Goldman Sachs

  www.goldmansachs.com
  www.goldmansachs.com

Goldman Sachs Reviews

Updated September 14, 2014
Updated September 14, 2014
1,819 Reviews
3.7
1,819 Reviews
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Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein
Lloyd C. Blankfein
1,193 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The best thing about the firm is outstandingly smart people at the firm (in 185 reviews)

  • People are smart (no one can be lazy, people always challenge you, you learn a lot) but humble (in 46 reviews)


Cons
  • Work life balance is non existent if you want to proceed up the corporate ladder (in 323 reviews)

  • Expect to work long hours (even though management says office "face time" is not important (in 398 reviews)

More Highlights

64 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 12 people found this helpful  

    The price of success

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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 an year)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    What an awful place to work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Houston, TX

    I worked at Goldman Sachs as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Pays good, you make good contacts if you're a regular employee, especially someone who brings money in, you're LOVED.

    Cons

    Nasty people for the most part, and if you're not one of "them" or over a certain age, you're just there. If you're not a wealth management person, you're part of the furniture and no one has two words to say to you. This was a shock coming from an office where EVERYONE said "good morning." I just stopped talking and spoke only when spoken to. After following rules and doing my job, I got tired of being looked at like I was bothering someone.

    People are recruited right out of college, their egos bloated with how great they are, and they burn out by 35 or 40--especially the men, who look way over 50 in some cases. The people who can't stand it anymore leave, so they're constantly recruiting new people. I kept hearing about what a great place it was to work, but nobody could tell my why people leave, and why I wasn't good enough to be hired on.

    I'm glad I'm gone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get over yourself and learn to respect ALL your employees. It only takes one disgruntled employee to cause a lot of problems--I'm not that person, but you never know who will be.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    Vice President, NY - Don't believe the hype!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Vice President in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Vice President in New York, NY

    I have been working at Goldman Sachs full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    good benefits - wellness center - cafeteria. Smart people, name is good for résumé.

    Cons

    Horrible environment/culture, cliquish, snobby, condescending, cut-throat, unhappy and over-worked employees. Unless you have a connection to someone in upper mgmt don't expect to be treated w dignity. Smart but stupid - inflated egos that won't allow for self reflection on their improvement. Employes are not their best assets as proclaimed. Spare yourself of this cult-like culture. Run if you can and don't look back.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be human and implement realistic expectations and get rid of the bullies and the tyrants. Respect makes people perform and builds confidence.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Security company horrible they treat you like crap

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

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Best pay rate I've ever had good steady hours unlimited over time union benefits

    Cons

    OMG were to begin ...securing a bunch of pompous snotty people isn't pleasant they expect you to keep them safe but they treat you like crap. Co workers, very few were sincere most of them are a bunch of kiss butts back stabbing just to make themselves look better in front of management . The managers only 1 of them were reasonable the others were a bunch of corporate puppets .

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop selling your soul to the devil for a check .... Have some respect for yourself and other humans.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Challenging 10 weeks, in a bad way

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

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Some folks were great, a lot of folks were fine.
    The exposure to senior level meetings and decision making was truly valuable.

    Cons

    Naturally, the hours were bad, but presumably you know what you are signing up for. I had worked long hours before but it is much harder without the sense of teamwork, camaraderie, and gratitude from senior folks.
    A few people were genuinely malicious and there was no way to protect yourself from them and no recourse when you were mistreated. Before I started people told me that a lot of backstabbing goes on at Goldman. I didn't really know what that meant until a few weeks into my summer.
    Most people were smart enough, but they didn't seem to be anything exceptional. If anything, the experience gives you the sense that smartest guys on Wall Street really aren't that clever.
    The simplistic level of the financial analyses and the lack of thought that goes into the inputs to analyses was eye-opening.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I advise others to kiss everyone's ass all the time without reserve. If you're not ready to spend your summer (and probably your career) doing that then you might need another plan. That seems to be what folks at Goldman mean when they talk about teamwork.

    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    In the words of the man who threatened to fire me, "This place isn't for everyone".

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Financial Associate in Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Financial Associate in Salt Lake City, UT

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Goldman offers fantastic training seminars that anyone is welcome to attend. Also, I really did feel like I was learning from the best in the banking industry. The wealth of knowledge that the business leaders have is unbelievable, and if you can manage to schedule some time with them, you'll probably learn more about the industry than you could anywhere else.

    Cons

    Constant fear. Every person in the office I worked in in Salt Lake knew that only a few missteps could cost them their job. Once a year management picks a bunch of employees they want to replace and walks them out the door (keep in mind, these are all brilliant, hard-working people). Management will remind you of these routine expulsions as means of motivation. Working at Goldman is an intense scramble to be better than your co-workers, because you know that if they happen to be better than you, you will be treated as expendable. I was more anxious and stressed at Goldman than I've ever been in my career, and developed constant, throbbing headaches and had a very hard time sleeping. If management thinks they can replace you with someone better, they won't hesitate to do it. Firing dedicated employees is a very common and cavalier occurrence at Goldman.

    A culture of rudeness and extreme passive-aggressive behavior is pervasive throughout the company. If someone thinks you aren't important, they often won't respond to your e-mails or calls, regardless of how desperately you need their help. This kind of behavior is completely accepted. Also, expect business leaders to be extremely critical and demanding.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice would be to treat employees like people who have lives and families and dreams; not as objects to be used up and disposed of when they no longer meet the needs of the company's "High Value Location". (This is a term used at Goldman in reference to offices in Bangalore, Salt Lake City, and Dallas where employees are cheap.)

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    worst experience ever. I regret stepping into this so called best company to work for. It is an illusion on paper.

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

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Employees are spoiled with big salaries, big bonus, perks and rewards here and there.

    Cons

    Major back stabbing, hierarchy issues still at play, assistants are miserable, old, have festered and cranky. No room for growth whatsoever for the assistants. Profanity usage runs galore. There is no confidentiality. You can hear everything about the client being discussed by employees even when they are bad mouthing the client.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nothing or nobody can save anybody. Not even the man above.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9.  

    lack of caring for loyal workers

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

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    good pay & bonus and opportunity to learn

    Cons

    knowledge and loyalty are not always rewarded

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    age discrimination is apparent

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Very poorly managed.

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

    I worked at Goldman Sachs full-time

    Pros

    Name recognition of Goldman Sachs on resume.

    Cons

    Micro-managed. Very poor morale amongst non-management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of middle management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    This is the world's most efficient money-making machine. No more, no less.

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

    I have been working at Goldman Sachs full-time

    Pros

    - This place will be truly excellent for one in ten people who are ranked and rewarded accordingly (not unique to here, but true nonetheless).
    - Definitely mostly nice, smart & witty people (as we've been vetted not just here, but through all the various work & educational achievements throughout our lives).
    - Corporate America at it's best

    Cons

    - Most SLC work is at best boring, at worst suicidal.
    - People are lying about how much they work. Think 50-60 hrs, not 80-100 hrs. You're not that important and are discentivized anyways from working that long (1/2 overtime anyone?).
    - Corporate America at it's worst

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You're attracting many of the wrong people in a high risk/high reward fashion to see if you can recruit from other industries under the guise of empowering people when you actually want them to use Excel. It's great as long as you can keep the facade up, but one day you may run out of people you want and wish you kept a few more that wised-up to your game.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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