Internship Spotlight: Sylvia Zarnescu, Goldman Sachs
Oct. 14, 2021
Sylvia Zarnescu is a BA Economics and Neuroscience/Cognitive Science major graduating in the spring of 2022. This summer she interned with Goldman Sachs as a Summer Analyst in Salt Lake City, Utah.
What was a typical day like?
I would usually come in between 8 and 8:30am every morning, sit down at my desk and begin looking at the daily morning report we received. I would then sift through the data to identify key priorities for my team to work on that day, and send out the edited report with comments. Then, I'd have a few morning meetings that lasted until around 10 or 10:30am. After my meetings I typically had some free time to either work on my intern projects, shadow people, or catch up with the other interns. Depending on the day, I had various intern events or meetings planned that I would either attend in person or over zoom. Usually I'd be done with all of my meetings and events around 3pm, and then I'd be free to work on my projects or any tasks I needed to finish that day until I went home around 5-5:30pm.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
My favorite part about my experience was the people I got to meet. Everyone who works at GS is incredibly smart, interesting, and hardworking, and I was able to form connections with my fellow interns and full time employees that I know will last long into the future. Additionally, I greatly appreciated the fact that I had the opportunity to work with various teams in Salt Lake and other offices around the world on meaningful projects. I found that everyone was more than willing to help out and eager to hear my ideas (even the MDs I spoken to), and this collaboration directly facilitated successful outcomes. While I was sad to leave the my team and office this summer, I left even more excited for my future career journey!
What did you find most challenging?
Coming from a non-finance background, it was pretty intimidating to start my internship at an investment bank with very little prior knowledge. There was definitely a steep learning curve to catch up on both basic finance knowledge and product specific knowledge in the first few weeks. However, I found that if I asked for help, people were more than willing to give it to me. Also, for myself specifically, a lot of my intern projects were very self directed so it was challenging to obtain feedback and guidance when I would often feel lost or overwhelmed with defining the scope and substance of each project. In these situations, I found it most helpful to talk through my ideas with the other interns, analysts, and associates on my team and edit them before reviewing my progress with my managers.
What advice do you have for other students looking for a similar experience, or advice for future students to be successful?
Apply to every opportunity you can as early as possible and make sure to emphasize what makes you unique as a candidate. Whether you're looking for an internship or have accepted an offer, make sure to prepare for every interaction, be confident, ask questions, take notes, and treat everything as a learning experience. It's also helpful to make a habit of setting goals for yourself and periodically reflecting on them. Remember that at the end of the day companies and recruiters want to know what makes you, you—so work hard, curate a personal brand, and be sure to make connections!