Bright Network member Alice was happy to talk to us about the ten week internship which she undertook at Goldman Sachs. When she's finished, she'll be continuing with her degree in Mathematics from the University of St Andrews.
What attracted you initially to the internship?
I chose Goldman Sachs because of its strong culture that set it apart from other bulge bracket banks. A typical fit is highly extroverted, energetic, confident and ambitious. The people are very sharp and professional. As a work environment, it is very collaborative. You can easily reach out to senior people and to other divisions and regions for help. The organisation is very flat. There is also a free flow of information. People readily impart knowledge to you and make themselves available. Also, the firm offers a lot of resources and opportunities for career development and mobility. In particular, I chose Operations because it is a technical division which offers an overall perspective on how investment banks work. Warsaw was appealing to me because it was a new office and because it was close to home.
Can you explain a bit more about exactly what your role entailed?
I worked in Settlements for FX Markets. FX is a high volume market and we generally settle large sums. As an intern, access is offered to some of the systems, though not all, but you can easily shadow any of the associates and learn all the functions. On top of that, interns are given both team and individual projects. The number of projects or the time spent on each varies from team to team. Mine lasted for the best part of my internship and is to be presented this week.
What did you learn from it?
From the general training I learned how the company is organised and how the different divisions are related. From my own team's training I learned how to operate our systems. From exposure to other teams, the steps of our firm's workflow and the direction it is headed. From exposure to senior members, MD and partners I learned what my future with the firm could look like.
Has it influenced your thinking on what career path you might want to pursue in the future?
As before the internship, I like the investment banking industry and I'd like to stay on this career path. I am also interested in doing a Msc or an MBA further down the road, although I would like to work for a few years before that.
Have you got some top tips for members looking to follow in your footsteps?
I would say that when you make those choices that will go into your CV i.e. choice of degree, choice of university, choice of societies and sports clubs, make them your own. Do things you are passionate about and take some risks, don't do things just to tick some boxes off. Aligning yourself with a certain industry makes sense, but don't go for the obvious. You don't necessarily have to be a finance-related major to go into finance and if you do volunteering, do something that stands out. In the end, it all has to come together and spell out a good story.