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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about a Goldman Sachs superday

It's paramount to spend plenty of time preparing for a superday if you want to land a coveted summer analyst position.

The good news is that if you’ve received an invitation to a Goldman Sachs superday, then you’ve made it a significant amount of the way through the process, as it’s the final stage of recruitment for the investment banking division’s summer analyst program.

On the other hand, you’ll really need to put your best foot forward at the superday, as typically only about 25% to 35% of candidates who participate in one receive an offer.

Here is everything you need to know to make the most of your opportunity at a Goldman Sachs superday and get hired as a fall intern or summer analyst, which often leads to a full-time offer after you graduate.

Goldman’s recruitment funnel

While Goldman Sachs used to interview students over the phone or in person on campus at select universities for first-round interviews, now applicants who are selected for first-round interviews for the bank’s summer analyst program are asked to participate in a prerecorded video interview via HireVue.

The summer analyst candidates who Goldman selects based on their prerecorded interviews to continue the process are invited to come into one of the bank’s offices for a series of in-person interviews known as a superday.

“The recruiting team partners with our investment bankers to hire our summer analyst class, which ultimately becomes our full-time investment banking analyst class,” said Annie Yearwood, vice president and head of Americas investment banking campus recruiting at Goldman Sachs. “We initially start speaking to students [at target universities] during their freshman and sophomore years to introduce them to opportunities at the firm. The interview process, including the superday, is primarily for college sophomores or juniors applying to our summer analyst program.

“For investment banking, we do hire for full-time graduate roles as well, but it’s quite small, only if there are still openings after we’ve made offers to our [summer analyst] interns, who make up most of our sourcing for each full-time analyst class,” she said.

Goldman Sachs superday schedule

Goldman hosts superdays from August to December, typically every other week.

Superdays range in size, usually 24 to 32 candidates in New York, where the majority of summer analyst candidates are interviewing for either the Americas financing group or the classic coverage group.

There are also internship opportunities at regional offices, which host superdays with somewhere between eight and 16 candidates. These include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Houston and Irving, Texas, as well as Toronto and Calgary in Canada.

Goldman pays for superday participants’ airfare and hotel room. Those who arrive early have an opportunity to contact employees they’ve been in contact with, typically those who share the same alma mater. There is a candidate lounge at each office where candidates have the opportunity to relax and prepare for the interview. There's complimentary WiFi, in case you're wondering, and recruiters are on hand to answer any questions they may have.

Each candidate will have three 30-minute interviews with two investment banking executives conducing each one, meaning they will ultimately meet with a total of six bankers, primarily vice presidents and managing directors, over the course of the superday.

The interviews consist of structured questions designed to gauge candidates’ core competencies and technical questions geared toward test knowledge of investment banking and the markets.

Superday participants typically hear back from Goldman, one way or the other, within 24-48 hours. On average, candidates who receive offers get back to the bank with an answer within a week or two.

Goldman invites many of those who accept an offer to come into the office in February or March.

“It’s an opportunity for candidates to come in once they’ve accepted their offers and meet with bankers in different groups prior to their summer analyst program,” Yearwood said.

After the 10-week summer analyst program, Goldman typically extends full-time offers the following week.

Keys to superday success

Summer analyst candidates can and should prepare prior to the day-long series of interviews.

“Preparation is incredibly important here – I don’t think a candidate can ever over-prepare for a superday,” Yearwood said. “They can take advantage of various sources: leverage the internet, reach out to their alumni network and upper classmen who interned in investment banks and have them speak to the opportunities and coach them.

When it comes to the actual superday interviews, it is important for candidates to be able to share their story and describe their resume in a concise yet compelling way without embellishing, Yearwood said.

“We want to hire candidates from all different backgrounds, and it’s important for us to understand why investment banking appeals to them, so they can talk about a particular M&A deal in the marketplace that interests them, or share something that demonstrates their understanding of various basic valuation methodologies,” she said.

Yearwood said that Goldman is not just looking for candidates with finance majors or previous finance internships. The bank is looking for qualitative characteristics such as leadership and communication skills, hard work, self-motivation and a passion for learning finance.

“As college students, they can demonstrate those skills through extracurricular activities, course work and work, from an internship to a job on campus,” Yearwood said. “They need to understand what the investment banking role entails and why their skill set is transferable and makes them a good fit for the role.”

Those excellent students with a first in economics and ten internships? They’re referred to as “plug and play” and not the ideal, according to a former Goldman recruiter. He says the firm really wants people with unusual profiles – it’s all about trying to attract a diverse group of applicants who’ve studied history, English literature or another fascinating subject instead of just finance.

Goldman Sachs superday pitfalls to avoid

There are various pitfalls that unsuccessful superday candidates have fallen into, effectively taking themselves out of the running. Here are four of the most common, according to Yearwood:

  • Focusing on “I” not “we.” Teamwork is incredibly important for summer analysts, so not having specific examples of how you’ve approached team dynamics can hurt your candidacy.
  • Lacking sufficient preparation. Expect a mix of technical, cultural-fit and behavioral questions. Candidates need to be able to articulate why they want to work in investment banking specifically at Goldman. If you can’t do so convincingly and demonstrate knowledge of the firm, recruiters will question whether you’re really interested in the job. If you’re interested, we have a full list of every conceivable question you could be asked at a Goldman Sachs interview here. That said, there is such a thing as over-preparing, especially if it means that you come into the superday exhausted.
  • Speaking to an article or interview but only knowing the headline. The investment bankers who conduct superday interviews are trained to ask follow-up questions, so making a surface-level observation or reference without the ability to back it up or go deeper could backfire.
  • Lacking presence. Not being able to build a rapport with the people conducting an interview is a death knell for your chances of landing a summer analyst position.

Photo credit: Tony Tremblay/GettyImages

AUTHORDan Butcher US Editor

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