Watch Out!
Student Media
Body of IITR
About Guide Get Involved

Summer 2022

Summer Diaries: Goldman Sachs

December 11, 2022
- Saurabh Thokade

Idk man, it was a fucking mixed bag.


I am Saurabh Thokade, an Integrated M.Sc. Physics Undergrad at IIT Roorkee. I interned in the Controllers Modelling Team at Goldman Sachs in the Summers of 2022. People generally assume that folks majoring in plain sciences are not well-equipped to pursue a “non-core” career because it’s just not plain-sciency. Well, I get this question a lot, and tbh one of the reasons I am writing this intern diary is for fixing this bug!

Heads up: The whole grind can be summarised as either having “good networks” or it all boils down to consistent efforts and having some sense of direction that you are going in.

I will put in some personal experience as well because I am sure this would be incomplete without the feelings draining in!

I will drop important resource topics in square brackets. Also, I have a poor memory.

Getting There

I explored many technical/cultural domains till Feb 2020. So I was pretty much settled on a few things that I don’t want to pursue. Clarity about things is one of the most important steps.Then Came in Covid. I had my laptop and good internet so I started exploring problem-solving. I didn’t expect anything from this (makes it fun), and I just wanted to explore this domain as well. I started with solving questions on Erdos [SDSLabs], it has some good quality questions that got me hooked. Then I found a need, or rather an urge, to learn a programming language. I personally found youtube [TheNewBoston] and relevant articles [GeeksForGeeks, CP-algorithms, CSES] more beneficial than reading stuff through books because you get to learn things aligned with the latest technological requirements. My “getting there” hardly lasted for 4 months starting June. Geared up with C++, I started hitting the online judges like a gym. I sorted the problem sets in increasing order of difficulty and started solving questions. I solved like 2000 questions clocking 25+ questions daily and gave coding contests regularly. I reached 1600+ rating (codeforces) by September and then I switched to exploring data science. This practice helped me secure fancy global ranks in “speed”forces round. For exploring data science, I took up an elective course of Artificial Neural Networks (Electrical Dept.) and grilled Coursera. To become a good Data Science “Enthusiast”, or ML Practitioner as I would prefer to say, one needs to work out projects, Hackathons [Kaggle, HackerEarth] and Intern (however small it is). Having these skills bagged up, I felt prepared for the placements season so I wasted another 3 months in Valorant bringing me to May 2021. I stopped giving contests once I switched to data science (Major mistake of my life, still couldn’t fix it but meh).


One in the existential crisis

Intern Prep

Intern Preparation has a standardised approach like, there are multiple profiles according to your interests. You fixate on the profiles that you are comfortable in and then form your path of revision/preparation. I had 2 months in hand. I started improving my ratings across coding platforms. Revisited my projects and collected all the certificates for the verification process. I started revising my data science notes [statquest, towardsdatascience], worked out DataCamp (excellent free resource from github student developer pack), learned SQL [HackerRank], completed my design projects [<3 Design Studio], and finally started revising DSA by grilling relevant interview questions [InterviewBit, LeetCode].

I had some time in hand and I was at home, so I read through computational mathematics, and revisited my Probability and Statistics JEE Notes.

In General, the tests for SDE and DS based roles are pretty much based on coding problems, theory section for DS, Mathematics and Logical Reasoning. I went through almost all Intern Tests and my preparation was sufficient for almost all of them (except for core CS companies - they require CS fundamentals).

Intern Season from the perspective of a Physics Student is in complete contrast to that of Circuital branches. We are not taught relevant courses. Even our “Introduction to Programming” course is aligned with the numerical techniques. So the extra preparation that I did was all I had. I was aware about the minimal number of chances I was gonna get and couldn’t risk anything. The companies come weekwise, and all the processes are conducted in that week itself. I had a decent CGPA of 7.8 at the time so I didn’t really care about CGPA cutoff but the major barrier was I.M.Sc. Physics. First, a few companies used to open up for our branch (I figured out that our Brochure was bad, we fixed it for the placement season, and Texas Instruments opened up and guess what, the first guy to get into TI was one of my batchmates, Janish). Second thing, the perception of the Company folks about what exactly is this MSP branch and is extending the eligibility even worth it. I still remember during the Sprinklr SDE Test, I was the first to exit the test solving all 3 questions correctly in like 20-25 mins and still no name up in the shortlist. I escalated this to PIC and got to know that the firm doesn’t favour our branch. I somehow got into the list (cheers Naman) and got an interview. Another one of the starting shortlists I had was for Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs Test

The Test was conducted on HackerRank I suppose (not important but I have seen like 50+ tests and I don’t remember stuff) and had 4 sections. Each Section has its own timer so you can navigate across those sections and their respective timers would get active. Easy coding section (2 Q - 30 mins), Hard Coding Section (1 Q - 45 mins), HR section (2/3 Q - 15 mins), Mathematics(10/20 Q - 30-45 mins). The Sections are appropriately timed so being good at stuff will definitely get you through. One trick that I used is I had plenty of time at the end of all 3 coding questions combined which I used to solve the maths questions, and I got through. Basically be good and quick at stuff.

