Fmr. JP Morgan Chase Intern From Marist Reflects on Technology

Personal Essays

Scott Hansen has been an intern for JPMorgan Chase for the past two summers. In this essay, he reflects on the importance of technology in banking and how Marist College students can prepare for tech jobs.

By Scott Hansen 


As someone who has worked in the technology of the banking industry, I can personally attest to the fact that most businesses are aggressively taking a technology-oriented approach. In 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Company spent over $9.5 billion on technology in the whole firm. 


In their own words, the reason for investing so much money, roughly 16 percent of their total expenses, comes down to providing cheaper products and services and increasing the efficiency Walmart spent even more than that, over $10 billion dollars, on technology in 2015. 


If you’re a business major, your future career will almost certainly depend on how well you understand the world of technology. Marist College has great classes which offer the opportunity to understand computers. For instance, if you are in the school of business, you can declare a secondary area of emphasis in CIS (Computer Information Systems). Unfortunately, it is still possible to avoid computers by taking a very introductory class, “Technology of the 21st Century” 


JPMorgan Chase and Walmart are certainly not the exceptions when it comes to businesses that are putting a lot of money into technology. There are two types of companies today, those that embrace and leverage technology effectively, and those that underperform their potential. 


If you are a fellow Marist college student, you will be part of the job market very soon, and joining a company that is not embracing technology is akin to boarding a ship with holes in the hull. The people on board may be staying afloat by bailing out some water, but that is not a long-term solution. Avoid these companies if you can and instead focus on companies that use technology effectively.


In order to excel in these companies, however, it would benefit you to go beyond the scope of a one-semester, introductory, technology class. Whatever business you work for will likely use many digital tools and programs. Understanding what these programs do, at a conceptual level, will be part of understanding the role of your job. If your boss asks about a digital tool you are using, the last thing you want to be is dumbfounded.


Here is the scenario, say you are in a position where you review and process expense reports. The reports will likely be in the digital format and help visualize the information that was input into it. Knowing how to use this tool is part of your job function, and as you progress in becoming better and better at your job, you will become better at reading these reports. 


But simply knowing how to read such reports will not provide vital intuition that might help you get ahead in your career. Instead, knowing how these reports are generated will elevate your knowledge. Understanding the technologies behind the report software will help you gauge limitations of the reporting tool, communicate with the team supporting the software, and help your own performance in your job role. If you are not interfacing with the software effectively, you might be replaced. On a sidenote, if you have not watched the CGP Gray video titled “Humans Need Not Apply,” I strongly recommend watching it. 


As a computer science major, I have taken a slew of courses on computing technology. If you think that you have a pretty good understanding, do a google search for “technology literacy quiz” and see if you get 100 percent. 


Also, see if you can explain some key computing terms: motherboard, CPU, computer, computer memory (RAM, hard drive, cache), operating systems (MAC OS, Windows, Linux), program, software, algorithm, file storage, file extension, database, programming language, web browser, scripting, encryption, and the Internet. For a bonus, here are some new technology trends, such as artificial intelligence, block chain, cloud (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), and the internet of things. 


If your understanding matches the first few paragraphs of that term’s Wikipedia page, I would say that you have a business proficient understanding of that topic, and the ability to learn more about it, if needed.

You might be thinking, “Hold on Scott, those are a lot of terms and it all sounds a bit overwhelming.” You would be right in saying that it is a lot of stuff to learn about, and the list is in no way extensive. Computers and many of these technologies are already ubiquitous throughout the workforce and daily life. In my opinion, the near future will not give us the choice of whether or not we want to be technologists.

Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo 

Scott HansenComment