By Tasha Voase, Kendrick School, Alumnus of The Young Investment Banker Programme 2015
I’ve always wanted to be an investment banker so when I was offered the opportunity to take part in a week long work experience programme with JP Morgan Chase, to say that I was excited would be a gross understatement. On the 25th of July, I made my way to their offices in Bournemouth, looking a lot older than sixteen in the suit that my mother had bought me.
On the first day we piled into the auditorium where we listened to a brief introduction to the bank. Next, we were put into groups and told that we had a week to put together a presentation on our chosen question- ours was ‘how does JP Morgan differ from a non-financial firm in terms of its approach to business?’ Finally, at 11:00, we were assigned to our hosts and whisked away. When I heard that I was going to be spending the week with Florence, who worked in market risk, to say that I was excited would be an understatement, as the way that traders calculate the amount of risk that they are exposed to has always fascinated me.
As soon as I told my host that I was interested in a career in trading, she gave me courses on options pricing and options trading strategy, as well as mergers and acquisitions. Whilst many people did not continue with the activities that their hosts had set them when they returned to their hotels, I continued with my courses in the evening so that I could learn as much as possible in my week there.
However, this wasn’t all that I did; a large portion of the time that I spent in the offices involved meeting different people from all over the bank, from Resiliency to Tech. At first I found this intimidating, especially when they asked me if I had any questions, but eventually I worked out that if I researched their field before I went to meet them, I would be able to avoid that awkward silence.
As well as this, I spent time with the rest of the teenagers on work experience, taking part in a "Skills Workshop" where we learnt about CV writing, as well as a mini-assessment centre activity where we had to demonstrate our ability to work well within a team (tip: the person who makes an effort to include everyone in a discussion, including the quietest people in the group usually scores the highest). Towards the end of the week, there was a networking session with people enrolled on the apprentice and graduate programmes. I normally find networking sessions quite difficult so therefore I tried to prepare some rough questions to get the conversation started, and after two hours, I’d overcome my nerves and was now able to think on my feet.
On our final day at JP Morgan, we had a Q & A session with people who worked in different areas across the bank and who came from different backgrounds, from people who left education at 18 and were now on the path to become a MD, to graduates who had joined JP Morgan’s prestigious graduate scheme. We finished the week by presenting our projects to the rest of the group. This, after a week of meeting new people and shaking numerous hands, was less intimidating than it had seemed on Monday morning.