Skip to Main Content
Goldman Sachs & Co. logo

Goldman Sachs & Co.
Find a Mentor: 
Goldman Sachs & Co. Mentors
Related Internships: 
Goldman Sachs Global Summer Internship


Vault’s Verdict

Goldman Sachs is looking for team players that fit well into its culture. The ideal candidates are intelligent, hardworking, curious, and organized, with strong interpersonal and communication skills. For students, Goldman Sachs runs a valuable internship program, providing interns with phenomenal training, hands-on experience, the opportunity to rotate across many groups and desks, and exposure to a range of people, including senior professionals. 

For its junior professionals, Goldman Sachs offers excellent training and development opportunities. There’s a focus on developing soft and hard skills through formal and informal training programs. Mentoring opportunities are plentiful as senior professionals are always willing to take time to help newer employees develop professionally and sometimes personally. 

Depending on which group and business line you join, hours can be long and the work can be intense. Some insiders report having to be on-call even when outside the office and on vacation. But others say a good work/life balance can be achieved, noting that the work is always rewarding. Salaries and bonuses get very good reviews—the firm’s compensation packages are very competitive. The benefits and perks receive average reviews, with some insiders saying they need improvement. 

As for diversity, it might be the most impressive aspect of the firm’s culture, according to insiders. Goldman Sachs has gone to great lengths to address all aspects of diversity, which is why some of its professionals say the firm is the most progressive bank on Wall Street. Its CSR programs—such as its 10,000 Women, 10,000 Small Businesses, and Community TeamWorks initiatives—are also impressive. Although the firm is going through changes, its business outlook is very positive. Under David Solomon, the firm’s new CEO, the firm’s culture has improved, which has helped to drive innovation and growth, especially in its consumer business. Recent changes have been purposeful, strategic, and well-planned. As a result, the firm is poised to enjoy an exciting and bright future.

Note: The firm did not participate in our 2022 Banking Survey; all comments are from our 2019 survey.

Hiring Process 

“Interview process is rigorous. There are multiple interviews. It’s not uncommon to see a dozen people before an offer is extended. Ideal candidate is a team player that fits well into our culture. This is over and above demonstrating intelligence, wit, the willingness to work hard, and the consistent striving for perfection in everything the candidate does.” 

“First round is online, followed by a Superday on site at the main headquarters. There, you go through three 20-minute interviews that try to assess different aspects of your candidacy. Callbacks are generally the next day. The firm is looking for candidates who know where they fit within the context of the firm and are very focused—they know why they want to work in a certain group, why they want to work at Goldman Sachs, how their strengths demonstrate this, etc.” 

“We screen resumes and have the candidate speak with as many people in the office as possible in order to receive a variety of opinions. For interns, we have a round of video interviews as well. The candidate generally receives a verbal decision fairly soon after in-person interviews, but the final paperwork and background check take much longer to complete. Ideal candidate is hardworking, curious, organized, intelligent, and can express ideas concisely and with impact. Strong interpersonal skills are also ideal.” 

“Goldman's process for undergraduate hires is [typically] a phone interview, a video interview, and an in-person Superday. We’re looking for someone who has done their homework on our firm and division, has a understanding of why they want this job and the specific location they are interviewing for, has a strong drive/hustle, and is willing to put in the time and effort to succeed.” 

Interview Questions 

“Tell me about yourself. What do you like to do outside of work? What inspires you and why? Why Goldman? Are there specific market or investing themes that you believe are compelling in this environment and why? Please provide an example of a situation where you pro-actively solved a problem or identified a new opportunity that contributed positively to an organization with which you are or were previously affiliated.” 

“Describe a time when you had multiple competing priorities and had to get everything done on time. What steps did you take to accomplish the work? You’ve been asked to take over an assignment for one of your colleagues who is no longer available. The assignment is due soon and is for an important stakeholder. As you begin the work, you see that your colleague has made some mistakes. How would you ensure the assignment is completed accurately and on time? You have the opportunity to take on a project that will be visible to a senior leader. There is an aggressive timeline and several milestones that need to be met throughout the project. If any milestones are missed, it will affect the overall project timeline. How would you approach this project?” 

