Although its overall pace of hiring in corporate finance has slowed as the year's end approaches, JPMorgan's investment bank believes demand for qualified associates will remain strong into the new year.
Mark Chamberlain, staffing manager for JPMorgan's investment bank, says associates with a few years' experience in a particular sector are "very hot commodities right now." He points out that job changes typically pick up in the first quarter, as employees stay put through December to take advantage of year-end bonuses. "Looking ahead into 2007, I think it will continue to be an active hiring market," Chamberlain says.
The bank reports the associates most in-demand associates are those with experience in sectors such as power, oil and gas, securitized products and structured credit products.
"What stands out for us is hard-core corporate finance experience," Chamberlain says. He includes strong experience at large banks and reputable advising firms like McKinsey or KPMG.
JPMorgan still looks for those with MBAs or graduate degrees in finance or accounting. Chamberlain recently hired a man whose Ph.D. in mergers and acquisitions made him an attractive new employee.
"We don't focus exclusively on a particular set of schools, but we do look for high GPAs," he says. "We're concerned that wherever you do go, you are a strong performer at that school and take on leadership roles."
However, Chamberlain emphasizes there is no hard rule that dictates the combination of advanced degree and relevant experience. "It's determined on a case-by-case basis," he says. "If a person has experience in a group that's in demand, the fact they don't have an MBA doesn't really hurt them."
As for getting that foot in the door, a recent survey found one-third of at JPMorgan's several thousand new recruits came through JPMorgan.com, where junior and senior level jobs are posted, as well sites like eFinancialCareers. "Many people believe (their resume) goes into a black hole, but we do look at them," Chamberlain says.
The other two-thirds of new hires resulted from referrals or internal moves.