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Summer 2019

Summer Diaries: Goldman Sachs

July 22, 2019
- Abhishek Kumar

Goldman is probably one of those Day 1 firms that people across all the branches aspire to work for. This might be because of my prejudice or a small and biased sample space, but even while preparing, Goldman was the firm most of us targeted. All this buzz around GS made me apply for it.

Criteria For Applying

JEE ALL is the eligibility criterion and that’s all they demand of you on paper, after that it’s about your cleverness, talent and preparation. Goldman shortlists all those who apply for an online test irrespective of your cgpa, branch etc.

Online Test

The test is extremely crucial in the selection process (Your test score isn’t only a standard to qualify for the interview, it is also taken into consideration while making the final decision, so make sure you give your best). The questions or the weightage of different streams seem to vary every year,I’ll try to give you a flavour of it:

Coding section: We had just one coding question whereas some IITs had two.The question appeared big and the story around it made it seem like it was tough but it was a straightforward question based on Hashmap.

Computer Science Section: This is a comprehension based section that checks your basic knowledge of data structures and operating systems. I felt one could answer it without any previous knowledge and just by going through the passage but a couple of beginner articles from geeksforgeeks should be good for you.

Probability: A lot of folks especially from the non circuital branches rely heavily or sometimes entirely on this section. This section had 8-10 questions of probability. You don’t have to do good in all the sections to get shortlisted, exceptional performance even in one section sometimes gets you a call for the interview but keep in mind that a huge number of people will solve 8 out of the 10 problems of probability, So evaluate your chances accordingly.

Sometimes, they have a section on machine learning as well, but last time, they had just two basic questions from ML which were in the computer science section itself. Balance your time properly, don’t spend your entire time coding only one problem nor leave it untouched because you were flirting with probability throughout.

The Interview

Each division of Goldman that visits the campus, prepares its own rank list depending on a combination of questions from that test. And based on these lists, you can be shortlisted for one or more divisions. The count of interview rounds you have depends on how many divisions selected you in their lists.

Four division visited Roorkee last year. Risk, Technology, Securities and GIR(Global Investment Research). I was shortlisted for all the four and had almost continuous 7-8 hours of grilling interviews. It’s not this harsh for everyone, I have friends who made it through after a couple of rounds as well. The questions in the interview will be mostly from competitive programming or probability. Make sure you are thorough with whatever is included in your resume. I had an entire hour of interview on machine learning because my areas of interest mentioned it. Don’t unnecessarily write stuff to fill your resume or to make it look big. Sometimes, you may experience that the interviewer is asking stuff that you have no knowledge of, he may encourage you to think about it. Do not hesitate to try such questions, they are asked purely with the intention of judging your approach and not your knowledge or the correctness of your answer.

Almost all the rounds have a very similar structure. It starts with ‘tell us something about yourself’, a couple of questions of competitive programming, something from your resume or a question from probability and ends with “Do you have something to ask from us?”. I don’t really know if it matters but people recommend to ask something and so I did.

“Tell us about yourself” is the section that can be used to play around a little. Tell them something about yourself that might have relevance to the interviewer and he may end up discussing that rather than a random question which might not click for you at that time. This doesn’t always work but you don’t lose anything by trying. 2 out of my 8 rounds were based on Java,OOP and RXJava, because I had brought up my second year’s internship where I worked on these(Preparing your resume accordingly can do this trick as well). But it’s up to you to decide if you really have a strong suite that may interest the interviewer or whether you are good at solving these problems there.




There is a wide spectrum of work or the areas that Goldman offers but what you will be working on is not in your hand nor do you have any way of finding it. Approximately a month after your selection, you’ll get a mail that will have your division, this can help you get a rough idea of what work you are going to get. I was asked in the final round which division I wanted to work with (It was probably because I was interviewed for multiple divisions), but honestly, I had no idea of what each division does. You will not know till the interview the divisions which are visiting Roorkee so I don’t think this helps much.All I said was that I want something on the intersection of tech and finance and probably all of their division except technology fits this.

