Details on Goldman's New Analyst Policy

SECfinance's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 2,990

Haven't seen this posted yet:

As David Solomon discussed at last week's Americas IBD Townhall, several initiatives are being rolled out over the next few weeks/months that are designed to improve the junior banker experience. We are committed to implementing these initiatives to better enable our junior bankers to have successful and sustainable long term careers at the firm. We have summarized the key initiatives below.

Please note that the Saturday rule begins this weekend.
Please let your BUL/BUM know if you have staffing needs that require your junior banker(s) to be in the office from Friday 9pm through Sunday 9am. Going forward, please make sure you notify the BUL/BUM by 9am on Friday mornings.

* All analysts and associates are required to be out of the office from 9pm on Friday until 9am on Sunday (begins this weekend)
* If a junior banker needs a cultural, personal or religious exception to the Saturday rule (i.e. would like Sunday off instead) please post your BUL/BUM by 9am on Fridays
* If a team needs a professional exception to the Saturday rule (i.e. a junior banker needs to work on Saturday and/or the entire weekend), please email your BUL/BUM by 9am on Friday for approval. Please cc the team and state the business critical reason for the junior banker needing to work Saturday.
* Exceptions will not be the norm and should be used sparingly
* Exceptions will be tracked and reported to Exec Comm on a quarterly basis
* Work should not shift from office to home: junior bankers are not expected to log in from home and work. Junior bankers are still expected to check their blackberries on a regular basis over the weekend. The expectation is that work will not be assigned on Saturday to be completed Saturday.
* All analysts and associates are expected, and will be strongly encouraged, to take 3 weeks of vacation a year
* This should include at least one, but preferably two, protected one-week vacations
* Vacations will be tracked and reported on a quarterly basis
* All analysts, including new first year analysts, are expected to take time off (preferably one week) before the end of the year in an effort to focus on work-life balance

Thoughts?

Comments (72)

Nov 6, 2013

no shit work isn't assigned saturday due on saturday. usually due on monday morning and doesn't get looked at til tuesday

    • 1
Nov 6, 2013
pewpew123:

no shit work isn't assigned saturday due on saturday. usually due on monday morning and doesn't get looked at til tuesday

It says work should not be assigned on Saturday that should be completed on Saturday. That doesn't mean the pitch/project would be completed on saturday, but rather that you can't assign a part of the work to be done on Saturday (e.g. an MD requiring a turn to be done and given to him Saturday afternoon.)

Nov 6, 2013

Bonus = $5 deferred over 2 years

Nov 6, 2013
yeahright:

Bonus = $5 deferred over 2 years

http://i.qkme.me/3qt1sq.jpg

I don't know how to embed

Nov 9, 2013
yeahright:

Bonus = $5 deferred over 2 years

Made my day!
I think it's a good move but seems almost impossible to implement. Are junior bankers just Analysts or Associates as well?

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Nov 6, 2013

Comp is a comin' down. I mean it's not like they'll stop getting 10k apps for every spot or whatever ridiculous number it was. Either that, or getting a FO job at The Goldman Sachs is going to get even harder. I can't tell you how many really sharp guys I know that didn't want to be finance slaves.

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

Nov 6, 2013

GS analysts aren't going to see much of the NFL.

Nov 6, 2013

I'm not following. NFL?

EDIT: oh, because they'll be working throughout Sunday Night Football?

    • 1
Nov 6, 2013
NYKnicks92:

I'm not following. NFL?

EDIT: oh, because they'll be working throughout Sunday Night Football?

Yea. I feel like this policy takes away a lot of flexibility from junior guys. My old roommate used to go in late Saturday mornings and get all his stuff done (if possible) so that he could relax on Sundays and watch football. Seems like that isn't really an option anymore.

Nov 15, 2013
NYKnicks92:

I'm not following. NFL?

EDIT: oh, because they'll be working throughout Sunday Night Football?

Jesus.

Nov 6, 2013
duffmt6:

GS analysts aren't going to see much of the NFL.

