Goldman Sachs Reviews

Updated July 15, 2015
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Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein
Lloyd C. Blankfein
37 Ratings

Pros
  • learn from smart people who take their jobs seriously (in 185 reviews)

  • Ops is great in that you can learn a lot of transferable skill sets and abilities that you can take to almost any job (in 46 reviews)

Cons
  • It is very difficult to maintain work life balance due to high expectations (in 323 reviews)

  • Very long hours but you know that going in (in 398 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

81 Employee Reviews

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  1. Summer Intern Miserable

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Goldman Sachs

    Pros

    Everyone here is really motivated and driven. The pace of learning is very fast, I feel like I'm getting a lot out of the internship.

    Cons

    There is no semblance of work-life balance. Being an intern is harder than being at my ivy league school.

    Advice to Management

    Pay attention to work life balance. Also, many of my full-time colleagues complain about the low pay.


  2. GS review

    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Goldman Sachs full-time

    Negative Outlook
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Great colleagues and good benefits package

    Cons

    Salary not as negotiable as expected.


  3. Helpful (4)

    Senior Analyst in Technology

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst Developer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst Developer in New York, NY

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    prestige that comes with the name good on resume people 'think' you make tons of money you don't need to explain where you work once you just say the name

    Cons

    The prestige is really just a facade- If you work on their proprietary programming language - secdb/slang, get the hell out as soon as you can. you will be behind in mainstream technology, and you won't be marketable outside the company very soon. Once recruiter said there are some companies out there who simply won't interview any ex-goldman employees as they are just behind in technological skills, and there is a 'bad' reputation for ex-gs people you do NOT make tons of money here unless you are the exceptional 1%. most people would LOVE to make the avg gs salary - 350K or 400K as advertised in wall st, but it's extremely top heavy. Go to other hedgefunds who could easily pay much more. GS is very savvy when it comes to saving/making money, and they won't spend more money to keep you happy- but just enough so you don't leave. The culture is all about facade--- it's very superficial and no one trusts anyone. because of this 360 degree 'review' system they have, everyone pretends to be nice to everyone but when it comes to review, they can always backstab you because only a few people can get the high marks. When I left, there was a backlog of exit interviews up to 3 months - and another colleague of mine who left 1 month after me said he had to wait 6 months for his exit interview. In other words, there is a mass exodus happening in technology. If you are in technology, you are considered a 'cost center' and will NOT be treated the same way biz side folks are treated (traders, sales, strats). What I see in GS is all these cost center people, Tech, Ops, Infra, end up trying to suck up to the business folks, empowering them to act rudely as they have the ultimate say in everything. Expect an extremely political environment. Either you get into the fraternity or you are out. Since 2008, there hasn't really been a 'golden year' where everyone was happy with their compensation. GS would use 3 factors to determine your comp - your performance, company performance, market benchmark ---- and they would also find that one factor to tell you why your comp is not gonna be stellar this year. If you are a technologist fresh out of college, I would totally recommend you to go into startup space and that way you would learn so much more. If you are a lateral hire from a tech industry, don't come to GS. If you are lateral hire from another finance industry, GS may be better than other big banks.. but if your objective is to maximize your salary, I would recommend a hedgefund space instead.

    Advice to Management

    There was a real problem with morale in technology when I left - and I hear it's still a problem. If you really care about the company's future, and believe technology will drive finance industry, you can start treating technology folks with more tangible "respect" and really empower them.


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  5. Helpful (4)

    Worst three years of my life

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Goldman Sachs

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Partnership structure leads to good management/fast decision making at the top.

    Cons

    People are average- not overly smart, that is a complete misnomer. Favoritism is how you get ahead, not a performance based culture. Hours are insane, pay is in-line with industry average unless you make partner. Incredibly top heavy. Overwork + sweat your assets(you) + get a good ROE ( you generate way more then you get paid, partners make all the $$) = leave ( everyone throws a party for you congratulating you for getting out) and new intern class comes in to replace. Repeat.

    Advice to Management

    Lower your turnover it's a joke.


  6. More turnover than McDonald's

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Middle Office
    Current Contractor - Middle Office

    I have been working at Goldman Sachs as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Money, and lots of it.

    Cons

    Demand at least 10-12 hour days


  7. Business Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Goldman Sachs full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Good pay, dynamic, fast pace,

    Cons

    Life work balance, people, lots of travel


  8. Helpful (1)

    Technology ... Nope.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Former Tech Analyst in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Former Tech Analyst in New York, NY

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Health and Wellness benefits - Some people were great to work with

    Cons

    - Technology is treated like second-class citizens - The pay is not competitive at all - Politics. Lots and lots of it - Overall, a very toxic culture - Little room for growth, and honestly the longer you stay the further you pidgeonhole yourself

    Advice to Management

    Stop saying you're a tech company! It's both funny and sad


  9. Helpful (4)

    Software Development Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Development Analyst in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Software Development Analyst in New York, NY

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Looks good to have a goldman sachs on resume?

