Offer decision: GS or GOOG SA

Wondering if I can get some opinions on this decision.

I go to a state school on the east coast, I've grown up on the east coast and never been to California. I am pretty comfortable with NYC and my family is relatively close.

I have 2 offers I am considering, but don't have much time to decide.

GS New York in a middle office Risk Management role supporting IBD. This would be at 200 West, their very nice headquarters.

Google BOLD program in Mountainview at the Googleplex. Role is as a Financial Analytics Analyst. Diversity program.

Thoughts? More info below

These are for summer analyst between Junior and Senior year
Two great names and great companies, I know lots of people at both companies.
I have a strong network at GS, and many of my friends would be living in the city as well.
I am a finance major, and ideally I'd like to continue in financial services.

GS pays more, but has worse quality of life
Google has a 1 hour commute via bus every day from San Fran to Mountain View
I think the work at GS would be more interesting, but life at Google is hard to beat. Both firms offer good mobility within the firm if I chose to move to a different division.

I have been having a lot of trouble with this decision, so any input would be helpful.
Thanks

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Comments (91)

Jan 30, 2012 - 4:12pm

I'd go to Google.

The BOLD program sets you up to be a product manager after graduation, which is an awesome job at a company that looks incredible for grad school. Plus Google has pretty great perks, the Bay Area is really nice, etc etc. And diversity program = networking opportunities. They're gonna make it easy for you. Honestly, I'd consider Google over some SA i-banking positions.

GS Risk is middle office. You're at GS, but...you're in risk.

If you're determined to stay in finance, I guess you could make a case for GS. But if we're just comparing summer jobs, I think this is a no-brainer.

Jan 30, 2012 - 4:15pm

Google...all the way. GS may get mad love, but risk management is not even comparable to a role at Google. It would be questionable if it was IBD, but you could always go to GS IBD after the BOLD program, but the reverse or even going from RM --->IBD would be hard.

Reality hits you hard, bro...
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Jan 30, 2012 - 5:17pm
Whiskey5:
GOOG then recruit FT for investment banking. MO won't look as good on your resume, especially if you're a junior.

This...and to comment on the idiot who said that Google FO is better---> there is no such thing as google fo

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Jan 30, 2012 - 4:38pm

Google for sure. Echo the above statement, get a place closer to their offices rather than live in SF.

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." Theodore Roosevelt
Jan 30, 2012 - 4:52pm

Live in SF, the google bus stops on Van Ness I think I takes you down for free, they even have wifi and food I heard ... Nobody young who works at google lives in Mountainview or near it, they all move to SF as soon as they figure it out.

Jan 30, 2012 - 5:33pm

If I could get a job at GOOG I wouldn't be trying to do banking.

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
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Jan 30, 2012 - 6:08pm

GOOG, no question. I had a similar scenario back in the day (late 90's, I'm old). I grew up in the midwest, went to school in the midwest, had internship offers in Chicago more in line with what I thought I wanted to do, but landed offers at Intel and Microsoft (Santa Clara and Mountain View, respectively). I was the same - had never been to California, had no idea what to expect. I rolled the dice, on the advice of some people in my life that I respect very much, and chose the Intel gig. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I linked up with a few other interns from other uni's, we shared an apartment in San Jose (in retrospect, we maybe should have stayed in SF because we were up there every weekend anyway). Let's put it this way - you might never want to go back home.

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Jan 30, 2012 - 6:35pm

Wow, I didn't expect this kind of response, I expected WSO to say I was foolish to consider rejecting GS. I do like Google's people better honestly. The only thing I'm worried about is the work at google. I want to emphasize I am not an engineer, I do not code, and the position will be non cs, it will be financial analyst, so the first comment about becoming a project manager is less likely.

Does this change any of the above opinions?

Jan 30, 2012 - 6:58pm

Nope. Doesn't change a thing. Always keep in mind that what you study in school is like the first 1% of what you eventually learn over the years of being on the job. Just because you haven't been exposed to something at school yet doesn't mean you won't eventually encounter it, and later go on to apply it in your work life.