You can just get a religious exception. You worship at the altar of football.

Nov 18, 2013

Solution: DirecTV's Sunday Ticket (full disclosure: I am not receiving any form of compensation for the plug). They offer ~30-min. compressed versions of all the games, and it's probably even better than watching live because they cut out all the BS.

That being said, the trouble I think lies with actually finding 30 minutes to spare to watch a game when you're working 80+ hours.

Nov 6, 2013

Really sad.

I'm bi-winning. I win here, and I win there.

Nov 6, 2013

Comp is already lower at GS than the strongest rivals. "GS discount" rings true.

Nov 6, 2013

If their goal is to retain the best people, I think this is an improvement but doesn't solve the underlying issue. The bottomline is that banking work at the analyst level simply isn't that interesting. I work at Twitter now and I'm excited to get in the office everyday, whereas back in my banking days the excitement lasted may be for the first three months. Then everything else we've come to hate (e.g. getting sick, sleeping under the desk, mind-numbing comps update) eventually caught up with me.

One thing that could motivate analysts is to bestow them with more industry/product knowledge and REALLY teach them how to think on a strategic level. Coming from a non-technical background, I worked in TMT and had very shallow knowledge on the space, even after training. Even Associates had trouble distinguishing between application and infrastructure software, and no analysts had a thorough understanding of what the hell Virtualization / Cloud Computing was.

While I can put cross-selling and market share as synergies, the best tech companies acquire another for product reasons: how they can control the platform and the choke points in the next tech revolution. This stuff is what makes the job interesting IMO, not flushing comps, stressing over the over-complicated, minute operating assumptions models, or pushing images around in Powerpoint.

My grasp of the industry were never this strong until I took the plunge to do my own startup and move on to work at Twitter.

Nov 9, 2013

Solid post man. I totally agree with you that the problem is systemic and not just the weekend work.

Nov 9, 2013

This is interesting. I believe it is an overall good initiative. The objective is to develop career bankers rather than have a churn and burn culture. This is the right step. Hopefully more professional development will be invested in analysts if the idea is to retain them. My only hope is that this doesn't just shift the hours even further into the weekdays. If senior guys start requesting turns by Friday morning instead of Monday morning, that could be quite painful.

However, I suspect the hours will continue to be poor until they fundamentally change the way banks do business. Senior bankers want everything done "yesterday," and they promise the clients the moon and expect analysts to produce it. I'm hopeful this will improve over time.

    • 1
Nov 9, 2013
CompBanker:

This is interesting. I believe it is an overall good initiative. The objective is to develop career bankers rather than have a churn and burn culture. This is the right step. Hopefully more professional development will be invested in analysts if the idea is to retain them. My only hope is that this doesn't just shift the hours even further into the weekdays. If senior guys start requesting turns by Friday morning instead of Monday morning, that could be quite painful.

However, I suspect the hours will continue to be poor until they fundamentally change the way banks do business. Senior bankers want everything done "yesterday," and they promise the clients the moon and expect analysts to produce it. I'm hopeful this will improve over time.

Exactly. I don't see how this is going to change anything. Maybe they won't be in the office, but they'll be working from home. And if not on Saturday, then definitely on Sunday. It starts at the top, and it'll likely require everyone in the industry to make a change to level the playing field. I imagine it'd be hard for GS to compete if they stop promising things "yesterday" while MS and JPM continue to do so.

Nov 15, 2013

I agree. Also if they created the churn and burn culture to save money on SG&A they could outsource to Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Texas ect. instead.

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Nov 9, 2013

I think this is a very good initiative. All the talent used to want to go to banking, now it's a much tougher sell - horror stories that we all know of or have personally lived (i.e. no days out of the office for a 6 months stretch...) have permeated down the ranks to college kids. Also kids always want to leave when they get there, and part of that is the W/L balance angle.

I personally believe this is a strong move, showing leadership by a leading firm. I bet other firms will follow soonish - at least the big ones.

