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The dark art of networking your way into Goldman Sachs

Leverage the safe nodes

While the rest of the world, including Google, has decided that Google+ isn't its social network of choice, Goldman Sachs has fully embraced the platform's 'hangouts' facility and is running a series of hangout sessions for people who might be interested in working for the firm. Yesterday's was on getting into Goldman when you've got an MBA. This is what you missed.

1. Accept the fact that it is not humanly possible to take advantage of every Goldman Sachs networking opportunity that comes your way 

If you're an MBA student who's paid $60k in fees to get a chance at an associate job in a top investment bank, you might well be suffering from FOMO when it comes to campus events. Don't. You cannot attend them all.

"Make peace with the fact that it’s impossible to go to every single event with every single company you’re interested in," said Sabrina, an MBA who works for Goldman's private wealth business, during the hangout. "Let the recruiters know you can't make it," she added.

2. Know that you will not know exactly what you want to do to begin with, and embrace this

If you're studying an MBA, you might think you need present yourself as an ambitious, astute, potential employee with a passion for a particular area of banking. You do, but you won't be able to right from the start. An MBA involves a "natural evolution", said the Goldmanites. "You start wide" and then you, "narrow it down" when you work out what you want to do.

3. Learn the art of the 'safe conversation' 

How do you work out exactly what you want to do in banking? Through 'safe conversations,' said the MBAs on the Goldman hangout. As long as you don't really know what you want to do and aren't really sure what you're talking about, make sure you only interact with 'safe' people who won't judge your ignorance harshly.

Who are these 'safe' people? Try the second year MBA students on your campus who've already interned in banks, try the students with a banking background. Only then should you try approaching the alumni who might be VPs and MDs. 

"Start with juniors and second year students, then move on to recent graduates and more senior alums," said Goldman's MBAs. "Start low - you get more confident as you move along."

4. Get a 'story' 

If you're an MBA who's swapping into banking, you need a narrative. Why banking? Why now?

"When you're introducing yourself to new people you need to know your story," said Sabrina. "You need to explain why you're interested in x,yz, when you took the MBA and where you're planning to go after that."

5. Pace yourself 

"Go for quality over quantity," advised the MBAs. "It’s a marathon not a sprint, try and make meaningful connections you’ll be remembered by rather than shaking hands with everyone," they said.

6. Get excited 

The people you're networking with will remember you if you're interesting. Specifically, they will remember you if you're 'passionate'.

"Know what you’re passionate about. – What’s drawn you to a role in a company and to that particular role?," said the Goldman MBAs who were hanging out.

7. Get granular 

Too many MBAs think every bank is the same and every similar bank wants the same people. They don't. "Realize that every company is different," said Sabrina. "Every company has it's own community and wants different candidates."

How do you achieve this realization? By talking to as many people who work at each company as possible.

8. Practice your package 

Finally, once you've worked your way through the safe conversations, honed your pitch and landed an interview, you'll need to practice your presentation. "Don't under-estimate the value of practicing your interview skills," said the Goldman MBAs. - "Know your story and know why you're there. Be able to articulate it clearly and it will serve you well."

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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