  • 1
Jan 30, 2012 - 8:27pm

Still Google. Honestly, I wouldn't give a shit if it was GS IB either. Google is a really good opportunity to work in a cool environment and will open more doors for you post graduation. It will look better for b school down the road and gives you a different perspective than the cookie cutter i-bank.

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." Theodore Roosevelt
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Jan 30, 2012 - 8:44pm

google is sick as hell, and you'll have an awesome summer. if you're worried about the commute, you can live in Mountain View or Palo Alto, but I guarantee that you won't regret spending the summer living in SF.

i had a roommate here in Palo Alto who did the bold program last summer, and he had a blast. he probably would have enjoyed living in SF more, that is if he wasn't so preoccupied with the motorcycle he bought to keep him company during his free time (that you'll have considerably less of at GS)

Jan 30, 2012 - 8:57pm

GS. If you want to be in finance, take the shortest route. Risk Management? I think understanding risk is the most important aspect in Finance. Making money is about measuring and taking appropriate risk.
On the other hand, I am not knowledge about the risk group you are with, supporting Investment Banking Division.

Jan 30, 2012 - 9:00pm
GekkotheGreat:
GS. If you want to be in finance, take the shortest route. Risk Management? I think understanding risk is the most important aspect in Finance. Making money is about measuring and taking appropriate risk.
On the other hand, I am not knowledge about the risk group you are with, supporting Investment Banking Division.

wtf

Jan 31, 2012 - 1:02am
go.with.the.flow:
GekkotheGreat:
GS. If you want to be in finance, take the shortest route. Risk Management? I think understanding risk is the most important aspect in Finance. Making money is about measuring and taking appropriate risk.
On the other hand, I am not knowledge about the risk group you are with, supporting Investment Banking Division.

wtf

GOOGLE!!!!
you still mad? :)

Jan 30, 2012 - 9:08pm

go to Google and then try your hardest to get me an internship there ha...

but seriously...

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough. "There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.
Jan 30, 2012 - 9:51pm

Google. Here's the reason why: you are going to be working with Analytics. Analytics and Big Data are the next great frontier in computing and the next big thing(s). Analytics is still developing and is on the cusp of something big. If you can learn how to work with analytics software, your resume will be gold.

Run with Google and don't look back.

Jan 31, 2012 - 12:20am
Banker88:
Wow so surprised how everyone here says Google. If you want to do finance, I say GS. If you just want a good job and nice lifestyle, then Google.

I'd wager that ~70% of people in finance just want a good job/lifestyle somewhere down the road. Finance is just the safest path to that goal.

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
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Jan 31, 2012 - 9:14am
SECfinance:
Banker88:
Wow so surprised how everyone here says Google. If you want to do finance, I say GS. If you just want a good job and nice lifestyle, then Google.

I'd wager that ~70% of people in finance just want a good job/lifestyle somewhere down the road. Finance is just the safest path to that goal.

Safest path to that goal? Have you read the news lately bro? I think most people in finance are in it for the potential big bucks down the road, and the ability to make more money faster without having to go to law school or med school, etc.

Jan 31, 2012 - 10:35am
Banker88:
SECfinance:
Banker88:
Wow so surprised how everyone here says Google. If you want to do finance, I say GS. If you just want a good job and nice lifestyle, then Google.

I'd wager that ~70% of people in finance just want a good job/lifestyle somewhere down the road. Finance is just the safest path to that goal.

Safest path to that goal? Have you read the news lately bro? I think most people in finance are in it for the potential big bucks down the road, and the ability to make more money faster without having to go to law school or med school, etc.

What do you propose is a safer path as an entry-level employee? Just curious. Maybe my percentage is a little high, I'll give you that. I should also clarify that I mean for analysts. Obviously associates are in it for the longer haul.

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
  • 2
Jan 30, 2012 - 10:17pm

I think Google would yield a far better quality of life...I mean, Google is the dream company of our generation.

BUT - I've heard that the Google FA program is for those who weren't able to land BB internships... obviously this is a generalization, but the notion is out there for sure. I think you'd find yourself of much higher caliber than those around you at Google, but this probably wouldn't be the case at GS.