Nov 9, 2013

When I saw this for the first time I thought this was a joke or prank or something. What I find even more surprising though is the responses in this thread. You guys actually seem to be taking this seriously.

How on earth is Goldman going to have a policy that their juniors shouldnt work on the weekends? Firstly working on the weekends is just the nature of the industry and secondly, part of the reason Goldman are the "the best" is because hours-wise they supposedly push their juniors harder than everywhere else (or at least harder than most other banks). There is no way Goldman can go soft on its juniors and still stay top of the street.

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.

Nov 9, 2013

the real question is whether other banks follow suit. this could be interesting.

agree with CompBanker that the real issue is adjusting client expectations but there are so many fluff/wasted hours in a junior banker's week that a little more efficiency can easily make up for fewer hours without compromising work quality or timelines.

Nov 9, 2013
DoubleBottomLine:

the real question is whether other banks follow suit. this could be interesting.

agree with CompBanker that the real issue is adjusting client expectations but there are so many fluff/wasted hours in a junior banker's week that a little more efficiency can easily make up for fewer hours without compromising work quality or timelines.

i feel like my bank will probably see this as an opportunity and work us even harder. ha.

Nov 9, 2013
kidflash:
DoubleBottomLine:

the real question is whether other banks follow suit. this could be interesting.

agree with CompBanker that the real issue is adjusting client expectations but there are so many fluff/wasted hours in a junior banker's week that a little more efficiency can easily make up for fewer hours without compromising work quality or timelines.

i feel like my bank will probably see this as an opportunity and work us even harder. ha.

there's a good chance it doesn't catch on but it easily could. i think it certainly forces BAML to seriously consider something similar after this summer. i would guess that all banks are internally discussing this.

Nov 9, 2013

Great initiative, makes me a little dubious on the other offer I took over GS. This had already been implemented in a couple of GS's groups (healthcare, consumers) successfully, so I see no reason that this can't be extended IBD-wide.

Nov 9, 2013

Man, they are going to eff you some other way so hard. This is just a real excuse for them to say "hey we never work you Saturday at least".

Not sure, why people think working less hours = lower bonus. Giving 1/day off a week does not change the profitable motivation of the bank, just means people will have to manage their time better, same amount of work just divide by 6.

I agree with the other user, have a friend who was at a bank whos MD did not like to crush him on Saturdays but still went in all the time to get stuff done and be able to watch football sundays, maybe going out monday night, since he was not dead tired staying up all sunday night and so on. This basically takes away that flexibility.

Nov 10, 2013

I think your first paragraph answers the question you raise in the second. We all understand that bankers aren't paid by the hour (or day), but put yourself in management's shoes. If you had an intention of bringing comp down (or maybe just keeping it flat for the forseeable future), policies like this could be a considered a good way to preempt some of the inevitable backlash.

Then again you may be right, and it may just be compensation-obsessed paranoia.

Nov 9, 2013

I've heard from people in other groups that have done this that the ~8ish hours you would work on Saturday are pretty much just added to the rest of the week, so you're in the office until 4 instead of 2 M-Th

Nov 11, 2013
Slash-Finance:

I've heard from people in other groups that have done this that the ~8ish hours you would work on Saturday are pretty much just added to the rest of the week, so you're in the office until 4 instead of 2 M-Th

You can only operate on 3 hours of sleep for so long though. May be necessary during a tough process, but unlikely everyone in the group will be working until 4am everyday.

More interesting is how associates feel about this? I mean, they are overworked too, but are losing the cushion of having Sunday to redo Saturday's work that needs to go out Monday.

Nov 10, 2013

I'll believe it when I see it.

Nov 11, 2013

Does anybody know how this has been received in GS HC? Do analysts like the policy? Does it actually force MDs to reduce bullshit deadlines/work?

dollas

Nov 11, 2013
SECfinance:

* All analysts and associates are required to be out of the office from 9pm on Friday until 9am on Sunday (begins this weekend)

This means that analysts are guaranteed a 36-hour furlough every week (supposedly). But even if we accept this as true, that still leaves 132 hours left in the week....better get cracking boys, those comps aren't going to do themselves.

