Goldman Sachs

  www.goldmansachs.com
  www.goldmansachs.com
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14 people found this helpful  

GS Operations is a great place to start If you want to be in finance or you don't have a plan out of college

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

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

Pros

A little background about myself, I worked in the Salt Lake City Office which has grown to be the second biggest location in the United States and my entire career was in Operations Division. Please take that into account. I can't speak for Sales, Trading, or any other division outside of having to deal with them on a regular basis to get work done nor can I talk about the other office locations outside having visited a few and all are different. Ops is great in that you can learn a lot of transferable skill sets and abilities that you can take to almost any job. You are only niched into ops by your own lack of creativity if you think that ops is a dead end career choice post college. I hope this helps puts things in perspective for a lot of you. I still believe that overall this is a great place to start a career although I would doubt that its a place where people ultimately make their careers (at least in Ops).

Some Pros about GS is that

- Professional growth
If you don't know what you want to do in life running through the gauntlet that is Goldman Sachs is a smart move to build up your professional profile and skill set. You will be forced into situations that take you out of your comfort zone and if you are lucky you will have some good people around you to help you prepare and learn from those experiences. Every situation is treated with highest professional manner and everything you do is expected to be of the highest quality of work. Every report should be accurate and concise, every email professional in tone and content, every analysis has every angle covered with good presentation and the appropriate content for the audience. Everything matters and you better be sure your work is up to grade. Don't be scared they will understand you are new to this the first few times you make a mistake.

- Smart people all around you
If you haven't realized it by now you will shortly that you are rarely the smartest person in the room (if you are currently that will change at GS). These people are smart. Very smart. You can pull the wool over their eyes once or twice or maybe get by for awhile with a manager that doesn't care but in the long run (year or longer) you will be exposed. Thats ok, you don't always have to be the smartest in the room you just can't take it personal every time someone calls you out in public or private and get better. Again, this is Ops not other divisions. Ops is not out to call you out every time you make a mistake or criticize you on every idea. They do it its because the firm benefits more when your mediocre idea is vetted with other smart people and becomes a great proposal. Don't take it personal.

- High stress environment
This is a pro and a con. If you can handle a high stress environment you will thrive. If you can't you will learn to or you will be looking for a new job shortly after joining. GS puts a lot of pressure on you really quick. Like I said before, what you do matters and sometimes you have to make really hard decisions in short periods of time because market is closing or client is threatening a walk or your manager doesn't want to lose his or her head and needs you to crunch some numbers yesterday. Just know that once you overcome these obstacles you will be better for it.

- Responsibility is high for junior individuals
Another pro and con. Almost the same speech from high stress environment.

- Mentors
Rest assured the really good managers at GS (and they exist) understand that good junior analysts need good mentors to show them the ropes and take them under their wing. GS will even match you up with one if you haven't found one on your own. Just know that its on you to follow up with them and if you are smart you will have more than one and they will be strategically placed in positions that you can leverage. Reach out to them, gain their insight and heed their advice because they have been there longer than you and guess what they are still there and successful so they must know what they are talking about. Just don't restrict yourself to one, get many and get them from backgrounds that you are not comfortable with. More perspectives will often change your own on a situation. Take this advice; man walks in a desert when he surrounds himself with people that think and act like him.

Cons

- Work/Life balance
Forget it, you won't have one. You work 10 hour days on a good day and 15+ on a bad day. Your dog will drown in anxiety or chew up your sneaker collection, your wife will hate your job, your kids will wonder if you love them and your friends will inevitably people that work with you or in the same industry. Assuming of course you are on the path to success at the firm. Otherwise you may be able to pull off weekend getaways, the occasional afterwork drink and hey maybe even the gym to burn off all those donuts you ate your desk.

- High stress environment
Read above but if you can't handle being in a stressful, high strung, alpha environment where everything you do matters than please save yourself the therapy sessions and medical costs and try something else.

- The actual work can be boring
Yeah it sucks, especially at the analyst level. Guess what? Processing transactions, data entry, project testing, trade settlement, account opening, etc all suck. They are not fun. Not even a little. But it gets better... you know when you are an Associate and you are leading a team of analysts doing something they hate for that almighty dollar.

- Corporate politics
This is not unique to GS. For those that are in college are have never worked at a large organization please mentally prepare yourself for the office politics. They are there and you are playing whether you like it or not. You can choose not to play and hope by the good graces of Allah and Blankfein that you are noticed for your good work but I have a higher chance of getting that 10 at the gym to ask me out on date. You are going to have to play. Marathon some Suits on USA and learn up on office politics and keep yourself out of the crosshairs as much as you can. Build friendships and network, don't through people under the bus, and don't take credit for someone else's work and you will be fine. This is where a mentor will do you well.

- Compensation
Analyst level it sucks and you will kick yourself for it. Stick it out and get lucky that the firm has a great year and you too can have a great year. Just remember its based on how well the firm did, how well your business unit did, and how well you did. Oh and you are also in ops which is at the end of the day a cost and not a revenue generating arm of the firm and so you will never get rich until you make MD. Well off at VP but not rich.

- Senior Leadership
How can I say this. Just because Michael Jordan was arguably the best player ever... doesn't mean he is a great coach. Phil Jackson was a mediocre player and well look what he accomplished. GS traditionally promotes Jordan's to management so prepare yourself.

- Accountability
You should definitely have this. Some people won't and some people will. Sadly you will find there are large groups in GS Ops that are not. You can't change them and unfortunately those that don't are what slows down good businesses. Be accountable and you will be surprised on how fortunate that will be for you. Heck, be accountable for other people, it shows leadership and managers will recognize that.

- Can't trade (oddly a big downer)
GS Ops cannot trade on personal accounts. Well you can but only if you first check with your manager, the compliance lists and your mom. Sadly almost every company is on some list that restricts you from trading. Get used to indexes and big funds. Its like working for Sam Adams and company policy says you cant drink... ever without asking them first.

- Grindhouse mentality for some areas
There are areas of GS Ops that are quite literally grindhouses. They take you in, chew you up, and then spit you out when you are done. Then they go out and get the next college kid and repeat. Sorry its just how it is. Learn what you can and transfer to another area if you want or leave but its their business model and it works for management.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

They know what they need to do, whether they do it or not is on them.

Recommends
Neutral Outlook
Approves of CEO

1850 Other Employee Reviews for Goldman Sachs (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    It's not who you are it's who is waiting in the wings to replace you.

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

    I have been working at Goldman Sachs full-time

    Pros

    Benefits are a positive but they are gradually cutting those as well.

    Cons

    Long hours, low pay and poor morale

    Doesn't Recommend
  2.  

    Work life balance, non existent

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

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

    Pros

    - Best and the brightest to work with.
    - Great benefits (401K, vacation, unlimited sick, health insurance, life insurance, 4 months paid time off maternity)

    Cons

    - work/life balance does not exist. In order to get promoted in the company your complete focus needs to be on your job. Regular outside activities are not encouraged. Very difficult to have a life outside of work.
    - Regular hours do not exist. Employees are expected to work until the job is done, even if that means 16 hours/day for weeks or sometimes months on end.
    - culture is very corporate. Difficult to make changes to processes or procedures.
    - no perks! Including no company parties, not even for Christmas. Only thing free in the office is coffee and water (if the water dispenser is working).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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