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Real Humans of JPMorgan Chase & Co.: Joshua Paulus, The Ohio State Fisher MBA ’23, Senior Associate

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In this edition of our Real Humans: Alumni series, Joshua Paulus explains why The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business was the natural choice for his MBA, and how Fisher’s focus on problem-solving and collaboration helped him leverage his career in finance at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Joshua Paulus OSU Fisher MBA ’23, Senior Associate at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Age: 30
Hometown: Versailles, Ohio
Undergraduate Institution and Major: The Ohio State University, Sports Industry Major
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year: Fisher College of Business, Class of 2023
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Assistant Operations Manager, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, 5 years, Hospitality 
Post-MBA Work Experience: Senior Associate in the Chase Associate Program, JPMorgan Chase, 1 year, Financial Services 

Why did you choose to attend business school?
I have always been passionate about learning and knew that I wanted to eventually pursue a master’s degree. In 2020, COVID-19 caused major workforce reduction in the hospitality industry, which temporarily gave me the time necessary to take a chance on myself by applying to Fisher College of Business. Based on my career progression to that point, I felt that getting a master’s degree in business would be my best step at upward mobility. While the risk was certainly there and the financial investment was significant, my wife and I determined it was a worthwhile endeavor and jointly decided it would be the best step for our family and future goals. I knew business school would provide me some of the skills, resources, and connections that would help me grow personally and professionally. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I could have possibly made for so many reasons. 

Why OSU Fisher? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Having attended The Ohio State University for my undergraduate education and settling down in Columbus, OSU Fisher was a natural choice for me for a multitude of reasons. In fact, much like my application to undergraduate programs, The Ohio State University was my only application filled out for MBA Programs. My connection and familiarity with the University made me realize the vastness of Ohio State’s resources that I didn’t leverage as an undergraduate student. I was also looking for a prominent MBA program that would be widely recognized and respected, and Fisher met both of the criteria. Also, the small size of the MBA cohort at Fisher made it feel like much more of a community, and I was looking for an opportunity to form meaningful connections and relationships. 

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career at JPMorgan & Chase Co.?
I would say the focus on problem-solving and collaboration in the Fisher MBA Program are the two aspects of the MBA program that I have leveraged in my career so far at Chase. No matter how smart or skilled you are, the professional world requires working with others which is much easier when you are a pleasant partner to work with. All of the group work focus Fisher fosters through CORE Teams, and ad hoc team projects have really made me used to navigating multiple stakeholders and learning how to communicate and work in a variety of different situations. Additionally, some of the basic refreshes on presentation skills and the Microsoft Office suite were good preparation for the tools I utilize frequently. Finally, the Fisher MBA program really did well at challenging cohort members to think critically and adapt to unexpected changes, which served to prepare me for the ever-evolving world.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned at Hyatt Regency Columbus but not in the operations space I had spent years in prior to business school. Instead, I served as an internal consultant to improve hotel productivity, the employee experience, and analyze opportunities for cost savings and revenue generation. This experience really reinforced I was looking for a more traditional 9-5, Monday through Friday, to give my life more balance. While hospitality taught me many vital skills, it also showed me there are things to value in a career beyond working long hours for the sake of potential upward mobility. 

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I chose JPMorgan Chase primarily because of the experience of others in my MBA cohort who had interned there over the summer and Fisher alumni who took full-time positions and spoke very highly of the culture, work-life balance, and the meaningfulness of their work. I also found the interview process to be seamless and candidate-friendly, and Chase Associate Program Recruiting Team to be extremely supportive and responsive. I had gone through some internship interviews where I didn’t get responses after the fact, which left a sour taste and made me want to work for a company that valued candidates and treated them well, which was my experience with Chase. Finally, as someone who still didn’t have a clear path as to what he wanted to do post-MBA, the Chase Associate Program, which offers members three 8-month rotation opportunities, was an attractive option! Being given the opportunity to explore different areas of interest and take risks sold the CAP Program to me. 

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
If I had to do it all over again, I would leverage the experiences and advice of fellow MBA cohort members. Much like the MBA program itself and a post-MBA career, things are much, much easier when you don’t have to go them alone! By genuinely taking an interest in the success of others, you’ll likely see reciprocation and you never know what kind of opportunities can arise from those connections formed. 

–One thing you would change or do differently as part of the job search?
I wish I would have invested more time into the internship and job search during the first semester of the program. In reality, I should have been treating the search as a job in and of itself on top of my coursework. Working on it consistently, little by little, would have been a far better approach for me than trying to cram connections and applications into a short time frame. 

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
I was a little surprised by the use of virtual recording interview technology as one of the stages of the interview process, but it was very easy to navigate as a whole. The recruiting process was one of the best, if not the best, candidate experiences I have ever gone through.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
I am going to offer two pieces of advice I would give myself now. First, now is the time of your life you should be taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone, and trying things that you wouldn’t consider in your wheelhouse. I know it’s easier to gravitate toward your skillset, but trying the things you don’t have experience with will be far more valuable, I promise! Second, make time to form relationships with your cohort members. I know people in your cohort will be in different stages of life, and it will be easier to just focus on classwork and your own job search, but the connections and memories you form during your MBA program are, without a doubt, the most valuable part of the program. 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.