NSIT to Wall Street

NSIT to Wall Street: Ishmeet Chawla

Ishmeet Chawla

Associate, JP Morgan – London

ECE Batch of 2010

JP Morgan, a US based investment bank, has been a seasoned recruiter at NSIT. It offers the profile of Junior Analyst in its Centralized Research Group (CRG), Mumbai. Well known for rolling out onshore offers (London and New York) to even undergrads working at the Mumbai office, there are half a dozen NSITans working in JP Morgan’s London office, all without MBAs!

Let’s find out more about JP Morgan in a tete-a-tete with Ishmeet Chawla.

1. What is your role at JP Morgan, London? What team and geography do you work for?

I am currently working as an Associate in the Investment Banking team in the Acquisition and Leveraged Finance (ALF) – Debt Capital Markets team. I’m part of a team of c. 50 people covering the entire EMEA (“Europe, Middle East and Africa”) ALF market. I joined JPM straight after my graduation. I started in the Mumbai office in July-10 but then moved to the London in Feb-12.

2. How’s the London Office different from Mumbai’s, in terms of people, work-culture, and environment?

Whether you are working in CRG-Mumbai or in front-office, you will interact with very intelligent, motivated, and hard-working individuals who are eager to learn and contribute towards firm’s success. The underlying work-culture and environment is pretty much the same as everyone is part of the J.P. Morgan family. However, there is a significant difference in the roles and responsibilities between an analyst in CRG- Mumbai and an analyst in the front-office. As part of the front-office team, you have a direct accountability towards your client and other senior deal team members. You are exposed to a number of very high pressure situations. You also benefit from a constant client engagement and attend client meetings, meet with the management team and potential investors. While in CRG, you will work on both pitches and executions but there is no direct client interaction as you would be working with senior analysts and associates based out of the front office. As a front-office analyst, you get a wider and end to end execution process exposure while for a CRG Analyst, the exposure can be somewhat limited, especially in initial few months. As the team develops confidence in your abilities, the front office team is likely to involve you in more complicated and challenging projects.

3. How hard is it to make to Front Offices from India? Tell us about the relocation process. We heard that the process is quite rigorous with as many as 10 rounds of interviews!

The move to a front office team can take place in a number of ways. The most straightforward and logical way to get a full time position is with the same team you are supporting from CRG- Mumbai office. Typically, the front-office team will ask the team member working in CRG to come to the front- office on a 3 month rotation. Based on your performance during the rotation period and various other factors that are beyond your control, they might offer you a full-time Analyst position. On many occasions, however, the front-office team might ask you for a second visit after 9-12 months before giving you a full-time offer. The other way to get a full time offer (esp. with the teams based out of London) is to apply via the EMEA Internship Program. You will be asked to apply online and after an online test, there will be 2-3 interviews and a case study round before the internship offers are handed out to the successful candidates for an internship offer.

4. How would you compare the profile offered by JP Morgan (Junior Analyst) with other companies coming at NSIT (Nomura – Analyst, Barclays Capital – Senior Analyst)?

I am unable to compare this role to any other role as I’m not familiar with the description of these roles at other firms. However, I would like to say one thing about the Junior Analyst program – this is among the most prestigious finance roles that you can get with an Engineering background. It will provide you with an ideal launch-pad for a) a successful career in finance or b) MBA from a top US or European or Indian B-school.

5. How have you changed as an individual post graduating from NSIT?

As someone said, the only constant in life is change. So, yes, I have changed a lot since graduating from NSIT. I’ve become more confident and mature as a person. I’ve travelled a lot over the last few years and it has shaped my perspective and how I look at different things. I’m more open to embracing different view-points and try to look at things from a number of angles.

6. What do you think of our project “NSIT to Wall Street”? What words of advice would you give to juniors willing to pursue a career in Finance?

I think it’s a great initiative and I fully endorse this project. When I joined JPM in 2010, I didn’t have much idea about the profile, nature of work, future prospects, etc. This project should educate all the young NSITians about the exact nature of work and what to expect from a finance profile. For someone from Engineering background wanting to pursue a career in finance, there a very limited number of opportunities to make a switch to the financial world. I would advise you to make the most of any such opportunity and make sure that you are very well prepared for the interview process. Keep yourself up- to-date with recent economic events, global themes (e.g. in the current environment, focus on impact of US Federal Reserve rate hike on emerging markets, especially India, slow-down in China, rout in global commodities among other things)

You can reach me at ishmeet.89@gmail.com for any follow-up questions. I would be more than happy to answer your queries.