Goldman Sachs interview questions, the definitive list
You've landed an interview with Goldman Sachs. Well done: you're in a minority. What should you expect? In the past, Goldman Sachs had a reputation for interviewing people until it hurts - putting potential hires through endless interviews with different Goldman staff just to check they'd be a 'fit.'
What will you be asked? Below is a list of all the interview questions candidates claim to have been asked at Goldman recently. Most were asked at entry-level interviews for candidates joining the firm at analyst or associate levels.
While you should prepare for the sorts of questions below, the key thing to know before you interview at Goldman (and this applies to Hirevue interviews too) is that you need to be 100% familiar with everything in your resume. The firm itself says this is the case, and most of the candidates who've interviewed there say they were heavily grilled on the minutiae of their CVs. For example, if you've written that you took a Java programming course in 2017, be ready to talk about it - in depth.
Fit Questions from Goldman Interviews
A team member isn't contributing. You confront them. They still don't contribute. What next?
How do you handle a client who goes against the company policy?
Walk me through your CV.
Which was your preferred class at university?
Your professor accidentally sends you confidential information intended for another student. What do you do?
You are working on a secret project. Your previous manager asks about it. He says he wants information on the project to help with an important decision. What do you do?
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Which of your skills and experiences make you appropriate for this job?
What motivates you in life?
What would make you satisfied?
Why Goldman Sachs?
What makes Goldman Sachs different to its competitors?
Why do you want to work for this division of Goldman Sachs?
Why do you want this job at Goldman Sachs?
How do you know you want this job at Goldman Sachs?
Have you ever had any issues with work/life balance?
What skills do you think are required to do this job?
Can you talk about a mistake you made in the past, and how you overcame it?
Who is the most famous and influential person you would like to meet and why?
Can you talk about a challenge you faced in the past? How did you overcome it?
Can you talk through a time you worked with a co-worker? How did you build that relationship?
Can you tell me a time when you failed to meet a deadline?
What's more important: deadlines, or the quality of work?
Can you tell us about an episode where you were short of time for delivering a large project? How did you overcome that?
Can you give an example of a time you streamlined a process?
Talk to me about your previous jobs.
Which part of your previous jobs did you like the least?
What are you strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Which role do you usually play in a team?
What would your team mates say about working with you?
Why would your team mates choose to work with someone else instead of you?
Would you rather be captain of a losing team or the regular member of a winning team?
Why did you choose your college/university? Why did you choose that subject?
Give an example of a time you acted as a leader.
Give an example of a time you worked with a diverse team.
Describe a time when you worked in a team where there were disagreements.
Describe a time you research a subject of interest to you. How did you go about that?
Would you say you're a perfectionist?
What's been the most important experience of your career? Why?
Can you talk us through a time when you had to decline a client's request? How did you approach that?
Your friend is cheating in a test. He's on his last warning. You're the only one who knows he's cheating. What do you do?
Your mentor asked you to deliver something in 30 minutes, but you have something else due in too. What do you do?
Tell me about yourself. You have three minutes.
Tell me something not on your CV.
IBD (Investment Banking Division) Questions from Goldman Interviews
Walk me through the three different ways of valuing a company.
Walk me through a DCF. What does a DCF do?
Walk me through an LBO analysis.
What factors can lead to the dilution of EPS in an acquisition?
If you are in a business that wants to preserve cash, what type of inventory accounting method would you use (LIFO or FIFO) in a time of rising prices, and why?
You're using multiples to value a company but those multiples are skewed. What do you do?
What is Minority Interest and why do we add it in the Enterprise Value formula?
Why is cash subtracted from Enterprise Value (EV)?
Briefly walk me through a discounted cash flow analysis. (including WACC).
How do you get to free cash flow (FCF) from EBITDA?
If a company raises debt, what happens to its WACC? What might make your answer wrong?
A client in the aerospace industry wants to know about related markets which are impacting his stock price. Which industries and markets do you look at?
Why can’t you use EV/Earnings or Price/EBITDA as valuation metrics?
Discuss a deal you have read about recently.
How do the three financial statements fit together?
Which is the best method of valuing a company and why?
What does shareholders' equity consist of? How does net income affect it?
