Last month, a group of eighth- and ninth-grade scholars from Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts visited the offices of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. in lower Manhattan. The experience was amazing. Success Academy scholars, including myself, have taken many, many field trips over the years, including many to corporations and stock brokerages. But this trip was different for us because the people we met set an example for us. The men and women who work at Goldman Sachs have so much respect for one another and confidence in themselves, and I thought our class as a whole really learned from this.
Goldman Sachs excels in sales and trading, investment banking and a host of other wealth and social-value producing activities. The company actively supports worthwhile social causes — including Success Academy. During our visit, we were introduced to Anne Black, a vice president in the office of corporate engagement, Henri Fink, a vice president in the securities division, and a group of panelists: Michael DiBella, Rachel Munsie, and Adam Muro. Michael is an analyst in the investment management division, Rachel is an analyst in the investment banking division, and Adam is an associate in global investment research. All of them had interesting backgrounds, and we learned about their own high school and college experiences and what they think is important in life.
Michael’s story was especially inspiring. He talked to us about some of the challenges he faced growing up. Yet it seems to me he never took shortcuts. When our country was at war in Iraq, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in combat roles, including as platoon leader and battle captain. After his military service, he set his sights on graduating from one of the top business schools in the country – the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. I thought that his story was spectacular, and my fellow scholars shared my view. I know that the respect and openness that we saw exhibited among the Goldman Sachs staff has already had a positive influence on how we act at school.
One more thing really stood out: how important community and collaboration is to anyone’s success. Everything about Goldman Sachs involves teamwork. These people are really smart, but they have teammates who share ideas and information every day and are happy doing just that. This was one big take-away that my fellow high school scholars and I learned. We all have something important to contribute and need to realize this in everything we do. Work hard, stay interested, and don’t give up!
We all want to thank our hosts at Goldman Sachs for taking time out of their busy day to talk with us about the importance of working for what you want in life and working well with the people around you, because you can only become a better person because of it!