Internship Series: Goldman Sachs

Alex Lawson
CAS’16 | Economics
Derivative Operations Summer Analyst

In the summer of 2014, CAS student Alex Lawson completed an internship at Goldman Sachs. Gaining many skills from this experience, Alex was offered another internship there for summer 2015. 

CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?

Alex: I supported the trading desk by reconciling trade breaks. I also completed cross-asset team projects to streamline processes, worked with the technology team to design and implement a new contact management system, and resolved credit break discrepancies to mitigate risk.

CCD: How did you find your internship?

Alex: I learned about the position when the Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management (PWM) division gave a presentation at SMG. When I applied for an internship at Goldman Sachs, I applied for roles in 3 divisions: PWM, Services, and Operations. I had interviews with all 3, and ultimately received an offer from Operations.

CCD: What is one thing you’ve learned that will benefit any future internships or other hands-on experiences?

Alex: The most important thing I learned is to take risks in order to get others to notice you. If one wants to rise in an industry, having solid mentors is key, but acquiring them is not always easy. Reaching out and connecting with a VP on a personal level could help one land a full-time position. I also learned that a great way to get noticed is to speak up. For example, one of my team’s daily responsibilities seemed inefficient and overly time-consuming. I approached my manager about it and we ended up restructuring that function. He took note of my attention to detail, and I received excellent reviews during my final assessment.

CCD: What are the top 3 skills you’ve learned that will benefit any future internships or other hands on experiences?

Alex: Three skills I learned were problem solving, attention to detail, and the importance of networking.

CCD: How has this experience changed your future plans?

Alex: Before this internship, I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation. Now I’m sure that my future lies in the financial industry. My experience at Goldman Sachs introduced me to many divisions and positions that I never knew existed. It gave me a better understanding of where I could succeed in finance and how I can get there.

CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of a summer experience?

Alex: I would say to go above and beyond whenever possible. The representatives gave this advice at the Goldman Sachs information session, but I really didn’t understand what they meant until now. I figured that at my internship I would be given a set of projects and that I would just complete them to the best of my abilities. In reality, however, the projects assigned were vague at times and I had a lot of freedom in how I approached them. It was imperative that I did more than what was asked of me to set myself apart.

CCD: What are the benefits of the type of summer experience you had?

Alex: This experience has helped make me more marketable for future opportunities. Having worked in trade management, I now have an understanding of derivatives trading and I expect that this experience and these skills will help me in my future career.

CCD: What’s next for you?

Alex: Thanks to a connection I made while at Goldman Sachs, I will be returning next summer as an intern in the Investment Grade Capital Markets Financing Group, which is a subdivision of the larger Investment Banking division. Should I have another successful internship, I hope to receive a full-time offer at its conclusion.

 

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