At an event held for Goldman Sachs summer interns in its London office, Michael Sherwood, the bank’s vice chairman and co-chief executive of Goldman Sachs International, offered his advice to junior bankers hoping to advance their careers.
In the Q&A on August 16, highlights from which were published by on the bank’s website on August 25, Sherwood said: “My advice to people coming up the ranks: it takes all kinds of people to make successful careers at the firm. Be yourself, be authentic, don’t try to conform. Be motivated, have a thirst for information and have an intellectual curiosity.”
He added: “I would also say that people who have defined career trajectories have often been disappointed – don’t have a specific timetable around your career.”
Asked about how the firm had changed during his 30 years there – Sherwood joined the bank as a credit analyst in 1986, aged 20, and became its youngest partner in 1994 – Sherwood said: “Many things have changed: we have expanded into multiple locations and we went public, to name just two. But our commitment to excellence, our ability to attract the highest calibre of people, our ambition to be the best that we can be – those attributes have remained consistent over my career at the firm. I must say the quality of the people we are able to attract is very humbling; in fact I often wonder how I ever got a job here!”
Banks’ annual intake of summer interns is one of the staples of the financial calendar. Candidates typically enrol on programmes across investment banking business lines with the hope of eventually securing an analyst-level job. Interns will often be involved in conducting analysis and research for financial transactions in the capital markets and for pitch books on M&A deals.
Earlier in the summer, the bank’s CEO Blankfein told interns at a separate Q&A in New York that his best career advice to them would be to “chill out”, with the caveat that he would have struggled to take that advice himself at their age.
Blankfein said: “There’s not a sport, there’s not an activity in life, where if you have a really hard grip, you actually are better. Whether it’s baseball, golf, or you’re kicking a ball or something like that, the looser you are, the further the thing goes.”