The president of Goldman Sachs says a client he met as a personal trainer in his teens helped shape his entire career

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  • Harvey Schwartz, the president of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, opened up about a woman named Linda during the most recent episode of “Exchanges at Goldman Sachs.”
  • The 20-plus-year veteran of Wall Street was promoted to president and co-COO at Goldman Sachswhen Gary Cohn was tapped by the White House to lead the National Economic Council. 
  • Schwartz explained how Linda, whom he trained at the gym he worked for after high school, helped him get into college. 
  • He said Linda provides a mold for what it means to be a “truly most effective” mentor. 

The most ubiquitous piece of advice on Wall Street is to find a mentor. 

But what type of person should young Wall Streeters look for?

Harvey Schwartz, the president and co-COO, examined this point in the most recent episode of  “Exchanges at Goldman Sachs.”

The 53-year-old described his childhood as “pretty difficult,” saying he almost didn’t make it to college. After he graduated from high school he worked at a gym as a physical trainer. And he only ended up applying to college because one of his clients, Linda, pushed him to do so. 

“I didn’t know at the time that she was becoming a significant mentor of mine, just a friend and a client, but she was really pushing me on ‘what are you doing, are you applying to colleges,'” Schwartz said. “And at that stage, with her encouragement, I applied to a number of schools, I applied to Rutgers in New Jersey.”

But Schwartz didn’t get in the first time he applied. So Linda, a Rutgers alum who didn’t have much clout, made a few calls to the university. Schwartz said she was persistent, telling Rutgers’ staff they had “made a mistake” and that they should meet Schwartz in person. Ultimately, they gave in and got an interview on the calendar. 

After they met Schwartz in person, the university staff changed their mind and accepted him. Schwartz said Linda taught him what it means to be a “truly most effective” mentor. 

“You know, we all toss around the word ‘mentor,’ and when you think about what does it mean when it’s truly most effective,” he opined. 

He said it takes a couple things: Trust and time. 

“It’s about trust, it’s about people willing to invest in other people in a way that actually may require them to take risk,” he said.  

But finding people like Linda, who will go to bat for you, is not easy. Here’s Schwartz:

“I’m not sure there’s a lot of people out there in the world that would … and it would be great if there were more … actually kind of grab a young person by the collar and say: ‘No, no, no, no, you are good enough to be in this school and I have so much personal confidence in you that I’m actually going to do my best to reverse a decision.’”

Listen to the entire podcast here >>

SEE ALSO: A rising star on Wall Street says the 2 things that will make you a success have nothing to do with money or smarts

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