Why Goldman Sachs?
Finance was another domain of interest for me because of the kind and amount of data generated everyday and also with the evidence of algorithmic trading.
As far as I remember, the options during placements can be bucketed into core companies, startups, financial services firms and consultancy. My main focus was core(tech companies) and financial services firms which involved quant/coding role.
Coming from computer science background, core companies were an obvious choice. Finance was another domain of interest for me because of the kind and amount of data generated everyday and also with the evidence of algorithmic trading. I found it a good opportunity to apply my skills in this domain and learn more about finance.
Selection Procedure and the Preparation
The selection procedure for Goldman starts with a written test comprising of an objective and subjective paper. Both the papers have the following sections : a) Quant b) Algo (now Computer Science) c) Systems (now Data Science) which is followed by rounds of technical interviews.
I did a general placement preparation keeping in mind my focus areas which were for Tech firms like Google, Microsoft etc. and Financial firms like Goldman, World Quant etc. So, there were two sets of questions I wanted to prepare on. First set comprised of questions related to coding which includes data structures and algorithms, which was in general for all the above companies. Second set consisted of questions specific to financial firms which include probability and statistics, puzzles and some quant questions.
I did a general placement preparation keeping in mind my focus areas which were for Tech firms like Google, Microsoft etc. and Financial firms like Goldman, World Quant etc.
For the first set, observing the pattern of questions asked in previous years, I started with revising the important algorithms from Corman like searching and sorting. Then I looked into GATE section from geeksforgeeks.com to prepare for MCQ type questions. I would recommend solving these as a good practice. My next focus point in the preparation was to get some experience in solving practical coding problems in time-constraint environment. This is important because a lot of Tech firms have this round after the objective round. For this I would recommend solving one or two monthly challenges in CodeChef, Hacker-rank or TopCoder.
For the second set, I practiced some problems from the book ‘Fifty Challenging Problems in Probability with Solutions’ by Frederick Mosteller. It’s a really good book to practice problems in prob. stats. I also looked into few puzzles from the site http://wiki.xkcd.com/irc/Puzzles. This contains 100 famous puzzles with the solutions, which would be a really good practice.
I feel, one of the most important aspects while preparing for placements is to form a study group. It keeps the motivation always high and also helps you to get to know various useful resources for practice. So do interact and collaborate with as many people as you can.
Lastly I would like to stress on the importance of making a good resume. Through your resume, you can make a first good impression on the employer. Do spend a good amount of time on your resume. Try to get it reviewed by different people.
I work in a team called Automated Trading Controls in Compliance division at Goldman Sachs. Our job is to look into the code of the electronic trading flow, identify scenarios of risks, simulate and mitigate them. The risk we look into are more from a regulatory standpoint, i.e. to prevent our electronic trading flow to send erroneous orders to the market which can cause business risk and risks of market manipulation. Identifying these scenarios is one of the most challenging aspect of the role which is what makes it really interesting. When I sat for placements, I had a general idea about the kind of work done at Goldman, but not specifically about this job role. The things you learn in student life only helps you develop the necessary skills that will help you in professional life. In professional life things are different and I would only say that you should be open and flexible about the kind of work you can do.
Work Culture at GS
Work culture at Goldman focusses a lot on team work and collaboration. It is a very meritocratic organisation your performance contributes the most to your growth. Every person is given ownership and accountability for the work they do. You also get to interact and work with people coming from diverse backgrounds which is a very unique aspect of the work culture and highly stressed upon by the firm. Work at Goldman is very involving. But you have the flexibility to work at timings according to your needs. People work with different regional offices like London, New York and Hong Kong. So, work timings vary with the regions you engage with. This flexibility allows you to balance other activities in your life.
Long Term Goals
One of my long term goal is to develop a deeper insight into the finance industry and learn more about the business aspects of it. Goldman is one of the most reputed brand in investing banking globally. A lot of effort is put in by the company on the professional development of the employees. Working here past one and half years has already helped me gain a lot of insight into the finance industry and going forward I think its the ideal platform for me to achieve my long term goals.
Any specific advice you want to give for junta sitting for placements this year
Nothing specific I can think of right now. Just have faith in your abilities and present yourself confidently in front of interviewers. Many interviewers provide hints for the questions given to you, try to use that for your benefit. With this, I would like to wish everyone the very best for the placements.