The Path to Goldman Sachs
Melissa Rose, Eller Finance ’15
By Jessica Baker, Eller Marketing ’15
Melissa Rose grew up in Northern New Jersey and lived there for 10 years before moving to Southern California with her family. Her brother was a big influence on her decision to attend the UA. “My brother was in Eller College of Management, so as a senior in high school I was able to visit him and get an advising appointment in the Undergraduate Office with Laura Ullrich to go through exactly what my four years would look like,” she said.
After making the decision to attend the UA, she proceeded to learn about the financial industry to make a more informed decision about her career goals. “I decided to major in finance because I wanted a challenging environment,” Rose explained. “I’ve always been interested in the financial market and how it keeps you on your toes with the constantly moving markets and increases in regulation.”
Since her start at the UA, Rose has been incredibly involved. “I’m financially independent, so I wanted to get the most out of this experience that I possibly could,” she said. As a freshman, she joined the Eller Leadership and Integrity Training for Excellence program. “I was able to work with other students my age to gain better experience while working with a professional group.”
By networking within the program, she had the opportunity to interview with the Undergraduate Programs office, and began work in the office spring semester of her freshman year. As a sophomore, she joined the Eller Leadership Board for the elite of the Eller Leadership and Integrity Training, where she planned the program for incoming freshman. The summer of 2013, Rose went to Brazil through the Eller Global Cohort. “Through the program I gained the ability to help professors and classes by adding the international insights and cultural knowledge I acquired from living in a different country for 10 weeks.” Continuing her interest in finance her junior year, Rose joined the Investments Club to increase knowledge and exposure to financial markets.
Two Eller Alumni, now Goldman Sachs employees, came to campus in September to interview 10 students for an internship on Wall Street. “My name wasn’t on the list to be interviewed, but as soon as I found out they were coming to campus I wanted to get in front of them to show them why I was the best fit for the position,” she explained. “They said no to interviewing me three times before agreeing.” After the initial interview, Rose was one of two students whose resume was pushed forward for the larger interviews in New York. “After they came to the university, I realized I was behind and needed to gain more experience,” she said. “I had to work extremely hard and put in constant effort to learn about the financial industry because I was at a disadvantage compared to other applicants coming from Ivy League Schools.” She gained experience by reaching out to NOVA Financial Insurance Services where she completed an externship and learned about their day-to-day operations.
Rose was scheduled for her ‘Super-Day’, the day of the big interviews for the position, her first day of school during spring semester. Keith Zusi and Stuart Kasdin, the Eller alumni who initially interviewed Rose, allowed her to visit them at their office to better prepare her for the interview. “They were a huge help to me,” she said. “They knew how long a way I had to go, but they were willing to set aside time to prepare me as best as they could.” After six months of preparing, it was super-day. Rose began with a morning interview, after which she was called back for a series of three afternoon interviews. The morning she got back to school, Rose got a call offering an internship for the Securities Division in New York.
That summer she began work for Goldman Sachs. “When I started the internship, I learned it didn’t matter what school I came from, it mattered how hard I worked,” she explained. “So I worked 16-hour days and never took a weekend off to show my dedication to the firm.” At the conclusion of the internship, Rose was told there wasn’t a specific seat open for her at the time. However, she received enough positive feedback that her mentors were set on her getting an offer. Rose went through the interview process again for the San Francisco office and the New York office and received offers from both. She accepted the offer for the New York office to work in the Securities Division as an analyst with Goldman Sachs beginning in July 2015.
Rose attributes a large amount of her success to both the alumni who helped her with the process, as well as Jeff Welter. As a finance career advisor he helped coach and prep Rose for her interviews throughout the process. She currently mentors students who aspire to work on Wall Street because of the amount of support she received throughout her application process.
Her success comes largely from the words she lives by, “Persistence is key.”