In late 2009, Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein planted the company flag in a sector that wasn’t the firm’s main focus: wealth management.
“That should be bigger than it is,” he said of the unit at the time. Goldman has been methodically adding people since, and has been crawling up the rankings.
Goldman’s wealth management team still isn’t near the size of those at banks like UBS or J.P. Morgan – employing private wealth managers in the hundreds, not thousands – but it is hiring, particularly at the MBA level.
We caught up with Kate Martuscello, head of MBA recruiting for Goldman’s private wealth management division, to get a better idea of what you need to get the job.
Outside of an MBA degree, what skills or qualifications do candidates need to be considered?
Our new private wealth management hires have very diverse backgrounds. Some come from finance, others are former teachers, athletes and people from the armed forces, as well as many other backgrounds. We don’t look for a cookie-cutter background. Rather, we want to see skills that are transferable to private wealth management. An entrepreneurial spirit and a history of building and developing businesses are looked at favorably, as are proven client management skills.
Candidates don’t necessarily need to have a professional finance background, but they need an interest and passion for finance and investing. For example, participating in an investing club at school shows initiative.
Do you recruit mostly out of business schools ranked in the top 10?
While we employ a number of alumni from those schools, we often recruit from institutions outside the top 10. Our recruiting process isn’t tied to select schools. In Private Wealth Management, we recruit at a number of schools across the US, including schools in the regions that we have offices for potential candidates. For example, for our Dallas office we recruit at SMU-Cox and University of Texas - McCombs.
Goldman is known for a notoriously long interview process. Is it the same for PWM?
Generally speaking, the process is two rounds of interviews. The first round is either on campus or over the phone. The second round is in the regional office of their preference. The second round varies in terms of how many people candidates will speak to, but yes, they’ll speak to a number of people, including current private wealth advisors and the management team.
What kind of questions do you ask candidates in interviews?
Overall, we evaluate their knowledge and skills related to two main areas: business development and investing. We want to hear about their ability to identify and close clients, along with their entrepreneurial spirit. In terms of commerciality and investing, you don’t need to be an expert but you need a natural interest. We also spend a lot of time evaluating communication skills.
Do you assess a candidate’s ability to generate assets from their personal network?
It’s less of who they know and more about how they go about the process of building and leveraging their networks to create business. We want to hear their thoughts on how they would build a business in their region over the long-term.
Are there any cover letter and resume errors that often you see?
One mistake is leaving information off their resume because they don’t see how it applies to financial services. We want to see school and work experience, but we also want to see what you are passionate about outside of work and academia. We understand students use templates when writing cover letters, but you have to find ways to differentiate yourself.
Any specific pieces of advice for prospective candidates?
The greatest piece of advice is to be proactive. Approach the process like you are a private wealth adviser and pretend you are looking to land a client. Prepare for the process, network with alumni and proactively reach out other professionals in private wealth. Also be yourself. If you don’t showcase your true interests, you ultimately won’t end up in the right role.
Take me through the first six months for new hires.
We have a very robust training program. New PWAs will participate in classroom training in New York to build the appropriate skill-sets. Then they go to regional offices for more training. In the first six months they will work to earn client meetings and build their own business, but will also partner with experienced Private Wealth Advisors who have been in the business for years.
Tell us about your hiring plans
Hiring numbers vary each year, but demand for talent in this area is growing. We remain focused on hiring MBAs who will contribute to growing the PWM business.