Student Stories

How an English Major Got an Internship at JPMorgan

This is a guest post by Andy C. Ng  for InternMatch’s Student Stories. If you’re interested in getting involved with Student Stories, learn more here.

“If JPMorgan were a person, what qualities would he/she have?”

handshake isolated on business background

Two things come to my mind: (1) ‘This is one of the most interesting questions I’ve been asked in an interview!’ and (2) ‘Probably not a love for reading Walt Whitman.’ Being a true English major, “Song of Myself” is one of my all-time favorite poems so I could’ve freaked out. But I didn’t. You might be wondering why I’d be in a JPMorgan interview, let alone a final round interview, which this one was. Well to begin, my journey to this gorgeous building on Park Avenue began last fall.

I had applied for and was accepted to NYU’s Diversity Internship and Career Preparation Program (DICP), which specifically serves students from under-represented backgrounds. Throughout the fall semester I attended several workshops held by the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development. The options were limitless: “Resumes and Cover Letters That Work”; “Acing the Interview”; “Social Media + Networking for your Job Search.” And this was just the beginning. There were career counselors waiting to sit with me and discuss my career goals and give me real insight on any applications I was filling out. But where did these applications come from?

Employers. Sure, I could and did look up postings on our school’s job and internship database, but the best source is the direct one. Through DICP I was able to meet working professionals at on and off campus networking sessions. Any industry or scale of company was represented, from big corporations like Morgan Stanley to smaller nonprofits and startups located in the city. It was at the last event in February where I met a VP from JPMorgan – super casual, I know. While our conversation was brief, I was able to express my academic and career interests and get a business card from this gentlemen. After following-up with him the next morning, he informed me of the internship opportunities available and offered to send my resume directly to human resources. I was nervous, but hey, it wouldn’t hurt to at least try!

I submitted my resume and cover letter, and waited for a response from the internship gods. When March rolled around, I was scheduled for a phone interview and the next day, I moved on to final round interviews. This is when I actually got nervous. I didn’t know anything about financial banking or anything related to numbers. But in preparing for any interview, I set aside some time to relax and research. I read articles about JPMorgan, checked the stock market, and even watched Bloomberg videos leading up to the morning of one of the biggest days of my life. By the time I arrived in the lobby, I knew that JP’s stock had gone up and that I should not be investing in Nike (for the time being).

Throughout my three interviews, I made sure to articulate the knowledge I had gained and more importantly, I was myself. I knew I would receive skeptical questions concerning my major and I embraced them. I gave honest answers and made my interviews see that just because I like Walt Whitman and Dave Eggers it doesn’t mean I can’t hold my own when analyzing a business strategy. One woman even remarked, “I like you already. You prove that you’re not defined by your major.” And that is a fact. So if you’re applying for an internship that is not traditionally associated with your course of study, don’t panic – get excited! Take advantage of your school’s career resources, practice your writing and interviewing skills, and whenever possible get yourself out there and meet professionals! There are tons of free networking events and as a student you hold a lot of power. People want to talk to you and hear what you like and have to offer. Be proud and go after those positions!

And if you were wondering, if JP Morgan was a person, he/she would be “analytical, organized, and flexible enough to work with anyone and everyone.” I also received and accepted an offer to be a summer intern with JPMorgan in their Chase Leadership Development Program.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Andy C. Ng is a junior at NYU studying English, Urban Education & Social Entrepreneurship. Originally from Sarasota, Florida, Andy has primarily worked in the education space as a Junior Program Director for College For Every Student and co-founded Student to Student. This summer, he will be an intern in JPMorgan’s Chase Leadership Development Program. Andy’s an avid public speaker, note-taker, and faithfully organized. Learn more here: http://about.me/andyng23

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  • Meghan

    Wow, congrats on the Internship! As a senior English major trying to figure out what I can do with this major, this was extremely helpful. I’ve actually been a student worker in HR at my school for two years now and have never considered making a career out of it based on my major. Now, however, I see that maybe there are a lot more options than I thought for English majors. Thanks for sharing!

    Ps. Huge Dave Eggers fan!

  • Wilfred

    Andy you are an inspiration in every possible way. I love your stories.