Goldman Sachs is telling incoming summer interns that in-office work may be possible and encouraging them to network ahead of time virtually

By Reed Alexander

Goldman Sachs has told incoming interns it's keeping the door open to some possible in-office experiences this summer, as firms across Wall Street recognize that that door — while still narrowly ajar — is quickly closing.

In a memo viewed by Insider sent to all of Goldman Sachs' incoming summer interns, the bank said it was preparing to roll out an internship program this summer that would offer interns some in-person experiences, if the situation allows. The bank did not fully commit to a hybrid model that would fuse virtual and in-person elements.

In the memo, sent on February 25 by human resources personnel at Goldman Sachs, the firm said that prioritizing the well-being of its people is its primary objective, and that it is keeping a close eye on the rapidly developing public health situation.

Goldman is factoring guidance from medical advisors and local government officials into its decision-making process around whether in-person experiences will be feasible.

The firm also told interns that it would regularly stay in touch with them over the coming months as it finalizes their internship format, and to expect its next update to be issued around late March. It also noted that it had partnered with the online learning company NovoEd to enable interns to connect with one another virtually in advance of their internships, starting in early March.

Meanwhile, some firms, including Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, have already committed to going partly or entirely virtual, as Insider first reported in early March.

A second summer of in-person internships at one of Wall Street's most prestigious financial institutions would certainly be disappointing to one person: Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon.

The chief executive of the firm said at a Credit Suisse virtual forum in February that he was keen to see employees back in the office — and sooner than later.

"It's an aberration that we're going to correct as quickly as possible," Solomon said of virtual training for junior financial services professionals who had begun working in the industry remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I don't want another class of young people arriving at Goldman Sachs in the summer remotely," Solomon added. "We're going to do everything we can to adapt, and we'll have to adapt to whatever the environment is, but to not put ourselves in a position where we've got another class of people coming in — 3,000 young people coming in — that aren't getting more direct contact, direct apprenticeship, and direct mentorship."

Goldman Sachs' worldwide internship class numbers more than 2,000 people. A representative for the firm declined to comment to Insider beyond confirming the contents of the memo.

A representative for NovoEd declined to comment.

Other firms across Wall Street are facing the music of having to conduct their internships remotely, at least in part

Insider previously reported that Morgan Stanley told its 2021 summer internship class that it would begin virtually.

In a memo sent February 22 and viewed by Insider, Mandell Crawley, the firm's chief human resources officer, told incoming interns that summer internships across divisions firmwide will entail a mix of virtual training, remote work and projects, and ways for the interns to engage with one another, presumably remotely.

However, Morgan Stanley's interns might get a shot at some in-person work eventually. Crawley did note that, depending on how circumstances unfold, he is hopeful that there might be an opportunity for some interns to engage in-person, with opportunities that would fluctuate based on business line and location.

Meanwhile, Wells Fargo told interns in its corporate and investment-banking division in a memo sent on March 1 and viewed by Insider that it would pivot its CIB internships to go virtual again this year. Those internships are scheduled to run from June to August.

Last year, summer interns across Wall Street saw their start dates delayed and their programs shortened as the coronavirus pandemic threw 2020 summer internship plans into turmoil.

Interns at many firms, including Goldman Sachs, received full compensation for their internships, even though they were reduced in length.

At the time, some firms issued future full-time employment offers to rising senior interns who had yet to start their internships.

Goldman Sachs was not one of those firms and made hiring decisions at its usual time last year, after students had concluded their internships.