Vault's Verdict

Vault Verdict:  J.P. Morgan is one of the top banking firms to work for in the world, as well as one of the most prestigious. As such, the firm is looking for best in class candidates who are bright, motivated, driven, passionate, and eager to learn and make an impact. The firm runs a lauded internship program that gives students the ability to work with senior bankers and clients as they gain valuable experience. For full-time professionals, the firm offers excellent career development opportunities, including strong formal and informal training, and plenty of mentoring and networking opportunities. Although insiders will work long hours and stress can be high depending on which group or business unit they join, the firm generally places a strong emphasis on creating a healthy work-life balance for its employees. Salaries and bonuses are said to be competitive, if not slightly below the Street average, while benefits get average marks from insiders. Diversity recruiting, however, is one of the firm's strong suits; J.P. Morgan is deemed a leader in diversity, and diversity is a cornerstone of its culture. With respect to the firm's business outlook, it is said to be very good despite a tough regulatory environment. The firm's senior leadership is strong, employee morale is good, and the firm is a leader in most of the areas in which it operates.

Hiring Process 

"For interns, we recruit and solicit resumes from a range of schools. Once resumes are submitted, we review and propose the top talent to receive first-round interviews. We then identify those top prospects to take part in a Super Day. After that, we identify our top talent and extend offers. Additionally, we utilize special networks (such as various diversity and women's networks) to source candidates. We are looking for diverse candidates who come from various educational backgrounds who are motivated, inclusive, and eager players." 

"We seek bright, motivated candidates with diverse backgrounds and drive. We look for impeccable ethical standards and the ability to lead and persuade. Our interview process is extensive but we are always professional in our selection process." 

"The firm aims to hire best in class talent and not necessarily those with a financial background. Although a background in finance will make the learning curve slightly easier to manage at the start, jobs in finance require mostly on-the-job training. This firm recognizes that and wants to hire smart, driven, hardworking, passionate people who are eager to learn and make an impact." 

"The ideal candidate is an intelligent, driven, creative, and hardworking team player with the highest ethical standards. No employee succeeds alone, and the ability to collaborate within a team and across teams and divisions with people of diverse backgrounds, skills, and points of view is critical to winning. The firm thinks long term about its businesses and client relationships, and candidates must be able to put aside short-term profits and agendas to meet the long-term needs of the firm and its clients, all while maintaining the highest standards of ethics and integrity. Ultimately those high standards are key to retaining and gaining clients, our own talent, and to growing our business."

Interview Questions

"For intern/analyst-level: How do you feel that the Fed's current interest rate policy has affected the U.S. economy and global markets? What do you think the ECB's response to the threat of inflation should be and why? What is the most demanding task you have undertaken, did you succeed or fail, why or why not? How would you value the store on the corner and what measures would you use and why? What differentiates J.P. Morgan from other firms you are considering?" 

"Tell me about a conflict with someone you worked with or managed (a job or a school project)? How did you deal with the person and the problem? What was the outcome? Explain the difference between stocks and bonds and how you would use each in a client portfolio." 

"Typical questions: (1) Describe a time when you were in a difficult group position and how you worked out of it and asserted yourself as a leader. (2) What qualities have proved to help you be successful thus far? (3) How do you think you can help better J.P. Morgan?" 

"What do you do to stay current on news about the financial services industry? Tell me about a recent news event that affects our industry."

Intern Experience

"Best: client exposure was great, but more importantly I was part of a small team. My manager and my mentor for the summer were fantastic; they took the time to actually teach me how to do well in my program and made sure I met everyone on the floor, not just how to finish the work I was doing. Worst: networking and attending events would be much easier if everyone was in Midtown." 

"As a summer analyst at J.P. Morgan, I was given quality assignments and made to feel like a true member of the team, despite only being there for eight weeks. The employees were very welcoming and willing to help and educate me whenever possible. The most difficult part was, given the complexity of the business, you often only saw a small piece of the big picture and did not get a full understanding of the entirety of the business." 

"Best: great focus from senior employees on fostering learning among the interns; large amount of resources placed on the internship program from start to finish. Worst: as expected, the majority of events for the interns were based on NYC, making it more difficult to participate for those in other offices." 

"Best parts: Involved in client meetings. Manager facilitated positive work environment. Exposure to senior management. Speaker series included Jamie Dimon. Intern group events allowed for networking throughout the firm. Competitive pay. Worst part: the bureaucratic work environment."

Career Development 

"Informal training and mentoring occurs every day. Senior members of the team place high importance on developing younger and/or less experienced employees. Promotion policies are fairly rigid." 

