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Goldman Sachs intern rejected by McDonalds shares insights

Cambridge University student Richard Lu looks like a pretty hot catch. Lu, who is studying an MPhil in real estate finance at Wolfson College, Cambridge, after achieving a first class degree in economics from the University of Manchester, is one of Goldman Sachs' incoming summer interns. He will be working for the firm's global investment research team in London this summer, after previously completing a year-long placement year as a controller in the fixed income division.  At university, he founded a finance society, set up a start-up and completed multiple mini-internships and spring weeks. 

Lu, however, is no stranger to rejection. After his Goldman placement year, he spent time working at his local McDonalds - for free. Lu volunteered as a cleaner and cashier at the restaurant after they rejected him, repeatedly.

"It was in the summer of 2019, after I had just completed my placement," says Lu. "I was rejected two years in a row for a part-time crew member role, I decided to go work there for free!"

While most people volunteer for a more worthy cause, Lu said he offered his services as a menial McDonalds worker because he was "curious." - "I think my mindset at the time was to try everything and anything... even just working as a normal cashier/cleaner at McDonald's, I was really curious what it was like... so I did it," he says.

After his year's placement at Goldman, Lu says he appreciated the opportunity to experience a different kind of job. "I was always open to new things and challenges, but this was a good refresher."

Lu says his time as a volunteer taught him how to work with different sorts of people as colleagues and customers. "I learned to deal with all sorts of people, even the drunkards at 3am..."

Friends say he has a reputation for mentoring other students at university, so Lu's diversity of experience will presumably better equip him to offer advice and work with people who haven't completed two internships at Goldman Sachs, and interned in private equity, venture capital and the UK civil service... However, it may also make him a prime candidate for fetching coffees on Goldman's research desk this summer.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Mi
    14 June 2021

    He almost certainly wasn't "diverse" enough. I'd look into an employee tribunal under the terms of the 2010 Equal Opportunities act. The onus would be on the prospective employer to prove they didn't discriminate, could be a nice little ~50K payout.

  • Lo
    11 June 2021

    Frankly I think McDonald's legal department needs to look into this. McDonald's is not charity. And if he had injured himself on the "job", there would have been no workman's comp. This one is a huge liability. I'm surprised this is not adequately addressed in the story.

  • El
    11 June 2021

    Sounds like this guy doesn't value his own time. What kind of idiot works fast food for free? Go be an uber driver if you wanna learn people skills.

  • Ed
    11 June 2021

    Lu's story of his time at McDonald's speaks volumes of his quality of humbleness and with that comes a general desire to learn. Goldman got a prize and I see no limitations to Lu's future. Great article.

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