At the end of my placement year (internship) with Goldman Sachs, I knew that the company was perfect for me: I had undertaken really interesting and challenging projects and was surrounded by very intelligent people who encouraged me to keep learning.
Undertaking an internship is a great way to transition from a university student to a professional. You are given the time to develop without the pressures of being in a graduate job. My communication skills developed as much as my technical skills: I came to understand the importance of providing my team with high-level updates on my work frequently.
Intern support system
I’d first heard of engineering opportunities at Goldman Sachs when they attended a careers event at my university. It was there that I realised that I could apply my love of problem solving to the real world. At the event, two placement students described how they regularly interacted with other interns, other teams and senior management. The idea of being able to learn from, and develop my skills alongside, people with different levels of experience in an organic way appealed.
As an intern, I had a good relationship with my buddy, who was the first point of contact in a large intern support system, and my first mentor who gave me useful career advice. Since then, I have established mentoring relationships organically, through my project work and through events hosted by the firm’s inclusion networks. I’m part of women in engineering and black engineering and I am an ally in the LGBTQ+ network, but all networks are open to all. A lot of people are willing to give you their time.
My placement role was based around supporting the network infrastructure of the firm, working with vendors to manage client connectivity. I even designed and deployed the network infrastructure for a new office. It was a lot of responsibility but all interns are given the opportunity to front a project and your buddy, line manager, team members and mentor support you in getting to where you need to be to deliver it.
As an analyst, I joined the messaging engineering team within middleware. My first project was to generate automated dashboards to dynamically monitor the performance of clustered messaging products. This was my first software development project, as I’d expressed an interest in developing my skills in this area, but again it was a project that the team needed; it allowed us to monitor the performance of our ‘estate’ as seamlessly as possible.
At associate level, you are expected to take on more project management and be more proactive in terms of introducing new technologies and inputting into technical decisions. I am currently working within the core development team in middleware, developing an automated platform that will orchestrate long-running common transactions on clustered products.
A culture of learning
What I like the most about Goldman Sachs is how much learning is encouraged throughout your career. As a new analyst, I was sent to New York for seven weeks of training and, when I started within my team, they made sure I had enough time to work on my skills; my colleagues also gave me one-to-one training. Even now I am definitely encouraged to take at least one afternoon every two weeks or so to work on my functional programming skills.
The importance of prep
I’d recommend that all students interested in tech learn a specific language and problem solve in that language, as it is good practice for technical assessments. I’d also recommend researching how tech has progressed in the last year across industries, such as banking, healthcare or gaming – it will help you to demonstrate a passion for tech in your interview.
I spent a lot of time researching for my placement interview, looking into the business’ core divisions and how the engineering division is structured. I looked at what the bank had done in the past year in and out of investment banking, including the firm’s philanthropy. I made notes on things that interested me that I could ask about at interview and, possibly as a result, I was surprised at how relaxed and conversational my interview was.
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