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Several people at Goldman Sachs who'll be really hoping for promotion to MD this year

How to make it to the top of the human pyramid at Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs' managing director (MD) promotions are fast approaching. As the New York Post points out, this year is a big one. Next year, Goldman's giving the promotions a rest - it won't promote any MDs at all in 2014.

Making it to MD at Goldman Sachs is not easy. The firm has a weird structure in which the vast majority of its staff get stuck at vice president (VP) and executive director (ED) level (there are around 18,000 VPs and EDs at Goldman and only a few thousand managing directors). Goldman bankers who want to go from ED to MD will need to be in an important business area, preferably generating revenues. They'll also need to have some big supporters internally. 

EDs who don't get promoted can get disgruntled. This year they may be more disgruntled than usual (given it will be 2015 until they get the chance for promotion again). The most disgruntled ED of them all was Greg Smith, who famously failed to get promoted before leaving the bank and writing a book about it.

We've drawn three people from the mass of Goldman EDs who seem ripe(ish) for promotion this year. We wish them luck.

1. Quentin Naylor

Who? An executive director and European head of collateral and valuations. Naylor joined Goldman in September 2011 after holding a succession of senior positions in the British Army.

In his favour: Collateral is a hot area. Under Basel III, banks will need to be a lot tighter in their management of collateral. Naylor will be at the forefront of this change in Europe. He also has an MBE, which looks good from an extracurricular perspective.

Doomy reality: Collateral management isn't a big revenue generating area. And Naylor has only been at Goldman for two years, which means he'd be lucky to get promoted so soon.

2. Beth Mulligan-Ward

Who? An EMEA benefits specialist at Goldman who specializes in well being strategy and people development.

In her favour: Well being is a big thing for Goldman, which is about to role out it its new strategy for making people take Saturdays off.

Doomy reality:  Well being strategy is not a revenue generating area.

3. Magdalena Polan

Who? An executive director and senior European economist in Goldman Sachs' global investment research division.

In her favour: Client-focused research is increasingly important as banks try to capture client flow. Polan has worked as an ED at Goldman for four years, a prime tenure for being promoted. She is also female and Goldman is regularly lambasted for failing to promote enough women.

Doomy reality: Research isn't a direct revenue generator either.





AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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