NSIT to Wall Street: Arnav Chawla

Arnav Chawla

Goldman Sachs – Hong Kong, Summer Analyst

Dual Degree Student at IIMC (MBA) & HEC Paris (MIM)

NSIT Batch of 2013


1.     How was your internship experience at Goldman Sachs?

I interned in GS markets in Hong Kong. I was on the trading floor, and my profile was that of sales. On the trading floor, the salesperson is the interface between the trader and client. The markets business is highly client oriented and there is negligible proprietary trading done today (after the Volcker rule came into effect) and that is why there is the need of the sales team who have the necessary soft skills to handle clients and the technical expertise to talk to the traders as well (The clients are just as smart too, don’t doubt that). The GS internship is structured to have rotations with 2 different teams. My first team was equity derivatives sales which looked at markets in Asia (primarily China) and dealt with more complex options and exotic products. My second team was Macro Sales, which included Rates as well as FX. Here the clients traded exotic products and option combinations on currencies and interest rates.

2.     IIM A,B,Cs are in a healthy competition of being called the best. What makes IIM-C one of the best institutions in India, particularly for people who want to work in the Finance sector?

I’ll start with something that helps any educational institution the best – a strong alumni network. Having said that, no college is called the best just on the back of the alumni. The alumni have to be the best in their respective fields and the quality of students should be good enough to continue in the same vein. Historically, IIM C has been the best for the finance sector. If you look at the kind of faculty we have for finance and economics, it’s probably the best. We have professors who have worked with P. Chidambaram, John Nash as well. In terms of global appeal, you could argue that IIM C is the best among the IIMs. IIM Calcutta is part of the prestigious CEMS organization which includes some of the best global B-schools like LSE, HEC Paris, ESADE Spain etc and students get to go on an exchange for a term to these schools (I’ll be going to HEC Paris as part of the CEMS program). Also, IIM Calcutta has been ranked above IIM A for the past 2 years (the only times both institutes participated) in the Financial Times rankings of global B schools – IIMC has ranked 1 in finance, economics and alumni careers. And it has ranked higher than IIM A overall.



3.     How is the profile offered by GS at IIM C different from that offered at NSIT? Also, how arduous was the recruitment process for GS?

GS at IIM C offers Investment Banking and markets roles whereas at NSIT, it offers the role of a strats which is technology based, although they still talk to people on the trading floor. In terms of the recruitment process, GS recruits mostly through the internship program. So, in a way, it’s a 2 month long recruitment process. On campus, it was CV shortlisting and 4 rounds of interview. Then during the intern, almost every day is like an interview – in terms of your work, meeting people, learning more, and showing that enthusiasm in the way you go about your work there. But then again, the internship also gives you the opportunity to see whether or not you want to stay within that company/profile – so the recruitment process is both for the company as well as the intern.

4.     Goldman Sachs recently came under the scanner for its brutal work hours. How do you manage the work-life balance in such a situation? Is it all worth it?

I think these are rare cases and I won’t be able to comment on that person’s situation because neither did I experience anything remotely close to that or see anyone else working as much during my internship tenure. However, in the investment banking role, the working hours are tough. But GS has incorporated a policy of a compulsory holiday on Saturday, which is monitored very strictly. In markets, the 12-14 hours you’re in office are very intense. However, since markets are closed on the weekends, you get your free time then.

5.  Any words of advice for the present engineering students interested in the finance sector. And any suggestions for this project ‘NSIT to Wall Street’?

Just keep exploring what you like. Start with some online courses. Pick up a couple of books to try to teach yourself. It may or may not be finance, but it’s important to find ways to learn more. Most importantly, network. Reach out to alumni, friends of friends or others to understand their work, how they got there, and the industry in general. I think this is a great initiative to spread awareness among engineering students about front end finance roles. I’d suggest you do this for all industries – finance, marketing, consulting and even get into technical domains if you haven’t already. Reach out to alumni who had gone to the US for the MS/PhD and are working there. This project could go far in terms of making the students aware of the opportunities and paths that are beyond NSIT.



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