My team worked on core systems and there was not much of finance except having the chance of interacting with people who are good at it. There is not much that I can disclose about my work because of a non-disclosure that I have signed and the fact that Goldman takes it very seriously.I’ll try to give you an abstract of the nature of work. There were a couple of projects that I worked on. In the first one I was expected to research on a new database design,prototype and deploy a scalable real time database design for their data on which they carried out a huge number of calculations everyday (I am not sure if I can write what these calculations are for), this project was expected to save a couple of thousand computing hours for them. Second one was mostly around debugging a complicated platform that they already had. It took a lot more memory in a few scenarios than expected and crashed, I had to find the component that caused it and identify its origin.

Work Culture

This is something that is not uniform across Goldman and depends heavily on your team. But one thing is constant: You will have work to do.

My team didn’t have any timing as such. Everyone had their own set of deliverables and they spent time accordingly .You don’t really have to report to anyone everyday or every week for that matter. There will be times when you can walk in at 12 and leave at 7 but there will also be times when you stay till 2 AM, it’s about how you manage your work and how much of it you want to do during your internship. The best part(may not be true for all teams), I had absolute autonomy on my project.

It is not that you get free from work if you finish your project early. I remember someone saying, “We are never out of work at Goldman”. But no one would push you to work more or tell you that you are expected to do more, except during your mid term review when your manager gives you feedback on how you have been doing so far. You will definitely be judged for your work though(Your PPO’s decision is mainly based on this).

The best part about Goldman is its flat organization. You can walk up to anyone without an appointment and have a chat. Your manager isn’t always right just because of his seniority. You and your views are valued equally. Obviously, this is the way it is intended to be and there may be scenarios where this may not be true but luckily I had a supercool manager in this respect as well.

The biggest perk that you can probably take away as mentioned by some really senior leader during our orientation is, “You work with a set of really smart and passionate people and the more you network, the more you can take away from here”. Your life can get really dull and hectic in Goldman in some time if you are missing out on this part. Goldman organizes a couple of networking sessions for the interns with senior employees of the firms(Free lunch would be what you can look up to, if you don’t like talking).

Goldman also takes you out on a day for Community TeamWork. This is with the motive to give back to the society and understand the diversity that this world has. I was taken to a wildlife hospital where we painted and cleaned cages/shelters of monkeys, parrots, bears, deers in which they are kept during their treatment.There is an intern party that the company sponsors other than numerous others that your team takes you out for(Team dependent again, you gotta be lucky).

Towards the end,you have a poster presentation(expo) kind of event where you showcase/present your work to entire division(It happens in the Risk Division, not sure of others).This is a chance for you to get noticed by the Managing Directors and other senior leaders and make a good mark . Trust me, your two months of hard work is on one side and the visibility that you get on this day is on the other. You can and should definitely aim to shine out among everyone.


Goldman has shifted to a new office this year. This office is crazy and has amazing things to fall in love with. More than anything else; the monitor. You have a giant beast, a huge curved monitor, a super fancy lift,recreation room, gym, adjustable desk(You can stand and work) to mention a few. And, Bangalore is too famous for me to say anything (Very bad traffic :P).

Summing Up

Generalising anything would be tough about Goldman, because be it work or culture, its extremely diverse across different teams. But Goldman has a set of principles that it follows extremely seriously and expects you to do the same. It is a brilliant place for those who don’t limit their work to their desk and to whose who may want to explore the finance world but stay connected to technology at the same time.

To those who want to work with cutting edge technology and are sure about it, you may want to reconsider this option.

You should stay connected with friends from other IITs, there will be around a week’s gap in the recruitment. So you may get a rough idea of the question paper pattern from them.

Note: Since Goldman Sachs doesn’t allow any pictures of the premises to be take, these images were procured from the internet.