Often, when a student begins an internship at a large organization, they meet alumni from their college who help them get to know the culture, the work, and the best places for lunch! This insight is especially important for students coming from a small college like Macaulay.
To show how much these conversations impart, we asked two members of the Macaulay community to share their exchange. Ally Mikhaylova ’16 (right) works in Securities Division at Goldman Sachs and has been with the company for 4 years. She sat down with Katherine Dorovitsine (left), a junior who is currently interning in the same division.
KATHERINE: What advice can you offer to students interested in pursuing a career at Goldman Sachs?
ALLY: Meet as many professionals as you can, learn about the business, and demonstrate your interest in the field through your coursework and extracurricular activities.
KATHERINE: Networking can seem intimidating. How would you recommend students approach building a network and staying in touch with professionals they have met?
ALLY: Connect with professionals on a personal level instead of only attempting to impress them with your accolades. When a professional visits Macaulay, think about the first statement you will make to them and how can you use it to differentiate yourself. For example, comment on something they cited in their presentation and ask a follow up question. Additionally, sharing your business card or asking for a professional’s business card is a nice touch. Follow up is also important – write down a few facts you learn about each professional you meet, and reference that information when you reach out to them.
KATHERINE: What do you wish you knew when you were an intern?
ALLY: I wish I knew that I should be more self-reflective and less self-conscious. Small mistakes such as answering a question wrong are not as big of a deal as you think. Furthermore, I was laser-focused on spending the internship amazing my future co-workers. I’d tell my intern-self to spend more time focusing on figuring out what I like, what I don’t like, what I’m good at, where I need to improve, and what feels natural.
KATHERINE: Can you talk about the importance of self-awareness in your role?
ALLY: In a role on the trading floor, there are a lot of different stakeholders. There are salespeople, traders, clients, firm leadership and other divisions within the firm. It is essential to know where you fit in to that environment, to communicate effectively, and to appreciate diverse perspectives. You have to learn to quickly understand what motivates the different stakeholders and ideate a solution that aligns everyone’s interests.
KATHERINE: How do you make sure you are working smart in addition to working hard?
ALLY: I am a huge proponent of working smart over just working hard. One way to do that is by talking to stakeholders before you begin a self-assigned project and making sure it will be a value-add and not just busy work. Notice patterns in your work and learn to automate or make daily tasks easier for others whether through programming or Excel. Working smart will allow you to find a work-life balance. Rather than procrastinating or getting distracted while at work, focus on the tasks at hand so that you can get home early enough to recharge and be ready to perform at your best the next day. If you find yourself no longer being productive on a particular project, step away and revisit it later or the next day.
KATHERINE: What excites you to come into work every day? Your favorite aspect of the job?
ALLY: I love that I learn something new every day. The markets are very dynamic. We are living through different market regimes and events both locally and globally that have huge impacts. It is exciting that as a junior trader, I am learning to trade in those different environments. My favorite aspect of the job is coming to work with smart, talented, and hardworking people who I get to learn from every day.
Learn more about current roles at Goldman Sachs.