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Morning Coffee: The J.P. Morgan job that will last past 2030. Citi loves a “culture carrier”

quantum computing, quantum computers, quantum physics, quantum physicists, Wall Street, J.P. Morgan, Citi, Citibank, Citigroup, investment banking, investment banks, investment bankers, IBM, jobs, careers

"Quantum Leap" aired on NBC from 1989 to 1993.

Some financial services trends are actually fads that end up being a mere flash in the pan. However, others have staying power, and quantum computing certainly appears to be in the latter category, at least in the opinion of J.P. Morgan’s decision-makers. That means quantum physicists and computer scientists will have staying power on Wall Street.

Global CIO Lori Beer said that the bank plans to experiment with the potential of quantum computing to solving computationally intensive problems related to risk analysis, trading strategies and predicting how a product, security or portfolio will behave in different scenarios.

A team of J.P. Morgan software engineers will work with IBM researchers in Yorktown Heights, New York, to understand how the emerging technology will impact the firm and its customers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“We still have a little bit of a journey to bring these use cases to life, but we’re optimistic that this is a core capability we need to think about for the long term,” she said.

While the industry as a whole is still in its early stages, quantum computers can sort through a vast number of possibilities within a fraction of a second to come up with a probable solution for narrow optimization problems. They provide exponentially more computing power for solving certain types of problems that require the use of complex algorithmic models to determine a likely outcome.

The partnership with IBM is about exploring and learning about potential use cases, but “it’s too early to say what might be possible,” Beer told WSJ.

If you work to become a quantum computing expert now, then you’ll likely have plenty of job offers on Wall Street in 2030 and beyond.

Separately, performance matters, but it’s not the only thing. Citigroup’s top executives look for “culture carriers” when hiring senior investment bankers. But what are culture carriers exactly, and how are they different from team players?

Citi has hired more than 20 managing directors for its corporate and investment banking division this year worldwide. This week, the bank promoted 33 staff in its corporate and investment bank and seven in capital markets origination to MD. In addition, just announced a new class of 120 managing directors in its Institutional Clients Group, which includes its investment bankers and traders. It also named a handful of senior corporate and investment bankers to new leadership roles in a reshuffle of its European FIG team.

Citi knows that to be successful, it must retain as many of its top-performers as possible while also bringing in star bankers that will fit into the bank’s culture.

“We can’t have people on solo missions,” Raymond McGuire, the global head of corporate and investment banking at Citi, told Business Insider. “The foundation to this, the bedrock to this is talent. You have to make certain that you have the talent that is the best trained, that has the best experience, that can exercise the most refined judgment.

“…you have to be really careful about the talent that you onboard. They have to not only be the best practitioners, but they also have to be culture carriers. And we have found that, while we’ve had some challenges, for the most part, we’ve been very effective at integrating new people into the culture…. And you also have to make sure that the talent that you onboard has got a value system and has got an alignment that is very clear.”

So what can you expect to be asked in a Citi job interview?

“What kind of character do they have? What kind of client impact? How is that client impact reflected in their performance, historically? And character gets to whether they are a team player or whether or not they’re on solo missions. We can’t have people on solo missions, we need to have people who are prepared to engage as partners,” McGuire told BI.

There is no ‘i’ in team, but there are two i’s in managing director, for what it’s worth.


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Photo credit: Belisarius Productions, Universal Television, NBC

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