- Goldman Sachs recently promoted 608 employees to the position of managing director, effective next year. Meet four of them.
- Ilana Wolfe, a Goldman Sachs veteran, carved out a new position for herself at the firm.
- Another AWM division investor learned to bargain by teaching hip-hop dance in China.
It is more than a title. The “managing directors” at Goldman Sachs are the bank’s brightest rising stars, the people who will one day be named partners, lead multibillion-dollar takeovers and IPOs, eventually run their own businesses, or be appointed to influential government positions.
Goldman Sachs inducted 608 employees into its exclusive “MD” club last week. Due to a slowdown in M&A and IPO activity, this year’s class is 5% smaller than the last MD promotion round in 2021. Nonetheless, the investment bank performed admirably.
Almost half of the new MDs are employed by Goldman’s crucial global banking and markets (GBM) division, which houses the investment bank. Another 24% are in the asset and wealth management (AWM) division, which CEO David Solomon is looking to expand in order to add some stability to the volatile investment banking business.
Insider found four newly minted managing directors who represent where the bank is headed under Solomon in an effort to give readers a taste of Wall Street’s next generation of leaders. They advocate for a focus on diversity, catering to the needs of Silicon Valley and the ultra-wealthy.
Among the new designees is a Goldman Sachs veteran who has created a completely new job for herself by assisting clients in finding diverse candidates to serve on their boards. There’s also a fintech investor who used to teach hip-hop dance; a venture capitalist advisor who used to work for both US Senator (NY) Chuck Schumer and former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg; and a former engineer who now helps Goldman’s wealthiest clients manage risk.
Getting the call for the MD promotion is a big deal. Managing director salaries at Goldman start around $400,000 but can quickly climb into the seven figures with bonuses and other perks. Furthermore, it is one step down from partner, the highest title at the prestigious investment bank below the C-Suite. Here are four people, some of whom are still in their thirties, who are working their way up the corporate ladder at one of Wall Street’s most competitive banks.
Ilana Wolfe, 44
Banking and Markets on a Global ScaleCorporate Board Engagement Manager
Ilana Wolfe has been with Goldman Sachs for 20 years and has held a variety of positions. But the one she now holds didn’t exist before she made it.
CEO David Solomon pledged in 2020 that the firm would not take a company public unless it had at least one diverse board candidate.
“I thought, ‘it’s great we put out this commitment, but wouldn’t it be even greater if we were part of the solution and helped our clients get there?'” Insider spoke with Wolfe.
So she pitched the idea for what is now her current job to Stephanie Cohen, Goldman’s chief strategy officer at the time — a role centered on helping Goldman clients find diverse talent for their corporate boards. She has assisted with 99 placements in three years.
“There was demand and supply; it was just a market mechanism issue.” “I’m most proud to be that link,” she said in an interview.
Wolfe received the news of her promotion to MD amid a flurry of other milestones: her 44th birthday was on Friday, and she’s about to have her first child after a years-long fertility journey.
Wolfe is open about her fertility struggles with coworkers, which helps to demystify an issue that affects around 20% of married women, according to the CDC.
“I led a brown-bag lunch on my fertility journey at work yesterday.” It felt great to be able to share with others.”
She, too, has a green thumb; her rooftop deck garden produces about a thousand tomatoes each summer, she claims.
“I would live outdoors if I could,” Wolfe said. She had been biking to work every day for the previous 13 years before becoming pregnant. She continues to do pilates and HIIT workouts with her 86-year-old neighbor every morning, even though she is only a few weeks away from giving birth.
Fereshteh Abbasi, 34
Asset and Wealth AdministrationGlobal Portfolio Construction and Risk Manager
Fereshteh Abbasi joined Goldman Sachs in 2020 and rose through the ranks to become a managing director in less than four years. But she wasn’t always an expert in finance. Fereshteh Abbasi began her finance career at Goldman after a previous professional life in science and engineering, including a stint in antenna design, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is fluent in Python and holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
“I always kind of knew that I was interested in the markets and finance,” she told me. “Then, in my personal life, my husband was pursuing an opportunity abroad, and I wanted to accompany him.” “So I used that as an opportunity to take a break from engineering work and figure out my next step,” she explained.