    Cons

    - the company is all about finance! You get treated like a second class citizen! you have a degree in Computer Science from a top tier university and at times your job requires helping a finance genius figure out how to install a software. - no invocation. You get to support mess of a software created by your predecessor. - very long hours. 7 am to 9 pm yes sir! - bad pay.


  10. Helpful (3)

    Know your family only through the pictures on your phone

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Analyst in Salt Lake City, UT
    Current Employee - IT Analyst in Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been working at Goldman Sachs full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    good to great medical benefits subsidized disability and life insurance 401k matching Many learning opportunities and resources are available to employees good culture flexibility

    Cons

    Work/Life balance Successful employees are expected to work a lot of overtime Ethics - if it's not specifically illegal to do, it may be allowed You must threaten to leave to get a raise non competitive wages Managers fight among themselves for control. A verson of the Risk boardgame. Whoever takes control of the most territory, is promoted.

    Advice to Management

    Your voice isn't the only one to be heard


  11. Helpful (29)

    The price of success

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Developer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Software Developer in New York, NY

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    So what's it like working for Goldman Sachs? Well, first things first, I worked in one department of one of the many divisions of GS. GS is a company of well over 30,000 employees. Each division is like a company in and of itself, so generalising an experience even within a single division is fraught with issues, so you'll have to take my words in that very narrow context. The Good Probably the best thing about this company is that it is very pro-diversity. They want to create a work environment that mirrors the real world on the outside and they are keen to tap the brain power of the diversity that's out there. While I don't particularly care to know at work what someone gets up to in their own downtime, it's likely to be reassuring to others who are LGBT or of other diverse backgrounds who are looking to their own futures within the firm. To reinforce the firm commitment, it is mandatory for employees to complete a minimum of 2 hours annual diversity training. I'd say that every person I met at GS was top notch. There are no village idiots or jokers lurking anywhere. Professionalism is at the core of being a successful employee. I always got the feeling I was rubbing shoulders with the 'A' grade crowd...the Ivy Leaguers. Almost everyone is uber smart and hyper keen. If you have an issue and you need someones help, then most people (though not all) you talk to will make it their mission to help you out. The corporate gym is very well equipped. Great machines, great classes to attend and cheap membership gives you an Rebok-like experience at about half the price. It's a bit weird the first few times you go as GS optionally lends you a gray t-shirt, gray shorts and white socks to sweat you stuff in so no need for you to bring in your smelly sweats to the office (but you will need your own training shoes as thankfully they are not provided). Membership includes your own private locker but I never used mine as I'd never want to leave anything sweaty in a locker overnight! Since everyone uses GS sweats, this culminates in a complete lack of gym clothing diversity...it's a sea of gray and you feel like platoon infantryman as you wander round the gym floor.