Nov 11, 2013

Comp in the industry has already come down, and I'm firmly of the belief that sooner or later that has to translate to lower expectations for analysts/associates (you pay less, you get less). I don't think this necessarily means lower bonuses in the future, i think it's an effort to stem attrition that has resulted from the lower comp. Everybody who works in banking knows there is work that gets done that never goes to clients, or that clients don't care about. If you can cut out as much of this as possible, you can make the analyst/associate life substantially better without any real cost to the firm. Does that mean you'll never work on a Saturday? Of course not. It might mean you'll never (or almost never) work on a Saturday putting together a presentation or analysis that the client doesn't want.

Nov 11, 2013

Wow, something tangible.

This is a very concerted marketing effort by GS. They're apparently desperate to avoid losing analysts to other firms on their reputation of working folks to the bone and the reduced pay for IBD/finance these days.

I'd like to see how this policy is implemented and whether analysts notice anything in their schedules AFTER all of the FT hire responses are in.

Nov 11, 2013

have a good friend who summered at a top GS group this summer and will be returning for FT. according to him, senior guys are pretty damn serious about this new policy and the principles behind it.

Nov 11, 2013

I believe it's a sincere move that could give an edge to GS if they really manage to improve the lives of analysts. Indeed, if they can keep analysts over the long term they can ensure a quality pipeline into senior banker positions, rather than having to look at other firms for their recruitment.

Furthermore, a point that has been overlooked so far in this discussion is the fact that GS is putting an end to 2-years contracts for Analysts and instead giving them real career work contracts. That seems to me to be a move confirming their stated goals.

Nov 11, 2013

It's funny. First time I read this i didn't realize that it went until Sunday at 9 AM and not PM. Don't get too blasted Saturday night.

Nov 12, 2013

Yes, the policy essentially gives you a safe Friday night and some time in the sunshine on Saturday. Emails have a nasty tendency to begin stacking up on Saturday night.

Nov 12, 2013

I wonder how buyside firms will perceive this and whether this will affect how they view GS IBD when it comes to recruiting. GS TMT and FIG have always had a rep for good placement on the buyside, but does that change now? I'm sure the quality of the actual deal experience for these analysts won't change much, but how much do buyside firms value the ability to crank?

Nov 15, 2013
design:

I wonder how buyside firms will perceive this and whether this will affect how they view GS IBD when it comes to recruiting. GS TMT and FIG have always had a rep for good placement on the buyside, but does that change now? I'm sure the quality of the actual deal experience for these analysts won't change much, but how much do buyside firms value the ability to crank?

I can't imagine the buyside is going to give a rats ass about this. You're still cranking 6 days a week.

    • 1
Nov 15, 2013
LHDan:
design:

I wonder how buyside firms will perceive this and whether this will affect how they view GS IBD when it comes to recruiting. GS TMT and FIG have always had a rep for good placement on the buyside, but does that change now? I'm sure the quality of the actual deal experience for these analysts won't change much, but how much do buyside firms value the ability to crank?

I can't imagine the buyside is going to give a rats ass about this. You're still cranking 6 days a week.

The Saturdays off isn't gonna make a difference, but what could hurt is the expanded analyst class. Goldman hired an extra 40-something first years, which potentially dilutes the brand the line. (could not will.)

Nov 12, 2013

Its a novel concept... but I just don't buy that such a tectonic shift in investment banking culture can be implemented system-wide like this.

The first think... people immediately have this sense of 'you think this is bad, you have no idea what it was like when I was an analyst'. For whatever reason, senior bankers have a bias when looking back on their own experience. It was always worse. They were more proactive, more thick skinned, harder working etc. And the new generation is soft and pampered. So its not hard to imagine implicit push back on this 'perversion' and softening of Wall Street culture.

Senior people actually take pride in the brutality of the lifestyle and respect those that eat backhoes full of shit with a smile on their face. Its part of 'paying your dues' in their eyes.

