If you’re in the throes of a summer internship at J.P. Morgan, or if you’re planning to intern at the US bank in the future, you need to know how to stand out from your cohort – almost all of whom are likely to be frighteningly well-qualified.
We’ve spoken with a few experts about how to impress during a J.P. Morgan internship and secure a full-time job offer as a result.
Don’t restrict your networking to your own department. “A good thing in J.P. Morgan is that people are willing to spare 15 minutes to talk even though you’re just an intern," says a former US-based intern. "So be proactive in reaching out to folks across the firm – send them a calendar invite for coffee, show them your interest in their business or in a specific role you’re looking at in order to get tips on how you should prepare for interviews,” he adds.
J.P. Morgan organises “senior speaker series” events for interns, both locally and globally via dial-ins. "These talks help interns to better connect with the senior guys and find out more from their perspective,” says the former intern. “The best way to get involved is to make your presence known through networking at the event and by posing sensible questions during the Q&A.”
“Assimilating socially within the bank is the most important thing that many interns neglect,” says a current J.P. Morgan analyst. “They often focus too much on outdoing each other without thinking about how they can ‘fit in’ and be liked by the juniors on the floor. Having people in the bank vouch for you is the single most crucial factor in landing an offer – the moment your internship begins, you’re being assessed by everyone. It’s also critical to not do anything out of the ordinary and be ‘that intern’ who got drunk at the office party and knocked over an analyst’s drink.”
“You’ll get an intern project – a hypothetical M&A case study for example – which you will deliver and present at the end of the internship to a panel of MDs,” says the J.P. Morgan analyst. “The project is the best way to impress MDs who will basically never otherwise assess you during your time at the bank. It’s important to deliver in a confident, thoughtful manner – it’s your chance to prove you have what it takes, on the surface at least, to be a banker.”
“If you spend more time on projects than on completing day-to-day work for the team, I guarantee you won’t be asked to come back next year,” warns the analyst. “There’s nothing an analyst despises more than working till 3am while an intern works on their project till 10pm, complaining about how stressful the project is and not offering to help the rest of their team on real work.”
“We will assign mentors, buddies or sponsors – an extra go-to person outside of the hiring manager. Take full advantage of those resources,” Michelle Bucaria, J.P. Morgan’s global head of campus recruiting, told us earlier this year. “Ask questions, get advice and get feedback. That’s invaluable to landing a full time position – having conversations with your managers, asking for feedback, knowing where you stand. Not on every email, of course, but if you just completed a project, ask for feedback. What could I do better? Really listening to that feedback and adapting it to the next assignment is just huge.”
“Being self-aware is also very important at J.P. Morgan,” says the former US-based intern. “Know what you’re good and not good at and communicate this to the HR people when you meet them. Open discussion and honesty is encouraged – if HR at the bank finds that you’re sitting on the fence during a catch-up with you, it won’t go very down well," he adds.
“J.P. Morgan has a power-packed internship programme – intern activities really stretch you and it’s unlike what I've experienced before at other firms,” says the former intern. “It’s is not enough to do your assigned projects well – that’s expected of everyone. To truly stand out, you should be proactive in every area – ask the right questions, be actively involved in intern events and bring that extra edge to everything you do," he adds.
Adapting to the “structure and hierarchy” of J.P. Morgan was the toughest challenge for 2011 intern Xenia Tchoumitcheva, who now works as a fashion blogger. “I’ve always been used to decide my own hours, be very creative, be in charge of people who work with me, work weekends and take breaks whenever I need them,” she told us previously. “At the bank I had to start from the bottom of the ladder in a very structured and rigid environment.”