What will you actually do as an analyst or associate in an investment bank? What attracts you to this?
You're meet the CEO of an industrial company. She wants to know how much her company is worth. Which information do you need?
How does depreciation move throughout the financial statements?
(If you make it through the first round of interviews for IBD at Goldman, you'll be expected to complete a case study interview. There's an example of a GS case study here.)
What does IBD do?
What's the NPV of $1 with a 10% discount rate over 10 years?
You have two companies with the same P/E ratio. What makes their EV/EBITDA different?
How do you choose between a company with a P/E ratio of 8 and another of 10?
You receive a dollar for the rest of your life? What's the value of those dollars today?
Why IBD instead of consulting?
Markets and Risk Questions from Goldman Interviews
How would you value a company which was very successful until recently, but lost market share due to a single event?
How do you define depreciation and how would you show it on financial statements?
Is there an economic slowdown? How did it start?
Where do you see markets trading in three months, six months, nine months?
Which structured equity product would you issue in the current market conditions?
Explain the options Greeks.
Explain what a put option is.
Explain the assumptions behind Black Scholes.
Is gold overpriced?
Are equities overpriced?
What's moving the markets now?
What's happening to market volatility and why?
What's your top stock pick?
What's the beta of a slot machine?
General Motors or Facebook? Why?
How would you hedge against the risk of an Apple bond defaulting?
Why are you better than other candidates on picking stocks?
How should a bank evaluate the creditworthiness of a counter-party?
Pitch a long stock? Pitch a short stock?
How would you invest $1k?
If you had $1bn to invest in global equities, how would you position your portfolio?
You're given information about a company's stock price over a period of 12 months. How do you determine how risky it is?
What's the Monte Carlo method for pricing options? How does it work?
Talk to me about an asset class you're interested in.
What's the first question you would ask a potential client?
Describe a time when you used data to forecast trends.
What are today's 10-year treasury bond returns?
Name a political event you're tracking. How do you expect this to impact the markets?
You have a zero coupon bond and a par bond. Which has higher duration?
What do you think of Bitcoin?
Tech Questions from Goldman Interviews
You are given the opportunity to select one closed door of three, behind one of which there is a prize. The other two doors hide piles of rubble. Once you have made your selection, the gameshow host (called Monty) Hall will open one of the remaining doors, revealing that it does not contain the prize. He then asks you if you would like to switch your selection to the other unopened door, or stay with your original choice. Here is the problem. What do you do? (This is known as the Monty Hall problem.)
Write a piece of code to create a Fibonacci sequence using recursion.
Write a piece of code to create a Fibonacci sequence using the iterative method.
Write a piece of code to determine whether a number is a palindrome.
Write a piece of code to determine whether two words are anagrams.
Write a piece of code to determine whether a binary tree is a binary search tree or not.
Write a piece of code to find the mirror image of a binary tree.
Devise a game similar to Conway's Game of Life.
Write a piece of code to combine fractions from two arrays into a single array.
Write a piece of code to find the most frequently occurring element in an array.
Can you write your own generic Java hashmap from scratch?
You have two arrays of integers. Write a piece of code to output an array that will only have elements found in one, but not both, arrays.
You have a ladder of X steps. You can go up the ladder by taking either one or two steps each time. Write a function to determine how many potential different combinations of one or two steps you could take to the top of the ladder.
Design an elevator.
Given two strings 'X' and 'Y', find the length of the longest common substring.
Why is a binary tree better than a hash table?
Why is a hash table better than a binary tree?
Why is a binary tree worse than a Monte Carlo simulation?
What's the difference between a process and a thread?
When would you use a thread instead of a process?
How does garbage collection work in Java?
Given n non-negative integers representing an elevation map where the width of each bar is 1, compute how much water it is able to trap after raining. (Also known as the tapping rainwater question)
The N Queen problem.
What are the differences between JS Angular and JS React? Which do you prefer?
What differentiates propositional logic from first order logic? Which is better?
When should you use functional programming vs. objected oriented programming?
How could you set up a recursive function so that a smart language / compiler could evaluate the function and never run out of memory?
Here is a file of employee names, presented as a string. It contains first names and last names. Write a piece of code to returns the most common last name in the list. Consider the complexity of your program: it will need to handle a large dataset in a small amount of time.
