MISSOULA — For a short time this summer, Montana's starting punter Eric Williams is trading in his cleats for a desk job.
Not just any desk job, though.
Williams, a Missoula native and Loyola Sacred Heart grad, landed a 10-week internship at Goldman Sachs. His first day on the job was May 30 and he's based in Salt Lake City — home to Goldman Sachs' third-largest office in the world behind London and New York City.
"I'm super excited," Williams told 406mtsports.com. "Obviously going into an internship, you want to learn as much as you can, but usually you don't really know exactly what you're going to learn. Especially in finance.
"... I don't know exactly what I'm going to be doing, but that's kind of the fun part."
Landing an internship at Goldman Sachs is no easy task.
Business Insider reported in 2014 that the investment bank had 17,000 applicants for 350 summer analyst internships. That's roughly a 2 percent acceptance rate.
But Williams almost didn't get the memo.
In the fall, the business school brought in two university alumni who currently work for Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City for a Q&A about the internship.
"I had football practice, so I couldn't go, but I accidentally got linked in on one of the email chains," Williams said.
He grabbed the presenters' emails off the email thread and reached out to them. After picking their brains, Williams went through the three-step application process.
After sending off the online template application, Williams went through their HireVue process — video interview software that uses artificial intelligence to analyze word choice, tone and facial movement of job applicants. The hiring folks liked Williams' answers, so they flew him down to Salt Lake City for an in-person interview. The interview fell during his penultimate Griz-Cat Week.
"I had to miss a day of practice during Cat Week last year to fly down there just during the day and I had to practice on a Monday instead of a Wednesday or whatever it was," Williams said. "Less than a week later, I got a call back and they said they wanted to offer me. I didn't have to think terribly long about that decision. I was lucky enough to get offered."
Williams credits both his in-town internship at SGL Investment Advisors and many things related to Montana football for giving him an edge in the application process.
"The experience I got with (SGL) was absolutely critical in me getting hired at Goldman," Williams said. "That experience and my football experience were easily the two biggest reasons why I feel like I had a competitive edge.
"... I think the combination of that unconventional route (Williams was a walk-on) and then just the general diversity and challenges that being a Division I athlete, especially a football player in a town like Missoula and in a state like Montana, I think all of that put together offers you so much to talk about and call back upon in terms of relating to experiences and challenges and situations."
Of course, his academic resume doesn't hurt either.
Williams has been on the Dean's List every semester for the past two years as well. He earned a 4.0 last semester, at least a 3.5 in the fall 2017, spring 2017 and fall 2016 semesters. And barring another paperwork mix-up, Williams is set to officially graduate this summer with his bachelor of science in business administration with a finance emphasis and a cum laude honors distinction.
"I fully juggle finance and football for now," Williams said, "which won't last forever."