Vault's 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 candidates who are highly intelligent, analytical, and motivated; show strong interpersonal and analytical skills; have excellent communications skills; and are team players. The firm runs a lauded internship program that prepares students for full-time employment, while providing them with substantial hands-on experience, and the ability to interact with clients, attend educational sessions, and network with senior executives. For full-time professionals, the firm offers excellent career development opportunities, including strong formal and informal training, plenty of mentoring opportunities, and the ability to move to other groups and regions within the bank. Although insiders will work long hours and stress can be high depending on which group or business unit they join, the firm places a strong emphasis on creating a healthy work/life balance for its employees, and the firm's collegial culture is said to be one of its strong suits. Salaries and bonuses are competitive with the Street average, while benefits get average marks from insiders. Diversity recruiting, however, generally receives very high marks. J.P. Morgan is deemed a leader in diversity, although there is still room for improvement in certain areas of diversity recruiting, according to insiders. With respect to the firm's business outlook, it is said to be very bright despite a tough regulatory environment. The firm's senior leadership is strong and has the confidence of its staff, and J.P. Morgan is well positioned to continue to be a leader in most of the areas in which it operates.

Hiring Process

  • "We have a very seasoned interview process in place. There are target schools for the company, but candidates can always get in if they proactively reach out to employees of the company. Ideal candidates are very analytical, have great attention to detail, and are able to hold intelligent conversations with clients. They must also be up to date with current events, and have an opinion on the economic outlook for geographic locations, different financial asset classes, and individual companies."

  • "A substantial amount of recruitment comes from concentrated campus recruiting. Typically we emphasize (1) well-rounded backgrounds, (2) good personality, (3) interest in markets, (4) ability to learn quickly. There is less emphasis on already-learned technical skills coming into this practice."

  • "We are looking for candidates that are committed, show strong interpersonal and analytical skills, can communicate effectively both in writing and orally, are team players, and are not afraid to work long hours."

  • "I interviewed on campus, so the process was simple. We're looking for someone who is passionate about markets, works well in a team environment, is a good communicator, and pays a close attention to details. Given the relationship aspect of the business, we generally prefer someone who is outgoing and can converse well across a multitude of topics."

Interview Questions

  • "Mainly behavioral questions: Why J.P. Morgan? Demonstrate that you follow the markets. Give specific examples of how you have incorporated different traits in your life to what J.P. Morgan is looking for (team environment, strong communication skills, etc.)."

  • "Tell me about yourself. Technical understanding of concepts commonly used in roles being interviewed for. Asked about specific items on a resume and understanding of the firm and specific team."

  • "What's our stock price at? Why you? Why J.P. Morgan? Why this group? Tell me about a time you failed. What have you read recently?"

  • "Questions are typically around content-like knowledge about our firm, our competitive advantages/disadvantages, markets, portfolios, etc.-and skill sets that address work ethic, sales skills, compatibility with culture, etc."

Intern Experience

  • "My internships at J.P. Morgan prepared me for full-time employment better than any other job or academic experience. From day one I worked on substantial projects, spoke with clients, attended educational sessions, and networked with high-level executives within the bank. The level of professionalism, generosity, and honesty extended toward me even as a new intern was remarkable."

  • "My internship allowed me to genuinely experience life as a full-time research associate at J.P. Morgan and the autonomy that often comes along with being a research analyst. The program did an excellent job of structuring and planning summer projects for the intern class. These projects weren't merely busy work but instead focused on generating research products that were integral to the firm's research franchise (e.g. initiation reports). Additionally, the internship program provided interns with an extensive support network that enabled them to learn about the job and firm culture in addition to providing consistent performance feedback. The only drawback was what seemed like a lack of choice in terms of selecting your research team. However, the firm made a great effort to match candidates with the team that fit their personality and working style."

  • "Best parts: culture, hands-on experience, training, resources. Worst part: I would have liked to attend more client meetings."

  • "The best aspects were 1) work/life balance, 2) the focus on development of junior talent, and 3) the mobility opportunities."

Career Development

  • "J.P. Morgan has a collegial culture and emphasizes mentoring of junior staff. I've been at several banks on Wall Street, and J.P. Morgan has the best/most organized training of junior staff. J.P. Morgan is also a big firm, and I've seen employees transition from one part of the bank to another (especially if you do a solid job and have a good internal rating on performance reviews and the support of your manager). Moving within the bank to pursue an opportunity outside of your line of business is not an impossible task."