I was one of the first guys from our branch (no disrespect but years combined) to grab an internship in such a prestigious firm. So the hard work I put in, started smoothly converting to results although I was kinda depressed on Day 1 Week 1 XD but anyways, that’s part of the game!

Interview Experience

I always thought of interviews as discussions rather than some sort of test. One should be calm, composed, confident and curious. Your interviewer will guide you in case you mess up small time and provide an opportunity for a comeback if you mess up big time. Just don’t panic. Sprinklr Interview was kind of a formality Interview (one in which you feel too good about yourself but eventually wont move forward because the company felt so). I was disheartened because Sprinklr was one of the finest chances I had. Now I feel lucky to not have interned in Sprinklr because the workload for summer 2022 was extreme (even for the design interns).

For Goldman, luckily, I had quick interviews but the results took some time as all the applicants were evaluated and then the final results were released. Standard protocol is 3-4 interviews (including the HR round) of around 15-30 mins each. So here’s the thing, Teams come to hire and those teams are handed over the resumes that align with the teams requirements. The team members would evaluate you accordingly, in order of seniority. As the rounds escalate, the pre-final (last would be HR) one should be taken by the team Vice President/Manager. I was interviewed twice and I was very positive that I pretty much nailed it in the first interview. My second interview was taken by my reporting manager and at the end it was mostly HR. I had to wait 4 long hours before the results were “out”. My 1st interview involved questions based on probability and stats, puzzles, coding questions - graph and Dynamic programming, financial understanding. My 2nd interview involved real life problem discussion based on a solution approach modelled by artificial neural networks. After discussing the questions, we discussed Valorant for a while. My 2nd Interview was taken by an ex-secretary of SDSLabs, IIT Roorkee and I got to know that he’s a gamer as well. Coolest guy in the firm that I met. Obviously this was all after joining the firm.

I was also offered a summer internship from Morgan Stanley in late October. You can try this opportunity by applying off-campus (after talking to PIC) on their portal preferably before July (yeah, they favour early applicants). The process is slow but they might get back to you :)

I had an on-campus summer intern offer so yeah, I had to drop the off-campus one :)


One for the aesthetics and coz this one’s my absolute favourite

About GS

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. It was established in 1869 (Idk why I like to mention the year). It has four business segments: Investment Banking, Global Markets, Asset Management, Consumer and Wealth Management. GS has 3 offices in India, in Bangalore (2004), Mumbai (2006) and Hyderabad (2021). Different teams sit at different offices. All of my batch’s GS interns had an on-site internship in BLR except one who used to join the events over zoom from the Hyderabad office. Goldman Sachs hires in the 1st week of the internship season and has a Day 0 slot in the placements season. The stipend offered to us was 1.5 lakhs for 4 weeks. I spent 10 weeks at GS, BLR. I worked in the Controllers Division under the Controllers Modelling Team. Details about those divisions, their work, tech stacks and responsibilities can be found on the official website. There were 16 interns from IIT Roorkee - 15 BLR and 1 HYD. 10 of those were offered a PPO (PrePlacementOffer). And yeah, I accepted the PPO. Won’t be discussing the comp. coz compliances :) check out the Channel i noticeboard XD

Goldman Sachs accepts students from all disciplines (JEE All as simply said) with 7 CGPA criteria (at the time). Location offered is BLR/HYD. You are also asked to register on the company portal so that your name gets into their system as well. Make sure you do not make mistakes in the application process (I kind of messed up mine but the PIC handled it well)

The Intern/Placement season is all about perseverance. So be strong and have an aligned peer group along.

Intern Experience


One with the fam <3

The perks of being a GS Intern - round trip flights are reimbursed, 1 week full sexy hotel stay all on the firm (we had different joining weeks so I stayed in hotels for like 2 weeks ig) Your stay and back commute is handled by the firm. Meals (except breakfast or snacks) are free. Have your seniors around, everything’s free :) (I WILL ignore you, jk). Every night is biryani night :). Once you are in BLR, you are expected to find your stay within a week and have your non-company time settled. Once inside GS, everything’s all chill and you wouldn’t have anything to worry about except for the project you are working on. I had a window seat on the 9th floor. Watta view :0

Also, there are plenty of visiting spots once you are in BLR and every weekend, we try to hit as many as we can :) also you won’t remember much XD


One at the Church Street, BLR

I made a lot of friends during those 10 weeks. Mostly starts with blurry nights but yeah, my advice would be to connect with people as much as you can. This will improve your soft skills, and overall your behaviour around people.


BLR for me was meeting my BTech friends who passed out in 2022 and were going to join their firms. I don’t know how I could keep up with everything going around me. Showing up to the plans was beyond human capacity.