She had been out of the workforce for about two and a half years and had spent that time researching what careers in finance might complement her engineering skills. Simultaneously, Abbasi, who was born and raised in Iran, was affected by a 2017 travel ban aimed at Muslim-majority countries. She was divorced from her husband as a result of the law, and she was outspoken about its impact in the media.
“It was a very difficult time,” she told Insider, declining to go into detail about her situation. “It was eventually resolved, and I was able to return to the United States.” I was fortunate that everything worked out.”
She joined Goldman through the firm’s returnship program, which is a six-month internship for professionals who have taken a career break. She was hired as an associate in the asset and wealth management division to work on portfolio and construction risk, and she has been there ever since.
Abbasi is in charge of portfolio risk and performance, “collaborating with investors and client-facing portfolio managers to ensure investments are aligned and reflective of each client’s objectives.” She and her team monitor risk and long-term investment strategy on a daily basis.
“It’s been amazing because since I’ve been here, I have seen the full cycle,” she went on to say. “It’s a very interesting time to be in the fixed-income market watching the flows,” she went on to say. “We remain focused on delivering for our clients and making sure we play the market right and deliver the best results we can.”
Matt Margolin, age unknown
Banking and Markets on a Global ScaleCoverage of venture capital for the investment banking division
Matt Margolin began his career in Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division in 2006 before leaving to work in politics. He worked as an economic advisor to U.S. Senator (New York) Charles Schumer and later to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Politicians’ lives are often filled with socializing — Margolin was named one of Wall Street’s biggest party animals by Insider in 2011.
But, if Margolin worked hard, it’s clear he also worked hard. After working for Bloomberg, he earned an MBA from Stanford and returned to the financial world in 2013. Margolin has worked in venture capital in Silicon Valley ever since, first at the advisory firm RedShift Group, then at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and finally Barclays, before returning to Goldman in 2021.
He now oversees VC coverage in Goldman’s San Francisco office. That is, he assists VCs in managing their funds, finding new companies to invest in, and advising them on those already in their portfolios. Margolin is the firm’s first managing director to be promoted from a VC coverage position.
According to his LinkedIn, Margolin has also been involved in the Special Olympics, including as a certified Special Olympics coach and the founder of a group aimed at attracting young audiences to the games. According to his X profile, he is “passionate about coaching Special Olympics.”
Jade Mandel, 32
Goldman Sachs Asset Management invests in venture capital and growth equity.You’d never guess where Jade Mandel learned to bargain if you saw her today.
The 32-year-old banker serves on the boards of several fintechs, including recent unicorns like auto loan refinancing fintech Caribou, as an investor for Goldman’s $5 billion Growth Equity Fund. She has led more than $200 million in fund and balance sheet investments for the firm and has served on the boards of 15 of the firm’s portfolio companies during her tenure as an investor.
She did, however, dabble in hip-hop dancing and choreography in her previous life. According to a person familiar with her rise, she attributes her communication and negotiation skills to her previous non-finance job, teaching hip-hop dance to middle and high school students in China.
She began her career at Goldman as an analyst on the corporate development team more than ten years ago, assisting in the evaluation of M&A opportunities for the firm. She joined the firm’s strategic investing team in Hong Kong, where she used her Mandarin-speaking skills (she studied the language for ten years) to source and execute strategic investments across the Asia Pacific region, as well as assist the team’s US portfolio companies in their geographic expansion.
She was one of 186 women promoted to managing director at Goldman Sachs last week. Her job as a member of the bank’s asset and wealth management team is to lead the Growth Equity Fund’s North America investments on behalf of investors in the banking infrastructure, wealth technology, and consumer fintech sectors.