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i know it’s been a long time since i put a public entry (there’ve been lots of ‘friends only’ entries in between). anyway, i’m halfway into the ninth week of my internship. another 11 days here in London and i’m done. work has been getting increasingly frustrating and yesterday i gave a long lecture to my boss as to how JPM won’t succeed because its systems aren’t good. Today manager replied saying that even though the systems here suck big time, they’re the best across the industry!!

Whether or not to improve technology is an oft-repeated application of the prisoner’s dilemma. In the case of investment banking, however, it looks like all companies are simply taking things lying down (if what my manager said were true). Surprising indeed…

Anyway, today i started writing my ‘report’. i didn’t do any project as part of my internship but IIMB’s academic requirements require a ‘project report’. so i’m writing one based on one of the hundred deals i’ve worked on. good thing is it won’t be evaluated for grades.

feeling too lazy now, so i’ll stop here.

random….

every extra minute more i spend here in office, the more frustrated i become. as i had mentioned earlier, the IT systems here are pretty poor. hardly world class. and if this indeed is world class, then i’m proud (??!!) to say that many of our PSUs are also world class.

the last couple of days in office have been spent trying to check the work of a bunch of jokers called “middle office”. those guys don’t even consider it a shame for an intern to check on their work and to send them corrections!! and to imagine the better performers in there actually get promoted to normal investment banking!! ah, the high standards JPM has set!!

i was priding myself the other day for not having gotten depressed for the past 3 months (after a couple of months of unwarranted paranoia about grades and career, which i’m now out of). but of late, following the comments of a few friends, i feel i’m prone to depression in the next few days.

basically it goes like this:
i hate my job. it is extremely mundane. at least if a small portion of it was non-routine work it would’ve made my days. however, that is not the case to be. i mean, it is a really boring job. and i’m not helped by the systems (i’m repeating myself) or the lack of it at JPM. well, i’m really pissed and it’s very very unlikely i’m going to come back if offered.

however, no one other than my parents seem to believe that my job sucks. most people are like “every job is like that. there is no such thing as an interesting job. come and see our jobs, yours will actually be rocknig. and remember that you’re getting paid a really huge amount”, etc. now, that gives me the impression that since mine is the most interesting job (according to all these people) and i don’t find it interesting, i won’t find any job interesting. which means that i’m doomed to mundane jobs for the rest of my life. which means that after the one year of student life i have left in me (assuming i don’t do a PhD), i’m basically kinda screwed for life. i won’t fit into any organization – i’m too rebellious for that. blah blah…

back to other stuff now… my mid-term review suggested i’ll get a PPO. which would be damn useful for my finals. now teh way i’m going, it’s unlikely i’ll crack it… as in i’ve been openly protestnig against the kind of stuff being given to me… trying to drill management gyaan into my associates’ heads… my manager tried to place me with a couple of other desks which have more ‘interesting’ jobs… but they didn’t seem too enthusiastic to recruit…

no idea as to what will come out of this… hoping for the best…

a mail i sent to swami yesterday…

// he had written a mail saying there’s no such thing as a good job and i should concentrate on work and crack a PPO

yeah thanx for the fundaes… similar to what a lot of other people have been telling me of late… i for one have taken the best decision a manager can ever take – postpone the decision, for which one thing necessary is a PPO. i’m not doing anything silly or extraordinary. just trying to do my best at whatever work is being given to me. and have managed a really good mid-term review and should mostly geta PPO.

if i were chopra/gambhir, i won’t mind fielding at short leg as long as i’m opening the batting (and not batting at 11 and not even getting to bowl). what i mean is i don’t mind doing all the shitty work as long as the core work is good. but as i see it, the work that my manager does also isn’t very interesting.

we are in the swaps business. a client calls up asking for an interest rate swap. we price it up and quote a price and try sell a swap to him. the swap is later handed on to the traders on the floor.

however, the organization structure of JPM seems to be creating slysha problem. what i would ideally like to do is to design the swaps and indulge in “new product development”. however, the NPD here is done only by the hybrids trading team and they don’t hire directly – you have to excel in marketing for a few years before they take you. and even if i were to get there through this route, trading is way too hectic for someone like me… i can’t hold my concentration for more than 2 hours…

this leaves me with the option of marketing… i don’t particularly mind it as long as i am selling ‘good products’. the marketing division is put into country-wide teams and due to my language skills (rather the lack of them), i’m in the UK team. unfortunately JPM isn’t a very big player in the UK arena and hence we get only shitty deals to work on. extremely boring and stuff.

