COMMENT: My Goldman Sachs securities interview was totally exhausting

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I'm a student and I recently interviewed for a securities job at Goldman Sachs. If anyone else is interviewing at Goldman now, I want to warn you - their interviews are hard. Very, very hard.

I'd read all the stuff about Goldman hiring strats and quantitative people into sales and trading jobs, but the interview still came as a shock. It wasn't what I expected. I expected to be treated gently, with some questions about the markets and why I chose GS. Instead, I was hit with some heavy quantitative problems.

Most of the questions I was asked seemed to involve probability and statistics. All of them were far above my level of mathematical ability. For example, I was asked, "Can you know the expectation of a random variable if you only know its density or mass function?”, and had no idea how to respond.

I was also asked: "In a linear regression, what does the line represent?”, and “What is 1+2+...+100=?”

Even the easy questions weren't easy. By this time I was seriously off-balance. I thought I was getting a break when someone asked me to talk through an analysis I'd done, but then they asked me to talk about the bias in that analysis and I really didn't know what to say.

Were there markets questions? Yes, there were markets questions, but seriously - nothing was straightforward. They asked me things like, "What is the yield in mathematical terms and its meaning?” I knew what yield was but not much else. They asked, “Why do Fed decisions impact the yield curve?”; I didn't know. They asked, “What is a CLO?” (I didn't know that either), "What's a bid-ask game?" (no clue), and, “How many times do you see the FED increasing rates in 2019?” (err...).

If all that wasn't enough they also expected me to call out the market prices of a whole load of currency pairs and indices.

Needless to say, I didn't get the job. I'm kind of glad - I don't think it would have worked out for me there. But if you're a student who's interviewing at Goldman Sachs, I want you to know what you're letting yourself in for. The interviews certainly aren't easy.

Gianpaolo Zumpano is a pseudonym

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