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Jamie Dimon tells MBA students that banking is still the place to be

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Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase

Jamie Dimon may be talking up his own book, but he believes that MBA students should embrace the “dramatically” growing financial services industry when thinking about starting their career.

Yes, MBAs may be increasingly turning away from finance, but Dimon believes that MBAs are missing a trick. “If you don’t have a healthy financial services industry, you don’t have a healthy economy – it’s important to do it well,” he said. “It is going to grow dramatically over the next 20 years – assets under management are going to double over 20 years, the amount of billion-dollar-revenue companies will double in the next 12 years, 40% of which will be in China, and the number of billionaires will double over that time.”

Dimon was speaking to MBA students in Washington following the publication of his annual shareholder letter. Financial services firms aren’t perfect, he admitted and more needs to be done to encourage people up the ranks.

“At J.P. Morgan Chase we have a mentoring program, I’m for the mentoring program, let me make that clear, but often people who call themselves mentors don’t give you the right advice,” Dimon said. “When I came up, it was much more of a sink-or-swim type of a thing. It’s not your mentor’s job to further your career; it’s their job to make you better, so sometimes they will tell you what you’re not doing well,” he said.

Dimon also said that students need to embrace emotional intelligence, as well as developing their technical skills.

“Write the book the way you want it to be written, and educate yourself your whole life,” Dimon said. “None of us are perfect – we all have embedded strengths and weaknesses, so cultivate your strengths, including your EQ, which will encourage people to trust you – how can you earn people’s trust?

And J.P. Morgan is encouraging more women into senior ranks and addressing the gender pay gap, he insists.

“It is absolutely, positively inappropriate to have pay discrimination – 30% of my direct reports are women – that’s 30% of the top 200 people [at J.P. Morgan], including the CFO, and they run things like global asset management,’ Dimon said. “An Indian woman runs U.S. M&A, and that was the most macho of all the areas.

“It doesn’t me we can’t do more, but we feel like we’re doing the right stuff,” he said. “We make sure there are women on pay and promotion committees, who have … we call them ‘superpowers.’”

Photo credit: Yahoo Finance

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