Savvy Finances at JP Morgan – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Savvy Finances at JP Morgan

“No time like the present” says it all for David Casey ’10 and Katie Michalek ’10, who are both on the hub of the financial and economic world this summer, with internships at JP Morgan, one of the oldest financial services firms in the world.

An economics major and mathematics and international relations minor, Casey is working as a summer analyst in the Special Credits Group, which, he says, “is essentially the bankruptcy and distressed companies group.”

“JP Morgan makes and organizes different types of loans to pretty much every type of company, pretty much everywhere in the world,” Casey says.  “When it starts to look like the company will not be able to pay back the loan in full, my group’s job is to facilitate discussion with management in order to maximize our recovery. Needless to say the group has been busy lately.” 

Casey’s role has been varied, spending significant time doing valuation work, as well as modeling, with clients, lawyers, financial advisors and senior management at JP Morgan. 

“Essentially, this work is so that we can answer the questions ‘how much is this company/division/asset worth’ and ‘what will the company look like in the future if x, y, and z happen,'” he says.

Michalek, also an economics major, with a double minor in public policy and psychology, worked as a Credit Risk Management Summer Analyst in Municipal Finance.  She describes her role as “used and viewed equally to the work of a full time analyst.”

“I evaluate the credit worthiness of a client through financial and economic analysis,” says Michalek, a tutor for the economics department and America Reads, and a career assistant in the Salisbury Center for Career Services.  “I have had the opportunity to assist in the analysis of JP Morgan’s exposure to California due to the state’s difficulty in balancing their $24 billion budget and the state’s decision to issue IOUs. I was able to witness and contribute to JP Morgan’s decision to accept California’s IOUs.”

Additionally, she was able to help develop a “regression model to accurately ‘grade’ clients based on public ratings and weighted financial criteria”- a model now used for the entire municipal finance portfolio, more than 900 clients.

“The hours are crazy,” Casey says; “fourteen to 18 a day, plus I usually come in for a few hours on Sunday. The learning curve is incredibly steep, and the amount of responsibility you are given from day one is pretty overwhelming.”

But he adds, “I love working with incredibly smart people, who are also ambitious and motivated; I love the relevance of what I am doing. At the beginning of my internship someone told me he didn’t read the Wall Street Journal because he knew what was going to be in it before it was; it’s pretty impressive how true this has become.”

Michalek is also impressed with what she is gaining from the internship, which has given her “the chance to learn about the public finance sector as well as the risk function of a bank.  It has strengthened my analytical and quantitative skills which are crucial for any career as well as for graduate school.”

With his interest in investment banking, Casey says the internship at JP Morgan “fits into my future career aspirations perfectly.”

Michalek says that her major and minors have provided her with the basic skills needed to learn, understand, and add value to each project that she’s worked on this summer.

“I use the fundamentals of economics on a daily basis to complete a credit analysis on a client. It is crucial to have a general understanding of how markets function,” she says.

Through their hard work and some networking, Casey and Michalek are definitely getting more than just a general understanding this summer.