More Than Ever, Goldman Sachs Wants to Hire Military Veterans

Goldman continues to evolve a program that helps veterans without an M.B.A. or law degree interview and land jobs at the bank.


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After graduating in 1994 from the United States Naval Academy, one of the top colleges in the country, Matt Gibson returned the favor like most midshipmen by serving in the Navy for five years. He considered staying longer.

Gibson enjoyed his stint, which included deployments on two vessels, an amphibious warship that transported marines around the world and a destroyer. And he was well aware of what a lifetime in the Navy would be like — his father served for 32 years. Although he chose a civilian life instead, he still wanted to be part of something that would challenge him in ways the military did. After reading a few books about Goldman Sachs, he became intrigued with the storied bank right as it was going public.

“I wanted to work at Goldman before I even knew really what Goldman did because the firm seemed like a place that would be challenging and difficult,” Gibson said. “It was a bit mysterious back then, it was private and there was just something about Goldman Sachs that really attracted me.”

Gibson pursued an M.B.A. at Northwestern University, landed a position at Goldman during his first summer and eventually joined full-time in 2001. After 20 years in various positions and cities, Gibson left his role as global co-head of the technology, media and telecom group at Goldman — a high-profile position in investment banking — to become co-head of the client solutions group early this year.

Being a top officer in the military doesn’t always translate to being a successful banker at Goldman Sachs. But Gibson and the bank think there are many other veterans out there capable of his civilian-finance achievements and they are looking for them. More than ever, Goldman Sachs wants to hire veterans, said Gibson, who is also a member of the bank’s Americas inclusion and diversity committee and the head of the Americas veterans network, which includes 3,200 current and former service members and others with a special affinity and interested in supporting them.

“I’m more convinced than ever — and I know David [Solomon] and John [Waldron], our CEO and president, believe this — that the veterans pool is a very rich pool for us to recruit from because they come to us already having had a lot of life experiences. We don’t have to teach them the importance of discipline, or being on time or teamwork, or any of the things that you need to be successful,” Gibson said. “In some cases they even come to us with the skill set needed to do the job, but at a minimum they’ve got a life experience that they can draw upon that helps them get up to speed faster.”

There are hundreds of different jobs across the branches of the U.S. military and an increasing number of them don’t often involve combat. Out of the 1.3 million active-duty military personnel, thousands have narrow areas of focus that make them desirable employees in the private sector, such as logistics and cybersecurity.

Goldman — like rival Wall Street bank and other companies — has created and invested in programs to recruit vets.

When Gibson first walked into Goldman two decades go, no such programs existed and he stuck out in his cohort. “I realized that I had probably had more life experience and more leadership experience at that point in my career than most of my peers had. But I didn’t have the technical experience, doing financial modeling or valuations and things like that, that they got in their previous roles,” he said. “I quickly realized that to be successful I was going to need to change. But at the same time, I wanted to keep with me some of the things that had been drilled into me in the military.”

In 2012, to attract more veterans directly from the military — not the typical M.B.A. or law school graduates — and improve the chances of their success at Goldman, the bank created its veteran integration program. Today, the program includes a full year of virtual study that prepares participants for a career at the bank, as well as opportunities to hone skills, connect with mentors, explore the various jobs they might be a fit for, and help them apply for positions. Since 2020, over 400 transitioning veterans have participated in the program in the U.S. Additionally, the bank has creasted respective VIP programs in the U.K. and India.

This fall, the bank also opened up the VIP program to spouses and domestic partners of veterans.

“We’re constantly thinking of ways to make [VIP] better. And when I say better, it’s to give the veterans [and others] the best experience. And also to get to know them as well as we can so that when we decide that there’s a fit that it’s based on real interaction and not just surface level interaction. Think about it as our mechanism to bring in people directly from the military that don’t go through one of our standard sources like an MBA program or a law school,” Gibson said.

Out of Goldman’s 48,000 employees globally, more than 1,200 globally are veterans or active-duty military members.

Gibson is also in charge of the Goldman Sachs Veterans Network, which has about 3,200 veterans and other members in the Americas and 5,000 globally. Throughout the year, it hosts events to commemorate veterans at the firm, engages other Goldman Sachs employees and clients, and raises awareness around the intersectionality of the veteran community. While the percentage of U.S. military veterans who are women (11 percent) is far lower than the percentage who are college-eduacated and the overall population, the military is increasingly diverse — another reason Goldman wants to recruit more from it, Gibson said.

The network is an organized way for veterans to support and engage each other. “There’s a really high energy level among the people who used to be veterans who work here. They really want to all be involved in the network. They want to bring a part of their former life with them,” Gibson said.

Investment banks aren’t necessarily known for being accommodating to employees. But Goldman says it supports veterans and others in ways that make it possible to continue their service and excel at the bank, including providing paid leave for military service, reservist or national guard training, and family leave associated with deployment — often in excess of what federal, state, and local laws require.

Earlier this month, Marc Nachmann, the global head of asset and wealth management division at Goldman, as well as the global sponsor of the veterans network, emailed his group to share some news. The U.S. Senate promoted Richard Lofgren, a managing director in global banking and markets and the head of advisor engagement for RIA custody, to Rear Admiral of the United States Navy.

Gibson wasn’t aware of any other Wall Street bank that has a rear admiral working for them.

“Someone like that has such a level of experience and leadership skills to get that far in the military, and such a diverse set of experiences that when he does his job. He just comes at it from a completely different angle than everybody else,” Gibson said. “That really resonates with clients because clients want to be dealing with people who are authentic and experienced…we’re super proud of him.”