How to Become an Investment Banking Summer Analyst at Goldman Sachs
By Zara Kessler | September 15, 2016

Cheat Sheet is a regular series on what it takes to land a job. This week: Spend your summer in investment banking—and possibly earn a full-time position—at Goldman Sachs.
See all the cheat sheets here.

Interview Cheat Sheet #27
The Job
  • Position:
  • Investment Banking Summer Analyst
  • In Charge of Recruiting:
  • Mike Desmarais
  • Global Head of Talent Acquisition
  • Salary:
  • Base salary for an investment banking analyst is about $85,000, according to Glassdoor. Interns get paid based on a pro-rated first-year analyst's salary.
  • Description:
  • Spend 10 weeks working in the Investment Banking Division, from financial modeling to attending client meetings, in some cases, with the potential for a full-time job offer.
  • Qualifications:
  • Rising college junior or, more typically, senior. You don’t need a business or finance background but should be interested in banking. Be able to explain why you’d like to work at Goldman and to emphasize personal qualities that would help you in the role.

The Method

Pre-First Round:

New this year, the process is rolling. Applications are now being accepted online. Also, be sure to get exposure to Goldman.

First Round:

Video interview, also new this year. You'll probably have to discuss your background, along with your interest in investment banking—you might want to bring up a specific deal. You pre-record the video, which is then judged by staff at Goldman. “They should conduct themselves in the video interview as they would in a live interview, because that’s how we’re going to be evaluating it.”

Second Round:

“Superday” at the office where you would work, with three 30-minute interviews, each with two people from the Investment Banking Division. Be able to thoughtfully discuss your past (“know your story”), show a grasp of the financial services industry (you could be asked about a transaction in the market you're familiar with), and explain why you’re attracted to investment banking at Goldman. Be ready for technical questioning—for example, how to value a company—but know it's tailored to “our understanding of the candidate’s level of sophistication in terms of financial knowledge.”

The Score:

A new interview method this year, including questions meant to predict how you might react to certain situations, is intended to assess the same characteristics across candidates. Questions in both rounds will probe for core competencies such as working well on teams. Answers are scored, but decisions aren’t formulaic. Following each Superday, interviewers meet with a panel of people from the Human Capital Management Division and senior-level investment bankers to discuss and decide on candidates. Those selected generally get offers within a day or two of their Superdays. There will be about 400 investment banking summer analysts around the world.


How to Ace It

Do be authentic. “There is a difference between being prepared and being rehearsed.”

Do, though, be ready. “The best candidates are prepared—prepared enough to be calm and authentic and engaging throughout the interview—and can answer questions on topics like teamwork, integrity, judgment, speak to their past experiences and why their skill sets are transferable to a banking role.”

Do show long-term interest. If it’s evident someone is “looking to use Goldman as a vehicle to go elsewhere ... that’s probably a candidate we would pass on.”

Do apply when comfortable. But, with the process now rolling (applications have been accepted since July), don't tarry. “With the program being as competitive as it is, it’s best advised to apply as early as possible.”

Don’t try to be a YouTube star. “We’re gonna focus on content. We’re not gonna focus on how well somebody is able to record” himself or herself.

Don’t worry if you’re not a finance whiz. “They should have an understanding of finance and financial markets, but our training programs are designed to give them the technical skills that they will need to do the work.”

Don’t get trapped inside “I.” “Having a good example of how you approach things in team dynamics is important.”