Hear from Ed Carter who has forged a successful career at JP Morgan in both the organisation’s Canary Wharf office and its regional Bournemouth office.
Ed first heard of the JP Morgan military internship through contacts from his Regiment who were already working for the bank. Having discussed the opportunities with them, he subsequently attended an insight day specifically aimed at ex-military recruitment.
It was the individuals he met in his initial networking and the positive culture of the working environment that persuaded Ed Financial Services, and specifically JP Morgan, were for him.
He says: “A career in Financial Services appealed due to the many and varied career paths that can be pursued once working in the sector. Additionally the prominence of the industry in the UK economy means there are plenty of opportunities available and a clear path of progression.”
While on the internship he worked on a regulatory reporting project. However, there was a lot of emphasis placed on networking within the bank. Regular tutorials and development sessions through out the internship gave exposure and enhanced understanding of a variety of banking functions allowing him to build a good appreciation of the structure and dynamics within the company.
He says: “The more technical aspects of the financial instruments I worked with were certainly a challenge at first; however there are an array of fantastic learning tools available to employees to develop knowledge. Everyone I encountered, especially the ex-military contingent, were also very generous with their time and were more than willing to help me understand their own functions so I could make informed choices once it came to role applications.”
He adds: “The industry as a whole is extremely dynamic, which has meant I am always learning and facing new challenges, that in itself keeps the role varied and interesting. The recent activity in Greece has had a very real and present impact on my role in terms of planning and implementing contingencies, requiring an adaptable approach.”
Ed particularly appreciated that the internship provided a graduated introduction to banking, giving him the opportunity to explore various functions without having to commit.
The skill set the Army developed in him stood him in ‘good stead’ and were immediately transferable to his new position.
He says: “The similarities between the military and banking are far greater than I had previously imagined, albeit it the manner in which I apply those skills has changed somewhat. The leadership and management skills that the Army develops have been invaluable tools in my new role. Even smaller ingrained behaviours such as organisational and briefing skills have been extremely useful in enabling me to add value from an early stage.”
He adds: “There are now a significant number of ex-military at the bank and the VETS (Voices of Employees That Served) group is widely recognised across the business and gives new joiners a ready formed network to build on.”
Pros and cons of working within the industry
Ed says: “Following the recent negative headlines attracted by the industry, there can be a bit of a stigma attached to such a career. However, I do genuinely believe that the industry has turned a corner and there is a lot of emphasis placed on doing the right thing by our clients, which means we are resourced and motivated to provide the best possible solutions to our clients. As such the role can be very rewarding when it all comes together.”
How does working in Canary Wharf differ to working in Bournemouth?
Ed has found the working environment and culture within JP Morgan similar across locations.
He says: “Canary Wharf was a great location for my introduction to banking, there is a real buzz about the place and the opportunities and resources on hand are impressive, it is immediately apparent that you are working in a global financial hub. Bournemouth on the other hand, with the beach, Poole Harbour and the Jurassic coast on the doorstep is at the other end of the spectrum. To be on the beach in less than 20 minutes after leaving is fantastic. The cost of living is also significantly less than the capital which is an added bonus.”
Different routes in to the industry
There are a growing number of organisations now offering ex-military internships or at least work experience. There are also many opportunities for direct application and hire into roles.
Ed says: “I would though stress the importance of networking, which maximises exposure to potential opportunities. It makes the process a lot easier when you have allies looking out for opportunities on your behalf. He adds: “In my experience, all former service personnel are more than happy to help out in that respect, having travelled the route themselves.”
What advice or top tips do you have for anyone leaving the Services now, who would like to get into this industry?
Ed says: “Beyond the networking, make the most of the resettlement package, there are a lot of valuable training courses available that really do add to a CV. That said, it is important to focus such training to a certain sector or role if it is to be of true benefit. I would also highly recommend the AMAC course offered by Manchester Business School, as it provided a great foundation for my foray into the commercial world.”