Andrew Morris (MBA 10) Vice President at JP Morgan Chase & Co
Andrew Morris lives and works in New York City, where his challenges and objectives have been to grow JP Morgan’s international book of business across global treasury management products and services including local lending for multinational corporations. In this interview, he talks about his international career and experiences.
-As Vice President at JP Morgan Chase & Co, what difficulties and challenges do you face?
My responsibility has been to act as a thought leader to share best practice to clients, prospects and within JP Morgan itself to help raise the firms standing and profile within the industry.
The biggest challenge in my day-to-day role has been to stay well informed of changes within the various local markets. For example, regulations allowing money to be moved into and out of China change quite often. Then of course you have Brexit with all its complexities and uncertainties around a host of items such as free movement of labor, market access, risk management, tax impact, trade policies and so on.
My clients require me to be on top of these changing landscapes in order to advise them on strategies to best manage their global cash and liquidity.
I find the global treasury industry is always in flux and that means each and every day is new and interesting. I also love to work with colleagues from across the globe, as I believe it continues to provide me with personal and professional growth.
-Your professional career has always been linked to business management and strategy. What skills must the global manager fulfill?
In my opinion, a global manager must manage complexity across cultures, time zones and act as a trusted liaison between the HQ and local office. Having an understanding and appreciation of culture is critically important. People’s behavior and expectations varies widely from country to country. Understanding how to motivate and lead from a distance can be assisted by honest, clear and consistent communication.
From my experience, successful global managers have to be present in the local markets – meaning extensive international travel along with late night/early morning video conferencing. Doing so allows for greater understanding of local culture and custom while bringing cohesion. Consistent dialogue helps to ensure the objectives are clearly set as well as the plans to achieve them.
I also think that the global manager has to simultaneously be the subject matter expert for their particular line of business, but also have a broad understanding of the wider business and how all the various pieces come together.
-How do you think companies are focusing on the technological revolution?
Working with companies anywhere from $15 million to $15 billion in sales, the one constant across the spectrum is the investment and focus on technology. Regardless of company size and industry, many of the companies I speak to have invested in some form of an idea or innovation lab focused on leveraging technology to find an advantage.
-You have worked in different roles, functions and countries, mainly in international finance. What was the most outstanding adventure of your career?
For sure, the most outstanding adventure was attending ESADE and living in Barcelona. However, I would highlight my time living and working in Chicago. I say Chicago because it formed the foundation of my international career and allowed me to grow personally and professionally. When I moved to Chicago I worked for the international financial institution ABN AMRO. I quickly discovered my passion for working with people across the globe. This greatly expanded my perspective and opened my eyes to life beyond the US. This path ultimately led me to ESADE and to travel the world.
From a personal standpoint, I still miss running along the lakefront while marathon training, playing beach volleyball and enjoying all the incredible restaurants. That said, I don’t miss the cold winters.
-What are your current challenges and objectives?
As an International Product Specialist with JP Morgan my responsibilities included strategy and positioning of our robust set of global cash management and lending solutions available to multinational corporations. On a daily basis I worked with colleagues across more than 25 countries to coordinate and deliver comprehensive client solutions, solve customer pain points and ultimately grow the firms book of business.
Working in a global context certainly has its challenges. The global role requires me to be aware of and sensitive to the various cultures. Across the globe, people communicate, work and approach situations quite differently. In order to be successful in my role I have to understand, to the best of my ability, the local culture to execute a particular strategy.
-What is it like to live and work in New York?
Life in New York is definitely fast. Hesitate for a moment and you’ll lose an opportunity or your seat on the subway. Its organized chaos provides wonderful benefits like diversity and culture, but it also has its drawbacks such as the never-ending workday.
There are tremendously talented people from all over the world working and competing in New York. This helps foster the fast pace, moves global markets and provides a dynamic environment to learn and be challenged. Professionals here are willing to work as long and as hard as it takes to be successful even if it means sacrificing their work/life balance.
Living in New York provides no shortage of things to do, see and experience. Personally, I love running and walking through Central Park as well as wandering through the city taking photographs. I also enjoy taking advantage of all the various cuisines, museums and exhibits.
-What would you highlight about ESADE?
ESADE was the experience of a lifetime. What really stands out to me about ESADE is the culture. Those that attend ESADE are compassionate, well-rounded, inclusive, collaborative and very talented. The classmates I had are lifelong friends. To this day, more than seven years after graduation, we remain very much connected despite having scattered across the globe. I think that speaks volumes about ESADE.
ESADE’s strong culture also encourages a sense of pride. Whenever an MBA fair comes through New York, there are always a number of former alumni who volunteer their time to support the ESADE brand. I always enjoy spending time with Jeroen Verhoeven at various ESADE events in New York and to hear about what’s going on at ESADE. What can I say, I wish I could do it all over again!
-In your opinion, what are the benefits of being part of the ESADE Alumni International Network?
The ESADE Alumni Network provides the opportunity to stay connected and remain engaged given the shared experience. I am extremely proud of my ESADE experience and I want to remain informed of current events and future plans. I’ve attended a number of Alumni events in New York over the past few years and it’s incredible to meet new ESADE Alumni in New York and to hear about their experience.
-What advice can you give to the alumni who are thinking of pursuing an international career?
Go for it! Life is about taking chances, getting outside your comfort zone and having experiences. Change is hard and uncomfortable, but I’ve found the personal and professional growth involved in taking a chance to be tremendous. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and develop incredible friendships as a result of my international career. It’s broadened my appreciation for people, culture, food and life. If you have the opportunity, intimidating as it may seem at the time, go for it. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn and grow – not to mention the amount of fun you’ll have.