Talk me through the concept of inheritance in C++.
Talk me through the Java design patterns you know.
What's a Linked List? Can you build one?
Can you reverse a Linked List?
How would you find the middle element in a Linked List?
How do you delete an element from the middle of a doubly linked list?
You've landed an interview with Goldman Sachs. Congratulations: you're in a serious minority. What should you expect? Goldman Sachs has a reputation for interviewing people until it hurts, so if they like you, you can expect to be grilled from all sides repetitively - often by a panel of people.
We've assembled a list of interview questions which Goldman Sachs candidates claim to have been asked in the past. Most of these were asked of candidates joining the firm at analyst or associate levels.
While you should prepare for the sorts of questions below, the key thing to know before you interview at Goldman is that you need to be 100% familiar with everything in your resume.
You also need to:
- Make sure you have done your research on the company (including its competitors) and the division you are applying for.
- Make sure you are up-to-date and can express opinions on the current financial context (news, trends, markets etc)
- You may not know the answer to a difficult question but the interviewers are keen to see your thought process and how you tackle a problem, not necessarily whether you can answer correctly.
- The company is looking for candidates that match its values and can fit into its work environment so be prepared to explain how you do.
Goldman Sachs' questions about you
- Walk me through your resumé.
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are three words you would use to describe yourself and why?
- If you were a crayon what color would you be?
- Tell us one thing about yourself that we should not know.
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you do in your free time?
- Are you interested in all these hobbies (on your resumé)? How do you manage your time with them?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Tell us one good thing and one bad thing your friends would say about you.
- What's your greatest achievement?
- Why did you choose your major?
- Tell us something not on your resumé.
Goldman Sachs' questions about your motivation
- Why Goldman Sachs? Why this division?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why did you leave your previous job> Why do you want to leave your current role?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What motivates you most in work?
- Why and when did you become interested in finance? Do you have a personal investment portfolio?
- Is there anything about this job that makes you nervous?
- Why investment banking instead of Google?
Goldman Sachs' questions on why they should hire you
- Why should we hire you to work at Goldman Sachs?
- What is an asset that you'd bring to the team?
- Why do you think you are a good fit for this role?
- What is one characteristic you have that would prevent us from hiring you?
- What attributes do you have that will be a good fit for Goldman Sachs’ values?
- What would be your ideal company to work for? What attracted you to this company?
- How can you add value?
Goldman Sachs' questions on what you know about them
- Who is the CEO of Goldman Sachs?
- If you could recommend anything to the CEO, what would you recommend?
- What do you like the most about Goldman Sachs, and what do you dislike the most about our company?
- Who are our main competitors? Why should clients decide to co-operate with us, and not with them?
- Try to describe what we do in this division of Goldman Sachs.
- Can you describe our values? Can you describe our culture?
Goldman Sachs' questions on what you know about investment banking
- What is investment banking?
- What do you think are the requirements to make a good investment?
- What makes a good investment banker and how do you fit those traits?
- How can an investment bank add value?
Goldman Sachs' questions on your ethics
- You catch a friend cheating in an important exam. He’s on his last warning. What do you do?
- You find out a colleague acted on inside information. Both of you are new to the firm. What do you do?
- What would you do if you submitted paperwork to your superior and later realized you had made a mistake?
- If you were arrested for something you believed wasn’t wrong what would you do?
- What does integrity mean to you?
- What are the foundations of good business principles?
Goldman Sachs' questions on your client-focus
- At Goldman Sachs, we pride ourselves on delivering outstanding client service. Describe a time when you went above and beyond what was required for a client.
- Outstanding client service is important to everything we do here at Goldman Sachs. Tell me what you’d consider whilst communicating with our clients?
- How would you deal with a difficult client?
- A client asks you to make trade or transaction that you knew wouldn’t make them any profit but would in the long term be beneficial for the bank. What do you do?
- If you had a client that was upset about a situation that was out of your control and they threatened to take their business elsewhere, what would you do?
- How do you handle a client that goes against company policy?
- Sell me a phone.
Goldman Sachs' questions about your approach to teamwork
- You are new to the team and do not know anyone. What do you do to ensure work efficiency?
