Alumni Spotlight: Jimmy Zhou
Jimmy Zhou participated in Enterprise’s Career Exploration Program (CEP) in 2015, after graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School. Upon completing his CEP internship at First Republic Bank, Jimmy was hired as a part-time employee, and has been working there since. Jimmy recently received an Associate’s Degree from Skyline College, and will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall as an economics major. He was interviewed by Raine Hu, one of First Republic’s 2017 CEP interns.
Raine: Please share your experience at Enterprise for Youth.
Jimmy: My experience at Enterprise for Youth was very helpful and instrumental to my life after high school. Taking Enterprise seriously and actively participating in the activities during the workshops really helped when I transitioned into college, and as an employee at First Republic Bank. The staff at Enterprise were very supportive and informative, answering my questions about school and about jobs. When I was applying for college, they helped me from start to finish: choosing colleges, starting the application, guiding me on my personal statement, and helping me through the submission process. They were there to guide me every step of the way.
Raine: What is the most important thing you learned during your internship?
Jimmy: I think the most important thing I learned during my internship was learning how to adapt to a new environment and how to assimilate into the company’s culture. Every work environment is different. To enjoy working there, you need to adapt to it.
Raine: How did you transition from interning at First Republic to becoming a part-time employee?
Jimmy: My transition from an intern to a part-time employee at First Republic Bank was comprised of being a quick learner, and my determination to get things done in a timely manner. I was given a project to monitor incoming loans during my internship and I created a database on Excel with it. Towards the end of the internship, I proved my knowledge of banking and computer skills by meeting with the management team to present my findings through graphs and data charts. In addition, I gave recommendations on how to improve their loan submission processes and it was implemented the following week.
Raine: What are your main responsibilities and activities?
Jimmy: My responsibilities vary day to day, but my job is mainly project-based. I work on the credit and risk team here at First Republic Bank. We review loans that have been approved or declined previously, and we try to use that to strengthen our underwriting parameters.
Raine: What skills are necessary for your position?
Jimmy: I think that analytical and judgment skills are the most important. There are many times where I need to create reports and know how to interpret them in order to draw conclusions and make recommendations to change processes in our department.
Raine: What types of things were you interested in during high school?
Jimmy: In high school, I was always interested in how money works and how to make the most out of my money. I joined the Academy of Finance [a career-track program at Lincoln] and learned everything I know about financial literacy and I think that it really prepared me for my job.
Raine: What do you like most about your job?
Jimmy: I like the people I work with, and I think the company’s values really align with mine, which makes work really fun for me. Additionally, the projects I’m tasked with every day also make it fun because I’m challenged with something different every day.
Raine: Any advice for youth preparing for work or higher education?
Jimmy: My advice for youth preparing for higher education is to experience community college. Spend two years there and take advantage of the transfer agreements that the community colleges have with universities. You save money and it’s a great transition into university.
My advice for work is to be diligent and communicative through anything that you do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance and give every assignment your all!