"Best: During my first three years I was able to work in three functional areas on two continents and get promoted once. I have had an opportunity to get involved in long-term underwriting, sales of short-term securities, and an internal strategy/management function. Worst: Due to their size, the entry-level programs tend to be very managed and streamlined, which meant that I had to sometimes fend for myself when wanting to do something outside of the box." 

"J.P. Morgan provides extensive training to interns and requires analysts to complete a series of additional training classes throughout the year. While the firm does offer additional training as one's career evolves and grows, more targeted training to those in the middle stages of their career could be offered." 

"The firm encourages the development of juniors in many ways, including formal training, informal mentoring within and outside of one's team, networking opportunities with senior professionals and other juniors, inclusion of juniors in senior people's meetings and work. J.P. Morgan is better at this than other banks from my first-hand experience and from what I've heard from my friends and family in the financial industry." 

Quality of Life

"The financial crisis introduced constant job insecurity and the kind of sharp elbows and internal competition that often accompanies that. However, the firm tends to encourage work-life balance and to have a friendlier culture than other investment banks."

"Best parts: Current manager and previous direct managers have been supportive of flexibility. Colleagues are always willing to pitch in on a team when another team member needs to be out of office. Worst parts: Support for flexibility generally comes from the top and is inconsistent in some areas of the firm where some senior managers are more supportive than others. Consistent drive to do more with less without strategic investments results in increased stress and pressure." 

"J.P. Morgan has given me the opportunity to work remotely with a non-traditional schedule, which has greatly enhanced my quality of life, allowed me to spend more time with family, and given me greater freedom to pursue my goals and interests outside of work. However, the job still has to get done, which sometimes requires long hours in a fast-paced, demanding environment. Yet that environment of collaborating under pressure with smart, motivated, and driven colleagues is also part of what makes the work enjoyable." 

"Work-life balance is strongly encouraged. Proactive efforts are made to ensure junior staff is not overworked in intensive deal-related areas. Work-life balance is viewed as legitimate versus firms that put programs in place designed to keep employees at their desks. However, J.P. Morgan needs to be more focused on fixing technology to make employees' lives easier, rather than employees bending to technology."

Salary and Benefits 

Best: performance-based bonus structure accounts for a large portion of overall compensation, in addition to a competitive base salary. Worst: not many additional perks outside of monetary compensation." 

"Best: flexible hours, 401(k) matching, and vacation time. Worst: employee salaries do not rise at an acceptable rate. Those who are newly hired are often hired on at a higher rate than their new colleagues." 

"Vacation for juniors (analyst and associate levels) is good. But we tend to be underpaid." 

"Pay is competitive, and firm culture is great. The firm offers 401(k) matching plus a pension plan in additional to employee stock plan and other financial opportunities. However, medical coverage is expensive with a family (though the coverage is extensive)." 

Diversity, Philanthropy, and Green Initiatives

"I believe that J.P. Morgan is a leader in diversity. Diversity is a cornerstone of our global corporate culture, and includes seeking a diverse slate of candidates for key job roles, building a diverse talent pipeline working with schools and industry groups, and linking management rewards to achieving the stated diversity goals. We are a leader in corporate philanthropy, as evidenced by our active efforts to hire veterans and addressing their unique challenges around housing and education, our recent investment in Detroit, and our employees' active involvement in community projects and local and national charities. In regards to our green practices, our New York corporate headquarters is one of the few LEED Platinum office buildings in the U.S." 

"We are an exceptionally diverse workplace. In my office, we are almost half women, and we have many races and many gay employees." 

"The firm has really revamped its focus on diversity in the workplace and as a woman I have really noticed this. There are a number of great networking and other opportunities for women to gain senior-level attention." 

"Best: we believe in diversity and are trying to be more successful. Worst: this is still mainly only at the junior level." 

Business Outlook

"The business outlook is challenging for everyone, but we are competing hard. Morale is good, and I have high confidence in our leaders at all levels of the firm. The firm plans to be in its core businesses for the long term and does not overreact to short-term disruptions by exiting core businesses or cutting key personnel." 

"Regulatory costs have increased in recent years but besides that, the firm's business outlook is highly positive. We are leaders in most businesses we run, and employee morale is high." 

"The current regulatory environment of the banking world has made it harder for the industry to provide unique and sophisticated solutions to our clients. Each month, each of us spends more time dealing with the increasing demands of regulators and regulations, but we somehow find a way to continue to deliver what our clients need when they need it. At J.P. Morgan we continue to do first-class business in a first-class way." 

"The firm's leadership is known to be the best around, and our fortress balance sheet and excellent product line position us well."

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