What an excellent predicament to be in - the two most respected company names in the world.

But yeah - if you want to do finance...why wouldn't you work for GS? Let's be honest with ourselves?

Jan 30, 2012 - 10:36pm

You can always get into finance later on. Google is a rare opportunity. It will also be more interesting to talk about during interviews should you decide to go down another path.

Array
Jan 30, 2012 - 11:03pm

Beating a dead horse here but GOOG is the answer.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Jan 30, 2012 - 11:27pm

Ah wow I had no idea this would get so much attention. Yeah the thing about gs, and why I was initially leaning towards gs was because my network within the firm is pretty strong that I think I could move to IBD if I performed well in risk, I was interviewed for GS IBD, went to accelerated superday in December and it just didn't work out. GS would be closer to my family, and my friends would be over here so I could visit/hang with them.

Google just feels like I'd be leaving so much behind over here, and I'm really unsure if I'd like the west coast honestly. And I initially thought that Google Finance was not at all comparable to a role in Google strategy or product management. But I realize that it is an amazing opportunity that I likely will never again have....

Jan 30, 2012 - 11:29pm

And would MBA's really view Financial Analyst as being that impressive? Google does offer a ton of mobility, so I could experience a year of marketing or a year abroad or sales for a year and get a ton of breadth to craft a killer mba app, but I feel like i might learn more at gs in terms of technical skills and honestly professional development.

Jan 31, 2012 - 1:11am

Google opens more doors. GS is a sinking ship, fuck that place, take the GOOG offer and don't look back.

Jan 31, 2012 - 2:27am

I'd say GOOG as well, and it's not even close over a middle office position.

One thing to consider is that this is only for 3 months of your life. Part of the point of internships is to try something new and figure out what you want to do post graduation. Take a risk and do something that is out of your comfort zone. You can always get a full time position back in NYC, if you don't like the West coast experience, but maybe you like it so much that you end up out there long term. An internship with GOOG will open up plenty of full time recruiting opportunities in IB or really anywhere else that you'd want to go.

I could actually see a convincing argument that you would have a better shot at GS IB full time coming from GOOG versus GS MO.

  • 2
Jan 31, 2012 - 4:40am

Google, no-brainer since the GS position is in MO.
I think it will be much easier to explain why you choose google than to explain why you were not able to get a FO job in your junior year.
Then, as other people already said, it is just a 3 months internship and if you don't like the West Coast you can still move back and find a good job in NYC. Btw, this is probably the best chance you can get to try new things and live in new places and recruiters like this kind of experiences.
Finally, If I had to interview you for an IBD position I would prefer to talk about your summer job at Google in California than to talk about what you did at GS Risk.
PS: I'm pretty sure you can make tons of friend in San Francisco...

I'm grateful that I have two middle fingers, I only wish I had more.
  • 3
Jan 31, 2012 - 10:05am

go with google.

dude why would you live in San Francisco? screw commuting 2 hours a day. live in San Jose... plenty of nightlife and a much easier commute to Mountain View.

EDIT: i'm boring and lazy and like going to the gym before work so i might be biased.

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?
Jan 31, 2012 - 3:38pm

GOOOOOOGLLEEEEEEE. I think like 3 people said GS... (I see a trend, follow it)

"If you survive to my age and you rack up a CV like mine, you can look at HR and say, "Fuck you. I don't try out."- Eddie
Best Response
Jan 31, 2012 - 9:47pm

People aren't necessarily hyping it; it's just clearly the better of the two roles. Your goals for an internship should be to maximize your potential options for full time positions and to explore and learn as much as possible.

As someone who personally started their career in middle office, it is a perfectly respectable job and a decent way to break into finance. That said, MO will teach you absolutely no skills that are relevant to investment banking. Having GS on your resume is a positive and might help you get a few interviews, but people realize that it has little relevance, other than demonstrating some level of interest in finance. It will also raise questions as to why you couldn't land a front office role.

