Q&A: A Conversation with Jack Bull (J.P. Morgan)

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

There are few companies that are as synonymous with success around the world as J.P. Morgan. The investment bank is regarded as one of the ten most profitable companies of all time, and it’s clear to see why. It’s the pinnacle of the financial world; the Rolls Royce of financial institutions. So, to be able to hear about what it’s like to work at the company from an employee’s perspective is an extremely exciting opportunity. Therefore, it is an absolute honour and privilege to be able to share with you an interview with J.P. Morgan’s Jack Bull.

Jack, why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’ve been with J.P. Morgan for over five years now, having first joined on the Apprenticeship Programme in Bournemouth. I’ve worked in a variety of roles across finance – the corporate and investment banking world, and now in asset management. I’m a Senior Associate in the Client Onboarding Management team, which entails project managing new funding mandates across Equities, Fixed Income, FX, Alternatives and Derivatives.

So, it sounds like you’ve had a lot of previous experience in the financial world. Could you give us a bit more detail about it?

Certainly! Before joining asset management, I had just over four years of experience working on the investment banking side of the business. While in my previous roles, I gained great levels of experience in presenting to senior management and engaging with key strategic clients. Making the move to a new job/line of business at first seemed daunting but being adaptable to new challenges has allowed me to build on my previous experiences.

I think that a lot of students reading this interview will be particularly interested to know whether you participated in any of J.P. Morgan´s internship schemes prior to being offered a job there?

I didn’t take part in an internship prior to joining J.P. Morgan. However, I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking, as there are many great schemes out there!

Fascinating! Nowadays there seems to be such a focus on obtaining an internship with companies prior to applying for full-time positions there…As you’ve mentioned, you are a Senior Associate in the Client Onboarding Management team. What does this role involve on a daily basis?

As I work in projects, a so-called ‘standard day’ doesn’t really exist, as I’m constantly switching between different mandates.

It sounds like in your position, you need to be adaptable. Can you name any other skills that you feel are imperative to have in your role?

Of course! I think in most positions within the financial sector, being adaptable is important. Another few vital skills are:

  1.  Organisation: As a project manager, being hyper-organised and understanding your requirements are essential skills on a day-to-day basis.

  2. Assertiveness: When managing difficult conversations, being assertive allows you to command the conversation and get the message across to your audience.

  3. Personable: When navigating such a large business like J.P. Morgan, being personable allows you to build strong connections and ultimately, achieve your objectives faster.

Now, focusing a bit more on J.P. Morgan itself, what do you believe is the best thing about working there?

J.P. Morgan is an incredibly large organisation with multiple different lines of businesses. The best thing about it is, regardless of which team or location you work in, you feel a part of something bigger than yourself. Everyone comes to work with a similar mindset, which is why we are one of the best companies to work for in terms of mobility, diversity, and inclusion.

And…is there anything you think could be improved at J.P. Morgan to facilitate the experience of employees such as yourself?

Easy… automation. As with all large firms, more can always be done to automate menial tasks so people can focus on more complex activities. With great strives forward in technology and AI (Artificial Intelligence), we are always looking at ways to innovate and move our business forward.

For many students looking at applying for roles within the financial sector, they may be worried about the long working hours typically associated with investment jobs. In your opinion, Jack, can you maintain a good work/life balance at J.P. Morgan?

Yes as “good” is subjective to each person. Many people think working long hours is standard with large banks, and at times, that can be the case. However, your line of business and what you want to get out of a role will affect your work/life balance. On this subject, my biggest piece of advice would be to work hard but also, work smart.

That’s a great ethos to live by in the workplace! Speaking of recommendations, what is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?

When giving senior updates or answering interview questions, giving SAR responses will dramatically improve your communication skills.

Situation – Describe a situation where you have faced a problem.

Action – Explain the actions you have taken to resolve the problem.

Result – What was the result from the action you have taken?

Like many jobs, working at a company such as J.P. Morgan surely can’t be easy! What is the biggest challenge that you have faced since starting work there?

I was working on a large client onboarding last year, which was extremely challenging due to the complexity of the project, the amount of work that was required, and commuting over 4+ hours per day. At the time, due to the amount of issues which kept arising, it was difficult trying to prioritise which problem to resolve first.

How did you overcome that challenge?

The best advice I received was to keep to writing action lists and working through each problem, one at time. When I would feel things were getting out of control, I’d go back to my list and re-assess the situation.

And finally, do you have a particular career highlight?

Obviously, coming to work at J.P. Morgan every day inspires me, but the main highlight of my early career would be being named BPP Apprentice of the Year when on the J.P.Morgan Apprenticeship, and visiting a university in Hong Kong to promote the scheme.

And a lowlight?

Monday Mornings.

Jack, it’s been an absolute pleasure! Thank you so much for your time, and we wish you nothing but the upmost success for your new role at J.P. Morgan!

My pleasure!

More about Jack…

Connect with Jack on Linkedin here:

Follow Jack’s new financial blog here:

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions of your own for Jack, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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