When I Met JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, He Taught Me the Power of Humility
By Sean Korpal, BBA ‘19
When Jamie Dimon visited Michigan Ross recently, I knew he would give an inspiring talk––because I had met him nearly a year earlier in his office in Manhattan and I know the wisdom he has to offer.
The CEO of one of the world’s biggest financial institutions, JP Morgan Chase, spent an hour and a half with me and my family, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Michigan, in December 2016. He was friendly and welcoming, and the security guards joked we got to spend more time with him than some world leaders did.
I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when I was 17. It was a scary diagnosis, since it’s not easily curable in adults. When I had the opportunity to make a request of Make-A-Wish, I knew that I wanted to meet one of my idols: Jamie Dimon.
Dimon might not necessarily be a household name for most 17 year olds, but he’s a big deal to me. I started trading stocks when I was 12. That meant that I was always following financial news, and I knew from an early age that Dimon was a pragmatic, down-to-earth, genuine person, who would give me the kind of advice that I needed to hear.
This is a source of inspiration for me every day.
My expectations were definitely met. Dimon talked with me and my family, asking about my experience with cancer––he could relate, since he battled throat cancer himself in 2014––and my goals. He also gave me some important advice that I will never forget.
People can always tell if you’re being genuine, or telling the truth or not, Dimon said. Even though Wall Street has a cutthroat reputation, you still need others to help you succeed. Always try to make good connections and relate to people––that goes for business and in life too.
Dimon said that you should try to surround yourself with the best people. More importantly, in order to utilize them effectively, you must actually listen to them and take their perspective into account. You have to have the humility to admit what you don’t know.
I’ve kept in touch with Dimon since that meeting, and I told him about finishing my last round of chemotherapy in September 2017. There’s a small chance that the cancer could return, but the longer I’m in remission, the smaller that chance becomes. I have hopes of going into sales and trading, and I have the opportunity to do this with an internship at Bank of America Merrill Lynch this summer. From there, we’ll see.
I want to do something big, and something impactful. I want to be a CEO, or head of a trading division, or fund manager––something that gives me the ability to make a positive difference on a large scale, and while using my passion for business and finance.
No matter what I end up doing, I will always take Dimon’s advice with me. I’m really grateful for this experience, and especially to Dimon and the Make-A-Wish volunteers who made this possible.
This is a source of inspiration for me every day. It helps me stay positive––I think of the things people did to help me out in my time of need. It’s a good feeling, and I want to take that with me as I aspire to do great things for others.
What was your summer internship?
Bank of America Merrill Lynch. I was a Global Wealth & Investment Management Intern
I love to play ice hockey. In fact, I'm the goaltender for the Ross Ice Hockey Club
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