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Goldman Sachs strats describe their days.

This is your lifestyle as a strat at Goldman Sachs

It's pretty much common knowledge that junior investment bankers work long hours, but if you're a "strat"(read 'strategist') at somewhere like Goldman Sachs, can you expect to work long hours too? The answer appears to be  (sometimes) yes, although as a strat you won't be required to work into the night.

Speaking on a recent Goldman Sachs student presentation, Nicole, an analyst-level (ie. junior) global markets credit trading desk strategist ("desk strat") at Goldman in New York, said there are days she works 12 hours +. 

"What my day-to-day life looks like depends whether I am on 'support,'" said Nicole. Desk strats who are support duty have to work longer hours than traders, she added. "You have to make sure everything works before the traders came into the office and do the big calculations when markets close." This means that you might start working at 6.30am, and then spend your day supporting the traders.

"You have very little time to get your lunch, but it's a good experience," said Nicole. "You get to know how things are done and how the market is moving."

When you're not working on support as a desk strat, your life is much more chill. In this case you're "much more focused on individual projects," said Nicole. On non-support days, she said she starts work at 8am and replies to first thing in the morning. This is followed by working on projects, and shadowing calls with clients after lunch. Around 7pm, Nicole said she might go for a run and have dinner. Depending upon the project she's working on, she might then log back in at night. 

Strats are a kind of hybrid between quantitative researchers and technologists and provide support to most divisions at Goldman. In the securities division, desk strats support traders. "Desk strats are responsible for making sure all the platform risk reports are up and running," said Nicole. "We use technology tools to solve real problems in the financial world."

Desk strats aren't the only ones working in Goldman's sales and trading business. The firm also employs 'sales strats' who work with salespeople to help pitch products to clients. A New York-based junior sales strat at the firm said his job is a combination of coding and interacting with the markets. "I still code, but a lot of my job is about being able to understand the products we're pitching to clients. I didn't ever want to just be a software engineer." He said sales strats need to have an awareness of what's going on in the markets and to follow the news.  

If you apply for a junior strats role at Goldman Sachs, you can expect to encounter a three stage digital screening process before you meet a human being. There's a Hackerrank test with coding questions, a Hackerrank test with math questions, and a Hirevue interview with behavioral questions. Steve Ekert, one of Goldman's U.S. campus recruiters for engineering said the firm looks for students who demonstrate qualities like integrity and collaboration.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Jo
    27 November 2020

    Desk strat is glorified IT support and everyone on the street knows it. It adds little value to a resume and is anything but the pathway to "the business" it is sold as.

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