From Learning to Earning: Goldman Sachs Vice President Visits F.C.S.
By: Vicky Liu ‘20, Staff Writer* 3-13-18
On Wednesday, February 28 during community block, a Vice President of Goldman Sachs, Daniel A. Shapiro, came to visit Friends’ Central. During the event, which was organized by Jonah Wexler ‘19, one of the investment club leaders, Mr. Shapiro shared about his career in business and how he has risen to his current position. The Investment Club leaders kicked off the event by providing some background about Mr. Shapiro, explaining, “He is a Managing Director in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs where he advises wealthy individuals, family groups, and non-profit organizations. He was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2001 and is a member of the CFA Society of Philadelphia.”
Mr. Shapiro’s career with Goldman Sachs began in 1998, just after he graduated from Duke University, where he majored in electrical engineering. His initial contact with Goldman Sachs occurred at his college’s career information session. Based on that, he applied to an internship at Goldman Sachs in New York, to which he was accepted. During his internship, Mr. Shapiro grew attracted to the wonderful work environment at Goldman Sachs. With this satisfied first impression, he became determined to permanently join the corporation. As a compulsory prerequisite to join the company, Mr. Shapiro told us he had to go through 50 interviews. When asked what he attributed to his eventual job offer, he admitted, “My major [in college] might have helped.”
Mr. Shapiro emphasized that his engineering background continues to benefit his work in immeasurable ways, one of which is having the ability to judge the portability, efficiency, and effectiveness of companies in which he is considering investing. His main, day-to-day work centers around cultivating client-relations and solving problems. He acknowledged that “the need for technological employees is increasing” and suggested that FCS students who are interested in business should major in computer science, engineering, or other technical disciplines. He said that if technology problems occur in a company, or if business employees need to face a technology-oriented client, the relevant knowledge learned in college would benefit these young business workers tremendously. Another piece of advice he offered to budding business professionals was to keep themselves updated by reading financial news and books or enrich their knowledge through attending conferences. He also recommended preparing for the business world as a young person by utilizing every opportunity available, such as participating in local summer internships. He said that a summer internship could be a small start from which a more competitive internship could come, which could ultimately lead to a full-time job in a prestigious company, such as Goldman Sachs.
While Mr. Shapiro has won success and recognition in the business world, he stays loyal to his values, and continues to try his hardest. He stated, “The higher position I am at, the more heat I need to bear, and the more I need to prove [to everyone] that I have the ability [to be competent in the position].”
Budding business professionals can also learn from stories of Mr. Shapiro’s coworkers. For instance, Mr. Shapiro highlighted a stellar staff member with whom he worked, one who serves as an example of what it means to be a devoted worker. He began, “On the first day she arrived, Emily solved a client’s issue without being taught how to.” By the time Mr. Shapiro called the client to inquire about the issue, it was fixed by Emily already. On another day, Mr. Shapiro was meeting with a client and forgot to mention several orders of business. After the meeting, without even being at the conference room, Emily asked Mr. Shapiro if he by chance forgot to mention anything during his meeting. He indeed did, which resulted in his immediate flash across the street to continue the talk with the client. Emily’s ability of handling work has amazed him. As time went by, Mr. Shapiro discovered Emily always thought ahead of everyone, making her professional, helpful, and a wonderful person with whom to work. Mr. Shapiro now unreservedly hands over many of his projects to her.
In addition to his business abilities, Mr. Shapiro has interdisciplinary talent. He is interested in music. However, he found that his true interest was in a more applicable field where he could constantly learn and apply new concepts.
*Editor’s Note: Thank you to Steven Chen ‘18 for helping provide some of the information necessary to produce this article.