Stevie's Summer at Goldman Sachs
Stephanie, who goes by Stevie, is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She currently interns in the Market Solutions Group within the Investment Management Division at Goldman Sachs in New York.
CHANGING MY APPROACH TO COMMUNICATION AND TIME MANAGEMENT
17 AUG 2015 - NEW YORK
My time in college has taught me many transferable skills – how to ask good questions, how to think in an interdisciplinary way about the work I’m doing, and how to contribute to intellectual discussions being just a few. However, I’ve found working in an environment like Goldman Sachs dramatically different in many ways and I’ve adapted my approach to communication and time management.
At school, I have discretion over my schedule, so I do my work at my own pace and create my class schedule to fit my preferences. At Goldman Sachs we work in teams. Many people rely on my work, so keeping them posted is essential. For that reason, it’s also important to communicate about my workload in order to avoid taking on a project that I can’t complete on time.
I’ve also tackled time management differently. Unlike school where I can study for a test the night before or quickly write a paper the day before it’s due, I rely on feedback and input from my team for many of my projects, especially when I run into things I don’t know. That means waiting until the night before a project is due isn’t an option. I’ve learned to get a head start on long-term projects, especially because tasks sometimes take more time than I predict they will. And when colleagues need information quickly I’ve learned how to juggle my priorities and deliver in a timely manner.
I’m looking forward to continuing to learn the skills necessary to succeed in a corporate environment.
MAINTAINING MY GROWING NETWORK
23 JUL 2015 - NEW YORK
A huge benefit of working at a company with a structured internship program is the exposure to an entire summer analyst class. During training there was ample opportunity to meet summer analysts in other groups – in my division as well as in other divisions throughout the firm. Then, by utilizing my Penn network as well as the networking sessions built into the training sessions, I was able to connect with an extraordinary amount of summer analysts.
I’ve had many opportunities to engage with the other summer analysts this summer and keep that network strong. One such event was my Community TeamWorks day. Last Thursday, we spent the day with kids who attend camp there five days a week. This was a great opportunity to catch up with interns I met during training, as well as friends from school and their colleagues. It was also a chance to work with them outside of the office and give back to the community. It was a unique and rewarding day, and it was clear that the kids were so excited to have us there.
My network has made it faster and easier to carry out my work. My group is constantly calling other divisions and groups for information and insights and having a great network of summer analysts has allowed me to do the same. For example, I wanted to get information on a specific research piece, so I asked a friend in Global Investment Research. She was able to connect me to the right person to ask, and that made the process extremely quick and smooth. Having access to people across so many areas with so much diverse expertise allows the entire firm to function at a powerful level.
I look forward to having other opportunities to engage with the other summer analysts and keep my network strong.
MY TOP TIPS FROM GS COLLEAGUES
08 JUL 2015 - NEW YORK
When Goldman Sachs employees came to my college campus during recruiting in January, two words I heard over and over were “flat structure”. They spoke about how even interns have direct access to senior leaders throughout the firm. I figured it was a just a selling tactic to encourage interest in the firm, and that my daily interactions would be with the youngest new employees.
I could not have been more mistaken. From day one of my internship in the Investment Management Division this summer, I have had more access to senior people than I could have imagined. These intelligent, thoughtful and innovative leaders have taken time out of their days to inspire and enlighten the eager new summer interns. I have worked directly with vice presidents on a daily basis, I’ve had lunch with managing directors, and I have gone to intimate speaker events with partners.
After so much exposure to senior people, here are the top five takeaways I keep in mind every day:
1. If you’re not making mistakes this summer then you’re not getting involved enough in the team and the work. But never try to hide a mistake. Dealing with mistakes appropriately and quickly is an amazing feat and an important skill.
2. It’s not about your experience; it’s about your capabilities. It doesn’t matter how many classes you took on derivatives – that knowledge is just a tool. Having the ability to apply your experience is much more important.
3. With so many type-A personalities we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and one another to work longer and harder. That said, work-life balance is important. You need to take time to be healthy and happy or you won’t be able to do your best work.
4. Embrace the volatility and uncertainty of the market, and the resulting dynamism of the firm. Be open to moving around and doing different tasks; the financial markets are constantly changing so we have to constantly be adapting.
5. Know your strengths and play to them instead of trying to develop those you see in others. Goldman’s success comes from combining its people’s unique strengths, not everyone being the same.
I look forward to hearing from other leaders at the firm in the upcoming weeks and continuing to take advantage of all the incredible access I’ve been given to some of the most motivating leaders in finance.