Google, on the other hand, is just as good of a name for your resume as GS, and you might actually learn something that is applicable to banking...financial statement analysis, forecasting, corporate strategy, etc. Plus, it might open your eyes to paths outside of banking that are even more interesting to you. If you decide that you do want to work in banking, you have a great name on your resume in a finance role, a pretty easy sell as to why you would be a fit in a tech group, and almost no one will question why you took a summer job at Google.

If the OP really wanted to start his career in MO, the responses to this thread would be different, but he didn't say that. For banking, Google is simply a better opportunity.

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Feb 1, 2012 - 9:04pm

Definitely go with google, as mentioned by other people on this forum it is clearly the best choice for you. There are two great reasons for this:

1) Your summer experience is going to be ridiculously fun. One of my best friends interned there over the summer, and he had the time of his life. After hearing his stories, and visiting him after my banking internship was over, I honestly would say they do not believe in cost cutting. You will get a free lunch buffet everyday (made by a pretty good chef), they will host numerous crazy social events (I think they even had a party on a yacht/party boat one night), and you will have excellent hours. Also, it will not matter that your social network there is small. The other employees/interns there are very nice and you bond pretty quickly (and the girls are pretty attractive - you will not find that at gs).

2) If you want to go into IB, I still think this would be the better experience for you. They have a very robust internship program for their interns, so you will gain a broader and more interesting skill set. I know my friend got to work on a number of different projects with different groups and also had to do several presentations to senior people at the firm over the summer. Most importantly, however, is that this will be far easier to explain in an interview for IB the following school year. If someone came up to me in an interview with a google experience, it would stand out and be fairly interesting. Further, I would understand/respect someones decision to intern or work there. If you worked in MO and were trying to get into IB I would just think you failed to get an internship in IB the previous summer.

Feb 2, 2012 - 4:05pm

GS.

You can't code; you are second class citizen at Google. Exit opportunities will be other MO data crunching jobs. You might get lucky with another IPO but the pipeline after Facebook is very very weak.

Big data is good for coders/hackers and absolutely sucks for mindless data crunchers.

Also, your network at San Francisco Bay Area will be weaker. And here we speak a different language than WSO.

Plus, San Francisco is shit for parties or girls. And Palo Alto/Monutain View is even worse. Full of 3s and 4s that think they are 9s and 10s.

p.s., if you are female and does not look like an ogre, Google; you will be queen here.

Feb 2, 2012 - 4:09pm
vitaminc:
GS.

You can't code; you are second class citizen at Google.

OP isn't IB, what will he be at GS?

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
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Feb 2, 2012 - 4:37pm

I do think that vitaminc has a point. I am confident I could lateral into IBD at GS either after the summer or after one or two years of working in NYC there. As I mentioned, I have a pretty strong network at GS already think a Partner, MD, VPs. They were the reason I interviewed for accelerated IBD SA earlier this year, I got to the superday, but it didn't work out. My financial modeling skills are fine.
So I might be a second class citizen at GS.

I disagree at Goog, their culture is amazingly inviting. They don't treat other non coders differently than coders, they might not have as technical discussions though. I've met a BOLD intern who had lunch next to Sergei once, so the culture is very open, and you can meet all kinds of people.

It has occurred to me that Google would probably be a much more secure job.

Thanks for all of the replies, very helpful stuff.

Feb 2, 2012 - 10:47pm

Go with Google. It took me 10 years to move from risk to trading and although I love finance, the future is pretty bleak.I'm from NYC as well and think the quality of life is amazing on the West Coast compared to NYC.

Feb 3, 2012 - 1:02pm

btw, MF7791 What were some of the questions you got in your GOOG interview?

"Sincerity is an overrated virtue" - Milton Friedman
Feb 3, 2012 - 8:41pm

how many ping pong balls does it take to fill up a school bus?

Feb 3, 2012 - 8:44pm

How much would you bid to be the supplier for a contract to clean the windows of every high rise in the city of San Francisco, each quarterly?

Feb 3, 2012 - 9:57pm

How do you come up with an answer to that last question when you don't know shit about SF?

