On September the 28th, GEM Finance Society and GEM Career Center had the pleasure to organise the FINANCE BOOTCAMP at Grenoble Ecole de Management.
In case you missed it, GEM Finance Society had the opportunity to ask our participants questions about the sector and their company. We will post each one of the interviews on our blog, so keep posted.
INTERVIEW WITH MRS KRIGITSKY AND MR VASKU FOR JP MORGAN
Today, meeting with Mrs Krigitsky and Mr. Vasku, at JP Morgan. Good reading!
Short presentation of JP Morgan: JPMorgan Chase is an American financial holding company. It is a global financial services firm, and a banking institution in the Unites States, operating globally. It is the largest bank in the United Stated by assets, and the 6th largest in the world.
The J.P. Morgan brand covers various divisions including investment banking, asset management, private wealth management, private banking, and treasury & securities services. The Chase brand is used for retail banking activities in the United States and Canada.
JPMorgan Chase is the result of several mergers throughout the years: between J.P. Morgan & Co. and Chase Manhattan Bank in 1996, with Bank One in 2004 as well as Bear Stearns, and with Washington Mutual in 2008.
Founded in 1799, the firm is headquartered in New York. The latest available public data from August 2017 indicated it had offices in over 60 countries, and counted over 240,000 employees. JPMorgan Chase is listed on the NYSE (JPM) and is a member of the Dow Jones and the S&P 500.
Can you tell me about your career path? What is the progression in your job? How long does it take to go there?
Mr Vasku: I started at JP Morgan Geneva a year and four months ago. Prior to that, I studied in Italy and then did the MsC Finance at Grenoble Ecole de Management.
I attended GEM’s Finance Bootcamp and discovered job opportunities at J.P. Morgan. I applied and completed all the steps involved in the process. Once in the company, I rotated in the team and worked for trade support and settlement activities for the Equity and Fixed Income trading desk. Now I have a permanent contract in the Operations’ division.
Mrs Krigitsky: I joined JP Morgan just after graduating, after a recruitment session by the firm at GEM. I started as a team member in the Custody Middle Office Team. After two years in this position, I rotated to another team, the OTC Derivatives Middle Office Team. I then took the supervision of the Private Equity Middle Office Team for a year before I moved to my current role: supervising the OTC Derivatives Middle Office Team.
The progression in the firm depends on your performance and the opportunities available at the time. It took me four years to move to a supervisory role, but this can vary. You need several years to gain experience in different teams and build your background. There is no set path.
Why did you decide to work in Finance?
Mr Vasku: I started to work in Finance because of a book I read one day: the black swan, which is about risk management and the finance industry in general.
Mrs Krigitsky: I didn’t really decide to work in Finance one day. Before entering GEM, I did a DUT GEA where I learned how companies are organised and then did a licence. Once in GEM, I took some classes in market finance.
When the time came for my gap year, as I wanted to learn more about banks and how they operate, I applied to different companies and different jobs. I had the chance to find an internship in a French bank, in their Corporate and Investment banking division, working in the Equity Derivatives Middle Office Team.
At the end of my studies, thanks to the intermediary of GEM, I got an interview at JP Morgan, in Operations, and got the position. I have been since then working for this firm and evolved as a professional.
How is that to work at JP Morgan? What is the corporate culture in the firm?
Mr Vasku: I think team work is even more important in Operations than in other divisions. In that division, the goal is not to attract capital so the team works together to make sure that the processes are the best they can be to satisfy the clients. We must solve problems and take actions. When someone does something good, it benefits the whole team. Moreover, there is always someone to listen to you when you have something to say or to propose. People try to motivate each other, raise their hands and do things better. I would say that everything is about the team.
Mrs Krigitsky: There are four principles at JP Morgan: integrity and responsibility, an exceptional client experience, operational excellence and team work. Our goal is to have people operating according to these principles on the daily basis.
If someone has the information, the knowledge, he/she is happy to share it with the team so at the end of the day the whole team is more performant.
JP Morgan also has a corporate culture of diversity. The firm has more than 40 nationalities in Operations, and everyone makes sure that everybody feels involved and part of the team.
In the firm, if you want to learn and grow as a professional you have all the opportunities to do so. You should deliver the level expected or even go beyond, so you can have even more responsibilities. The goal is to build your knowledge and then move between the different departments becomes a possibility. The team and the work you do with others are the biggest parts of my job.
Can you describe the daily work of an Operations Supervisor/a Middle Office Trade?
Mr Vasku: First, you have certain tasks to perform daily such as trade processing. You need to take care of clients trading equities and fixed income and make sure that every trade is booked on time. There is a real interaction between the different teams of the company, to make sure that everything is processed in an accurate and timely manner.
Eventually, you have project activities so you spend time with other teams to discuss and to improve the processes.
Mrs Krigitsky: As a supervisor, my job is not anymore about managing my own performance but managing the performance of others, ensuring the workload is spread among my team members, that everyone feels valued for the hard work they provide. I am also here to help my team members to develop themselves and grow as professionals.
What are the main difficulties encountered? What is the main important thing you have learned?
Mrs Krigitsky: Coping with the activities themselves, for example: a peak in the volume of trades, a system crash… You must look at it as an opportunity to learn. For example, we recently changed one of our system and it was complicated for the first few months of implementation. It gave me the opportunity to learn and understand everything from the root, to know more about the solutions to put in place and then enable me to add value in the process.
JP Morgan in operations, what would be the worst disaster if you do your job wrong?
Mr Vasku: The worst thing that could happen would be a bad client experience. There can also be penalties and charges as well as impact on the reputation of the bank.
Mrs Krigitsky: I think you have to make a difference between a genuine mistake and a fraudulent act. If a member of a team makes a mistake because he/she didn’t know, it is not a problem if he/she shares it with the team.
On the other hand, if it is a fraudulent act there can be lots of consequences: a risk of financial penalties for the firm, a reputational impact and personal consequences.
According to you, which are the main qualities needed to work in Finance?
Team work is the main thing! You must learn to listen and to disagree as long as it is made in a constructive way.
Do you have any tips for GEM’s students who want to work in Finance later?
Mrs Krigitsky: The most important things are to be curious and do your research.
Before going to an interview, do your homework and show some curiosity, read about the main challenges of the company… Have the maturity to learn by yourself.
Mr Vasku: Be responsible! After a bad interview, a candidate may damage his/her own reputation as well as the reputation of the school.
Where do you see yourself in the future in terms of job and company?
Mr Vasku: I want to see what life brings me.
Mrs Krigitsky: I think it depends on the opportunity. Sometimes you know what you want, but maybe it won’t happen. It is a question of timing: being at the right place at the right time. The main thing is to deliver your best today and not wait for a special position to show your motivation and leadership. Show that you can take responsibility today!
Interview carried out by Camille Hutt
GEM Finance Society