You’re just out of school and aiming to get a job at a top bank. Like most Wall Street operations, J.P. Morgan wants graduates with good grades, a strong GMAT score and applicable work experience. It also wants candidates with strong analytical skills who can think on their feet.
Here are some tips on how to nail down an investment banking job, directly from Joanna Lee, an investment banking MBA recruiter at J.P. Morgan.
What’s the best way to answer questions from the recruiter?
Present your answers in a short and compelling narrative. Briefly explain the background or situation; what action did you take and what was the outcome. If you are asked to assess a business situation, walk the interviewers through your thought process and how you arrive at that conclusion.
What mistakes do investment banking candidates make during an interview?
A common mistake among candidates is not being able to connect their past experiences and backgrounds to the role for which they are interviewing. As a candidate, it’s important to think through why you are a good fit for the role before walking into the interviewing room. Candidates should emphasize how they can add value to the firm and highlight the transferable skills that will help them succeed as an investment banker.
Are there cover letter and resume errors that often you see?
Keep your resume and cover letters to one page each. Avoid unexplained employment gaps, and/or a missing GMAT score on your resume since leaving details off your resume can raise questions. For example, if you took a year off to focus on other personal goals, you should include that experience in your resume.
What kind of questions should the interviewee ask the interviewer at the end?
Overall, a candidate should demonstrate a genuine interest in the firm, the group and the specific role. Asking about a group’s recent deal or next phase in the interview process reinforces an individual’s eagerness and enthusiasm. To keep the interviewer engaged, ask about their experiences at the firm. Be sure to ask for the interviewer’s contact information so you can follow up with a thank you note as another way to reiterate your interest.
How important are grades when assessing an investment banking candidate?
Academic excellence is an important factor in a candidate’s evaluation. However, we don’t focus solely on grades, especially since many business schools have grade nondisclosure policy. So we look for other qualities of academic excellence and achievements such as GMAT scores and Dean’s List recognition.
Tell us generally about your hiring plans. Any sectors you are targeting?
At J.P. Morgan, we continue to invest in our MBA investment banking summer internship as we fill most of our full-time positions from our Summer Associate class. Our summer program allows MBA candidates to gain first-hand experience early on in their career – challenging and meaningful work, access to senior management and clients, training and development programs and networking opportunities. Our program is designed to determine if the firm is a right fit for candidates and vice versa. If the fit is right, then Summer Associates are well positioned to be considered for our full-time associate program.