i don’t even mind doing what JPM calls a ‘sales job’, which is kinda entrepreneural and involves going out into the field and getting new clients. only problem is i’m not very comfortable in the environment here and have no contacts in the commercial banks in the UK (who are our potential clients). i would be able to do well in this kind of a role only in India – which is not covered out of London but out of Hong Kong and Singapore. and since i’ve interned in London, i won’t be able to get a job in there.

to put it in ‘your language’, the job that i’m doing is that the customer calls up and specifies requirements… there’s no need for us to translate that into design document… they’re so commonplace that it’s purely mechanical… yeah we do the coding and a lot of maintenance (we have to hand it over to a ‘middle office’ to book the deals and they’re filled with a bunch of jokers who invariably screw up – so testing also involved). (actually i used to quite like debugging – though it was painful. testing and maintenance is what i loath abt. software engg..).

i’m really confused about my career options right now… i’m kinda split between fin and ops (which is the only reason i’m thinking of consults)… i don’t even mind doing marketing/sales as long as i’m selling ‘intelligent products’ (fin products or software) and i’m selling to businesses/corporates and not to junta AND i must have a good understanding of the environment…

and yeah, one more thing to consider is that the i-banking industry seems to be headed for a downturn… signs are already in (i managed to get this out of my manager’s mouth last week)… and JPM’s arbit recruitment policy, etc. mean that it would be downsizing massively in case of a downturn…

in summary i don’t mind doing a lot of arbit stuff if i’m also doing some good work along with it… and i don’t want to put my boat into choppy waters…

lot of food for thought i guess…

dilemma…

work at office gets woreshter and woreshter. however, i’m not allowed to tell this to anyone as all my dear friends have made a decision on my behalf that JPM is THE place for me to work and i’d be committing a grave mistake if i don’t convert PPO and sign out. of course, i have gotten a really good mid-term review, but after that either i’ve been getting no work or woreshtesht work. and if i were to let anyone know that i hate the stuff i’m doing, i won’t get PPO and all my friends’ dreams will be shattered.

on the other hand, work is getting so woresht that it’s difficult for me to keep my mouth shut and carry on this shit i’m doing (or not doing – i don’t get too much work these days, you know – business is bad). and the woreshter part is that the guy who sits next to me who’s been here for 6 years does the same kind of work as me! so it’s not as if they’re loading the intern with all woresht work and keeping the pseud work to themselves. in fact, they’ve been extremely kind that i’m directly getting involved in whatever work they’re doing…

seriously dunno what i’m going to be upto…

and people, if i screw up (which seems likely as of now), i’m really sorry in advance… but it’s getting increasingly tough to carry on this way….

these guys suck…

today i was asked to do something i had done before again (and three times over) because the software package we use for this sucks. i asked if there are any attempts to repair the software. i was told there are none – because it isn’t used by enuff people.

i have a good feeling i can make shitloads of money if i could open a software company (based in B’lore/Chennai/Hyd) and convince JPM to allow me to make all their software packages – including maintenance.

somehow top management here seems to be extremely stupid and seems to totally lack vision. they’re still sitting on the fact that once upon a time in England, JPM was voted as the best i-bank for derivatives. i won’t be surprised if JPM closes down in another 10 years…

london philharmonic orchestra

went to the last performance of the season of the London Philharmonic Orchestra yesterday… having paid 12 pounds and an opportunity to watch the champion’s league finals live on TV… for someone like me with a grounding in indian classical, the concert was a bit of a letdown…

the pieces they chose were way too jerky… instruments suddenly started playing and stopped playing… too much changed in too little time… i expected it to be a lot smoother and more ‘peaceful’ (hope you get what i’m saying)… unfortunately it wasn’t…

of course it was great coordination on the part of over 50 musicians to come together and go through the process of playing some of maybe western classical music’s not-among-the-best pieces… but the fact that it was so well coordinated and so well practised left some kind of emptiness… basically due to the size of the troupe, the spontaneity that is so evident in indian music (where not more than 5-6 people take the stage at a time) was lacking…

lots more to say but not able to articulate and write it down… more on this later…

(in an angry mood)

today a couple of my friends here in JPM were told that despite their excellent performance through the course of the internship, they won’t be hired because the desk doesn’t know if it’ll require an extra person in April next year (markets are kinda volatile nowadays – investment banking seems to be at the beginning of a downturn). another intern (tommy) has been told that he can’t be hired after ‘only a 10 week’ internship but since his performance has been excellent, he will be offered another internship (for a ‘full 6 months’) after which he might be hired!

JPM also refuses to recruit during final placements (when they’ll know exactly how many people they need and where) because they have a policy not to recruit MBAs without an internship (however, they recruit BSc’s from arbit british colleges without any internships – and if we’re offered a job it will be at the same position as these arbit firangs!!!).

don’t think JPM deserves to be given a slot on day zero…