What It’s Like to Intern at J.P. Morgan
Jennifer Sham shares her experience as a J.P. Morgan intern in London last summer.
Jennifer Sham finished her BS Mathematics and Economics degree at the London School of Economics in 2017 and landed an internship at J.P. Morgan in London last summer. Here’s what her experience was like.
Were you nervous before your first day? What did you do to prepare?
Moving to London for university from a tiny seaside town in South Wales was a big change. But even when I was at uni, I was still in this bubble – sticking to my campus, my friends, and my societies. So, before my 10-week analyst internship at one of the biggest banks in the world, I was definitely nervous! I was told in advance that the dress code was business casual, which was great given that most banks go for strictly formal. The night before, with my outfit ready, I made sure I had read up on the latest news so I was aware of what was happening in the world.
What training did you receive as a J.P. Morgan intern?
The training at J.P. Morgan was really thorough. As an intern I had the ability to learn from, and pose questions to my co-workers – who really knew their stuff! The speed at which I was able to learn and contribute made me more confident. Also, because all the interns across Europe arrived in London to learn together, I got to make friends with people from as far as Milan, Paris, and Frankfurt!
What was your first day like as an analyst?
Following our week of formal training, things started to feel more real. When I arrived, I had a host of helpful people waiting to show me where I’d be sitting and support me through the 10 weeks. They set up my computer and emails and gave me a handy document that explained the different financial terms I wasn't aware of (I was glad they didn’t expect me to know everything just yet).
My intern manager assured me during our first meeting that we'd have regular catch-ups including a mid-internship and end-of-internship review, as well as constant feedback from colleagues along the way. As a new employee coming in, it's reassuring to know that you'll receive the necessary guidance and steering.
Did you have access to interesting projects and senior level executives?
During my internship I aimed to get into the office as early as possible, largely to benefit from all the interesting meetings and updates that happened on a daily basis. For example, I would always drop into the Morning Market Drill with the team in Geneva – a recap of what happened in the markets the night before delivered by a different analyst every day – it wasn't compulsory, but was extremely useful for someone who was still learning.
Another update I really enjoyed was the EMEA Morning Meeting – an update with staff from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa where I could hear from different leaders about their projects. It was encouraging to find out that my experienced colleagues were more than happy to answer my questions at the end.
When I had imagined meeting senior executives at a bank, my expectation was that they would be slightly scary and very serious people. One thing that really impressed me about working with established colleagues was that no matter what stage you’re at, people treat you as an equal. When I met leaders at J.P. Morgan, they really gave me the confidence to work hard so I could someday attain the same level of success they have.
If you could go back to day 1, what would you tell yourself?
Looking back, I wish I hadn't worried so much. I expected to feel a pressure, which actually wasn’t the case. All I had was support – from my intern manager, my buddy, and the friendly colleagues around the world. If anything, the pressure I felt came from myself. Sometimes, I'd spent a long time trying to work something out alone before eventually giving up and asking for help, only for my manager to tell me that they wished I'd asked sooner so they could have supported me. My team wanted to help me learn, not see me overwhelmed.
Did you enjoy your time?
J.P. Morgan is a great place to start your career, the skills you learn set you up for the future, whether you plan to stay with the company or not. As one senior leader said to me: “You don’t know if your first job is going to be the job you do for the rest of your life, but either way, you'll learn things, things that you can take into the next job and beyond."
Often, I think students assume that taking a first role is a decision that will have an impact on the rest of their lives. But a lot of the people I’ve met have had such interesting trajectories in their careers, and their current jobs are unrecognizable from their first.