Dinner in the heart of London 14th March 2012. Morning after submitting my final year guided research project which assesses the various methodologies employed by the construction industry in a bid to eliminate uncertainty and the social factors which prevent success. 20,000 words, 75 pages and I am most definitely glad to have had a full night’s sleep with no alarm ringing this morning. One more amazing presentation to go and hopefully the hard work pays off. Casually logging online, comfortably tucked underneath my duvet and what’s the big news story of the day? – Goldman Sachs, leading investment bank across the globe is taking some pretty bad press today. Greg Smith, vice president resigns in a very scathing public attack on the culture of the firm with whom he has spent 12 years.
Fast forward just over 24 hours and, I am sat in the comforts of a fine Italian in the heart of London and across the table sits a Partner of Goldman Sachs, having spent 20 years with the firm. I had spent the day in a negotiations skills workshop run by the Royal Academy of Engineering. A very informative and fun session where a bunch of undergraduate engineers from universities right across the UK got together and were made aware of the principles with govern the necessary business skills required in partnership with excellent technical knowledge. Martin had spent the day in business meetings thus, we met up for dinner. Given the sales nature of the banking environment, it was interesting to discuss some of the simulations which I had run through earlier in the day and garner insights. Having him as a sounding board on the different ideas and concepts, my approach to business and negotiating is great. Based on his experience he is able place things in context which helps consolidate my understanding.
Of course we got talking about the big news story and what it means for the firm etc. Being able to listen to discuss the issues raised by the former employee, gain insights into how the company works and hear the perspective of a very senior member of the organisation, matched up with what was printed in the NY Times article is most certainly interesting, insightful and I believe is paying dividends for my education. Martin also passed on a few tips which hopefully enable me to deliver a stellar presentation next week. On the train back to Birmingham now, I can definitely say I have had a pretty awesome day and I am most certainly looking forward to our next meeting. If that doesn’t convince you that the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme is worth it, then I am not quite sure what will?