- How would you help team members ease into the job scope?
- Tell us about a time you had to help someone in a team who didn't understand what to do.
- How well do you work in a diverse team?
- Describe a situation when you had to adapt to a different culture.
- You work with someone senior and you disagree with them. What can you do to prove your point?
- How do you follow authority? How would you respond to a questionable command?
- Tell me about a time that you dealt with adversity in a team.
- What would you do if a team member does not listen to you? What if they repeatedly interrupted you in front of other staff?
- A team member isn't contributing. You confront them. They still don't contribute. What next?
- Are you a leader or a team member, and why?
- Tell me about a time you showed leadership.
- Can you tell me a time when you were in a team as a member and not as a leader?
- Would you apply to a senior position that requires more experience than what you currently have?
Generic questions on the financial climate/your knowledge of finance
- What key factors are currently influencing the currency market?
- What in your opinion led to the financial crisis?
- What’s the most interesting business idea you’ve ever heard about?
- Tell me about a transaction that you've been following recently.
- What challenges will the investment banking and financial services sector face over the forthcoming years?
- Discuss a current event that will impact business at Goldman Sachs.
- How do you keep your knowledge of the financial services and investment banking sector up to date?
- Describe how emerging tech fits into the current financial landscape.
Questions when you're applying to the investment banking division
- What are the three main ways of valuing companies?
- How do you value a company with no revenue or profit?
- How would you value an early stage start-up?
- Walk me through a DCF. What does a DCF do?
- Conduct a Paper LBO for a property.
- You have two companies with the same P/E ratio. What makes their EV/EBITDA different?
- What are the adjustments between EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA in a healthcare company?
- How do you get to free cash flow (FCF) from EBITDA?
- A non-profit company raises debt. How does it flow through the financial statements?
- What happens to the WACC of a company in debt?
- Walk me through accounting statements. How does depreciation effect statements?
- Explain depreciation.
- Tell me about a recent M&A transaction and what you think of it.
- Tell me about debt vs equity financing
- How do you determine if an acquisition is accretive or dilutive? Give p/e ratios.
- What is the effect on all three statements after a non-recurring impairment charge?
- How are financial statements affected in a merger?
- Why would a liquidation model be relevant right now?
- What do you know about uncleared margin?
- You have to choose between two contracts you can sign with a client. The first is a short-term contract that will bring Goldman Sachs $1 million in revenue after a year. The second is for long-term cooperation but will only bring us $100,000 each year. Which deal would you choose and why?
Questions when you're applying to the markets division
- What are the three key themes that UK markets will be focused on over the coming year?
- What worries you the most right now when you look at the stock market?
- What are the key market trends?
- How are currency wars effecting commodities?
- How oil is priced?
- How would you invest $10,000 right now?
- Tell me how you would analyse stocks in a portfolio.
- Pitch a long stock. Pitch a short stock.
- What’s the difference between a mutual fund and an ETF?
- Would you recommend S&P 500 to a client?
- Explain the options Greeks.
- What’s the difference between Put and Call options?
- Explain the assumptions behind the Black Scholes model.
- What's the Monte Carlo method for pricing options? How does it work?
- Pick one stochastic volatility model and explain its pros and cons.
- What is heteroskedasticity?
- Explain FIX tags used for trade flow?
- Do you have experience with Tableau?
- Please tell us about a recent private equity deal.
- If cost of equity increases how does the value of your company change?
- Why does the rise of interest rates affect bond prices?
- What is today's 10-year treasury bond returns?
- What do you understand by the term ‘financial risk’?
- Let's do a time series analysis of a stock where I have the past 100 ending prices. How do I evaluate my risk for this stock?
- What type of risk metrics would you use for a potential investment?
- Analyse a recent news event from a risk management perspective.
- What does beta tell us about systematic risk?
- What is VaR and how is it calculated?
- You have one asset with VaR $1 million and another with VaR $2 million - what would be the VaR of a portfolio of both assets?
Questions for technology and strats interviews
- How would you predict score in a one-day international cricket match given all the legacy data?
- Given an array denoting the radius of a circular pizza and an integer denoting the number of friends, calculate the largest slice that can be cut from the pizzas so that every friend gets a slice with the same area.
