An experience report by one of our ESSEC transaction members, who participated in the J.P. Morgan IBD & Risk Spring Week.
ASTi – MSc in Management Grande École
The Recruitment Process
The recruitment process was very similar to other Banks:
1st Step: Online Application
I uploaded my CV, as well as a motivation letter and a short essay on a newspaper article about JPM.
2nd Step: The Interview
After having successfully passed the first stage of the application process, I was invited for a 30-45 min interview with an Associate at JPM. Even though, the associate asked me quite a few standardized questions, she was able to ask additional ones that related to my background and experience.
You can definitely expect standard motivational questions such as why IBD and why JPM, overcoming a challenge, leadership etc. Therefore, be prepared and try to find some more original arguments (e.g. consider the bank’s history or tell about a time when you have actually met an employee of the company, etc.) Know about the different products of IBD (M&A, ECM, DCM, LevFin) and the main industry groups in IBD (TMT, pharmaceuticals, Oil&Gas/ Energies, industrials, etc.).
Also, I made a lot of research on the internet about JPM especially focusing on recent M&A deals and IPOs (do your research on both even if you pursue M&A, you never know the background of your interviewer and you want to demonstrate a general interest in IBD, as well as some flexibility). Additionally, I made sure that I knew the key numbers and other information such as stock price, market capitalization, and the name of the CEO.
This last point should be obvious, but know your own background in detail! You might have been involved in student projects, competitions or absolved an internship which took place quite a while ago. Most of your answers to motivational and experience questions will relate to your engagement in these activities. Therefore, you can expect follow up questions that might exceed the actual question simply because your interviewer might get curious.
It was a 1-week program with 38 people in total for both, investment banking and risk
- Day 1
- Introduction and get-together with students from the other insight programs, markets and asset management
- Day 2 – 4
- Presentations on different product and industry groups followed by a networking tea and/or dinner (it was very interactive and the presentations itself were short enough but still very informative),
- Group work of 6 people on an M&A case study plus presentation, we got some additional support from a mentor, who was an associate in the IBD or Risk department
- Information session on the summer recruitment and assessment centers
- Day 5
- 2 interviews with Directors in order to get an invitation to the assessment center, which took place 2 weeks afterwards (it was very motivational with additional technical questions)
The IBD Assessment Center
- M&A case study plus follow-up interview
- 4 interviews with Directors (including Brain Teasers, and many technical questions)
Overall, 50% got invited to the AC; 10 people got an offer for IBD and 3 for Risk (as of my knowledge)
Combining all 3 insight programs (ca. 40 IBD & Risk, 40 markets, 20 asset management), students came from 20 different countries many studying at a university not of their origin. Most of us had a business or mathematics background, as well as a few people from chemistry and engineering. In total, there were 50% girls.
Tips & Comments
Most of the people coming to the spring week and summer interviews want to do M&A. In the end, it is very important to be open to all other groups as well and to fully understand the difference between product and industry group (which will be explained in greater detail during the spring program). In fact, the industry group is doing M&A as well but specializes on an industry (which allows to develop an additional expertise). While there are only 4 product groups, there are around 8 industry groups at a bank. Moreover, you might offend your interviewer by saying that you only care about M&A. You should rather present it as a preference due to certain reasons, but be able to demonstrate an interest in other groups as well.
At the end of the day, if you get an offer, it will be a generic one. What does that mean? You get an offer for the investment banking division. Ca. 2-3 months before the start of the program, you get to submit a ranking of all groups according to your preferences, but the teams will review your profile as well and make a decision whether they are interested in you.
It will be the same procedure at almost all banks!
Also many people actually participated in several Spring Programs, which is definitely a great idea since the acceptance rate might only be at 25%.
Overall, it was a really great program with lots of information and interactivity. JPM people were very open to our questions not only during the presentations but also at networking events and even during their lunch break in the canteen. We had a lot of additional activities such as a risk game or a game night and many networking dinners. Lastly, everyone was provided with a hotel room, tube ticket and flight/ train ticket.