Who: Alex Viviano
Major: Spanish and McCombs Business Foundations
Internship: Operations Analyst at Goldman Sachs
Q: What did you do during your internship?
A: The summer before my senior year, I worked as an Operations Analyst at Goldman Sachs. Many people think that everyone that works there is a trader or stock broker, but there is actually a massive team of people behind those functions. My particular role was to analyze processes and work on improving them, or try to create completely new ones that improved efficiency. The work was highly project-based and involved me working in teams, which was a great experience as that is something that I will be doing in my upcoming job.
Q: What was the environment like there?
A: The environment was very professional. I was surrounded by a group of diverse, yet highly-ambitious people, something that blended well with my personality. I enjoyed the formality of the workplace environment, as in my opinion, the U.S. has become a slightly more relaxed business culture in terms of dressing and workplace interaction. I think the formal culture at GS helped me get more of a sense of what the rest of the world is like, specifically Europe and Asia. As I hope to work outside the U.S. one day, I found this experience to be particularly valuable.
Q: What is something you learned?
A: I thought that the internship gave me great experience in honing my communication skills, working on projects on teams, and giving me an opportunity to use Microsoft Excel to work with data.
Q: Is there anything you wish you had known before taking the job?
A: I think GS did an excellent job preparing us for what was ahead, which is another benefit of working with a prestigious firm. It was an experience that I feel lucky to have had, and something that I would highly recommend to those looking to develop meaningful work experience while still in school.
Q: Do you have any advice for college students who are looking for internships and jobs?
- People say that it’s harder these days to find internships, but I think that due to the internet, it’s actually easier. It’s also very easy to research a lot of companies and industries in a relatively short period of time.
- A lot of people get stuck is in figuring out exactly what they want to do. That’s normal. When in doubt, start trying things. I had 6 internships in college in a wide variety of industries and environments. These experiences helped to teach me what I wanted, and more importantly, what I didn’t want from my career.
- The more internships I accumulated on my resume, the better opportunities I got. Some of my earlier internships were not “glamour” positions, but I learned a lot and developed valuable skill-sets, which helped open doors to some of the more exclusive companies.
- If you need help, get help. You’re young and you don’t know everything. Find people that do and ask them questions. This is your future we’re talking about here, so it’s something to be taken seriously. Finding mentors, career coaches, and talking to parents and family friends can help you learn about what’s out there and what steps you can take to reach your objectives.