Our Chief Information Officer on His Path From Silicon Valley to Wall Street
In the latest episode of the Exchanges at Goldman Sachs podcast, Mainframes and Back Again: Lessons from 25 Years in Technology, Goldman Sachs’ chief information officer Martin Chavez discusses trends in technology and how financial institutions are embracing these innovations to benefit clients. Martin also looks back on his career and discusses what Goldman Sachs engineers are focused on today.
“I never planned a career in finance,” Martin says. “I went from college to grad school in Silicon Valley and my plan [was to] be an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.”
That all changed when Martin took an interview with Goldman Sachs in the early ‘90s, where he learned about the firm’s vision for using math and software to serve clients around the world in pioneering ways.
“I didn’t know that some of the hardest problems you could possibly solve with math and software were in finance,” says Martin — who had never considered working in the financial industry prior to interviewing. “I had the good fortune of being an early member of a team that had a really ambitious plan, which was to crack the problem of building a platform for managing risk for a large scale global wholesale financial institution in every product.”
Today, Goldman Sachs has thousands of engineers: financial, software, network, hardware and infrastructure engineers to name just a few in addition to roughly 1,500 data scientists. Their work remains about solving challenging problems with math and software.
“We’ve had the view for decades here at Goldman Sachs that math written up on a whiteboard or a blackboard wasn’t all that useful but math captured in software that we could deploy across the firm to our salespeople, bankers and traders was immensely useful… And so many of our people are working not just on the math and the quantitative problems, but are actually writing software to facilitate all that trading on behalf of clients and making sure that we do that safely and soundly,” Martin adds.