Goldman Sachs

Project 1: Goldman Sachs


Read the Case Scenario

Goldman Sachs is an expansive financial services company. Many clients are institutional: private companies and government organizations wanting to raise cash seek Goldman’s help in packaging and then selling stock or bonds. On the other side, private investors—wealthy individuals wanting to multiply their riches—receive a hearty welcome at Goldman because they have the cash to purchase those stocks and bonds. Ultimately, Goldman Sachs is a hub where large companies, governmental powers, and wealthy people come and do business together.

Executives at Goldman Sachs are among the world’s highest paid. According to a New York Times article, “At the center of Goldman’s lucrative compensation program is the partnership. Goldman’s partners are its highest executives and its biggest stars. Yet while Goldman is required to report compensation for its top officers, it releases very little information about this broader group, remaining tightlipped about even basic information like who is currently a partner.”

The rest of the article investigates this shadowy partnership. The conclusions: “Goldman has almost 860 current and former partners. In the last 12 years, they have cashed out more than $20 billion in Goldman shares and currently hold more than $10 billion in Goldman stock.”

This tally of accumulated wealth in Goldman stock doesn’t even include the standard salary and cash bonuses the partners receive, but leaving that aside, here’s the math: $30 billion divided by 860 divided by 12 should give some sense of the wealth each of these corporate stars is accumulating over the course of a year. To give a provisional idea of how large the number of dollars is here, when you try plugging $30 billion into an iPhone calculator, you find the screen can’t even hold a number that long. Using a different calculator yields this result: $2.9 million per partner every year.

The 2.9 million can be compared with the salary earned by the average American: $50,000 a year. The Goldman partner gets that in less than a week. This huge money explains the clawing fight that goes on inside Goldman to become a partner. The odds are long. Each time the books are opened to admit a new class, only 1 of 330 Goldman employees makes the cut. It is, in the words of one former partner, “a very Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest firm.”

In the public comments section of the New York Times story about Goldman, a person identified as GHP picks up on the firm’s characterization as a “Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest” place. He wrote, “The French revolution was also very Darwinian, let’s give that a try.” During the French Revolution, the wealthy and powerful were rewarded with a trip to the guillotine.

Probably, GHP isn’t just annoyed about how much money executives at Goldman make, he, like a lot of people, is peeved by the fact that the company was bailed out by the federal government during the 2008–09 financial crisis. Had the taxpayers (people making $50,000) not kicked in, Goldman might’ve gone bankrupt, and all that money its partners accumulated in stock would’ve vanished. As it happens, the US government’s bailout was masterminded by US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. His previous job was CEO (and partner) at Goldman.

Source: Used from Creative Commons Attribution – NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensor.


Step 1: Write the Introduction

Create the introductory paragraph. The introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of the paper and tells a reader the main points covered in the paper. To help you know how to write an introduction, view this website to learn how to write an introductory paragraph:

Step 2: Answer the following

Describe the contrast between Normative Ethics and Descriptive Ethics and which best defines the corporate climate at Goldman Sachs.
Discuss advantages and disadvantages of an Ethics Based on Duties philosophy at Goldman Sachs
Identify and explain at least one ethical issue from the case scenario; provide at least one ethical dilemma that is associated with the ethical issue you identify.
What ethical philosophy best describes the corporate culture of Goldman Sachs? Support your position with sound reasoning and relevant course material.
Define cultural relativism and explain how it relates to the case study.
What might be the best description for promotions at Goldman Sachs; 1) the result of hard work or 2) determined by broader guidelines such as competition? Explain.
Rank and yank is a management philosophy by former General Electric Company CEO Jack Welch. Every year the entire workforce should be ranked and the bottom 10 percent are fired. Through course reading and case studies, is Rank and Yank a characterization of the Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest theory? Explain and support your position.
Step 3: Review the Paper

Read the paper to ensure all required elements are present. Use the grading rubric to ensure that you gain the most points possible for this assignment.

Proofread the paper for spelling and grammatical issues, and third person writing.

Read the paper aloud as a first measure;
Use the spell and grammar check in Word as a second measure;
Have someone who has excellent English skills proofread the paper;
Consider submitting the paper to the Effective Writing Center (EWC). The EWC will provide 4-6 areas that may need improvement.
Step 4: Submit the paper in the Assignment Folder (The assignment submitted to the Assignment Folder will be considered the student’s final product and therefore ready for grading by the instructor. It is incumbent upon the student to verify the assignment is the correct submission. No exceptions will be considered by the instructor).

How to Set Up the Paper

Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) document that is double-spaced, 12-point font. The final product will be between 5-6 pages in length excluding the title page and reference page. Write clearly and concisely.

Completing the Paper

In order to complete this project, you will want to first read the module, Learn How to Support What You Write, as this assignment requires you to use the course readings and research to support what you write. Also,

Read the grading rubric for the project. Use the grading rubric while completing the project to ensure all requirements are met that will lead to the highest possible grade.
Third person writing is required. Third person means that there are no words such as “I, me, my, we, or us” (first person writing), nor is there use of “you or your” (second person writing). If uncertain how to write in the third person, view this link:
Contractions are not used in business writing, so do not use them.
Paraphrase and do not use direct quotation marks. Paraphrase means you do not use more than four consecutive words from a source document, but puts a passage from a source document into your own words and attribute the passage to the source document. Not using direct quotation marks means that there should be no passages with quotation marks and instead the source material is paraphrased as stated above. Note that a reference within a reference list cannot exist without an associated in-text citation and vice versa.
Provide the page or paragraph number (required) when using in-text citations. If using the eBook, use Business Ethics followed by the Chapter/Section title and paragraph number.
You are expected to use the case scenario, and weekly courses readings to develop the analysis and support the reasoning. The expectation is that you provide a robust use of the course readings. There is no need to use external source material. Material used from a source document must be cited and referenced. A reference within a reference list cannot exist without an associated in-text citation and vice versa.
Use a wide array of the course material.






























































































Sample Solution

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