Interview With An Investment Professional | Rachel Stern, JP Morgan

By Katie Raguz - Hathaway Brown School - NextGenVest Co-President - Shaker Heights, Ohio

As a NextGenVest Global Ambassador, I am able to connect with experienced professionals succeeding in the business field of my interest.  With my interest in Finance, NextGenVest partnered me with Rachel Stern, investment strategist in Asset Management at JP Morgan, to gain a deeper insight into what it is like to work at one of the most respected financial services firms in the world. Check out my interview with her below!

Where did you grow up and attend school? Where do you live now?

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois and went to a big high school with about 4,000 students. I attended University of Michigan where I studied in the Undergraduate Business School. I now live in New York City.

How long have you worked at JP Morgan and what is your job title?

I have worked in four different jobs at JP Morgan over the course of seven years, all in Asset Management. Currently, my title is Investment Strategist.

Can you walk me through what your job actually entails? What do you do every day?

I wake up at 5:45 every morning. I usually go to the gym two to three days a week from about 6:00 to 6:45 AM. I take a twenty-minute subway ride to work and arrive there at 7:45 or 8:00. At work, my team and I manage several different investment portfolios for clients. I do a lot of reading, research, and analysis to synthesize what’s going on in the markets (stock markets, bond markets, foreign exchange markets) and how we think about investment portfolios. I also attend meetings, talk with clients about what’s going on in the economy, and make strategic investment decisions.

What excites you most about your job?

I am able to talk with and learn from really interesting people all day, whether it be a client or one of my colleagues. I get a diverse set of opinions on the market and have to develop my own thesis.

What types of personalities or strengths are required for your job?

I would say attention to detail, taking initiative, being a go-getter, being analytical, and a true interest in what’s going on in the market. You should be able to say you know what’s going on all day, every day.

What is one thing you would have done differently financially in college and why?

I wish I had saved more. New York City is very expensive and has a high cost of living, so I wish I had a nice cushion.

Did you take advantage of internships in college? If so, how did you learn about and land internships? Any advice for students? 

I interned at an Asset Management firm called Blackrock. I was lucky to get the internship through a recruiting process at the University of Michigan's Undergrad School of Business where I interviewed with a number of firms. I knew I wanted to go into asset management and interned the summer after my junior year of college. You don’t really know what a job is like until you’re at the job, doing it. Be open-minded to different options and get relevant experience for your resume.

What is one financial mistake you have seen people make?  

People tend to spend more than they earn. This happens regardless of whether a person makes a large or small paycheck and regardless of their profession, which is surprising.

To give students a perspective of how much different careers earn, what was the starting salary range for someone in this field? 

I believe it’s around $60,00-70,000 but that depends on firm and the division within a bank.

What are three financial or career pieces of advice for students? 

1) You’re going to make mistakes, but remember the mistakes and move forward from them. Don’t make the same one twice.2) Work hard and show people that you know how to take initiative and that you’re a go-getter. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.3) Get in the habit of saving early on, no one will stop you one day to tell you to start now.

Want to make a positive impact on students? Text your interest to NextGenVest at 646-798-1745.