    Cons

    The Bad Work-life balance. Depending on the division you work in will have a great bearing on how hard you will be expected to work. Miraculously the department of the division I was in is somewhat chilled out compared to all other parts of the firm I heard about. Most of my colleagues were averaging about 45 hours per week. That's almost unheard of in GS most colleagues in different divisions were putting down 16 hour days every day as a norm. When you exit the building at 6.30pm of an evening on your way home, you will pass a swarm of busy bees carrying bags of takeaway food re-entering the building on their way back to their desks for another 4 or 5 hours of work. These are the eager beavers and the company rewards this kind of hard work when bonus season comes round in February. If you're not one of these people, then chances are your career is unlikely to reach the stars to say the least. A 55 hour week is at the very bottom end of the “hard work” spectrum. Read the Forbes article about Liz Beshel to see what the commitment level for success really is at GS if you plan to go beyond the stratosphere at GS. The Ugly Almost every big corporate company shares the same "hard work" traits, but GS effortlessly manages to up the ante to another level: 1) You are always available even when you're on vacation because of the Blackberry phone You are always just a phone call or an email away from being brought into help solve the latest problem no matter what hour of the day is or what plans you made with your family this weekend. Logging in from home in the weekday evenings and on weekends like everyone else does is a basic norm at GS Not responding to a weekend crisis due to a trip away with the family is something to avoid. The company expects performers to be available at all times 2) When you join the firm you will spend one day going through 'orientation', effectively being indoctrinated in all things GS. During this day, you will learn (among other things) about the strength of the GS 'posting culture'. They tell you that everyone posts constantly and it is expected that you will post constantly as well. Due to the "posting" culture at GS, your inbox will quickly overflow every single workday so mastery of Outlook will go some way towards managing it, but in reality, most folk put in additional evening work hours to get on top of it all. The signal to noise ratio is generally appalling from middle management upwards. 3) As if email traffic wasn't a bad enough problem to manage, they have recently added 2 more mountains for the GS information worker to scale, neither of which are inter-connected. i. First up, GSConnect is the internal social network – think Facebook meets LinkedIn meets Goldman Sachs (It's built on top of the popular Jive social platform). This is a reputation (points) based platform for everyone to hear about what everyone else is up to in the firm and chime in with comments, articles, advice and tips. For many folk at GS, this is a great means for marketing ones own skills within the firm. Being seen to continually contribute to the team and the firm will get you noticed. But like any social platform it is a double edged sword that could easily destroy ones reputation in a heartbeat. Not being seen to actively contribute will come back to haunt the employee at review time and therefore at bonus time. ii. Second up, LiveCurrent is the new instant chat program that you will need to be seen participating in. This is a place to share information in a more immediate manner with the GS hive. It's nothing more than chat rooms. LiveCurrent is a basic annoyance as pop up toast interrupts the working day continuously with banal updates from various leaders 4) GS meetings are primarily all about asking questions. If you want to succeed at GS, you need to practice this art to perfection. Unfortunately most meetings are a waste of time but there is no throttle to control them other than to decline them, but not seen to be participating will come at a price during the annual review process. Most meetings result in more noise be it email trail, GSConnect or LiveCurrent - trying to stay on top of the noise is challenging to say the least. 5) Consensus driven culture. The orientation day will inform you that there is no such thing as a 'star' performer at GS because everyone operates in a team and therefore the team is the 'star'. Not only that, but you will now have to get used to “building consensus” on a very regular basis. You will get praise for being seen to round up the herd and get buy in from everyone for decisions of any magnitude and that is the problem. Typically (outside of GS), most people naturally seek consensus when there are big decisions, but GS has promoted consensus building to a first class citizen within the firm so even small decisions get quickly bogged down with the basic requirement to build consensus. 6) The 360 degree annual review. This is a 2 month gruelling process imposed on everyone at GS that is taken very seriously by all. It is essential to have mended all fences with your colleagues at least 2 months before the review process starts or suffer the the wrath of their short term memory. The official word from management is that the review process does not affect your bonus which is very hard to believe. 7) Unofficially, GS has currently different levels that are **due to be disbanded**. The levels are as follows: Analyst, L1, L2, L3, M1, M2, Partner. If you are being hired currently, be sure to ask the level you are being hired in at because they won't tell you unless you ask and it will take you a month or so after being hired before you find out and this information and by then it will be too late to change it (you will have to wait for the annual promotions for which you have to be nominated first). To give you an idea, L2 is someone with 5 years experience. Levels are not advertised internally at all, so you will have no idea what level other people are at unless you have the conversation. Being hired in at the right level will influence the compensation bracket you fall into, so it's reasonably critical to know - you want to come in at a level that truly reflects your skills and abilities. A key point to make here is that the levels are due to be disbanded very soon (or it may already have taken place since I am an ex-employee). It's worth mentioning that VP (Vice President) is merely a badge of honor at GS, not a level as just discussed. Therefore, it is of no consequence to your compensation, so bartering for VP with HR is nowhere near as important as bartering for level since only the latter will have any impact on your compensation profile. So now you know. 8) With no one knowing what level anyone else is at, you won't be surprised to hear that GS has no org-chart. So you will have no idea who reports in to who. This can be very confusing and the idea is to reduce structure in a bid to allow ideas to easily bubble up. If you are used to a classical hierarchy where you report into one boss who defines what is required of you then beware as it doesn't work like that at GS. When you add up the time spent processing the ever flowing fountain of information you will soon notice that you have no time to do the job you were actually hired for unless you plan on working evenings because only then can you actually get some work done once the crescendo of information dies down for a few precious hours. Stealing your way into work by 7.30am will also buy useful time before the noise starts up again. With the banking sector having effectively destroyed itself from its own deregulated excesses of the 2000 era, it's worth noting that remuneration packages were substantially reduced as a result. It's fair to say that most employees will not climb any higher than middle management (L2 is the defacto level at GS) and it's only after middle management that game changing compensation starts to kick in. Assuming you were to get to that point, consider carefully the time that will need to be sacrificed in your life (especially family life) and weigh up the pros and cons. If you get an offer from GS then that itself tells you something useful: you are by definition a high calibre individual since very few candidates get an offer from GS. With that in mind, why not consider channeling your highly rated skill-set (and GS are excellent at gauging skill-sets) into joining a fun start-up (GS is not a fun place to work by the way)? Or if you have a ground breaking idea, why not do you own startup?

    Advice to Management

    Read the cons I just wrote and if you nod at anything you see then act on it because that's why I left and that's what a lot of the employees are saying to one another!



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