How do you work to attract new graduates to your finance company? According to Edith Cooper, Goldman Sachs’ head of human capital investment, you provide a chance for them to gain meaning.
“Folks that are coming into the firm out of universities are looking to do more,” Edith Cooper explained to Business Insider. “So many of them have recognized their role in society, so we felt that it was important for them to be able to really express those interests and those causes that they’re excited about and partner literally with the most senior ranks of the firm on making a difference in these organizations.”
Cooper is the vice chairwoman of Goldman Sachs’ Partnership Committee. Among other things, the Partnership Committee runs Goldman Sachs Gives, a philanthropic fund sponsored by the firm’s partners. The fund is committed to fostering innovative ideas, solving economic and social issues, and enabling progress in underserved communities globally, and awards grants to non-profits who apply. So far, they’ve made more than $1 billion in grants and partnered with 5,600 nonprofits in 80 countries throughout the world.
She might have a different view than most executives, as she didn’t start as a VP. Instead she worked her way up through the ranks at Goldman Sachs, working in Sales Management, the Securities Division, and the firm’s Futures business before being named a managing director in 1998 and a partner in 2000 before becoming an executive vice president in 2011.
Interestingly, she never planned on going into business. She was a Harvard liberal arts undergraduate when she joined a training program at a Chicago-based bank that made getting a graduate degree in business cheaper and started taking classes at the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University. According to an interview with them she discovered that she liked the challenge of marketing.
“I enjoyed being challenged in this way, and with the support of the faculty and my classmates, I found that I could conquer the material,” she explains.
Edith Cooper is active in the non-profit world outside of work as well, serving on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Modern Art, Mount Sinai Hospital, the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics, the President’s Council of Howard University, as well as the Northwestern University Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Horizons at Brunswick School.
Photo: The Goldman Sachs Tower is the tallest building in New Jersey. Credit: Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com