Every major investment bank offers an internship programme — they’re both an opportunity for students to test out the profession, and for the firm to scout for its future employees.
We got the opportunity to follow Sophie, a University of Cambridge economics student, as she went through a day of her 10-week summer analyst internship.
She’s one of hundreds of interns working at the investment bank during the university holidays, who are essentially following the same programme, whether they’re in London, Hong Kong or New York.
If previous years are anything to go by, a majority of the summer intake will be offered positions at JP Morgan for when they finish studying — becoming high-flying and highly-paid investment bankers.
This is how Sophie’s day went.
JP Morgan's London headquarters is this 31-storey tower on Bank Street. The bank bought the tower in 2010 -- it had previously belonged to Lehman Brothers.
Sophie, the intern we're following, works in global equity sales. She's there for 10 weeks this summer, having completed other internship periods at the bank already. The desk essentially sells shares from around the world to largely UK-based clients.
This is the set-up at Sophie's desk, with one of the thousands of Bloomberg terminals in the building.
Interns come to the programme through a few different avenues, but for most there's a battery of numerical tests, assessment days and interviews before they get anywhere near the job.
The equities sales desk were largely all there before we arrived at 6:30 a.m. The first job for Sophie is to bring together content for morning email to about 1,000 clients.
For regulatory reasons that email isn't sent directly by interns, and all correspondence goes to a permanent analyst on the desk first.
There are both analysts in the room presenting, and calling in from other cities round the world to give briefings.
Sophie worked on a corner of the colossal equities floor. One storey up, the fixed income floor is similarly enormous, and that's still just a small chunk of the bank's London operation.
Even looking out east, away from London, there are some pretty brilliant views from the higher floors of the building.
The morning email goes out at 8 a.m. For the rest of the day, Sophie has meetings with other analysts and clients of JP Morgan.
As markets open in Europe the whole equities floor gets a little louder. By 8:30 or 9 a.m, it feels like a lot later in the day than it actually is.
After the email's sent, there's a smaller analyst meeting with the immediate members of Sophie's team.
The JP Morgan canteen is pretty sizeable, with a big range of food on offer, including a sushi station.
It's a busy place, and there's no shortage of places to refuel within the building itself. When we went it was taco Tuesday, which is apparently particularly popular.
This Starbucks is just round the corner from the canteen, and gets absolutely rammed later in the day.
Later in the day we sat down with Tim, Vice President in Global Cash Equity Sales (and Sophie's boss) who went through some of the details of the internship programme with us.
Most of the interns on the programme are hired by the bank to work permanently: 'We have an incentive to train them as completely as possible, so there's essentially no difference between an intern at the end of their time here and a first year analyst.'
The actual desks get a hand in the recruitment of their interns too -- and there are opportunities to move around JP Morgan if they find another part of the firm that they think they would be interested in.
One of the misconceptions about the interns is that you have to have a financial education. Tim told us: 'Of course some people will start out with an academic advantage over others, but within three or four weeks that gap gets closed pretty dramatically.'
Sophie said the most surprising thing about the internship was how much responsibility they took on. Though regulatory requirements mean they can't advise clients directly, they draft reports for clients and attend meetings with them.
Tim said the ability to self-start was crucial for successful interns: 'At university you have this very structured life with particular weekly obligations. Once you start working, you can't spell out exactly what you'll do from Monday to Friday.'
Interns in Hong Kong, London and New York all follow essentially the same internship programme -- and those that become first year analysts will meet for several weeks of training in the US.
Alongside the sweets and chocolate there's a Krispy Kreme station, making it a little surprising that there aren't more enormous bankers wandering around the halls.
Thankfully there's also a gym -- we couldn't take pictures inside, but it's well-stocked. Between the coffee shops, newsagents, gym and canteen, it feels like there's enough amenities for a small town.
A lot of the interns and staff carried these coveted and symbolic gym bags into work -- they're given to employees at JP Morgan and they feel like an optional part of the uniform for young investment bankers.
Later in the day Sophie was tasked with giving a presentation on a large European stock to a room of analysts and other interns -- it's a 10-15 minute presentation that mimics what analysts are required to do when they're with clients.
The analysts then offer probing questions -- it's a friendly but rigorous process that's clearly meant to push the interns in the way that it would when it's done for real.
Afterwards, a quick trip to a different coffee shop -- though most of them are around the canteen, there's one just off the edge of each trading floor too.
At the end of the day there's an address from one of the most senior staff members at the bank to all of the interns, held in JP Morgan's London auditorium. .
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