“Describe a time you made a mistake and how you went about managing it? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of your last job? How do you manage competing priorities and what makes something a priority? How do you view risk in terms of new business opportunities?” 

“If you were a portfolio manager, where would you invest and why? What is your view of the current economic environment? Please discuss what’s happening with interest rates and how we should be responding?” 

Intern Experience

“The internship was wonderful. I contributed to live projects and worked with wonderful people who were very invested in my development and career. Lots of social interactions with the intern class who became long-term friends.” 

“Phenomenal training experience. Well organized, deeply experienced professionals, industry-leading franchise. It’s a very interesting experience. The firm has a learning culture where folks are willing to sit down and explain things to you. And you get the opportunity to rotate across many desks to get a good flavor for the division.” 

“You get to discover and gain exposure to all businesses across the division you join. You also get to expand your network. You work on projects for various teams and spend time with a wide range of people, which helps you make a decision about the business and team you want to join full time. And you get to learn a lot about different products—you come out of the internship with broad knowledge. The only downside is the internship can be intense and stressful.” 

“I was exposed to a wide variety of teams, desks, and roles, allowed me to have a very informed view of the firm. The workload and intensity of the internship was sometimes overwhelming.” 

“The internship program was very organized and well run. I felt that I had exposure to senior leadership and a good understanding of the firm after completing the program. I wish that I had more of an opportunity to interact with other interns from different divisions in order to better understand all of the type of work they were involved with.” 

Career Development 

“Amazing teamwork culture and a lot of opportunities for junior people to excel—learning curve is steep. You work with extremely talented people, and everyone will always take the time to teach you things regardless of how senior they are.” 

“Incredible focus on developing young talent, both through formal and informal training programs and through both soft and hard skills. An emphasis on mentorship across the firm. Opportunity is given to those that are willing and able to take it on. Very talented individuals across the firm creates a lot of competition for any opportunity.” 

“I’ve been lucky to have managers and informal mentors that are incredibly committed to my development. Goldman offers a breadth of career development opportunities. The best opportunity I have had thus far was participating in the Women Career Strategies Initiative program. This is a five-month career development program that offered tangible career advice, skill development, and amazing networking opportunities.” 

“Goldman offers many internal programs to continue learning different skillsets and to find mentorship within the firm. They offer formal training for those coming straight out of undergraduate or MBA programs and for those moving into a new role. Goldman definitely lives by the motto of trying to keep the best talent in house.” 

Quality of Life 

“I’ve worked in several areas during my tenure and all have had strong teams with people I’ve enjoyed working with and learning from. You tend to work long hours and are on-call even outside the office, the work is rewarding. All in all, people enjoy working here because of the quality of employees and team culture.” 

“Bosses are understanding bosses when it comes to mental and physical health and personal engagements with family and friends. Everyone is incredibly smart and driven and willing to help others out at all times. True and genuine culture of inclusion, with a good work/life balance.” 

“There are active efforts to promote work/life balance. There is no shaming in taking vacation days. The firm, however, runs very lean, so there’s very little downtime at work and always a sense of urgency to finish and move on to the next pressing task.” 

“They prompt us to take time off and limit our hours, but the workload and level of client service we provide don’t allow for this. The firm has tried multiple times to solve this using technology or restructuring departments, but it's really a manpower issue. The people I work with truly want me to have my vacation days to myself—they make a great effort not to bother me while on vacation.” 

Salary and Benefits 

“Salary is very competitive, and formulaic comp means you always have a good sense of your pay. Also, how the firm does in any given year doesn’t impact you, medical and 401(k) options are best-in-breed, and the on-site gym is state-of-the-art. In general, it’s a healthy compensation package with good perks.” 

“Best aspect is that the overall compensation increases significantly over time and tracks performance. Strong performance is rewarded. Worst aspect is the mix between base salary and bonus. The base salary is relatively low and doesn’t cover daily living expenses if you need to support a family in an expensive location.” 

“The 401(k) matching policy is excellent. The firm will need to offer more perks to compete with other employers, especially in the tech space. For example, more flexibility to work remotely and more emphasis on casual dress code.” 

