Investment Banking

Goldman Sach Presentation

A couple of week ago here at the law school, the private wealth management team from Goldman Sachs came out to give a presentation. Contrary to Goldman’s usual pit stop down at Kellogg, this time they decided to come and recruit specifically here at Northwestern Law. It’s pretty odd that they were here on campus at the law school, since companies like Goldman spend the majority of their time on the business school campuses.

But the Goldman buzz definitely got around campus quickly when the news first came out. A lot of people were talking about the session, and multiple emails went out to our listserve in the last days before the event. The session took place at lunch on a Thursday. Minutes before the session started, the room quickly filled up. It’s no surprise that a large number of the JD-MBAs were in attendance, many of them from my year. Events like these are usually much more attended earlier in the year before classes get hectic and midterms begin.

A couple of senior Goldman advisors stood up in front of the room, introduced themselves, and then gave a mini presentation. All of them were lawyers and a couple had JD-MBAs. It was pretty obvious that the presentation was canned, and the presenters seemed more interested in giving a small pitch and answering question than making a formal presentation. Goldman’s pitch was that both law students and experienced lawyers are very well-prepared to enter the private wealth management field, given their strong communication, negotiation, and client management skills.

I don’t disagree with the pitch. But I also think there’s a bit more to it. In my personal opinion, I think Goldman was also trying to cast a wider net for the private wealth recruiting team. For one, in many business schools private wealth often takes a back seat to investment banking, which has long had the lure, appeal and prestige to attract MBA students. This has long been the case, and I don’t think anything has changed even in this economy. And second, I think Goldman is absolutely correct. In the long run, lawyers do make really good private wealth advisors. This is because they have both the soft client skills to do well and in the long run they bring clients with them to make Goldman a lot of money.

Overall the session went pretty well. Despite a seemingly canned presentation, the advisors gave a lot of information, answered a lot of questions, and were available to chat after the session. I have a JD-MBA friend here at Northwestern who is in his final year in the program now. At the time of the session he was preparing for a Goldman interview but hadn’t had it yet, so he made a point to chat with the advisers after the presentation. Turns out that just earlier this week, he finally received and accepted his offer. This is proof that sometimes going to all of these info sessions can pay off during recruiting time, especially if you target the right sessions.

In my opinion, it’s definitely nice to get an offer at Goldman this year no matter which division you work in. Kudos to one of my JD-MBA classmates for reeling it in. Law school recruiting for first year students has barely started here at Northwestern for first years. On 11/1 Northwestern Law was permitted to meet with students to advise us on our career options. In December, we’ll finally be able to start sending out applications and going through the formal recruiting process. Should be an interesting couple of weeks as things start to progress. Check back for more recruiting updates along the way.

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Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 Careers No Comments

Citibank and Leading with Your Heart

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a pre-MBA boot camp event hosted by Citigroup in New York. It was the capstone event that finished off my yearlong process with MLT. I spent one of the mornings with Citigroup’s subsidiary Citi Cards and was fortunate to hear 40-year old CEO Paul Galant give a talk. Boy was he sharp. There were about 100 of us there, and Paul thrived in front of the crowd. He talked lot of about leadership and the turbulent times in the financial services industry. His style was charismatic and sincere, and he often referenced the idea getting through to the “hearts and minds “of your workers.

I’ve often heard the phrase “Great leaders win over the hearts and minds of others.” What’s interesting about the phrase is that the word heart comes before the word mind in that phrase. I don’t think it’s a mistake that it was created this way. The heart is what a person believes, dreams about, values, and is committed to. When you can touch someone on that level, then you can become a better leader.

In my experience, this is not often emphasized in today’s business world, where the bottom line is king and where analytics and process usually trump values, teamwork, and inspiration. As an MBA student and business person, I can’t argue with things like bottom line or with P&L, but I would definitely debate that being profitable in the long run is as much about good leadership as it is about cutting costs and doing analysis.

I liked Paul a lot, and I agree with his philosophies about running an organization. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough of that experience at my last firm. When I graduate in 3 years, I hope to work for a firm that values inspirational leadership and looks for that ability in its firm leaders and in the people it recruits. Stay tuned to find out how things turn out.

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 Careers, Leadership 3 Comments

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.

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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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