Goldman Sachs is the premier investment bank in the world. With an acceptance rate of roughly 4%, it’s harder to get into Goldman than it is to get into Harvard or Yale.
I worked at Goldman Sachs from 1999 to 2001 in the International Equities department at 1 New York Plaza, Manhattan. My specific role was Emerging Markets / Asian Equity Institutional sales, a front-end, revenue generator job that paid well.
1999 may be the toughest time to ever get a job at GS because the company was still private up until the summer of 1999. Further, there wasn’t massive competition from big tech companies like Google and Facebook.
How To Get A Job At Goldman Sachs
To be very frank, I think luck plays a huge part in getting a job at Goldman Sachs or any of the other bulge bracket firms. It has to when acceptance rates are in the single digits.
Plenty of people are qualified. It’s only the lucky ones who get the offer, which is why you need to do things to stand out, or use your connections. Many of my first year analyst classmates had parents who either worked at Goldman or were actually private clients.
I went to The College of William and Mary, a public school and not a target university but ended up getting a front end job at their world headquarters. How? I sent in a resume at a career fair in Washington DC where Goldman was one of the many banks interviewing candidates. The recruiter chose mine, and I ended up flying to their headquarters for seven rounds and 55 interviews. Clearly, they had some doubts on whether to hire me!
But what I did do right was get on the bus to the career fair at 6 AM. I was the only student on the bus, so after waiting for 30 minutes, the driver drove me to his company headquarters and we switched to a Lincoln Towncar instead. Therefore, I would say half the battle is just showing up.
Whatever job you get, it’s like winning the lottery because many other people want that job as well. It’s what you do after Goldman or after any job you get that counts the most.
I ended up parlaying my job for a pay raise and an Associate title at another bulge bracket in San Francisco at 25 years old. At age 28, I was promoted to VP and then at age 31 I was promoted to Executive Director.
I worked at my new firm for 11 years beforeto be free from work for the rest of my life. Below is an idea of how much you can make on Wall Street by level. The numbers are slightly higher in 2020, although wages are faces headwinds due to fee compression.
Save and invest aggressively if you work in investment banking. After 10 years, I’m pretty certain you can coast for the rest of your life if you want to.
After leaving Wall Street in 2012, I’ve worked on building my own online lifestyle business. After six years of grinding, I now earn as much as the average Managing Director on Wall Street working less than 25 hours a week from home, or anywhere there’s internet access.
Other Tips For Getting Into Goldman Sachs
- Make sure you are well-dressed
- Greet with confidence and a smile
- When you don’t know the answer, say, “I don’t know but I’ll get back to you.” Don’t bullshit your interview.
- Be humble, but unique.
- Always follow up each interview with a thank you e-mail and a particular point of emphasis from the interview. Hand written cards work well.
- Hint that you have offers from other banks or other firms are interested if they ask
- Leverage the alumni network and existing relationships
Although getting a job at GS is hard, because of the strong allure to join tech startups in Silicon Valley, getting a job has gotten a little bit easier nowadays. Many tech companies are allowing workers to permanently work from home, which has bad working in tech even more attractive for some.
The war on talent is real. Take advantage. At the end of the day, people just want to work with people they like. Be likable and know your stuff.
Once you get your well-paying finance job, it’s important to save and invest diligently and wisely. After 13 years in finance, I was able to retire at age 34 to live the life of freedom. I highly recommend it!
Recommendation To Build Wealth
Sign up for Personal Capital, the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. In addition to better money oversight, run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees. I was paying $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying.
After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator that pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms. Definitely run your numbers to see how you’re doing. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.
About the Author: Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate. He also became Series 7 and Series 63 registered.
In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis, hanging out with family, consulting for leading fintech companies and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom.
FinancialSamurai.com was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1.5 million organic pageviews a month. Financial Samurai has been featured in top publications such as the LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.