“I appreciate the annual bonus each year and having very good medical coverage for me and my partner. I also like that GS has been more open to telecommuting and a relaxed dress code. But unlike my last firm, no money is provided to supplement the cost of my home office (screen, printer, chair, etc.). Also, many of us in the banking community who spend many hours at the office have not had our computer screens upgraded to include better retinal display and larger width formats. Lastly, it would be helpful to see the gym cost reduced (subsidized) and the removal of copays to the health center.” 

Diversity, Philanthropy, and Green Initiatives

“This is probably the most impressive aspect of the firm's culture. GS is taking active steps to address all aspects of diversity, including holding employees all the way to senior managements accountable (which is not common across the Street).” 

“Perhaps the most progressive firm on Wall Street, GS is an incredibly open work place. All people are made to feel welcome, and efforts to attract diversity are highly public and widely encouraged. GS is also immensely philanthropic and encourages employees to use their matching gift benefits. Finally, the firm is extremely environmentally focused. Most cafeteria items are for compost or recycling. Very progressive firm.” 

“I’m always proud of our efforts in recruiting diverse candidates. We have targeted programs for certain diverse candidates, and great programs for mentorship and community once candidates join GS as an intern or full-time employee. The CSR programs at GS are vast and well communicated to all employees. GS shines in this space, with its 10,000 Women program that provides business education for women in developing countries, 10,000 Small Businesses program that partners with local community colleges to provide business education to small businesses in the U.S., Community TeamWorks program that allows all GS employees to take a day off of work to participate in a volunteer day for a host of partner charitable institutions, and $20,000 of charitable matching gifts that GS offers to all full-time employees.” 

“I think we ‘ve been very creative and innovative with programs to better support racial/ethnic minorities, though it will take time to see the impact/real effect. Having been personally involved in various programs for women, LGBTQ+ and racial/ethnic minorities, I’ve been proud of the openness to new ideas and approaches to best support different communities. We may not have it fully right, but the intent and support is clear and genuine.” 

Business Outlook 

“We’re going through lots of change, which is difficult. New leadership is changing the structure of the firm; time will tell how this plays out, but at this point I feel confident on our ability to deliver. The change seems purposeful, strategic, well-planned, and provides an exciting and bright future.” 

“David Solomon has shifted the culture in a very positive way. We’re innovating and growing our consumer business and positioned to be in a great place in five years. I’m not going to be selling my equity anytime soon.”

“This is an exciting point in time for GS. We have a new CEO who is a strategic thinker and working to streamline firm efforts to more deeply cover our most significant clients and at the same time branch into middle-market areas in wealth management and banking. The advent of Marcus, the co-branded Apple Card, and some recent acquisitions in wealth management and alternative investment management signify the importance of the new Consumer and Investment Management Division to overall firm strategy. The combination of all areas of principal investment into one group signifies the importance of building a world-class franchise for our clients in all areas of principal investing. The branding strategy for doing all of this at once is key, and the firm is very focused on it. Meanwhile, the investment platform and resources we are able to offer clients in GS Private Wealth Management continues to grow more broad and more deep, and the service we’re able to provide is as good as ever, as the changes made at the strategic level haven’t impacted the number people we have available to service our clients.” 

“There is a great energy and focus at the firm as we manage through some leadership changes during a period of notable pressure in the financial industry. Both through organic change/growth and acquisition, we’re more actively addressing these challenges, creating new opportunities. This is an exciting time for current employees and ones with diversifying perspective/backgrounds (e.g. retail, digital) to come in and help evolve the business. During this period, the level of transparency in terms of strategy and requests for ideas and input in terms of unique ideas has gone up, which helps bolster morale and encourage ownership.”

Goldman Sachs & Co.

200 West Street
New York, NY 10282
Phone: (212) 902-0300

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Public
Stock Symbol: GS
Stock Exchange: NYSE
CEO: David M. Solomon
2023 Employees (All Locations): 48,500

Major Office Locations

Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC
Miami, FL
Atlanta, GA
Chicago, IL
Boston, MA
Jersey City, NJ
New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Dallas, TX
Houston, TX
Salt Lake City, UT