Nicolas Sarkis is a former star Goldman trader and founding partner of the asset management firm AlphaOne, and what does he remember most vividly about his time at Goldman?
A guy having a heart attack on the trading floor.
‘He was a young guy, 40 years old. They brought in the nurses and the ambulance and I saw the guy whizzed out and I really thought that I was in a movie.’
He visited Goldman’s offices 52 times before finally being offered a job as an associate (he would eventually become a wealth advisor at Goldman) so we imagine the chances of someone having a heart attack on the Goldman trading floor while he was there were pretty good.
What his interview with Spears also tells us are a few tips on how to interview well at Goldman.
Sarkis explains what he did to get the job:
- I knew very little about finance when I graduated. I had few financial qualifications. I sent out my CV to Goldman Sachs and was very persistent.
- I sent a letter and I followed up with a call. I think that 80 per cent of success in life comes from showing up; it is amazing how quickly some people give up.
- after each interview I tried to record as much as possible so that by the time I was on my 20th or 30th interview I actually started to know what I was talking about.
- I asked them what the characteristics of the top Goldman Sachs professionals were. I kept hearing words such as “team player”, “dedication” and “client focus”
- ‘I think what they were looking for was personality and character.
He also explains some about the culture at Goldman:
- The people on the Goldman program who had gone to Harvard and Yale had a huge ego and the goal of the Goldman program was to “break” these people.
- In Goldman Sachs 360 degree annual reviews, peers anonymously comment on each other.
- At GS, it is all about emulation and internal competition. They never want people to feel secure; this is why the firm as a whole is so good.
The entire article is very good. Sarkis found his first client in Goldman PCS, the private client business, on a cold call. Read the article –>
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