Goldman Sachs just told students to apply AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

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As we reported last week, Goldman Sachs' applications for summer analyst programs and full time analyst programs are open. As of Saturday, it's been possible for students to put themselves forward to work at Goldman Sachs in 2018.

In theory, you have plenty of time to get your Goldman application sorted out: deadlines for the firms' analyst programs vary from October 29th (the EMEA full time analyst program) to December 3rd (the EMEA summer analyst program), with U.S deadlines interspersed between (click here for the full list).

In reality, you need to get a serious move on.

This is because, as Goldman points out on its graduate site, it accepts applicants on a first come first served basis. In other words, if you apply now and Goldman likes you, it will make you an offer and give you a place. But if you apply in November and Goldman likes you, it might want to make you an offer and give you a place, but there could be that there are no places left.

This matters, because Goldman Sachs receives a lot of applications.  In 2016, Goldman told the Financial Times it received 223,849 applications for analyst and summer analyst positions combined. 130,000 of these applications were for 5,000 internships - an acceptance rate of just 4%. 

If you delay in applying to Goldman, it's therefore likely that tens of thousands of people will beat you to it, and be accepted before you even get a look-in. This applies particularly to "hot" divisions like investment banking (M&A and capital markets) and sales and trading.  Rushing might be less imperative in divisions like technology, where Goldman hires a lot of people and struggles to attract them.

Of course, applying to GS isn't easy. The firm famously uses a 300 word personal statement to differentiate between candidates and crafting this carefully has traditionally been considered crucial to success.

Goldman recruiters say the firm is deluged in applications from identikit candidates and that "creativity and effort" in the personal statement stand out. "There were some crazy submissions – poems and things," one ex-GS recruiter recalls. "Someone who’d studied English Literature at Cambridge wrote a really brilliant and off-the-wall description of why they wanted to work for us and we invited them for interview because we thought they might have some brilliant and innovative ideas."

If you make it through the personal statement, you can expect to be invited to a Hirevue interview.  Unlike many other banks, Goldman doesn't run assessment centres: if you make it through Hirevue, you'll be asked to a series of individual interviews instead.

Photo credit: Stampede! by Dennis van Zuijlekom is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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