Kate Poskitt graduated with a BA in PPS (politics, psychology, sociology) from the University of Cambridge. She’s now working as an emerging markets trading analyst for J.P. Morgan (JPM)
How did you get onto the JPM graduate scheme?
Alongside attending the careers fair, I also went to a range of events hosted by different companies in Cambridge. The dinners were the most useful, as they gave you a chance to talk to senior people in the business, hear about their careers, and ask about things you can’t find out from the website or a careers fair stand.
I then applied for a summer internship at JPM, which involved two rounds of interviews. I completed a ten-week summer internship and then started full time in the November of the same year.
Describe a typical working day in your current role
A day in markets is always varied – elections, political developments, economic data and central bank rhetoric drive moves in different markets, prompting investors to act and keeping you on your toes.
As an analyst, there are regular tasks that punctuate your day: managing electronic trades, working with the sales team on enquiries, preparing marketing information and checking risk and profit reports.
I start at 7.15am – everyone is reading the news and looking at what’s happened during Asian trading. We work closely with our partners in Asia during the morning, executing and discussing trades with them. The rest of the day is entirely variable; it can be incredibly busy with constant live trades, or there can be more time to research and discuss different viewpoints. At 4pm, the markets ‘close’: closing prices are published and end of day reports are compiled and submitted to management. My day typically finishes at around 5.30-6pm, and it’s fun because you’re constantly learning, thinking and engaged with what’s going on in the world.
What training and support have you received?
Training starts with your first day of the internship programme, and it doesn’t really ever stop. Interns spend a lot of time shadowing people – listening, learning and being quizzed. The job is incredibly specialised and not something you can just read in a textbook, so there are also ‘teach-ins’: training run by senior staff on a specific product or area of expertise.
As a graduate within markets, you’ll spend eight weeks in New York City where there’s more generalised finance training for markets graduates from all over the world.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
I’ve now been at JPM for almost two years, during which time I’ve gained more responsibility both in terms of trading and interactions with different departments.
I’ve been particularly involved with technology – banking is a fast moving industry and efficiency counts. There are lots of exciting things going on with making technology smarter and systems more useful for quick decision-making and synthesising large amounts of information.
What advice would you give to graduates wanting to work in the sector?
Be proactive and inquisitive. Markets are not static, they constantly move in unexpected and sometimes inexplicable ways that challenge your frame of seeing the world.
Almost all of your learning will come from the people you work with, so maximise those interactions. Do background research and be prepared to think on your feet. Interviewers aren’t looking for someone who can regurgitate the entire Financial Times; they want to know what your opinion is.