been inspired by the people at Goldman Sachs, it was nice to know that I could be an inspiration to others. For my Community TeamWorks project, we partnered with an NGO in accompanying homeless children on a visit to the Visvesvaraya Technology Museum and Cubbon Park. We thought it might be difficult at first to make a connection with the young girls, aged between six and fifteen, but it didn’t take long for them to open up. At the museum there were hands-on science experiments and a 3D dinosaur show. After lunch, we went to Cubbon Park and conducted a nature-themed drawing competition inspired by the surrounding landscape and one of the day’s topics – preserving the environment. At the end of the day, one of the girls said she hoped to be a role model for the community just like us.
The CTW experience reminded me that, just as my Goldman Sachs colleagues inspired me, I am able to be an inspiration to others.
LEARNING THE INS AND OUTS OF MY ROLE
29 JUL 2015 - BENGALURU
The first two weeks of my internship zoomed by as I was introduced to my team members and became familiar with my daily work, which is reconciling accounts. I remember our first team huddle. Almost everything discussed went above my head but I felt motivated to learn. The pre-work training was very useful and helped me grasp the core fundamentals of the world of finance. However, it was through my daily work that I came to know the variety of products traded in the market and the complexities involved in complying with regulatory requirements.
I became most interested in the investigation of collateral action items as it involves exploration and probing – gathering clues to solve the puzzle of why a payment hasn’t been made on time. My fascination with fact-finding led me to do a project analyzing the topic by identifying trends and discovering the root causes, along with potential solutions.
It’s exciting that no two days are the same and, among the various teams in the division, there are so many specialties to learn about. Even within teams, each person’s specialization varies. My mentor helped me navigate by introducing me to people on the floor. I felt that networking was extremely helpful as it helped me gain a wider understanding of the organization. At times, if I didn’t understand a particular point, then speaking to others helped to fill in the gaps and hearing about the concept from different perspectives helped me conceptually visualize the workflow processes.
TAKING IT ALL IN AT ORIENTATION
09 JUL 2015 - BENGALURU
Presently, I’m an intern in the Bengaluru Operations Division working with Goldman Sachs Asset Management and the Investment Management Division, learning and taking it all in.
The first day of our internship orientation began with such a hearty buffet breakfast that I got a little frightened to think that it might be hinting at the amount of energy our undertaking would require!
The orientation sessions went on well. We had sessions on important points of contact, vital information with regard to compliance and security and of course getting down to business with setting up our systems, voicemails and collecting our ID tag. Why don’t ID photos ever look like the person carrying them?
The most valuable thing I took away from Orientation was related to the GS work culture. All the mentors stressed to be yourself and don’t try to fit into a mold. Each person’s uniqueness shapes the GS culture and that’s what makes things work.
That evening was the most exciting time with getting introduced to my team! I have to say I have the friendliest buddy. Whether it was the phone call weeks prior to my joining date or our catch-ups during office hours, she always carries a radiant energy. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful and cheerful team.
It will take time to adjust to the American date format and replacing the “s” in words with a “zee”, but hey that is all part of the experience right?