Goldman Sachs recruiter Leighton Symons explains how to prepare interview for a strategist (a.k.a. “strat”) position on the investment bank’s
A strat, which is similar to a quant, works on the trading floor by the traders creating models for pricing and risk management.
Symons, a VP and head of strat for campus & experience hire recruitment in the securities division, admits that the strat interview is really difficult.
He does, however, provide some tips on how to prepare:
The honest answer is that it’s very difficult to prepare, but there are some things that candidates can do based on areas we focus on during interviews. For example, we’ll focus on maths and ask brain-teasers. It could be a question on probability theory, partial differential equations, stochastic calculus — or other aspects of maths that are not related to finance. There are books, blogs and other online resources to help candidates practice and condition their minds to some extent towards doing puzzles. We want to see how candidates think on their feet when they come across a question they likely haven’t seen before — this is often what it’s like on the trading floor.
Another area of focus is coding. Again, we’re not looking for specific programming languages but we do want to see an ability to code and an aptitude to pick up a new coding language. Candidates should have a genuine interest in coding because our strats are responsible for implementing the models they create. Finally, we want to see candidates demonstrate an interest and passion for the finance industry. During the interview, we will ask candidates to tell us why they want to be a strat or work for Goldman Sachs.
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