How Goldman Sachs Trading Job Prepares Entrepreneur Phil McKenzie





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Published on Nov 18, 2009

In Chapter 3 of 13 of his 2009 Capture Your Flag interview, Phil McKenzie shares how working on the trading desk at Goldman Sachs investment bank teaches him to deal with chaos and, more importantly, build upon this experience in approaching balance as a start-up entrepreneur in publishing marketplace. Phil joined Goldman Sachs after graduating from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business with his MBA and worked at Goldman in sales and trading for eight years before leaving to pursue an entrepreneurship career.

View more Near Peer career video insights at http://www.captureyourflag.com


Erik Michielsen: You were a trader at Goldman Sachs and so you managed a lot of chaos. On the phone the other day we talked about how decisions, profits and losses came by the second throughout the day, so transitioning into a chaotic environment where you are dealing with so many people and areas you almost felt at home in that chaos.

Phil McKenzie: Definitely. What I found is that you are still juggling a lot of things. Goldman prepared me very well for that and trading prepared me very well for that because you are literally sitting in an environment where it is trial by fire. The action is happening fast and furious, there are a million things going on. You have two phones and someone is screaming at you across the room and the screens are flashing and its money, it`s real money.

By comparison, most other things are quite slow and don’t have the immediacy of profit and loss. I was capable to take a step back, which I appreciated. You are still doing a ton of things but the timelines and deadlines are not 30 seconds to a minute. They are a few days to a week. You have the ability to plan ahead and get things done, whereas when you walk into a trading desk days you think are going to be quiet and laid back are days when things explode and vice versa, when you think a million things are going to happen you sit around doing nothing outside of the norm.

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