“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

- Nora Roberts

Prior to starting my internship at J.P. Morgan, I did some homework on my future group, Syndicated and Leveraged Finance.


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“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

- Nora Roberts

Prior to starting my internship at J.P. Morgan, I did some homework on my future group, Syndicated and Leveraged Finance.

I learned that the syndicated loan product was invented by the legendary investment banker Jimmy Lee. Basically, his private equity clients needed to raise large amounts of money to get into certain investments, but couldn’t do so from a single investment bank because it was too risky for the bank to put the entire loan on their balance sheet. So JL figured he’d just get a bunch of banks together and they’d divvy the loan amongst themselves such that collectively, they were able to finance the deal but individually, they weren’t holding too much on their balance sheets

Anyway, I knew going into the internship, that if I could even hear him speak, it would make my internship complete.

Early in the internship, he gave a talk to the entire intern class. I was there sitting front and center taking copious notes and absorbing every single word like a sponge. He shared with us how every morning he puts together a to-do list of all the people he needs to talk to that day.  His job, at this point, is largely client management so his daily list consisted of the best CEOs at the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world.

I was inspired and decided to do attempt the same – except I’d apply that advice towards building my network at J.P. Morgan. So, the next day I made a list of 3 people who I’d been meaning to talk to and get to know a little better.

That day, I ended up meeting and talking to 10+ people. I was ecstatic.

I was so excited about it I sent an email to Jimmy Lee. I told him I intend to do this every day for the rest of the internship. I don’t remember everything I wrote but I remember ending the email with something like, “I would love to meet with you even if only for 10 minutes – whether it means bringing you coffee or walking you to your car.” I didn’t think I’d get a response but hey – if you don’t ask the answer is always no. So I asked.

Early the next day I got an email from him. He wanted to schedule a meeting in his office.

I remember jumping around, flailing my blackberry in the air, dancing a little victory dance, and feeling even more ecstatic than how I was before I sent that email!

Many weeks passed before we eventually got to meet. The day of the meeting, my VP, ED, and the head of Syndicated & Leveraged Finance found out that I was meeting with him. It turns out he asked for my resume and was doing some background checking on me.

Walking into his office was unreal. It was on the very top floor and had these amazing views of New York City. He had several computer screens and flat screen TVs flashing news and ticker tape.

Talking to him was phenomenal. I was worried I’d be nervous and that I wouldn’t know what to say – but conversation came very naturally (maybe because we’re both ENTJs) and it was one of the most insightful meetings I had with senior management. I learned about how he came to achieve what he has achieved so far, what he was working on, his work style, and some of the deals in the recent past that he was proud of. Our conversation, originally scheduled for 30 minutes, ended up going slightly over an hour, and then he really had to take a call. It went incredibly well; I learned so much.

When I got back to my desk, I got calls and short emails from various people throughout the bank and they were like, “You met with JL! Great job! How did you do that?”

To top it off, a day or two later I found out that JL sent out a really nice email about me to all my supervisors. I didn’t get to read it but my VP told me it was a really nice email.

This experience was definitely the highlight of my summer – and I’ll remember it forever.

While this section has been something of a peronal anecdote, my words of advice to you very much echo the above quote by Nora Roberts. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. So ask, and open doors that will take you to places you could never have imagined.

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