I’m writing this article to share a bit more about myself and how I found my first job after college.
As the spring semester approaches, many college seniors are dreading the thought of graduating without a job. Although the job market stalled because of COVID-19, there are signs that the job market will pick up in 2021.
I hope this can serve as an inspiration for current students who may not have attended the most recognized school but have big dreams of pursuing fulfilling and impactful careers.
Having a strong work ethic and being persistent along with a little luck will eventually pay off in the long run.
I’m very fortunate to have started off my career at JP Morgan, but my path to getting there was definitely not a conventional one. I attended Thomas Jefferson University (fka Philadelphia University) and was a typical finance major with dreams of breaking into investment banking. However, my school was known for the health sciences and not its business program, so recruiting desirable employers was challenging for business students.
Sneaking Into a Career Fair
Thomas Jefferson University’s career fairs were small and mostly geared towards students pursuing the medical field. Business students had a smaller pool of employers, local to the Philadelphia area, that came to our school, but none of which were recruiting for roles I was interested in. I had to get creative with how I would get in front of recruiters from investment banks.
A few classmates and I had the idea to attend career fairs at other nearby universities with more well-known business programs such as Temple, Drexel, and the University of Pennsylvania. Since we weren’t students at those respective universities, we simply snuck in with the crowds.
The recruiters we met at Temple and Drexel, more often than not, admired our drive and proactive approach to getting in front of them.
The recruiters at Penn’s career fair were not as receptive considering they were there to recruit Ivy League students. Most of the time, recruiters were polite about their lack of interest in my candidacy, yet sometimes offered to pass my resume along to other departments.
My process on how I found my first job
Meeting JP Morgan
- So how did I actually end up landing a job at JP Morgan?
- Which career fair was the most beneficial?
- How willing was the recruiter to have a conversation with me?
In the spring semester of 2016, my cousin, who was an engineering student at Drexel, told me the date, time, and location of the career fair.
The fair was held in the afternoon at the Drexel Armory. I attended by myself since my friends had other things going on during that time.
- This was my final semester before graduating, so the pressure to find a job was high. My cousin provided me with the list of employers that were attending, so I could research them and arrive prepared to have conversations with recruiters.
- I spoke with a JP Morgan representative from HR and after talking about my internship experience and career interests; I was introduced to an executive director. We had an extensive conversation about his team, what they do, and what the career trajectory looked like for the Financial Analyst Development Program.
- I wanted to do investment banking, but recruiting is typically held in the fall and at target schools, so I pursued this program. I provided my resume to the executive director and HR.
The interview process moved quickly; the entire process took about four weeks. One week after the career fair, I was contacted by HR to schedule a phone screen.
We had a high-level conversation about my experience, which resulted in immediately being pushed to the next round, which was an in-person interview commonly known in the finance world as a “Super Day.”
Getting the Job
I came in for the super day two weeks later and met with four people back-to-back ranging from Associates to VP’s.
It was an exhausting day of interviews but felt relieved once it was over. The interviewers were stern but fair, as one would expect from JP Morgan.
The week after the in-person interviews, I received a call from HR to offer me an analyst spot in the Financial Analyst Development Program. The group I was assigned to was in Capital Analytics and Risk Management.
My group focused on analytics, capital modeling, and reporting for JP Morgan’s strategic investments portfolio.
It was a great experience learning about the inner workings of a big bank, how it balances profitability while complying with the regulators and working with a diverse group of people across the bank’s global footprint.
The key takeaway from this article is sometimes you have to take the unconventional path and be creative to arrive at a positive outcome.
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” — John Pierpont Morgan