Investment Banking Analyst, Goldman Sachs
COE Batch of 2012
The Goldman Sachs Group is an American multinational banking firm involved in global investment banking, investment management, securities etc. Let’s find out more about the experience of working in GS as an Investment Banking Analyst and life at IIM Indore, in an exclusive interview with Shubham Saini.
1. Different companies must exhibit different work cultures. How was the experience working at HSBC, RBS and Goldman Sachs?
I interned at HSBC during my MBA, in the Corporate Banking Division (Cash Management). The organisation had a pretty bureaucratic culture, with many layers from the top to the bottom, so it was a little difficult to get things done. People were nice and friendly and the working hours are not very stretched. It is a good place to work specially for those who are looking at stable careers.
I worked in the Credit Analysis Division of RBS for 3 months, post my MBA. People are nice and friendly most of the time and the work is relatively standard with no hard deadlines. Not an ideal place for those who are looking at a career with quick growth.
I work as an Investment Banking Analyst at GS. Most of the people are very young and friendly so the atmosphere is usually energetic. The quality of work is quite challenging and there is fair bit of exposure to the industry. GS is a nice place for people who are looking for a highly growing career. Working hours can get a bit too stretched at times, as is the case with all banks.
2. What was the environment like at IIM Indore? How is IIM Indore different from the other IIMs?
IIM Indore has an environment which is extremely conducive for the overall personality development. Certain programmes and electives offered are unique and are not offered in any other B-School. Obviously there are differences in terms of placements, faculties etc., when you compare it to the likes of IIM A and IIM B, but being a premier institution itself, it provides all the opportunities one needs to enhance and exhibit his/her potential.
3. How were the competitions/opportunities at IIM Indore (particularly in Finance)? How was the experience at HSBC?
All the major B-School competitions see participation and winners from IIM Indore, be it The Deal by JP Morgan or any other. In terms of placement opportunities, all the premier banks and financial institutions come for recruitment and offer internships. Overall, I would say the the opportunities in finance are plenty.
Experience at HSBC was quite nice and there was a lot of learning in the projects I worked on. The training program was not quite well structured in my opinion, as it is there in most of the other banks, but the people were always willing to contribute in my learning and development.
4. Describe a day in the life of an Investment Banking analyst at Goldman Sachs.
It majorly depends on the sector/geography you are aligned to (EMEA, US or Asia). The timings might differ accordingly, but you can expect an average day of 13 – 14 hours with the amount of work varying from day to day.
5. Please tell us about the team, geography and sector you work for as a part of, at GS
I am a part of the Consumer and Retail Group and I work for the EMEA region.
6. Goldman Sachs has recently come under the scanner for its gruelling work hours. How did you manage the work-life balance in such a precarious situation?
As I mentioned earlier, that the working hours can be quite stretched at times, but the help and support you get from your team and seniors is tremendous in this regard. Also, it is more of an individualistic trait as to how one manages work-life balance. The best way to do that is to maximise the utilisation of your free time in doing things that you like doing.
7. How do certifications like CFA help out when it comes to progress in your field? Would you suggest the engineering students to take the exam in their final year?
Yes, these certifications do help, in not only building the understanding of the concepts, but also in getting noticed in the industry. It is a good thing to take the exams in final years of engineering if you know that you want a career in finance for sure. It will definitely give you a head start.
8. Investment banking analyst is just the beginning. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Very honestly, I don’t know. I think it is too early in my career to start thinking about that far in future.
9. The Finance industry is quite at odds with Engineering (though it is true that many students opt for this). What factor do you think influences this trend?
I feel that it is always easier for engineers to understand the concepts in finance, as they tend to be quite good with numbers. But yes, it is definitely the opportunities and money in the industry that attracts talent towards it.
10. What do you think about our project, ‘NSIT to Wall Street’? What words of advice would you like to give to juniors willing to pursue a career in Finance?
It is a definitely a very good initiative as it will help people to take informed decision at an early stage in their lives. The only advice I would like to give is to start as early as possible as time will always give you an edge.