The summer internship application craze can be hard on some people: all the rejections, all the tears, all the preparation gone to waste. It requires research, and reading up on an array of industries—banking, consulting, marketing, whatever—and memorizing equations based entirely on theoretical information.
Fortunately, I’m an Econ and Lit major with “Rumpus Editor” at the top of my resume, so basically I walk on water as far as human resourcing recruiters are concerned. JP Morgan’s VP of Corporate Risk Management, though, had apparently not gotten the memo that I was as amazing as I am. After they initially turned me down for an interview, they emailed me two days before their on-campus visit because “a slot had opened up.” (A.k.a. the qualified candidates had turned down their interview offer; Yalies don’t like to work in Sales & Trading, I hear).
I had a shitload of homework to do and figured there was no reason for me to prepare (since I wouldn’t be getting the job anyway, let’s be honest here), hence an interview that went like this:
-”Where else are you interviewing?”
-”Erm…consulting firms?” [This was a blatant lie. I'd been offered one consulting interview.]
-”So why do you want to work at J.P. Morgan, specifically?”
-”Because you’re the best.”
-”In what way?”
A few seconds pass.
-”Well, your training program. It’s the best.”
-”You want to work at J.P. Morgan because our training program is the best?”
-”Yes. I want to come out of this internship being able to do anything. That is, anything finance related.”
-”Interesting. You say you’re good at numbers. What’s the square root of 200?”
Seconds pass and I consider bolting.
-”It’s actually around 14. Did you just write the math out on your hand???”
-”No…” [I lift up my notebook, which I've been hiding under the desk.]
Before they finish asking me the rest of the quantitative and news-related questions, they take out my resume and ask me to tell them a little but about myself. My problem is that the only thing “finance”-y I’ve done in my life is to call up Yale alumni and ask them to give money to the Alumni Fund, which is my work study job. So I tell my interviewer, whose name is Su, that I raised $36,000 for the financial aid program at Yale.
Her reaction to hearing about my amazing ability to ask people for money? She looks at me and screams, “WHY DOES THAT MATTER?!” Startled, I ask her what she means, so she elaborates: “I AM AN ALUMNI. WHY DOES THIS MATTER?!”
All things considered, I’d say that my response—about a hypothetical librarian getting hypothetically fired from Yale’s hypothetical Russian Literature library—was pretty fricking awesome. She looked dubious at my answer, even though her teeth were shining brightly. She never stopped smiling after that. I decided that she must really enjoy screaming at people.
A few minutes later, the interview was over. “Have a nice day,” Su told me. I told her good luck with the rest of her interviews. Then I realized that I had nothing to lose, so I added, with the meanest death glare I could muster, “And good luck with the wonderful snow storm we’re getting tomorrow,” and then I pulled the door closed behind me. Surprisingly, I heard her laugh through the slit between the door and the UCS carpeting beneath it.
After I told my mom about this interview, my mom said, “It sounds like they really liked you. And you made them laugh. Your father always says people get the jobs they don’t want, so you’ll get this one.” And, lo and behold, one week later, I get a second round interview with J.P. Morgan!
Just kidding. In my dreams. I got a very kind (read: dry) email from an anonymous recruiting email address telling me that unfortunately they cannot offer me a position this summer. I was completely shocked. Completely shocked. Almost as shocked as I was when Bill Toth threatened to sue me if I printed his name in the last issue of Rumpus: that is, very shocked.