Summer Interns Event: In Conversation with Michael Sherwood
Below are highlights of a Q&A interview with Michael Sherwood, Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs and Co-CEO of Goldman Sachs International, from an event held in our London offices for the firm’s summer interns. Sherwood discusses his 30-year tenure at Goldman Sachs, the firm’s enduring partnership culture and his advice to junior people coming up the ranks.
How has the firm changed during your 30 years’ tenure?
Many things have changed: we have expanded into multiple locations and we went public, to name just two. But our commitment to excellence, our ability to attract the highest calibre of people, our ambition to be the best that we can be – those attributes have remained consistent over my career at the firm. I must say the quality of the people we are able to attract is very humbling; in fact I often wonder how I ever got a job here!
What advice would you give to junior people coming up the ranks?
My advice to people coming up the ranks: it takes all kinds of people to make successful careers at the firm. Be yourself, be authentic, don’t try to conform. Be motivated, have a thirst for information and have an intellectual curiosity. I would also say that people who have defined career trajectories have often been disappointed – don’t have a specific timetable around your career.
How would you describe the firm’s culture?
The Goldman Sachs culture is very special. It’s been honed over many years. It’s all about the ability to do your best for your client and to perpetuate the success and the moral values of the firm over a very long period of time. The partnership is also an enormous reinforcer of our culture. That partnership culture of shared responsibility, a duty to make the firm better for future leaders, that sense of stewardship – those things still ring true today. In other words, the culture is a catalyst for excellence: everything we aim to do is to a standard that the culture would be proud of and that is really what drives the success of the firm.