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Life experience you didn’t expect could land you a job at J.P. Morgan

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Michael Buckley has an MBA in Finance, but that alone wasn’t what got him hired as an associate in Global Real Assets at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. It was the leadership experience Buckley gained as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan that earned him an edge over other candidates.

Advice for other military veterans seeking a career in high finance? Focus on “preparation and persistence.”

“All prospective candidates should be thoroughly prepared for any meetings or interviews. Similarly, showing a genuine interest in the firm and following up in a consistent and timely manner are essential.”

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Veteran employment is a major initiative for J.P. Morgan Chase, both in leading the 100,000 Jobs Mission and internal hiring, said Shannon O’Reilly, executive director in communications for Military and Veterans Affairs at J.P. Morgan.

The 100,000 Jobs Mission’s member companies have collectively hired 77,612 military veterans through the second quarter of 2013. Launched in early 2011 by J.P. Morgan Chase and 10 other companies with the goal of hiring at least 100,000 veterans by 2020, the coalition has grown to 109 companies.

J.P. Morgan Chase established an in-house high-touch Military Recruiting Team comprised mostly of veterans, which has hired more than 5,600 U.S. military veterans since 2011. O’Reilly could not specify how many of those jobs are within investment banking and asset management.

Buckley, who began working in the asset management division in July 2012, oversees analysis in support of Global Real Assets client proposals and external events. He also helps build client portfolio allocations and conducts research on emerging market opportunities.

While earning his MBA at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Buckley served as portfolio manager of the Michael Price Student Investment Fund that actively managed a $2 million allocation of NYU’s endowment.

It was his five years in the Marines that gave him the confidence and leadership skills that translated well into investment savvy. He served as an intelligence officer and captain in the United States Marine Corps from 2005 and 2010, both in Hadithah, Iraq, and Eastern Afghanistan.

His vast experience includes: training and organizing the intelligence unit of a Marine infantry battalion for combat operations in Iraq; coordinating intelligence sharing and requests with national intelligence agencies; leading, training and organizing a unit of U.S. military advisors embedded with an infantry battalion of the Afghan National Army during combat operations; coaching, teaching and mentoring partnered Afghan National Army officers and planning and leading combined combat operations.

That rigorous fieldwork combined with an earlier background in finance made Buckley a frontrunner for the role in asset management. Before joining the Marines, he earned an economics degree and worked for the investment bank Brown Brothers Harriman.

Getting hired in today’s investment banking marketplace can be war, even for MBAs. A military background will certainly put you ahead in the battle for coveted jobs at J.P. Morgan, and that’s a promise that comes from the top.

“There is no other group that deserves our support more than our veterans,” J.P. Morgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon told he coalition’s quarterly meeting last week.

Follow the author on Twitter @natashagural

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