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Shudhatma Jain is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering.
As the 5th sem kicked off, I started working hard to make a decent resume. But, at the back of my mind many questions about the intern came up- which company, what field, which place, stipend, perks etc. etc.
I took some time gathering information about the companies offering internships to IIT Bombay students (especially CSE). This mainly involved asking seniors about their personal experiences, reading Insight blogs, and understanding the project offered to them. Among these, I particularly found Goldman Sachs to be an interesting option. Data analysis was something I enjoyed. I also had a curiosity to explore the finance world which motivated me to pursue an internship at Goldman Sachs. Another important factor I considered while filling the JAFs was the location of my intern. My previous intern had been in Gurgaon and the scorching heat over there had made it a bummer. Bangalore on the other hand remains cool for the entirety of summers and has a very pleasant weather.
Goldman Sachs’ selection process has two parts :
a) Objective round: It had 10 questions each in Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics. Selections for the interview were done on the basis of individual fields as well as cumulative scores in the objective round.
b) Interview round: I gave a total of 5 interviews in different fields ranging from basic coding (writing code for lists etc.) and probability to simple coding algorithms and mathematics. The final round was HR in which a brief idea about the work was given to me. The number of interviews and the fields can vary from student-to-student. In our batch, one was selected with just two interviews whereas another had to go through 6! Overall the interview process was very tiring and took the complete day (9am-6pm).
However, I didn’t prepare much in particular for my Goldman Sachs selection process. My main focus was to get thoroughly prepared with my resume. This helped me answer questions about my previous intern and projects undertaken, in a confident and concise manner.
Before going to Goldman, I felt that coding and other engineering aspects would take a back seat in a financial firm. However, in a few days I realised that the firm heavily depended on its technical teams and had automated most of the work. Saying that Goldman is a technological firm disguised as an Investment Bank might not be an over-statement. For instance, Goldman also has its own proprietary language – “slang”, which has a lot of inbuilt features making the implementation of financial models simpler. Similarly, many more tools exist to help automate the process and increase efficiency.
Goldman Sachs provided us accommodation in Hilton, a 5-star hotel. But wistfully, it was only for the first week. After that we were left to search accommodation on our own. For the rest of the internship, we (9 of us from IITB) booked a PG in the Koramangala area. Believe me if you are a foodie, Koramangala is a heavenly place. From street food to high-end restaurants, all are available in this area. For travelling to-and-fro the office, we used the bus and cab transport provided by the company. For personal use, we booked private cabs like Uber and Ola. However the traffic of Bengaluru is horrible and at times, it takes an hour to cover a 5km journey.
Life @ GS:
I am working in the Compliance team of Goldman Sachs. My work involves use of Big Data techniques to analyse the humongous data available with the company and get inferences from it. After spending the first few weeks reading about Big Data techniques, we moved on to the implementation part. It’s worth noting that even though my work basically was coding, it was important to understand the basics of finance to go about doing it. Before the intern, I had no idea about the working of equities – how the share price is determined etc. Now I feel much more knowledgeable about these fields.The best (and may be worst) part about working with such huge data is that one can have a coffee and come back by the time the code finishes execution!
Goldman Sachs is very strict about wearing formals and allows smart casuals only on Friday. There’s no restriction on work hours. Most of the team members are from IIT/IIM, making it really simple to strike a conversation and get friendly with them. The team members are very helpful given that one has put considerable efforts himself.
Bangalore city doesn’t have a lot to visit other than the restaurants and pubs. However, a lot of places are there near the city to make the weekends happening – Ooty, Coorg, Chikmanglur, Nandi Hills and the list goes on. There exist many start ups which rent two-wheelers on a daily basis. We rented 5 of them and went on an early morning road trip to Nandi Hills – famous for the sunrise. The cold wind, beautiful sceneries and the peaceful environment made the trip a memorable one.
Bangalore city has an amazing weather, with light rains almost every evening.
There’s a small problem we faced in Bengaluru. Around one-third of the local population either doesn’t know or has little knowledge of Hindi or English. This became quite a considerate problem when explaining the directions to the cabbies. In addition to the project assigned, connecting with people and making contacts is given very high importance in Goldman Sachs. Interns are encouraged to get to know new people, talk to them and try understanding their work. I would like to add an important stat – the engineering teams of GS have a similar gender ratio as those of IITs. However, teams from non-engineering fields (read Compliances) help balance out the skewed ratio a lot.
In the end, I would like to conclude by urging everyone to find out about all the companies/fields you are interested in and take a well-informed decision on how to spend your summers.