My guess is that administratively people will buy into this new work-life standard... but there will be expectations where if you read between the lines... it will probably get better but will still be rough. Now they'll just expect you to complete 24 hours worth of work on Sunday, which is impossible... so what will these eager to please analysts do... they'll just fly under the radar and crank out 12 hours of this work Fri-Sat.

Imagine your boss tells you... come in on Sunday and do X Y and Z... how likely is it that the analyst says "well can you submit a formal weekend exception request, because it will probably require more than just Sunday."

The mandatory vacation would be phenomenal though.

Nov 12, 2013

Would love to see a VP's response to the first analyst who tells him that he can't do comps until Sunday morning.

Nov 12, 2013
LBJ's hair:

Would love to see a VP's response to the first analyst who tells him that he can't do comps until Sunday morning.

'have your shit out the office before i get in on monday'

Nov 15, 2013
kidflash:
LBJ's hair:

Would love to see a VP's response to the first analyst who tells him that he can't do comps until Sunday morning.

'have your shit out the office before i get in on monday'

It's not that easy. Would certainly make VPs lives easier if it were, and you can hurt somebody's comp if you hold grudges long term, but generally, especially if there was a big push around the policy, they would have to either go get an MD to back them if it is actually necessary or just let it go.

Nov 12, 2013

My group has a similar policy. The senior guys take it very seriously and it's been well-received. Sunday's are a little busier, but it's nice to know you'll have one free day each week to do whatever you want.

Nov 15, 2013

can someone please review my resume ? :) I am trying to get some feedback sorry I know this is the wrong place to be posting this but I really would like some feedback

Best Response
Nov 16, 2013

I find it hilarious how many people say it's a PR move. I'm an analyst at GS and was a bit skeptical at first, especially when I thought "great, now instead of working 4 hours on Saturday and 4 on Sunday, I'll have to work 8 on Sunday." However, so far it has been great. Tonight was a perfect example. Was working on a team that went live today, but was out by 9pm. Whole floor was gone.

It's easy to be jaded and think everything and everyone is disingenuous, but from repeatedly hearing this message straight from the horse's mouth, I honestly think David Solomon, Lloyd Blankfein, and others at the senior level REALLY care about this. All their kids are about 22 / 23 now and Lloyd / David are starting to realize that if they wouldn't wish this lifestyle on their kids, then why are they doing it to others' kids.

It's obviously not 100% motivated by a desire to do good though. What's really driving it GS prides itself on having the best people, and if these allegedly best people just keep going to Blackstone and KKR every year, then before long, GS will no longer have the best people.

Also, all this stuff about GS bonuses being low baffles me. I have friends across the street and GS' bonuses are very much on the high end. Additionally, GS groups tend to place better, and everyone knows the payoff of banking isn't the two years, but what comes after when you're at Maverick / Carlyle / KKR (or doing what you actually love after being burnt out)

    • 2
Nov 16, 2013
DubStreet:

I find it hilarious how many people say it's a PR move. I'm an analyst at GS and was a bit skeptical at first, especially when I thought "great, now instead of working 4 hours on Saturday and 4 on Sunday, I'll have to work 8 on Sunday." However, so far it has been great. Tonight was a perfect example. Was working on a team that went live today, but was out by 9pm. Whole floor was gone.

It's easy to be jaded and think everything and everyone is disingenuous, but from repeatedly hearing this message straight from the horse's mouth, I honestly think David Solomon, Lloyd Blankfein, and others at the senior level REALLY care about this. All their kids are about 22 / 23 now and Lloyd / David are starting to realize that if they wouldn't wish this lifestyle on their kids, then why are they doing it to others' kids.

It's obviously not 100% motivated by a desire to do good though. What's really driving it GS prides itself on having the best people, and if these allegedly best people just keep going to Blackstone and KKR every year, then before long, GS will no longer have the best people.