  • "Career mobility is not just a buzzword or ideal at J.P. Morgan; it's a pillar of our business and the most distinct aspect of our corporate culture. I know that when I am ready for a new challenge, I will be able to speak openly with my manager and teammates about my next move."

  • "We work at a large institution, which offers an array of options in terms of business segments and geographic flexibility. The challenge is that those career development opportunities are really up to the individual to pursue. Additionally, many individuals are put into silos, leaving you unable to imagine yourself in a different role/group/function. The firm has taken a much more open approach, openly encouraging individuals to raise their hands; this openness has resulted in a number of my peers pursuing other opportunities within the bank."

  • "Our culture promotes, and that is something that the junior population does value. As you get more senior, you need to wait until appropriate spots open up for advancement, but there are always projects and initiatives to get involved in to raise your profile and hone your skillset."

Quality of Life

  • "Philanthropy, volunteerism, work/life balance, and physical and mental health are all emphasized in corporate communications. The on-site health center, cafeterias, and coffee shops are all great amenities. But at the end of the day, we need to be on call if a client needs us, so occasional late nights and early mornings are part of the job."

  • "There is a very strong work ethic at the firm and one that requires you to be on call 24/7. However, this expectation is because people are truly invested in the firm and our clients, so it is for the right reason."

  • "It is important to check in frequently in the evenings and on the weekends, but you can do that remotely. Face time is not an issue as long as you respond to important issues when they arise."

  • "Everyone is very relaxed about and encouraging of using all of one's vacation days, and we are allotted very generous amount of vacation days. People are respectful of family commitments and flexible schedules. There is lots of client interaction at a very early age. But a BlackBerry culture requires constant connectivity outside of work. Hours are often very tough. The firm promotes work/life balance in theory, but in practice everyone is stretched very thin. Stress levels are high."

Salary and Benefits

  • "The pay is very good, and the firm is working to make the metrics around salary/bonus more clear. Retirement and employee stock purchase plan is very good, and vacation time is flexible. Outside of this, perks do increase the more senior you are at the firm, especially in relation to flexible hours. Other common perks such as child care, parking, and gym are left to the employees to cover." 

  • "Compensation policy is fair. Maternity/paternity leave policy and vacation policy are good. Medical coverage has gotten significantly more expensive and isn't great. 401(k) matched is offered, but when comp exceeds a certain threshold, there is no match. Disappointed that there is no on-site child care or on-site gym."

  • "Salary, bonus, and benefits are all positives. Wellness/perks need work."

  • "Combined compensation is competitive with the market. But there are relatively limited investment choices for 401(k) accounts."

Diversity, Philanthropy, and Green Initiatives

  • "Diversity is at the top of the company's agenda. J.P. Morgan invests in and sponsors community service, educational programs, scholarships, and diverse recruiting programs."

  • "Extensive efforts to hire, promote, and support women. And there are lots of veteran efforts. But there are very few racial/ethnic minorities."

  • "Extensive company matches after major disasters, etc., to encourage employee giving. Yearly company match of charitable contributions is terrific."

  • "Long held reputation by many as best on the Street in respects to diversity. But sometimes the pendulum swings too far and is seen as trying to hard and getting it wrong in the process. Philanthropy program formerly seen as generous and equal, but now seen as a highly targeted program for the firm with little respect to individuals' charitable interests."

Business Outlook

  • "I have complete confidence that J.P. Morgan will be a market leader for a long time to come. While we are perhaps overly cautious and compliant at times, I think our integrity and willingness to cooperate with the government will help our longevity and reputation."

  • "J.P. Morgan is well positioned as one of the most well-respected banks in the world across a variety of synergistic businesses. While greater regulatory oversight will come into play, I have full confidence that the firm will navigate successfully through the regulatory environment."

  • "Our businesses are very strong. Any setbacks will be due to the overabundance of regulatory changes-which is an issue for the entire industry. We have very good leadership at our firm. My only knock is on the diversity front. We should be better, and the leadership needs to telegraph that and measure it."

  • "Jamie Dimon is outstanding. Operating Committee (Gordon Smith, Mary Erdoes) and board members are very strong. Financial results have been consistently strong. We're doing well at adapting to regulation, but it's still a difficult/expensive process. Headline risk/reputation issues exist despite our very strong, healthy company."

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