One with the friends from my generation XD

I cannot discuss much about the project that I worked on because the information is sensitive to GS and obviously I am not allowed to make it public at any costs. However, speaking broadly, it was based in Quantitative Strats. I did analysis on one of the most exotic swaptions - PRDC trades and the relevant Price Verification Processes. This exhaustive and yet incomplete task (as I would say it) deepened my roots in understanding finance, and quantitative modelling. I got first hand exposure about how derivative pricing works, and explored a lot of calibration techniques and optimisation problems during the process. My work also involved data analysis. I worked in Slang (securities language) owned by GS, Tech Stack (I had then; might not actually be used because it depends on the project that the team priorities for the time being) - C++, Python, JS, SQL, React, and so on. However GS has its own tech stack so an intern is given a buffer of around a week or two to get comfortable with all the technical environment setup. Meanwhile, there are some periodic compliance training that we are required to complete, which makes an intern aware about the company, the beliefs, the motivations, do’s and don’ts, compliances, work process, and rest of the onboarding. Tech Stack will vary across different teams, so yeah we are pretty much all on the same level at the start of the internship. Also, you can see what one should expect to learn from the team that I worked for!

Major takeaway from the internship apart from the work and tech/learning experience was the time management skills that I acquired. Trust me, we do have our own time stone, we just need to activate it (how do I say this but) spiritually!


Finally the evaluation is based on how you do stuff. There’s a mid-intern presentation and final presentation. You are reviewed by at least 3 reviewers which includes your project mentor, reporting manager (your choice) and finally your team manager (by default). And you can add more reviewers if you feel like it. Also overall your soft skills are analysed and how you compete among the other interns is also analysed smoothly (without us knowing). Like they know what you are doing and how you are doing it so yeah XD. It’s not some ordinary setting like our Lecture Hall Complex or Senate Steps meeting (jk) but It’s Goldman Sachs! Finally those reviews are evaluated and bam!!


One at the Award Ceremony

Personal Note

I would love to inspire my juniors about the opportunities that they have and the heights they could reach. That’s it!

Goldman was one hell of an experience. The best thing about my time was, eventually, I got so involved in my project that I could not think of anything else. The task became immensely hard (rare chances of happening like interns are not given heavy duty tasks but yeah I needed the tingle) as I literally said Exotic Swaptions. I enjoyed it because I faced many challenges but not just one. Tackling them along with amazing support from my friends had me hooked ngl. I was waking up at night specifically for scheduling my jobs (for faster parallel processing on distributed systems - took 4 hrs to run, so that I could interpret the results in the morning with a cup of coffee), at the end it became easier than anyone could think of which itself gave me a feeling of “validation”. Idk any other word that would describe the state so accurately. My team was so helpful, especially my mentor. I disturbed him on Saturdays to help me fix bugs but there he was, not complaining a single time. At the end, it was some honest work. I am glad that I could contribute so much in so little of a time. Also during my time at GS, I also secured a 2nd runner up position in GS India Intern Coding Challenge. I received a MacBook as a prize along with trophies and some dinner thingy. Thanks @Allavi and you still owe us a night crash party! Tbh, that GS ke cab wale bhaiyya made me win that as he forced me out of sleep over repeated calls. I loved my time at GS. Writing codes, banging my head on walls, writing codes, chilling with friends, writing codes, and watching it finally produce some valuable results. My team, especially my co-interns, became my support system. Shout out to @navya, @khushi, @kush, @jinendra. Can’t forget the other folks <3. Like you guys were the best. I felt confused but yeah that’s part of the game you are playing. If you aren’t doubting your path, are you even taking risks? There were so many office parties I cannot even remember (could there be any reason behind this). Shoutout to Watson’s, our Wednesday Karaoke Club and one of my favourite places to hit. A lot of night-outs with the seniors, hitting the finest of the night clubs, watching the best rains and views and countless unforgettable experiences. We also did some Community TeamWork for a school and helped them by volunteering to organise their sports day.

One should look forward to joining GS as an intern to experience this to make an informed decision of whether you want it as full time experience or not. Many people have this perception of extreme work-life balance. I pushed myself during the internship, as every other intern (because we want the PPO, right?!) did but what I saw at GS was that the work-life balance was just chill. As a fresher, GS is one of the finest platforms to move up in the career quickly.

Having a Physics background among UG students definitely will put you in questionable positions throughout the season, but yeah perseverance is what will push you through!

Trust me, I tried to cover the details as much as I can and still about 69% is missing. But this should just be a fine read for you all. You can ping me anytime if you feel like it. Although it would take some time (as one of the few left pre-covid seniors of IITR) for you to earn a chapo sesh but yeah feel free. Would love to connect :0

One last thing, it’s never about the place… it’s always about the people :)

Good Luck, Have Fun!

With Love


One with the team <3