Also, all this stuff about GS bonuses being low baffles me. I have friends across the street and GS' bonuses are very much on the high end. Additionally, GS groups tend to place better, and everyone knows the payoff of banking isn't the two years, but what comes after when you're at Maverick / Carlyle / KKR (or doing what you actually love after being burnt out)

+1

Finally....thanks for the comment. Was getting annoyed by all the BS that was being posted.

Nov 16, 2013

Seriously? This dude is drinking the kool-aid with a funnel.

You can tell how green he is by the fact that he thinks that a corporate policy could be motivated by the top brass "really caring about you".

Although I do think its stupid to immediately chalk it up to PR. As if overworking their analysts is a top PR concern for GS.

Some of what he says is true though... my view is its motivated by GS wanting to retain more of their junior people. As it stands now the post-2 year junior ranks are being filled by (a) kids who weren't good enough to get a buyside offer or (b) kids who paid $200k so they could get an MBA degree and BB associate interviews.

I think the benefit of this arrangement will skew towards females who put in a few years in banking and their longer term goals are to do something much more moderate, as getting married and starting a family becomes a priority. A lot of very sharp girls won't do a banking-type lifestyle for more than a few years because its very difficult to focus on non-work priorities. This new arrangement gives those chicks an option since its not all consuming... so maybe they'll stick around at GS instead of going to a start-up, HR, investor relations... or even 2 years buyside and then any of those less intense alternatives. Not a bad career track for women who currently don't find the long-term prospects of a banking lifestyle palatable.

Nov 16, 2013
DubStreet:

everyone knows the payoff of banking isn't the two years, but what comes after when you're at Maverick / Carlyle / KKR (or doing what you actually love after being burnt out)

C'mon you don't wanna work for Lee.

Nov 17, 2013
BlackHat:
DubStreet:

everyone knows the payoff of banking isn't the two years, but what comes after when you're at Maverick / Carlyle / KKR (or doing what you actually love after being burnt out)

C'mon you don't wanna work for Lee.

MavRank baby, MavRank

Nov 16, 2013

didn't GS announce that they'd eliminate all bonuses for IBD SA's? (incentive to not jump ship after 2 years)

Nov 16, 2013
she_monkey:

didn't GS announce that they'd eliminate all bonuses for IBD SA's? (incentive to not jump ship after 2 years)

That doesn;t make any sense. Summer analysts don't get bonuses, and how would eliminating a bonus prevent people from jumping ship?

Nov 17, 2013
duffmt6:
she_monkey:

didn't GS announce that they'd eliminate all bonuses for IBD SA's? (incentive to not jump ship after 2 years)

That doesn;t make any sense. Summer analysts don't get bonuses, and how would eliminating a bonus prevent people from jumping ship?

shoot... major typo. i mean IBD *analysts*. I thought a year ago some headline (and therefore, posts here) came about about how GS will no longer pay bonuses to first&second year analysts, as a way to lure them to stay on for the long term.

only article i can seem to find now...
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB100008723963...

"We think the historic two-year program is no longer the best approach for hiring and developing the careers of analysts in our banking and investment-management divisions," said the Goldman spokesman. "Making this change allows us to emphasize the longer-term career opportunities available at the firm."

Nov 16, 2013

ha it seems GS is forcing analysts to take a day off....

Nov 16, 2013

^ $200k MBA degrees? Who charges that type of tuition (even if u include room @ board) for 2 years? A business education is no med school.

In terms of the bigger picture, i can't tell if this is a PR campaign or one to actually retain talent. My gut feeling is that it is the latter, especially because the cost isn't so great. And I may be flamed for this but Goldman no longer holds the prestige it once did... I think the theme is consistent across the industry.

Nov 16, 2013

I'm pretty sure the chances of a large investment firm instituting a policy that's motivated by the well being and good health of its employees to be 0/1. It's time to wake up and smell the coffee, folks. Also I'm a little surprised that people actually take the drivel that comes out of senior management's mouths seriously.

Nov 16, 2013

Is this the direction the industry will be looking to go for the long-term?

Nov 16, 2013
Comment
Nov 17, 2013