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough. "There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.
Feb 5, 2012 - 12:39pm
scottj19x89:
How do you come up with an answer to that last question when you don't know shit about SF?

the only wrong answer is the one you gave (asking that question) :)

the whole point of a question like that is to see how you think, how you deal with the unknown, how you apply creativity to solving a problem when faced with the unknown, and how you do it under pressure and time constraints. typically you'll have to make some assumptions, and then do some elementary calculations very quickly in your head. so, for the SF question, you might make state:

1) let's assume there are 200 high rises in SF, defined as any building greater than or equal to 40 stories
2) let's assume across the 200, the average height is 60 stories
3) let's assume that we can measure our cost of service in terms of $$/story

Then it's as simple as saying "based on these assumptions, my cost to provide the service would be 200 bldgs x 60 stories x avg $$/story", and then maybe you add 30%-40% to cover overhead, profit margin, etc.

You'd probably want to elaborate on assumption #3 and talk about how you came up with a specific number (i.e. there are 5 work days, 12 work hours per day, so I need X number of employees @ $10/hr each in order to cover that many stories quarterly).

The interviewer is going to be interested in what kinds of assumptions you make, why you make them, whether they are reasonable (i.e. if you said there were 80,000 high rises in SF, you'd probably get dinged). They are going to be interested in seeing if your calculations are accurate, and how quickly you can do them in your head.

  • 3
Feb 5, 2012 - 4:27pm
djfiii:
scottj19x89:
How do you come up with an answer to that last question when you don't know shit about SF?

the only wrong answer is the one you gave (asking that question) :)

the whole point of a question like that is to see how you think, how you deal with the unknown, how you apply creativity to solving a problem when faced with the unknown, and how you do it under pressure and time constraints. typically you'll have to make some assumptions, and then do some elementary calculations very quickly in your head. so, for the SF question, you might make state:

1) let's assume there are 200 high rises in SF, defined as any building greater than or equal to 40 stories
2) let's assume across the 200, the average height is 60 stories
3) let's assume that we can measure our cost of service in terms of $$/story

Then it's as simple as saying "based on these assumptions, my cost to provide the service would be 200 bldgs x 60 stories x avg $$/story", and then maybe you add 30%-40% to cover overhead, profit margin, etc.

You'd probably want to elaborate on assumption #3 and talk about how you came up with a specific number (i.e. there are 5 work days, 12 work hours per day, so I need X number of employees @ $10/hr each in order to cover that many stories quarterly).

The interviewer is going to be interested in what kinds of assumptions you make, why you make them, whether they are reasonable (i.e. if you said there were 80,000 high rises in SF, you'd probably get dinged). They are going to be interested in seeing if your calculations are accurate, and how quickly you can do them in your head.

So don't really worry about your estimates being too accurate? Just say "Let's assume..." so they know what you're working with?

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough. "There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.
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Feb 4, 2012 - 9:15am

Let me just say that there is really no such thing as a MO or BO role at Google. Their "client facing" roles are in adwords and client services getting the businesses who want to advertise at google. Also there is no difference in pay really at the bottom level, and a finance analyst would have the same access to perks and everything that a product manager, a developer, an analyst in adwords would have, so I really wouldn't view it as back office, it's very different from banking.

Google doesn't care about prestige as much as banking, and that is one of the things i like most about the company.
Banking is different, I know some MO people who can't wait to get out of their positions because they feel like second class. So I am def leaning towards Goog right now.

Thanks for all of the input.

Feb 5, 2012 - 1:25pm

Google is the winner and you will benefit a lot in future from its name in your resume. Once you work here for 2-3 years, you will be able to get job interviews easily from many companies. Go for Google!

Feb 5, 2012 - 2:29pm
ivedtara:
Google is the winner and you will benefit a lot in future from its name in your resume. Once you work here for 2-3 years, you will be able to get job interviews easily from many companies. Go for Google!

So I take it you work at google?
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Feb 5, 2012 - 9:06pm

Interesting... thanks for the info

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough. "There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.
Mar 11, 2012 - 5:41pm

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"If you survive to my age and you rack up a CV like mine, you can look at HR and say, "Fuck you. I don't try out."- Eddie
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