Philip Thorell has been working for two years in J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank division, which serves ultra-high-net-worth clients.  An onboarding officer incorporates the processes of bringing new clients – individuals and entities – into the bank.  “The role is a combination of operations and compliance, as I work directly with bankers and clients to conduct due diligence of the client (Know Your Client, or KYC), assess the risk posed to the bank (Anti Money Laundering, or AML), and manage the account opening process.  Key aspects of the job are gathering and maintaining client data and documentation, understanding federal regulations, and working with different teams to onboard clients quickly and efficiently.”

Phil graduated from Catholic University with a major in History and minors in Philosophy and in Medieval and Byzantine Studies.  He had planned to become an academic, and went from Catholic to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where he earned a Master of Science degree in Medieval History, focusing on the Vikings’ interaction with Eastern Europe and the Byzantine Empire. “After Edinburgh, I had a series of jobs and internships in Washington D.C., including jobs with an internet startup company, a congressional office, think tanks and a lobbying firm where most of my work focused on national security and foreign policy.  I then moved to New York to work for UBS, processing foreign exchange accounts for the investment bank, before joining JP Morgan in July, 2016.”

“The most helpful aspect of my career transitions has been my ability to adapt to change.  Having studied/worked in multiple fields, industries, work environments, and cities, I developed a more diverse mindset and approach to my career.”

It might not be obvious to most that there are direct connections between studying medieval history and a career in finance, but Phil disagrees.  “The skill that has benefitted me the most from studying history is the ability to convey a message with the information that is available.  In a fast-paced industry such as finance, stakeholders need succinct and accurate information quickly, so the ability to identify, locate, analyze, and convert information into a message is key.  Studying medieval history has also ingrained in me the skill to analyze the source of information, the method by which it was obtained, and if needed to look for alternative sources of information.  Throughout my career the ability to analyze data, no matter how limited it might be, to get a point across has been greatly beneficial.”