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The ideal background for working at Goldman Sachs

In an effort to build out its career site, Goldman Sachs has been methodically adding profile descriptions of some of its junior and mid-level staffers. The investment banking division now has 11 profiles, providing a fairly decent sample size of its workforce. Here’s what they tell us.

You don’t necessarily need an MBA, but a blue-chip degree appears a must

Not everyone acknowledges what school they graduated from but, unsurprisingly, those who do attended top universities. Names that were mentioned include Oxford, Harvard, Dartmouth and Rice University, which U.S. News ranks as the 18th best American school, the worst rating of all the schools that were named. Two of the 11 investment bankers attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which was just ranked the top business school for financial professionals. Wharton graduates get paid the most, too.

Interestingly, only two of the employees noted in their background that they have an MBA, though conceivably some could have decided against mentioning it.

They are serious about STEM recruiting, evidently

Goldman Sachs, perhaps more than any other bank, has been rather vocal about the need to recruit a wider variety of backgrounds, other than the standard finance majors. Goldman told us back in October that they want to hire more people with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and it appears they have done so. Whether purposeful or not, the people they chose to represent the group paint a broader demographic.

This given group of investment bankers majored in pharmacy and neurobiology; chemistry; finance, accounting and marketing; mathematics; business management; economics and filmmaking (double major); economics with a minor in psychology and mathematics; and engineering.

They want fresh minds

Judging from an admittedly small sample size, Goldman appears to prefer candidates who join them right after school, rather than as the second or third banking employer in their career. In discussing their background, just one employee acknowledged starting his career at another bank then quitting to join Goldman as an intern. Another worked at several medical startup companies, but Goldman was their first banking employer. The rest suggest that they landed with the firm right out of school.

The news is rather unsurprising. Recruiters tell us how weary banks are of hiring junior and mid-level bankers with multiple stops already on their resume. “We typically avoid candidates who’ve had more than two jobs during [their first five years],” Tom Stoddart, director at recruitment firm Eximius Finance, told us earlier this month.

If you want to work there, talk up your ability to work in a team

Maybe it’s the company’s new mantra – or was a requirement in writing their bio – but virtually everyone talked about teamwork being the most important part of being successful at their job. Couldn’t hurt to mention your own knack of working with a team in an interview?


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AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • mb
    27 March 2014

    Pretty small sample size to draw any conclusions from, wouldn't you say?

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