If you never try, you’ll never know
In an interview, first-generation student Phil Hie talks about his path to the world-renowned investment bank Goldman Sachs and the lack of access for BPoC in the workforce.
It’s April 11, 2022, and the morning spring breeze drifts past the glass facade of the eight-story building in London, gently tugging at the colorful ties and dark suits of the employees streaming in. It is the headquarters of the U.S. investment banking and securities trading firm Goldman Sachs, where 21-year-old Phil Hie passes through security and begins his first day of internship, impressed by huge conference rooms and an inviting roof terrace above the rooftops of London.
Phil was born in a small town in Saxony-Anhalt, then moved with his family to Munich, the capital of Bavaria, where he spent much of his youth. When his parents accepted a new job in Switzerland, Phil moved to the Black Forest, where he graduated from high school. Afterwards, a new phase of life begins for the 19-year-old. As the first student in his family he quickly learns to organize himself. While studying “Buisness & Economics” at the WU in Vienna, he works, writes applications and connects with others in the business community. The usual workload of studying therefore doubles from a 30-40 hour week to 50-60 hours. Yet the hardworking 21-year-old notes, “If it interests you, it’s absolutely doable”.
Currently, the Black business student is pursuing an intrinsic interest in wanting to enter investment banking. He likes the pulse of the economy, the impact of the work, and learning new skills that are significant in other fields. It’s these same qualities of the financial industry that lead the budding economist to attend the July 2021 webinar, “An Evening with Goldman Sachs in partnership with ADAN”. Impressed by the speech of the German CEO Wolfgang Fink and the company as an employer, Phil applies to the leading global house Goldman Sachs, citing the event as a reference. A few weeks later, he finds himself at “Goldman Sachs 2022 Spring Insight Week”, a corporate tool to recruit talent as early as possible. Phil is particularly impressed by the diversity within the company: “120 people from diverse backgrounds participated!”
Lack of diversity in Germany
According to Phil, diversity is lacking in Germany. Yet the results of a study by the auditing and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers show that companies that integrate diversity into their corporate culture, for example, hold their own better in international competition. Furthermore, they have more satisfied customers, more innovative strength and can increase their sales more strongly. Although companies in Germany are committed to diversity, they do not follow up their lip service with concrete measures. But, as Phil points out, Germany does not lack qualified people, but above all the possibility of access.
Democratization of access to information as an important key element
“The most important thing is access to information,” notes the student from Vienna. He tells of a colleague who has known since he was 14 that he wanted to become an investment banker, and finally concludes about himself, who only learns what investment banking is when he goes to university. There is a lack of equality, Phil argues, when individuals are able to engage with certain topics at an earlier age because of greater access. Democratizing access to information is thus an important prerequisite for the emergence of equal opportunity and equity, he said. ADAN is an important initiative in this regard, he said, setting a good example by starting collaborations with companies and thus showing BPoC different career fields.
On the young talents side, he recommends getting involved with career opportunities as early as possible in your studies. In particular, workshops, educational events or career fairs such as the “ADAN Career Day 2022” offer important opportunities to get to know the industries and to come into contact with people who can enable you to do things later on that you would never have dreamed of. Moreover, broadening one’s perspective is never a bad idea: “Every person has different perspectives on issues and I think it’s valuable to listen to the perspectives that you don’t have yourself at least once. I think that’s exactly what has now led to me going to London next year and doing an internship in an investment bank, Goldman Sachs, even though I never imagined it before.”.
Do you feel empowered? Register now and join our “ADAN Career Day 2022” on October 14,2022 .