- Given a file containing data of student names and marks scored in 3 subjects find the list of students having the maximum average score.
- The N Queen problem.
- The 100 gold coins for 5 pirates puzzle. (https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/puzzle-20-5-pirates-and-100-gold-coins/)
- Can you give the definition of probability space? What is the definition of probability?
- Design a stack. Reverse a stack.
- Why is stack overflow called stack overflow?
- Given a set of time intervals in any order, merge all overlapping intervals into one and output the result with only mutually exclusive intervals.
- If 1 represents ‘A’, 2 represents ‘B’ etc. Given a digit sequence, count the number of possible decodings of the given digit sequence.
- Given a Binary Search Tree (BST) and a positive integer k, find the k’th largest element in the Binary Search Tree.
- Check if a Binary Tree is balanced.
- Determine whether a tree is BST or not.
- Given the Level Order Traversal of a Binary Tree reconstruct it into the respective binary tree.
- Minimum time to burn a Binary Tree starting from a Leaf node.
- How does HashMap work? What happens if you don’t override equals and hashcode methods for custom class?
- What is recursion?
- Walk me through a Fib Algorithm.
- What are the three pillars of Object Oriented Programming? Give real life examples.
- What is the difference between Tree and Graph?
- What is the Greedy method? Give 3 examples.
- Given a linked list, write a function to reverse every k node (where k is an input to the function).
- Delete elements from a linked list.
- What is the difference between linear search and binary search?
- Which is the best sorting technique, and why??
- How does Quick sort work?
- What is DBMS? What is primary key? What is foreign key?
- Talk me through the concept of inheritance in C++.
- Write the code for a factorial.
- The following Leetcode questions (https://leetcode.com/problemset/all/) have all occurred in recent Goldman Sachs interviews:
- High five
- Trapping rainwater
- Reaching points
- Minimum size subarray sum
- Last substring in lexographical order
- Shortest subarray with sum at least K
- Knight probability in chessboard
- Robot bounded by circle
- String compression
- Fraction to recurring decimal
- First unique character in a string
- Fraction addition and subtraction
- Median of two sorted arrays
- Game of life
- Delete and earn
- Design HashMap
- Group Anagrams
- Climbing stairs
- Remove comments
- Product of array except self
- Best time to buy and sell stock
- K-diff pairs in an array
- Find pivot index
- Count number of teams
- Longest word in dictionary through deleting
- Coin change
- Robot return to origin
- Palindromic substrings
- Number of provinces
- String to integer
- How far away is the moon?
- How many tennis balls can you fit into a Tesla?
- How many lightbulbs are there in the whole of the UK?
- Which number is closest to 27 squared: 600, 700, or 800?
- What is the square root of 3?
- A snail goes up 3 feet during the day and falls 1 foot at night. How long does it take the snail to go up 10 feet?
- How many times does the minute hand on the clock cross the hour hand in a day?
- How would you move a 30-story building across the Hudson river?
- How many lifts would you construct to service a 100-story building?
- Of 25 horses you need to find the fastest 3. You can race a maximum of 5 horses at a time to assess their relative speed but cannot determine the actual speed of any horse. How many races are required?
- We are given 9 balls and a balance weighing scale. If we know that 1 ball weighs more than the other 8 balls (of equal weight), how many minimum comparisons are needed to find the odd ball?
- There are three ants walking along the side of a triangle in any direction at the same speeds. What is the probability that any two of them will eventually collide? Generalize this probability for n ants.
- A flips n+1 coins and B flips n coins, what is the probability that A has more heads than B?
- Four friends need to cross a bridge at night. They have only one torch between them. The bridge is only strong enough to support two people at a time. Each friend takes a different amount of time to cross: 1 min, 2 mins, 7 mins and 10 mins respectively. What is the shortest time needed for all four of them to cross the bridge?
- The time 12:21 is a palindrome. What’s the shortest interval between two palindromic times?
- A flips n+1 coins and B flips n coins, what is the probability that A has more heads than B?
Questions sourced from: Glassdoor, GeeksforGeeks, Leetcode, Blind, Wall Street Oasis, Passmyinterview.com, Interview Penguin, Afzal Hussein, Primal Career.
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