How persistence and charm got me a markets internship at J.P. Morgan

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No online tests. No video interviews. No group work. So, how hard can the J.P. Morgan recruitment process be? The answer is, very hard indeed.

I know: I have been through it. I've also got an offer to join J.P. Morgan's summer intern class this summer.

Like most switched-on and prepared candidates, I applied on the day that the summer internship applications opened in mid-August 2017. I did everything you're supposed to: I tailored my cover letter, triple-checked my CV,  submitted a relevant 200-word article, and then hoped for the best.

At first there was nothing. Weeks rolled by. The weeks turned into months and my prospects looked gloomy. I started my 2nd year at the UK's Warwick University. There, I met J.P. Morgan at the annual careers fair and also applied for a dinner they were hosting locally. - I was accepted.

This dinner involved 12 students and six J.P. Morgan professionals at various levels of seniority, from analyst right up to managing director. It was held locally, went on for a couple of hours, and was surprisingly easygoing. This kind of event can be hard to handle - some people say you should be totally relaxed in your behaviour so the bank can see what you're really like. Others say you should be formal and thinking ahead. I tried to stay somewhere between the two; being relaxed and consciously-aware don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Subsequently, however, the dinner seemed to come to nothing. Like my application, the weeks went by and I got no feedback. I made a follow-up call. I sent messages by email and on LinkedIn. No results.

Then came another networking event on campus. Coincidentally, the J.P. Morgan managing director from the networking dinner was talking at it. I'd messaged him and had heard nothing, but when we met in person he was extremely apologetic for his failure to reply and asked me to follow-up to discuss my application. Of course, I did this and within a few days I had been invited to an assessment centre at the bank. Now, things were really happening.

The assessment centre took place from 7am to 5pm. It began with a networking breakfast, and the professionals I met at the breakfast later turned out to be my interviewers (meaning that retaining the information they told me was essential!). From 9am I had three interviews for three hours. Then there was lunch, after which some people were asked to go home. For those of us who remained, this was followed by an afternoon of interviews with specific desks. I had a total of seven short interviews with traders, structurers and salesman. During these interviews I was asked a succession of rapid-fire questions.

It didn't end there. I was subsequently asked to attend another assessment day at which I had a further four back-to-back interviews.

And then I got an offer.

My takeaway is that if you want an offer from a top bank like J.P. Morgan, don't give up easily. You need to show endurance and consistency. You also need to network as much as possible and as early as possible in the recruitment calendar. Don't just network with the senior decision-makers: network with the analysts and with your fellow applicants too. I'm still in touch with most of the candidates I met at the assessment days. One day, I expect to meet them as my future colleagues.

Michael Truckle is a student at the UK’s Warwick University. He is happy to answer questions posted in the comments box at the bottom of this article from students seeking advice on getting into banking.

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