Jan 10, 2023
Political Science major Jessica Valdes ’24 has accepted a nine-week paid summer internship offer from Goldman Sachs.
Instead of spending the summer in her hometown of Lithia, Fla., she will be a 2023 Goldman Sachs Global Compliance Summer Intern in Salt Lake City.
The Selection Process
“The internship process for Goldman Sachs had three cut points,” Valdes said. “The first cut was after a review of your resume. Then, if invited, you were able to complete a Hirevue interview. This was a self-recorded interview where a question would be put on your screen, then it would cut to video, and you would have a certain allotted time to answer the question through a video response. After this stage some candidates were invited to Goldman Sachs Superday. Superday at Goldman Sachs is notoriously hard where the interview process consists of three back-to-back 30-minute interviews with people at the firm.”
Valdes said she prepared for Superday for hours every day for about a week to give herself the best chance. She prepared an introduction, prepared answers for commonly asked questions, and practiced explaining her resume.
“Over 236,000 people apply for the internship and out of these people there is only a 1.5% acceptance rate, so I spent a lot of time preparing to give myself the best shot at getting an offer,” Valdes said. “I was extremely honored to get a call with an offer a few days after Superday.”
Inside Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs’ summer internship program is highly competitive. It is the sixth most prestigious internship in the United States according to Vault. Valdes applied for the position through Goldman Sachs’ Summer Analyst program for undergraduate students in their second or third year of study. The program fully immerses interns in the day-to-day activities of one of the organization’s divisions around the world.
Participants attend an orientation where they learn about the Goldman Sachs culture, as well as the benefits and responsibilities of being a member of the firm. They receive division-specific training designed to help them succeed. Interns have the opportunity to work on real responsibilities alongside fellow interns and Goldman Sachs associates.
“You apply for a specific department,” Valdes said. “I thought Global Compliance fit me perfectly as I was interested in law and politics but did not wish to go to law school.”
As a Global Compliance intern, Valdes will see how the firm manages its compliance, regulatory and reputational risks by ensuring adherence to laws, rules, and regulations. The Global Compliance division monitors trends and changes in regulations in all jurisdictions in which the firm does business. Global Compliance also develops and implements firmwide and divisional policies and procedures. In addition to advising the firm’s businesses, Global Compliance is responsible for managing audits and inquiries, educating associates on policies and procedures, surveillance, and testing the firm’s risk management infrastructure.
There were internship options for all Goldman Sachs offices in the U.S. and abroad. Applicants can apply for up to three offices at a time. Valdes applied for three to give herself the best chance at an offer. She interviewed for the Dallas office, but Salt Lake City ended up being a better fit and Goldman Sachs has a policy that does not allow a candidate to receive more than one offer.
Previous and Future Internships
The Goldman Sachs internship will not be her first. Valdes worked with Kathy Ellis in the Florida Southern College Development Office this fall as a grant writing intern.
“I worked on grant related projects for the Roberts Academy, the Frank Lloyd Wright Planetarium restoration, and other projects,” Valdes said. “Writing has always been a love of mine. The internship gave me the opportunity to better improve my technical writing skills, while also being able to help support amazing projects on campus.”
Her work in the Development Office suggests that Valdes will be successful at Goldman Sachs and beyond.
“I’m not surprised that Jessica was selected for this internship,” Ellis said. “She was an ideal intern, diligent in completing her assignments, eager to learn, willing to take initiative, and a pleasure to work with. I’m confident she will be every bit as valuable a contributor to Goldman Sachs as she was to the Development Office this fall, and I’m thrilled she will have this amazing opportunity to further enhance her professional experience and skill set.”
At a recent nonprofit job and internship fair on campus, she met with representatives from two non-profit organizations. Both organizations asked her to consider interning with them this spring as a grant writer, so she expects to choose one of the organizations next semester.
Plans for the Future
Valdes says she chose to study Political Science because it was a major that perfectly captured her two interests, politics and writing.
“I love writing about world issues and having an opportunity to share my opinion on them, so it was a perfect fit,” Valdes said. “Also, my father was a political science major, now a U.S. diplomat overseas, and it has been my dream to one day follow in his footsteps.”
After graduation, she hopes to get a fulltime offer at the Goldman Sachs Salt Lake City office. After that, she wants to eventually be transferred to the New York City office so she can have the opportunity to work on Wall Street.
Valdes said she is a little nervous about the internship because she has never worked in the industry before, but she has received help from Assistant Professor of Finance Juan Pablo Gutierrez Pineda, Ph.D. to help her prepare.
“Jessica has taken an active role in getting ready for opportunities in a position that’s related to her major, but in a very particular industry like financial institutions,” said Dr. Gutierrez Pineda. “She’s done an amazing job at learning the insights and details of how Goldman Sachs operates, what their core business is, so she can better understand and perform her duties. I think she will do an amazing job at this very competitive internship, and we should all be proud of her.”
The internship will not be her first visit to Utah.
“I have been to Utah before when I went to Zion National Park with my family last summer. I'm super excited to drive out to Zion on the weekends and explore Utah's beautiful parks,” Valdes said.
She advises students to know what they hope to gain before they begin an internship. Having a plan will help them focus on reaching their goals.
“My advice is that you never know if you don't apply, to not sell yourself short, and to always put yourself out there,” Valdes said. “Being a Florida Southern student has helped me develop analytical skills and develop a strong work ethic that will help me in my future career.”
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